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Old Oct 5, 2006, 1:35 PM   #1
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The newest compact cameras are rapidly increasing their megapixel count, as well as their noise problems (once you get about ISO200 or so, depending upon the camera). The older and lower megapixel cams seemed to have less noise problems. I was wondering what happens when you step down the setting on a cam. So if I had a cam that could shoot at 8M (or even 10 now) but instead used it at 4M, would I have a noticeable reduction in noise. I guess I'm asking whether at lower resolution it reprograms the way it uses the sensor or* does it just discard the extra information? Just something I was curious about, if anyone knows.ThanksMichael
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Old Oct 5, 2006, 7:51 PM   #2
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I don't know, but it seems reasonable that it may well reduce the noise. The camera uses the whole sensor no matter what the resolution setting you choose. If you opt for less than full resolution, the camera just downsamples to get to the target resolution.

Using an image editor, if you downsample an image, the program does some "averaging out" on the pixel values which has been shown to reduce noise. If it works the same way in-camera, then the same may well hold true.

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Old Oct 5, 2006, 8:15 PM   #3
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The number of pixels is fixed so the noise problem will remain. Whether the in-camera processing when you set a lower resolution helps this much I'm not too sure.
The best thing to do would be to shoot at full resolution and, run a noise reducing algorithm and then reduce the resolution.
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Old Oct 6, 2006, 7:29 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I'm not sure why I didn't think of this at first, but I just decided to try it. Mounted my cam on tripod, shot low light images at ISO800 at 7M, 3M and 1M, and compared the images. And the result was the same level of noise at all three resolutions. If I stepped down to ISO400 there was less noise, so I would have been able to see a difference if there were one. This was with a Sony DSC-V3, so your mileage may vary.
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