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Old Aug 12, 2007, 10:04 AM   #1
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If a camera (i.e. the Sept. release of theFuji F50) has a sensor designed to handle 12 megapixels, [there have been many discussions on this and other forums about how bad this is on said camera] my question is - just because a sensor is designed to handle 12 megapixels, does that mean that even if I lower the setting to 3 or 6 megapixels that image quality will suffer too just because of the 12 megapixel capability?

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Old Aug 12, 2007, 11:39 AM   #2
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It is theoretically possible that the 3Mp setting could fire just a quarter of the sensors. There is medical equipment I've read about that can do that. I don't know of a camera that does that and I doubt the F50 will.

For the lower Mp settings the camera processor resamples the image down to a smaller size after the entire sensor has sent it the image. It is about the same as downsizing the 12Mp image on your computer.

The "pixel peepers" who view the image 100% so they can be scandalized by the noise will see less noise at the lower Mp settings because the image isn't blown up as much for their viewing method. But normal people won't really see a noise difference.

Nobody could have anticipated Fuji could get the kind of high ISO noise they are getting from their current F series sensor. I'll give Fuji the benefit of the doubt until the camera actually turns out to be a loser. It might not.

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Old Aug 12, 2007, 1:00 PM   #3
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It is the very small size of the individual pixels that cause the noise problems as camera manufacturers continue to try to get more and more on there to 'win' the megapixel race. It's crazy as nearly every person buying one of these cameras will not be printing their results so the gains they are making in pixels which if they were well defined would allow very decent printing sizes are waisted. Why does Joe Public need a camera putting out the same or higher res images than the proreportage, wedding and sports shooter? The main cameras in this field are Nikon D2X, Canon 5D and Canon 1D MkIII. These are giving the following resolutions D2X 12.4mp and 6.8 when shooting at high speeds for sport and reportage, Canon 5D 12.8mp and Canon 1D MkIII 10.1mp. These are the current lineups and there are pros out there using lower res cameras than this. What is the main difference between the digicams and the dSLR's, it's the size of the sensor allowing them to be less noisy at high ISO settings but as for res it shows that this race in the consumer market is stupid and marketing hype. I would prefer that the developers from Canon, Fuji, Pentax etc spend money on making less noisy, 6pm sensors with good definition and showing what can really be done!!!

Is that likely to happen?? Probably not as people don't understand what makes a good image and just get excited by big numbers, large mp, many times zoom etc so this race is likely to continue for a long time!!!!

OK time for me to get off of my soap box and go to the pub quiz!
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Old Aug 12, 2007, 2:46 PM   #4
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I've been hearing the same rant since they started going from 2Mp to 3 & even the ridiculous 4Mp in small sensors. Knowledgeable insiders said that if they would just refine the 2Mp sensors rather than engage in the absurd pixel race we would have better cameras. They felt that if the fools who were driving the pixel race ever tried to make 5Mp cameras with small sensors the images would be almost unusable.

Nobody anticipated technical improvements like the marvelous 1/1.7 Fuji 6Mp sensor or even the 7Mp Sony 1/1.8 that replaced their 5Mp with better everything including noise.

I have a wide format printer and like large prints for my wall. With a noise reduction plug-in I can make much better large prints with sufficient pixels to work with.

My best guess is that Fuji is taking a step backward with the F50. Had they added stabilization and some configurability to the great little F31 they would probably have had a better camera. But I'm not willing to make a judgment on that until the camera can be run through some tests. Fuji seems to be especially good at in-camera noise reduction without smearing the image.

I have no doubt that pixel peeking at 100% is going to show a lot more noise. But displayed at the same size the images might not be bad. If they don't overdo the noise reduction or let you turn it off you might have images you can do good things with in an image editor with a good noise plug-in. My hopes aren't too high, but Fuji did wrong foot everyone with the great little 6Mp sensor.

I admit that the average user of small sensor cameras doesn't need over 6 or 7 Mp for their normal use. But the pixel race has suited my needs so far and I'm cheering it on. Maybe there is some quantum limit to pixel density that technology isn't going to be able to overcome. I have no idea where that might be or even whether they might have reached it. But I sure am glad they didn't listen to the ranters and offer only very highly refined 2Mp sensors rather than engage in the stupid pixel race.

We all do better of course with a large sensor DSLR. But it is nice to have a competent little camera you can always have with you. The camera you have with you is infinitely better than the great camera you have sitting at home when a photo opportunity arises.



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Old Aug 12, 2007, 3:58 PM   #5
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slipe wrote:
Quote:
I've been hearing the same rant since they started going from 2Mp to 3 & even the ridiculous 4Mp in small sensors. Knowledgeable insiders said that if they would just refine the 2Mp sensors rather than engage in the absurd pixel race we would have better cameras. They felt that if the fools who were driving the pixel race ever tried to make 5Mp cameras with small sensors the images would be almost unusable.

