Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > General Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 9, 2007, 7:40 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Victoria, B.C., Canada
Posts: 875
Default

Every time I see a new camera announced that sounds interesting the first thing I try to discover is what dimensions the sensor has. And I don't mean how many megapixels, I mean actual dimensions. And I'm always disappointed.

Most of the non-DSLRs seem to have a tiny sensor that measures 1/2.5 inches. One of the very few that is bigger is the Canon G6. Its sensor measures 1/1.8" - and judging by the samples in Steve's gallery, it gives very respectable results. In fact the G6 results look (to me) better than those of the G7 which is also 1/1.8", but has more megapixels.

I have both a Canon Powershot A300 and a Canon SD400 (with 1/2.7" sensors & 1/2.5" sensors respectively). Both are very handy and useful cameras because they're so small, but I generally get much better quality pictures from my old 2.1 megapixels Olympus C2100UZ that has a sensor that measures 1/2 inch. The C2100 though, is rather cumbersome.

Another example is my wife's Leica Digilux zoom - the same, I believe as the 1700MX Fuji, which means it also has a 1/2" inch sensor. It gives much better results than people expect from 1.5 megapixels. In fact the only time my Canon A300 or SD400 yield better detail is in bright sunlight.

Why is it that manufacturers are so keen on cramming more and more megapixels into tiny sensors? It seems to me that they'd be giving us better cameras if they abandoned this megapixel mania started to offer us bigger sensors instead - but so far nobody is doing it, except Sony with their DSCR1. It records magnificently more detail, judging by the samples in Steve's gallery.

Does anybody agree?
Herb is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old May 9, 2007, 8:00 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Sintares's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 647
Default

Its because people who know about sensor sizes and "noise" and lens quality are not the main customers for digicams.

That market goes to Joe Sixpack, who frankly wants to wave the shiny silver camera with the big 8MP sticker on it in front of the neighbours who only have a 5mp camera.

The nice salesman told him it was the latest and the best, and it cost a lot so it must be!

The fact he onlyprints at 4x6 and could do that with a 3mp camera never troubles his tiny mind.

Remember Joe is the guy who buys the massive engined, gasoline guzzling car, that can easily do two or three times the national speed limit, but only uses it to drive to the office, on the jammed freeways that means be barely gets it over 40mph.

But he is sure it looks impressive to the secretarys when he screeches into the parking garage at work..

Remember more sells to the masses!

More pixels, more zoom, faster cars, bigger engines..




Sintares is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9, 2007, 8:11 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Corpsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 879
Default

It's pretty much just marketing. Camera companies (or perhaps the retailers) got it into people's heads that megapixel = quality. If you handed your 1.5mp 1700MX Fuji to someone to take photos with, they're likely to say, "No thanks, my cel phone is 3 megapixels. That's twice as good as your outdated camera!".

Turning the trend around would require getting the public at large to understand that megapixel is quite unimportant. I don't know how that's going to happen, but I hope it happens soon. I feel that the compromise between resolution and performance was met at around 5-6 megapixel for DSLRs, and probably 3-5mp for p&s cams, and it's been going downhill since then. The increases in pixel count are getting to the point that all they do is increase noise, bring out imperfections in the lenses, and actually diminish true resolution.

If cameras get to the point that 18mp becomes common, I hope that Apple comes out with some kind of Icamera that shoots 6mp and outperforms everything. They'll have tv commercials of Hip Icamera Dude getting all the shots at parties and night clubs that Megapixel Monkey is incapable of. THEN maybe marketing can be used as a tool for good rather than evil.
Corpsy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9, 2007, 8:22 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
rjseeney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Taylor Mill, Kentucky
Posts: 2,398
Default

Sensors get progressively more expensive as they get bigger in size as the bigger they are the harder they are to make. Keeping sensors smaller reduces waste and helps companies hit an attractive price points. Bigger sensors also mean bigger cameras, and most point and shooters want smaller and sleeker cameras. Not saying it's right, but there are practical reasons for smaller sensors too.
rjseeney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9, 2007, 9:01 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
tjsnaps's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Sacramento, Ca
Posts: 652
Default

I've been waiting and waiting for a good full frame (or somewhere close) DSLR that cost less than a car.
I can live with 5 megapixels but I hate the idea of a 1.5 magnification factor. But that full frame camera will never happen for the same reason I want it. With a full frame censer I would not have to buy new lenses. If they can make an ultra-high res censer the size of 35mm film to put in a digital back for medium format cameras. Why can't the make a 5meg censer the same size for DSLR's? The answer…they can…but they won't. And if they did it would probably not sell well at this point. I remember years ago when the market got flooded with cheap snapshot cameras that used 35mm film. These cameras were no better than a 126 instamatic. 35mm is barely bigger than 126 and the film stock was the same. But the cameras sold like hot cakes because they used "the film of the pro's" Isn't marketing wonderful??
tjsnaps is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9, 2007, 9:51 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Victoria, B.C., Canada
Posts: 875
Default

I've just remembered these two pictures - one taken with the 5 megapixels Canon SD400 & the other with the 2.1 megapixels Olympus C2100UZ.

The comparison may not be entirely fair since the Olympus was probably used at around 7x zoom, while the SD400 can only zoom to 3x. But they show why I'm so fond of the Olympus.

http://www.pbase.com/mtu_fulani/image/71016480
Herb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 13, 2007, 9:52 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Decatur, GA
Posts: 2,053
Default

I provide photos for a local newspaper at times and they require 5 mega-pixel images for their cover shot. They claim that 4mp is too small. They also told me they see little quality difference if the images is 6, 7 or 8mp vs 5mp. They have never used anything higher than 8mp. Images are usually 5x7 newsprint adobe formatted color (whatever that means) on an 11 x 14 page. Also sam,e theory on their part for inside b/w images that are 5x7s to go with articles.

dave
Photo 5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 13, 2007, 9:58 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Decatur, GA
Posts: 2,053
Default

Ther olympus C2100UZ I remember that one. I had it cousin the C-700 for 2 years then a Fuji S5200 and now a Fuji S9100. I loved my C-700 but then I got this job and was required to get a 5mp camera so they could make larger prints and blowups of the photos. When I did switch cameras I went to Fuji because I could use larger memory cards. I remember the C-700 being stucvk uing 64 and 128MB smart media cards.

Before that camera I had my first camera in 2001 a Pansonic Super Disc camera using 120MB floppies. Man was that one slow.

dave
Photo 5 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 9:49 PM.