Originally Posted by whatapicture
Its an interesting discussion and also interesting to see how each manufacturer tackles the pixel count/race. Pentax also use Sony sensors, such as the K30 and K5.
One of the biggest improvements Olympus made way back was the E-450, it was only 10mp, but had a higher dynamic range than the E-510 and much lower noise than the E-620. The 450 is my favourite E camera.
In recent reviews, the new 24mp Nikon D3200 exhibited slightly more noise at higher ISO than the 16mp Nikon's such as the D5100/D7000. Like wise, the 12mp Nikon D5000/D90 had even lower levels of high ISO noise and probably the best dynamic range in the Nikon APS-C family.
Of course, its not all down to the sensor, the processing engine plays a large part as well. They have all made a rod for their own backs in a way, as ever more pixels requires ever more processing to keep noise levels down, some thing has to give way with all that processing. Some say the ultimate IQ was from 12mp!! I also believe that some compromises had to be made because of the movie mode.
Better IC denoising also allows more DR. However having the PL3 and the P2 at the same time I noticed that the PL3 had less noise but also visible artefacts.
Secondly, I wonder if more DR is not perceived as a lack of realistic contrast.
I'd need to have an E-M5 to tell. I am sure that there is a great progress in terms of sensitivity, but I am not convinced that at base ISO you don't have artefacts due to denoising.
The trouble I see is that engineers are always pushed ahead by marketing, who probably don't give them the time to improve a new sensor.
That also means that the second or third implementation of a sensor is better optimised, as noted in the case of the E-450. I sold the 620 because I found more noise at base ISO than in the 410.
If this theory is true the sweet spot of the new sensor should be around 400-800 ISO, but with more native noise at base ISO.