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Old Jan 30, 2005, 11:51 PM   #1
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Ok, I.m confused, and who wouldn't be, considering all the different specs on digital cameras. Why do so many point and shoots have a higher pixel rating than so many dslrs?

I think I have outgrown my Nikon 5700, and wish to head towards an DSLR, but even the 8700 etc. has a higher pixel range than the D70, etc. So, what gives? Why is the CCD in a point and shoot so much higher than a DSLR? I would have thought that the upper lines of cameras would have a higher resolution than off-the-shelf point and shoots.

Am I missing something important here? I realize that the lenses of the DSLRS are vastly superior, but why is the CCD so anemic in resolution? Even an Nikon 8700 boasts a higher pixel range than the D70.

When trying to print large format prints, the pixel range is quite important, and tends to keep the sharpness of the image. Is there a reason that Nikons DSLRs are so low on pixel ratings compared to the competition or am i not seeing the "full picture"?

My brother has a new printer for his sign shop, it prints up to 60 inches wide and has software to re-pixelate smaller images in order to "blow them up". Lest you think that this is an inferior printer, it cost over $35,000, and exudes professional within all that term has ever meant. Why does my sisters Olympus point and shoot invariably produce better results even though I have programmed the 5700 to auto?I have taken shots with the camera "optomised" for the conditions at hand and still find her handheld to be equal. Granted, the Olympus has a 6+ megapixel rating versus my 5.1, but her lens system is vastly inferior, or so I am led to believe.

This is what has led me to ask all of you, brand name enthusiasts need not apply, what is the true correlation between the CCD's image capturing ablities versus the final printing output? The lens on an DSLR will provide finer focusing and detail than anon-DSLR. Yet, if a camera's CCD has a higher pixel range and a good lens, will this improve detail more than a quality lens on a lower resolution DSLR?

Where do we define the difference between pixel range, quality of image, and all of those gray areas that reside between those two points. Do I need a lower resolution camera with outstandinf optics, or a cheaper camera with a higher CCD resolution?

Optics are a great concept, they have proven themselves over time with film,but if the imagining device can't fully capture the optics resolution, then where do we go to develop standards to give one a reasonable comparison for optical quality versus image capture capabilities?

Where is the finite comparison at? Do I seek optic perfection, or seek pixel resolution. I just want clear sharp photos as I see them with my eyes. Low resolution with clear optics, or lessor optics with phenominal CCD reso;ution? Where does one set his priorities in this matter.

In conclusion, high priced DSLRs with low pixel ratings. Or pro-consumer cameras with higher pixel ratings? I know some will say what are you trying to take pictures of. I answer, anything, anywhere, and at any time.

The one picture that gives you your 15 minutes of fame must be a good one. Within the digital format, there is no reason that one camera cannot do it all. It is just dependant upon the programer and the "immediate" controls that are provided for your discretional use. However, the final descision depends upon the fact that the camera will, or won't, record what your eyes see. Do optics make more of a difference towards the pictures quality than the pixel size? Is lens quality more important than pixel capturing abilities?

Let me know what you all think!! Your views are invaluable in that it becomes a cpllective opinion. Share, help another, and be helped in return.

Dennis
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Old Jan 31, 2005, 3:03 AM   #2
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I'm certainly no expert on these things, but my understanding is that it basically comes down to the size and quality of the image sensor device that the camera has...and I'm not referring to the megapixel rating of the sensor, but the physical size.

A dSLR camera generally has a larger sensor than a point and shoot or prosumer camera, therefore the dSLR's generally take pictures with much less noise. Combine the larger sensor with the higher quality optics, and you get better pictures overall than what a non-dSLR will usually take.

Forgive me if I'm not supposed to post links to other web sites here...but you can find an explanation of sensor size at the dpreview.com website at:
http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/Glos...r_Sizes_01.htm

As for me, I would love to pick up a Canon digital Rebel or a Nikon D70, but I can't afford it at this time...so I am looking at picking up a decent prosumer camera that I can use to learn more about photography so that I'll be more capable when I am able to pick up the dSLR.
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Old Jan 31, 2005, 12:40 PM   #3
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I'm just a newbie so take it for what it's worth

The number of pixels is what really matters when it comes to very large print sizes. If you don't have pixels, it doesn't matter what quality optics (lens) you have; you just won't be able to print high-res good looking pics. You can interpolate and stuff but that isn't the same thing.

