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  • More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

    Olympus and Panasonic Lumix have been using the same 12MP LiveMOS Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds sensor for nearly three years since the launch of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 in September 2008. Panasonic introduced a new 16MP LiveMOS sensor recently with the new DMC-G3. It appears that the new Panasonic 16MP LiveMOS sensor performs about the same as the older 12MP sensor but of course with 25% more pixels, see the DxOMark ratings here:

    http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cam...nd3%29/Olympus

    But see what Sony can achieve with a similar pixel pitch to the 12.3MP sensor:

    http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cam...3%29/Panasonic

    So the question is, do you want more pixels at about the same image quality per pixel that we have now, or is 12MP enough but with improved pixel quality?

    Please register your vote!

    Ian
    44
    More pixels at about the same quality as we have had for 2 1/2 years.
    2.27%
    1
    The same number of pixels but significantly improved quality.
    88.64%
    39
    Not sure.
    9.09%
    4

    The poll is expired.

    Founder/editor
    Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
    Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
    Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
    Olympus camera, lens, and accessory hire (http://e-group.uk.net/hire)
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
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  • #2
    Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

    Never being satisfied, what we of course want is more pixels and better quality.

    Realistically, though, if quality was going to stay the same anyway then another 4mp would be nice but not essential.

    However, if by sticking at 12mp quality could be significantly improved, then this woud be by far the best option in my opinion.
    View my ebook, The Light Fantastic, at: http://store.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/3026...ight-fantastic

    John

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    • #3
      Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

      I fully agree with John although I voted Not Sure. The key words in his reply are "significantly improved." What does that mean to Olympus and Panasonic and how can they achieve their goals (which I assume exist)? And then how do those words relate to each of us as photographers with varying standards. Way too tough a question for me to even answer for myself. I'll stick with John here.
      Steve
      __________________________________
      Please visit my lonely photos at http://sbob.zenfolio.com/

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      • #4
        Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

        Originally posted by fluffy View Post
        I fully agree with John although I voted Not Sure. The key words in his reply are "significantly improved." What does that mean to Olympus and Panasonic and how can they achieve their goals (which I assume exist)? And then how do those words relate to each of us as photographers with varying standards. Way too tough a question for me to even answer for myself. I'll stick with John here.
        That's a good point. I know a lot of people worry about noise and dynamic range, as well as colour range, which are the three main performance parameters of an image sensor apart from resolution. And as we know, measured resolution can vary significantly even with sensors that have the same number of pixels.

        Noise is perhaps the easiest to quantify. Sony seems to be able to provide over a stop of headroom for the same level of noise as the current 12MP LiveMOS sensor, and at the same time give a couple of stops of extra dynamic range, which is very significant.

        Ian
        Founder/editor
        Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
        Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
        Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
        Olympus camera, lens, and accessory hire (http://e-group.uk.net/hire)
        Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
        Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
        Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

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        • #5
          Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

          I also did a Not Sure reply.

          Sticking more pixels onto a 4/3rds or Micro 4/3rds chip is not neccessarly going to give you a better image. It would be nice if they could give better noise performance at higher ISO but again this is is down to the size of the chip more than the software. Or even more dynamic range even if it means lowering from 12Mb to say 9Mb as and example.

          I would expect the Sony Nex chips to perform better simple becuase they are a bigger chip and so the designers have more lea way in what they do with the spacing of the pixels on the chips.

          As an example look at the Canon 5DMkII and Nikon D700, both full frame cmaeras. The Canon is 21Mb machine but the D700 only 12Mb machine yet has a much better High ISO capability than the Canon.

          However at the end of the day if all you are going to do is make an 8bit image @ 1024 and 72dpi then does it really matter how many pixels you have?
          My Flickr

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          • #6
            Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

            Originally posted by knikki View Post
            I also did a Not Sure reply.

            Sticking more pixels onto a 4/3rds or Micro 4/3rds chip is not neccessarly going to give you a better image. It would be nice if they could give better noise performance at higher ISO but again this is is down to the size of the chip more than the software. Or even more dynamic range even if it means lowering from 12Mb to say 9Mb as and example.

            I would expect the Sony Nex chips to perform better simple becuase they are a bigger chip and so the designers have more lea way in what they do with the spacing of the pixels on the chips.

