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Old Sep 27, 2003, 10:32 AM   #1
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Default Megapixels

Until recently, I assumed that a 2-megapixel camera was automatically better than a 1-megapixel camera, and that this was the single biggest factor in how big an enlargement I could make.

In reading up on this site today, I'm learning that (because of the size of the sensor?) some 5-megapixel cameras are not as good as the previous model, that might have been 3 or 4 megapixel.

So, what's the scoop? If you're looking for specifications that will help you select a camera, what do you look for?

a) how many megapixels?
b) how big the image sensor is?
c) ???


As a side note, I've currently got an Olympus E-10. It's a big camera, with a very large lens. Ive been able to make pictures from it that were printed larger than 24" x 36" in size, and everyone (me included) thought they were excellent. This Olympus is "only" 4-megapixel. So, why do pictures taken with it look so much better than pictures from other (smaller) 4-megapixel cameras? I know the lens is part of it, but I suspect there's a lot more.
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Old Sep 27, 2003, 2:42 PM   #2
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Well, you've managed to stumble on the fact that has eluded many consumers for years, more is not always better. With the smaller 4mp cameras, their image quality is probably worse because they cram the same number of pixels into a smaller chip creating more noise and also, they have a smaller lens diameter so less light gets in. Also, they have to cram the same features into a smaller body. Thus when looking for a digital camera, image quality should be your number one concern and the number of megapixels just a loose guideline to narrow down your search.
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Old Sep 27, 2003, 2:50 PM   #3
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Your E10 is somewhat unique. It uses an Olympus proprietary 2/3" 4 Megapixel CCD. It was designed for higher dynamic range.

It did have it's own set of "quirks" though (for example: a much higher number of CCD's with bad pixels, compared to the competition).

Olympus decided to go to the Sony 2/3" CCD in the E20, which has proven to be much more reliable.
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Old Sep 27, 2003, 3:05 PM   #4
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Another thing that makes a huge difference is the subject matter being photographed.

Things which have lot sof detail (landscapes of the country side, for example) require higher resolution because they have to record all that detail.

But other things, like a human face, don't require as much detail because the person viewing it will fill in the missing detail. You see, the human brain is very good at recognizing a human face. It fills in detail when its lacking. So you can get away with less detail and it will still be understandable to the viewer.

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Old Sep 28, 2003, 6:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Olympus decided to go to the Sony 2/3" CCD in the E20, which has proven to be much more reliable.
While this true... it does not tell the whole story.

Choice of CCD alone do not make a camera, if we leave the obvious lenses difference out, there's also the software behind each one and varies on how the various manufacturers have decided to implement the image processings behind them. The Sony F717, the Nikon CP5000/5700, and also the Minolta D7/i/Hi all shared the same common Sony CCDs as the Oly (or it's complimentary variant), but they all produce different output in term of color, saturation, sharpness, details and yes noises! :lol:

... and this is true for a lot of others cameras as well! The scoop is there's really no bad cameras (they'll be out of business very quickly) as long as it meets your expectation/budget and not someone else...
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Old Sep 28, 2003, 9:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHL
Choice of CCD alone do not make a camera, if we leave the obvious lenses difference out, there's also the software behind each one and varies on how the various manufacturers have decided to implement the image processings behind them.
But don't forget, although you are most likely stuck with the choice of lens that's on the digital you choose, you should also pay attention to the CCD and resolution in that as so much it's the "film" you will be using for the life of you digital camera! In many messages people here put down any thought towards the CCD and say you should pay big time attention to the lens, but the CCD should be given consideration as well...so should you pay attention to how the controls work and how the camera feels in your hands.
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Old Sep 28, 2003, 9:37 AM   #7
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NHL, somehow there's got to be a way to compare specifications, and tell which camera model is "better". I'm not sure right now what that is, but I know we should be able to define it, if enough of us know what's going on.

People "think" that a 4 megapixel camera is always better than a 3 megapixel camera. Heck, until I started reading here, I thought that too, but I wasn't so sure.... Seeming a lot of new cameras coming out with 4, 5, 6 megapixel count... and me not thinking that those cameras could do as well as my two-year old 4 megapixel Olympus had me wondering what I was missing.



From what you've just said, added to what was posted earlier, I guess it comes down to:
CCD specification (how many megapixel)
CCD size
Camera Software
Lens


Maybe we also need a rating for the things you mentioned:
color
saturation
sharpmenss
detail
noise

I'll add to your list:
accuracy
speed
ability to retain detail in highlights/shadows



I know you "get what you pay for", but without knowing the facts, you're at the mercy of whatever advertising copy-writer happened to put together all the reasons to buy THEIR camera - that, and what is written on Steve's write-ups and other similar write-ups.


For me, right now, with me looking to buy a new or used DSLR, there's another factor - age. A few days ago I was considering the Nikon D1, D1x, D1h, D100 D2, and Fuji S2 body. I can get a D1 for an extremely low price, but its software is so old, it's now off my list. The D2 I can't afford, so it's off my list. Since I do "mostly" sports type stuff, the D1h stays, over the D1x. I'm now down to the D1h (used), D100, and the Fuji. My brain is telling me that the D1h "should" be better for me, but the more I read the write-ups and what people like/dislike, the more I'm leaning towards the Fuji.

Not that this has that much to do with the discussion - I think there should be a way to compare any two cameras, and to state which is "better" in terms of overall specifications (based of course, on which specifications are important to the buyer).

Want an example of what I mean? From having owned both for two years, I "know" my Olympus e-10 can product a MUCH better landscape photo than my Olympus e-100, but for photos of small radio controlled race cars in motion, the e-10 proved useless and the e-100 got me much better images, almost as good as what I wanted. Neither got me exactly what I really want, and the people who were taking the images I like most are the ones who used an SLR camera with film. It's up to me to be able to take as good a photograph as they did, but it's up to my equipment to be able to provide that good image, once I do everything right.
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Old Sep 28, 2003, 12:17 PM   #8
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Default Pixels Schmixels

There is a very good article on the importance of sensor size here:
http://www.photo.net/equipment/digital/sensorsize/

FWIW, I recently sold my 5mp Dimage 7i (which I had gotten pretty good with & loved) for a 3mp Canon D30. The D30 images have been outstanding and look much for "film like" than those the 7i produced.


Everybody ready for Halloween?

By the way Mike, loved your work in Goldmember! ;-)
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Old Sep 28, 2003, 1:35 PM   #9
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Thanks; will check out that article.

By the way, I'm not who you think I am... I had the name before he did. If I was "that" Mike Myers, I could go ahead and buy every one of the DSLR cameras, instead of having to narrow it down to one I can afford.... :-)
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