Having said that, if the pic quality is bad, due to poor optics, or poor camera processing, or whatever, then the pic won't be as good either. However, if you don't have enough megapixels, you just won't be able to print high-res pics.

Since consumer and prosumer cameras have good optics (most non-photographers would be hard-pressed the tell the difference between the Canon lens on their consumers/prosumers versus the lens for DSLRs), pic quality is good enough with consumer and prosumer cameras. This is probably why you see the consumer camera taking pics almost as good as yours.

BUT... there is one problem with having a ton of megapixels: noise!!! By squeezing millions of sensors into a smaller sensor area, the high megapixel consumers and prosumers will have more noise than DSLRs. Another way of saying this is that, DSLRs can shoot at much higher ISOs with lower noise than consumers/prosumers (this basically means that you can take better low-light or action pics).

So, if you decide to go with a high megapixel prosumer, it will have more noise at high ISOs. But if you shoot at very low ISOs (say ISO 50 or ISO 80) then the high megapixel prosumers will produce pics that are arguably as good as any DSLR. Of course, I'm oversimplifying (DSLRs are actually better in many other respects--such as versatility) but that's how I would look at this situation.

I think the high-end prosumers still aren't worth getting YET. They have some flaws and we need to wait a bit more. However, I do think that high-end prosumers will become a major market for camera users once those cameras improve some of their shortcomings. 8 Megapixels vs 6 Megapixels isn't that big of a difference but if you can get 16 megapixel prosumers vs 8MP/10MP DSLRs then prosumers may be worth it.

Do note that most people only print 4"x6" and a few 8"x10" so very high megapixels don't matter too much. But if printing costs can drop a lot more then having a realloy high megapixels will be benefitial. You are in a different situation since you have accessing to a professional large format printing. But most people are stuck with the small sizes. Right now 4x6 costs around 40% less than 5"x7", and around 80% less than 8"x10", and probably around 95% less than 11x14. If 11x14 costs the same as 4x6 now then there will be a demand for high MP cameras ...
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Old Jan 31, 2005, 5:46 PM   #4
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I disagree, sensor size is more important than number of pixels if you're shooting in anything less than bright light. Absent a watershed improvement in bulk silicon I simply cannot conceive of a 16Mp prosumer camera, since all of those pixels would (ostensibly) be crammed into a 1/1.8 or 2/3 type chip (if 4/3 or larger APS sensors are destined to become the norm, then non-dSLR's lose every advantage, including cost and size, with the exception ofthe appeal of a single, non-removeable lens - and I'm not sure there's any real appeal to that under those circumstances. Noise would probably be visible at even the lowest ISO and simply unacceptable by ISO 100-200,dynamic range would suffer, min. aperture would probably be f4, etc.

If you take the time to look closely and compare sample images at high magnification you will see that the resolution of 6Mp dSLR's is comparable to the resolution of the new class of 8Mp prosumers. There is simply no comparison between dSLR's and prosumer models re:dynamic range, sensitivity/noise, sequential shooting speed, AF speed, etc. Prosumers once had distinct advantages re: cost and portability, but the new 8Mp models are beginning to approach dSLR's in physical size. Of course, a camera is only as good as the optics you're using; once you factor in the cost of at least one good lens you'll still spend at least twice as much on a dSLR than you would a prosumer digicam, so prosumers still have a cost advantage - maybe, if you can live with their limitations.

The sensors in dSLR's are not "anemic" - again, take the time to review and compare sample pics and you'll see that the resolution is roughly the same. Packing fewer pixels into a larger sensor translates into much better dynamic range and sensitivity. Try stopping down to f32 on a prosumer camera - you can't!

That said, in bright light you can get excellent images from a prosumer camera,be it 8, 7, 6, 5 or 4Mp.

I'm sure that there are posts somewhere in these forums discussing the relationship of resolution and print size at 200 or 250 lpi. I've seen such posts and linke on many occasions, just search. Remember - twice the megapixels only translates into a 50% increase in print size at the same lpi.

There is no easy answer to your question. If you want quality at any cost get a good dSLR (the D70, though entry-level, is an excellent camera, rivals the D100, S2 Pro and other more expensive dSLR's) and invest in quality lenses. If you're on a budget consider prosumer, though you can buy a digital Rebel or D70 (body-only) for under $1000 and buy used lenses to save money.

Don't get caught up in the megapixel race. Sure, an 8Mp 2/3 type offers better resolution than a 4Mp 2/3 - but an 8Mp doesn't necessarily offer better resolution than a 6Mp APS sized sensor. Also, there's alot more to image quality than resolution.