            As an example look at the Canon 5DMkII and Nikon D700, both full frame cmaeras. The Canon is 21Mb machine but the D700 only 12Mb machine yet has a much better High ISO capability than the Canon.

            However at the end of the day if all you are going to do is make an 8bit image @ 1024 and 72dpi then does it really matter how many pixels you have?
            Actually, that isn't the case. It's down to pixel pitch - the area that each pixel occupies on the surface of the sensor. My comparison with DxOMark data for Sony's latest 16MP APS-C sensor shows that there is a lot of improvement available to the current LiveMOS sensor we are all familiar with. The Sony sensor has more pixels because the sensor is larger in area, but my point is that on that sensor the pixel pitch is only very slightly larger than the 12MP Micro Four Thirds sensor. Panasonic is still playing catch-up with Sony.

            Ian
            Founder/editor
            Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
            Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
            Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
            Olympus camera, lens, and accessory hire (http://e-group.uk.net/hire)
            Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
            Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
            Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

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            • #7
              Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

              Hi,

              I could live with 10 MP, if just we had usable quality up to ISO 3200, and 1600 that looked as good as 100.

              I wish the cameras had a switch botton; One position with 8 or 10 MP "super sensitive pixels" that went up to 12800, and another position up to 14-16 MP that was usable at ISO 100 and 200.

              BR,
              Anders

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              • #8
                Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                Originally posted by Anders Nielsen View Post
                Hi,


                I wish the cameras had a switch botton; One position with 8 or 10 MP "super sensitive pixels" that went up to 12800, and another position up to 14-16 MP that was usable at ISO 100 and 200.

                BR,
                Anders
                Two separate sensors would be needed for that to work; if they simply dumped excess pixels it wouldn't improve the quality because the pitch of the remaining pixels would be the same as when all pixels were being used. A whioe ago I heard a rumour that Nikon were working on a full frame DSLR with interchangeable sensors.
                View my ebook, The Light Fantastic, at: http://store.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/3026...ight-fantastic

                John

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                  Originally posted by Anders Nielsen View Post
                  I could live with 10 MP, if just we had usable quality up to ISO 3200, and 1600 that looked as good as 100.
                  With the current technology of the E-5 and E-PL2, I think that is already a reality. ISO3200 is very usable... in fact, I just printed off a photo for a performer off an E-PL2, upper-body shot on a dark-lit stage at ISO3200, and it looked great printed at 8x10! Even a low-quality print looked great at that size - clean with lots of detail.



                  As far as ISO1600 looking as good as ISO100... I'd say ISO1600 off my E-PL2 looks as good as ISO400 off my E-3. That's as good as I would hope for!

                  Now, before the E-5 I would have voted that I wanted better performance at the same pixel resolution. However, now that we've improved the performance of the 12.3MP system to something that I'm very satisfied with, I would be happy with either... further improvement in image quality at the same pixel resolution, or an increase in pixel resolution. I like the level we're at now, and would welcome an improvement in either direction at the moment.

                  As far as marketing and sales go, I think Olympus does need to up the pixel resolution at this point. If they say "tweaked" one more time, then people will lose faith. Although the results of "tweaking" have yielded incredible improvements over these last few years, as demonstrated above... but you can't sell the truth to the public.
                  Last edited by Ned; 28th June 2011, 12:38 AM.
                  Olympus E-3 | Olympus E-PL2 PEN | Olympus E-PM1 PEN | Zuiko ED 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD | Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 | Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 Macro | Carl Zeiss Sonnar 135mm f/2.8 | Konica Hexanon 50mm f/1.4 | Konica Hexanon 85mm f/1.8 | G.Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 | Zuiko 35mm f/3.5 Macro | Zuiko 25mm f/2.8 | KMZ Jupiter-3 50mm f/1.5 | E.Zuiko 200mm f/4 | Zuiko 75-150mm f/4 | Olympus EC-14 teleconverter | VF-2 and VF-3 Viewfinders | EMA-1 Mic Adapter | Olympus FL-36R and FL-50R speedlights

                  cyclopsphoto.ca

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                  • #10
                    Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                    Originally posted by John Perriment View Post
                    Two separate sensors would be needed for that to work; if they simply dumped excess pixels it wouldn't improve the quality because the pitch of the remaining pixels would be the same as when all pixels were being used. A whioe ago I heard a rumour that Nikon were working on a full frame DSLR with interchangeable sensors.
                    I think he might mean pixel 'binning' or 'combining', where a group of sensor photosites represents a single image pixel at the expense of overall resolution.