Nobody anticipated technical improvements like the marvelous 1/1.7 Fuji 6Mp sensor or even the 7Mp Sony 1/1.8 that replaced their 5Mp with better everything including noise.
They may or may not have anticipated the technological advancements, but they were still right. Most people don't print many photos larger than 4" x 6". At 300 dpi, that's about 2MP. When you increase the size of the sensor, or improve the efficiency of the individual photosites, you get more accurate pixels which makes images much smoother and less grainy looking, which means that they enlarge and sharpen very well so you can get much larger prints without needing the extra megapixels.

If they were to apply the advancements used in modern sensors and made the F50 with a 2MP sensor, it would likely be able to take photos at ISO 3200 that would make excellent 4x6 prints, and at 1600 that would make good 8x10s.

Something to realize is that when noise levels increase, the noise artifacts get larger and larger until it is impossible to remove them from the image. And whether or not you use filters to remove the noise, those artifacts effectively remove real detail from the image.

If it's even possible to remove the noise in a photo by resizing the image down, you usually have to shrink the image to 50% or even 25% of it's original width, meaning a 10MP would become a 2.5MP image or a .625MP image respectively.
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Old Aug 12, 2007, 7:48 PM   #6
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Corpsy wrote:
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...
If it's even possible to remove the noise in a photo by resizing the image down, you usually have to shrink the image to 50% or even 25% of it's original width, meaning a 10MP would become a 2.5MP image or a .625MP image respectively.
Being on a dial-up (one of the joys of living in the boondocks) I'd like to note that even a 0.625Mp (625K) is larger than should be posted on the web. Another factor of two in linear dimensions to 156K or better yet, a factor of four to 39K will really take the noise out of an image.

Of course that does not help Slipe's wish to make large prints, but does show that even high noise images can have a use.
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Old Aug 12, 2007, 11:10 PM   #7
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I'm hoping with the F50's new larger 1.6 sensor that perhaps this will help with the added load the 12 megapixels might puton it?

If I were to use the 12 megapixel setting (which truly is overkill for me) it would be to crop down to a specific area of the photo. That seldom happens but a nice option to have if indeed the sensor surprises and produces a decent image.

Do I expect a point and shoot to be as "eye"-dropping as a DSLR? Nahhh. I just want to have fun with the camera. Enjoy some low light shooting and nice color saturation. With a $299 pricetagplus the current $50 rebate it might be a nice little camera.

Malinda

slipe wrote: Nobody anticipated technical improvements like the marvelous 1/1.7 Fuji 6Mp sensor or even the 7Mp Sony 1/1.8 that replaced their 5Mp with better everything including noise.



My best guess is that Fuji is taking a step backward with the F50. Had they added stabilization and some configurability to the great little F31 they would probably have had a better camera. But I'm not willing to make a judgment on that until the camera can be run through some tests. Fuji seems to be especially good at in-camera noise reduction without smearing the image.

I have no doubt that pixel peeking at 100% is going to show a lot more noise. But displayed at the same size the images might not be bad. If they don't overdo the noise reduction or let you turn it off you might have images you can do good things with in an image editor with a good noise plug-in. My hopes aren't too high, but Fuji did wrong foot everyone with the great little 6Mp sensor.

I admit that the average user of small sensor cameras doesn't need over 6 or 7 Mp for their normal use. But the pixel race has suited my needs so far and I'm cheering it on. Maybe there is some quantum limit to pixel density that technology isn't going to be able to overcome. I have no idea where that might be or even whether they might have reached it. But I sure am glad they didn't listen to the ranters and offer only very highly refined 2Mp sensors rather than engage in the stupid pixel race.

We all do better of course with a large sensor DSLR. But it is nice to have a competent little camera you can always have with you. The camera you have with you is infinitely better than the great camera you have sitting at home when a photo opportunity arises.





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Old Sep 4, 2007, 3:57 PM   #8
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So if I have a 10 mp camera on a 1/1.8 sensor and turn down the mp's to say 7, would Ibe lessening the quality of my pictures? or would the image quality be the same? (just take up less room on my sd card and my computer?)

Also, what if two similar cameras (like the Canon A630 and A640) have the same size sensor and other qualities, but differing mp's, does that mean that the lesser mp camera would be better image quality, since the mp's areless crowded on the sensor?

Hope these questions aren't too simple minded.

Thank you in advance for your help,

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Old Sep 4, 2007, 4:14 PM   #9
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beanbag wrote:
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So if I have a 10 mp camera on a 1/1.8 sensor and turn down the mp's to say 7, would Ibe lessening the quality of my pictures? or would the image quality be the same? (just take up less room on my sd card and my computer?)

Also, what if two similar cameras (like the Canon A630 and A640) have the same size sensor and other qualities, but differing mp's, does that mean that the lesser mp camera would be better image quality, since the mp's areless crowded on the sensor?
A higher resolution image sensor will always give a higher resolution image. And a 12MP image sensor will give a better 7MP image than a 7MP image sensor.

The problem being discussed here is that, as more and more pixels are crammed into a small area, the potential for one pixel to be influenced adversely by a neighboring pixel increases, resulting in noise. Under normal circumstances, this doesn't happen often, and when it does happen it isn't very noticeable. But under extreme circumstances (high ISO settings and/or long exposures), the noise might be visiblein even small prints. That is, if you take a photo of the night sky, you may see some stars in the print that you can't see in the sky.
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