There is no one-camera solution. I recentlybought an Oly C-8080 b/c I got it at a fantastic price and was reluctant to drop $2500-3000 on a D70 and a couple of good lenses. The 8080 has real limitations, but I was aware of those and am willing to live with them. What are you willing to live with? If you want to be able to capture anything, anywhere, anytime, I'd recommend a dSLR. Much faster AF, much faster sequential performance, much better lowlight capability. Ultimately, there's still no such thing as a free lunch.


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Old Jan 31, 2005, 7:07 PM   #5
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Welcome to the club. You will eventually arrive at the same conclusion many, many of us have arrived at I am sure. The perfect digital camera hasn't been made yet. Reading and digesting previous posts, you can see that there are many wonderful advantages to a prosumer. There are areas where a Dslr will outshine them, but it does boil down to individual use. I am so undecided...that my cash has remained idle while I hash and rehash all the ins and outs of prosumer vs Dslr. I just can't make up my mind yet. And while I grind this grist, slowly but surely one of the manufacturers is on the verge of spitting out just the one I'm looking for. (Ya, right...I hope!) Good luck, best regards,

KennethD
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Old Jan 31, 2005, 7:07 PM   #6
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Sivaram Velauthapillai wrote:
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So, if you decide to go with a high megapixel prosumer, it will have more noise at high ISOs. But if you shoot at very low ISOs (say ISO 50 or ISO 80) then the high megapixel prosumers will produce pics that are arguably as good as any DSLR.
IMHO wrong. Another catches in small sensor sensor sizes is optic size and focal distance. Although cost of glass in miniature lenses is smaller they need to be produce with *SIGNIFICANTLY* higher tolerance then bigger DSLR lenses to give the same optic quality. And technology is just not good enough - hence we have fringing and other optical (particularly chromic) aberration. Small focal lens is another downside - because human eye is equivalent of 50 mm lens (roughly) pix taken with 5-6 mm lens does not looks natural - I call them posting cards, but not photos. Morale - for quality DSLR only, and preferably full-size (not APS) - problem here is those stuff TOOOOOO expensive :-) And forget about megapixels - this is only manufactures trick to fish out more money from stupid public, IMHO :-)And yes, if one need to stop down lens at 16 or even 32 to produce photo effect - what you suggest to do in prosumer camera? (Majority of them limited to 8 )
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Old Jan 31, 2005, 8:43 PM   #7
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KSV wrote:
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Although cost of glass in miniature lenses is smaller they need to be produce with *SIGNIFICANTLY* higher tolerance then bigger DSLR lenses to give the same optic quality. And technology is just not good enough - hence we have fringing and other optical (particularly chromic) aberration.
How big of a problem are these issues? Yes, they exist and are worse but how many people actually notice them in typical situations? I have a friend with a Nikon D70 (a DSLR) and I can't tell the difference between him and my consumer (Canon S1 IS) pics. We are both newbies but he is actually more skilled and experienced with photography. The Canon S1 IS, for example, is supposed to be one of the worst purple fringing cameras around yet it is not a big deal.

I don't have any experience using high MP prosumers but I am guessing that their high megapixels will will enable them to have similar chromatic aberration as low megapixel consumers/prosumers. If that is so, then most people really won't be able to tell the difference between the high MP prosumer and DSLR at low ISOs.

Quote:
Small focal lens is another downside - because human eye is equivalent of 50 mm lens (roughly) pix taken with 5-6 mm lens does not looks natural...
What does that have to do with anything? What do you mean they don't look natural? I don't get your argument here....

What does 50mm have to do with anything? How about a consumer/prosumer camera with 35mm equivalent focal length of 50mm? Is that unnatural too? I'm not sure what is so unnatural about them?

Are you talking about the fact that the depth of field is different from human eyes?

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Old Jan 31, 2005, 9:02 PM   #8
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jkusmier wrote:
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I disagree, sensor size is more important than number of pixels if you're shooting in anything less than bright light.
I'm not sure if this is addressed to me, but my point is that the higher MP prosumers are only good at low ISOs. So yeah, if you shoot at anything higher, they are really bad.