                    Ian
                    Founder/editor
                    Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
                    Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
                    Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
                    Olympus camera, lens, and accessory hire (http://e-group.uk.net/hire)
                    Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
                    Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
                    Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                      Originally posted by Ian View Post
                      I think he might mean pixel 'binning' or 'combining', where a group of sensor photosites represents a single image pixel at the expense of overall resolution.

                      Ian
                      Exactly, if they somehow could pool the data from several pixels in order to minimize error.
                      My main issue are those black backgrounds with some blue and red spots inside. And banding!


                      BR,
                      Anders

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                      • #12
                        Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                        Voted not sure. Cause of there is a simple reason:

                        - as we all know size matters
                        - people in different areas have different needs
                        - but for a home user I have most of the times even 5Mpix enough and never felt short with 10

                        So entry and pro level would love to have more pix. People between those 2 don't need more pix so they're happy with quality improvement only. The problem is that most of the users get into one brand from one or another side.
                        So bigger number = bigger marketshare = better support and development.
                        E-1; E-520; E-M10; ZD 14-42; ZD 35+CIR-PL; ZD 40-150; FL-36R; Metz 52-AF1

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                        • #13
                          Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                          I would like to see what Olympus can do with a FOVEON sensor.
                          Some of my pictures can be viewed here.

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                          • #14
                            Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                            I am sure that I would prefer 12 MP with improved quality. One could argue that more pixels would be "nice," but for what I do with my camera and photos--and what most people do, if I had to guess--additional pixels are irrelevant. Unless you are doing extreme cropping or printing at very large sizes (at least 20x24" IMO), there is nothing gained by having more than 12 MP. Extreme crops require top-notch (i.e. expensive) lenses for good image quality. And even huge prints can look great with only 12 MP as when viewed from a normal distance.

                            Additional dynamic range and better high-ISO performance are much more useful to me. And although I would never suggest designing cameras simply to satisfy critics and reviewers, the issue that reviewers most often cite with 4/3 gear is the image quality compared to cameras with APS-C size sensors. It's the DR and high-ISO performance that puts (some) people off. Far fewer reviews complain that 12MP is not enough. Given that a smaller sensor must make some compromises, I would much rather compromise by having fewer pixels. I think that this would also be much easier to justify to critics--to say "we have equal image quality, and few people need any more pixels."

                            Also, even if both pixel count and quality could be improved, keep in mind that the extra pixels still don't come for free. More pixels require sharper lenses (which will be larger and more expensive) to gain any advantage. And physics dictates that more pixels means a lower diffraction limit--diffraction will limit sharpness at larger apertures than with fewer pixels, thus making one choose between sharpness and depth-of-field.

                            - Hal -
                            A Still Mind - Photography, Music, Meditation, Ministry - www.astillmind.net
                            Olympus E-M5; Panasonic-Leica DG Summilux 25mm; Zuiko 12-60 SWD, 50-200 SWD; Sigma 105 Macro; Rokinon (Samyang) 7.5mm fisheye; Olympus 8/1.8 PRO fisheye; FL-50R; Giottos MT-8361 tripod with Gitzo GH2780QR ballhead.

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                            • #15
                              Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                              Well, I don't know about Micro Four-Thirds lenses, but I know that good Zuiko Four-Thirds lenses easily out-resolve the Four-Thirds sensors. So greater sensor resolution could certainly be achieved without needing an upgrade to lenses - at least with Four-Thirds lenses that I know of.
                              Olympus E-3 | Olympus E-PL2 PEN | Olympus E-PM1 PEN | Zuiko ED 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD | Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 | Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 Macro | Carl Zeiss Sonnar 135mm f/2.8 | Konica Hexanon 50mm f/1.4 | Konica Hexanon 85mm f/1.8 | G.Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 | Zuiko 35mm f/3.5 Macro | Zuiko 25mm f/2.8 | KMZ Jupiter-3 50mm f/1.5 | E.Zuiko 200mm f/4 | Zuiko 75-150mm f/4 | Olympus EC-14 teleconverter | VF-2 and VF-3 Viewfinders | EMA-1 Mic Adapter | Olympus FL-36R and FL-50R speedlights

                              cyclopsphoto.ca

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