Quote:
Absent a watershed improvement in bulk silicon I simply cannot conceive of a 16Mp prosumer camera, since all of those pixels would (ostensibly) be crammed into a 1/1.8 or 2/3 type chip (if 4/3 or larger APS sensors are destined to become the norm, then non-dSLR's lose every advantage, including cost and size, with the exception of the appeal of a single, non-removeable lens - and I'm not sure there's any real appeal to that under those circumstances. Noise would probably be visible at even the lowest ISO and simply unacceptable by ISO 100-200, dynamic range would suffer, min. aperture would probably be f4, etc.
Don't underestimate technological improvements. Digital cameras have very steep technological cycles. Sensor technology is kind of slow but if they follow anything even remotely similar to microprocessors (used to roughly double every 18 months), it wouldn't surprise me if you have a 1" sensor with 16 megapixels within 3 years.

There isn't much demand for larger sensors for consumer and prosumers right now but once the major shortcoming in consumers/prosumers becomes their poor ISO performance (this will probably happen within 2 years since we are almost at the usuable max value for megapixels for typical prints) then you'll get greater demand. Once that happens, larger sensors will be incorporated in all the consumers and low-end prosumers.

As far as the consumers and prosumers losing their size advantage, I don't see that happening. The sensor is not really that big. Even a 1" sensor would be very small compared to, say, the memory card. Half the cameras can shrink a bit simply by going from compact flash to SD. The consumers/prosumers can decrease their size if they can somehow get rid of AA batteries and standardize on one of those lithium-ion type batteries or something.

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If you take the time to look closely and compare sample images at high magnification you will see that the resolution of 6Mp dSLR's is comparable to the resolution of the new class of 8Mp prosumers.
Yep... that's my point. The high-end prosumers produce equally good or better pics at low ISOs. In such conditions, since they have higher megapixels, they will arguably be better for very large prints (where even 1 megapixel will start to matter, especially if you start interpolating).

Quote:
There is simply no comparison between dSLR's and prosumer models re: dynamic range, sensitivity/noise, sequential shooting speed, AF speed, etc.
I agree with that... I'm mainly talking about large size prints in low ISOs. Obviously DSLRs are far better in other respects...

Quote:
Prosumers once had distinct advantages re: cost and portability, but the new 8Mp models are beginning to approach dSLR's in physical size.
I would tend to think the opposite. If anything, the high-end prosumers narrowed the gap with DSLRs--not the other way around. There was a time when (film) SLRs and DSLRs were WAY ahead of consumer and prosumer cameras.

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Old Feb 1, 2005, 2:28 AM   #9
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Sivaram Velauthapillai wrote:
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I have a friend with a Nikon D70 (a DSLR) and I can't tell the difference between him and my consumer (Canon S1 IS) pics.
So be it - you are much luckier than I am - I can see the difference and therefore have to spend more money to indulge my poor vision :-)


Quote:
prosumer camera with 35mm equivalent focal length of 50mm? Is that unnatural too? I'm not sure what is so unnatural about them?

Are you talking about the fact that the depth of field is different from human eyes?
[/quote]



They are looking too "flat" if you can see of course :-)

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Old Feb 1, 2005, 4:17 AM   #10
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well,if youneed acamera that can do "anything, anywhere, and at any time" , probably a dslr is the best choise......but it really depends....do you really like to take pictures? do you like flexibility? where do you take the picture? are you familiar whith any editing program?(Adobe Photoshop or many other)..........

in my opinion, you can't really appreciate a digital camera if you are not familiar with film camera.I realy like to have full manual control but I also need to take pictures in auto mode...

it is true, the resolution is the most important factor, but that is not enough.You need good lens also. An 8Mp image is useless if noise is too big. Anyway, recently consumer camera have iproved image quality and they are affordable.And if you need to interpolate the image you can do it from a edit program, you don't let your printer to do it.

The problem with dslr is that required some knoledge, skills and a lot of other accesories (lenses, flashes).In many situation weight and size is a problem...maybe I need something small, to put it in my pocket.I wasin a mountain trip andI'll have to climb and at that time I had a bigheavy film camera,and I can't really used.My frends had small digital zoom camera and that realy do their job.

So, if you need large prints,they have to look good also.The resolution and lens quality are both very important for printing. I recomend you a dslr with 8Mp if you can afforded....but a 6MpCanon digital rebel can do this job also...

But if you need mobility, and something cheaper, a high resolution consumer camera with good lens are also acceptable

You compare the D70 with consumer high resolution camera....but this are new released (with few exception) products and D70, D100, Canon D300 are 2-3 years old...almost.Dslr's 12-16 Mp are great, but they are expensive.
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