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m4/3, Sony sensors and the Megapixel wars

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by With_Eyes_Unclouded, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    ...and some conspiracy theories :smile:

    With the current revelations about a Sony sensor in the E-M5, and other developments in small SC, I was wondering if we would probably see a Mp explosion in the :43: world too. And what this would come to.

    The sensor in the Nikon V1, presumably also made by Sony, is 10.1Mp and has a pixel pitch of 3.4 micron. It is widely established (from both metrics and real life samples) that this tiny 1" sensor performs better in, e.g. high ISO, than the old 12.3 Panasonic sensor in all Pens and several Panys. Surprisingly better to tell the truth. And the estimated pixel pitch for the 12.3 sensor is 4.24 microns. This is in fact comparable with some APS-C sensors, like Canon's 18Mp one, and larger than the one in the Sony NEX-7.

    The sensor in the E-M5, has a pixel pitch of 3.22 or so (estimated from the dimensions). And we all know it performs beautifully at high ISO, also having great DR in general as well.

    All that goes to show that pixel size is no longer such a great issue with IQ and DR/ISO performance.

    Now comes the interesting/conspiracy theory stuff. :biggrin:

    The new Sony RX100 has a sensor with exactly double the pixel count of the V1 at the same size. Initial reports seem to indicate that its ISO performance is not up to par with the one in the V/J1. But "double the pixels" got me wondering. How are the two sensors related? Could it be that it is the same sensor tech? Could it be some technology that utilizes two adjacent pixels to act "as one" in some way, extending the DR? Highly speculative, I know.

    But the main message is, I guess, the possibility to see a >20Mp sensor in a :43: body is not that far away. Megapixel count has some value (apart from the marketing gimmick). It would give larger printing capability, but, more to the point, cropping facility for some applications. I could think candid situations, with sports and wildlife subjects. Combine this with newer zoom lenses and additional focusing capabilities (on sensor PD-AF?) and :43: may become more desirable in those photographic niches.

    More than that, I wonder whether future sensor technology would allow for something like "selectable pixel size". That way, you could have huge Mp count for lower ISO (for high detail and cropping ability) or lower count at high ISO (but much better noise performance). And let's not forget developments like Z-dimension sensors that have come a long way since the Foveon one.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. silversx80

    silversx80 Mu-43 Veteran

    229
    Apr 27, 2012
    North Carolina
    I think we're seeing the semiconductors giving results approaching their theoretical performance. We'll eventually see a ceiling in squeaking more performance out of a Bayer-CMOS sensor, and I feel we're less than ten years from that end. At that point, the MP war will be dependent on how many micro-lenses you can fit on the chip. Also, we're going to see sensors out-resolve even the best lenses... which may allow for a better "blending" effect, but won't benefit cropping too much.
     
  3. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    The technology has more of an impact than pixel size, but for any given "generation", the larger the pixels, the better the low light performance.

    You could say the recent Fuji sensors have "selective pixel size" by using binning to increase low light performance at the expense of true resolution.
     
  4. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Interesting thread!

    Just need to point out that the Nikon V1/J1 sensor is actually not from Sony - it is manufactured by Aptina. Also, my understanding is the RAWs have some NR applied (although well-done), even at base ISO.
     
  5. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    Thanks for the Aptina tip! Just found this:


    Source: Nikon V1 Compact System Camera - Review
     
  6. pharaviel

    pharaviel Mu-43 Veteran

    313
    Jun 20, 2011
    Reggio Emilia, Italy
    Daniele Frizzi
    With_Eyes_Unclouded, maybe someone (panasonic?) could bring a tecnology like the Pureview by Nokia, which is kinda an extreme pixel binning. I don't know if the IQ is really better, but the nokia 808 had displayed a decent image quality on a 1/1.2" sensor (1/3 the area of a g/pen/omd sensor). That technology, with the bigger pixel size, could bring some intresting results... A sensor that can deliver 40Mpix files on sunny days and clean 8Mpix files on high iso...

    (Tip for panasonic: are you re-starting your mobile phones production? Buy nokia corporation, you get the pureview patent for free :) )
     
  7. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    This is something I had in mind, and it supports the notion that other in-camera electronics (apart from sensor) will be more and more important in the future.
     
  8. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    It is called binning and it needs to be even array of four or more pixels. It results in a larger increase insensitivity while having an impact on resolving power.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Pixel resolution is not a limit to print size. It is one of the largest myths in digital photography. Cropping possibly, but there is other problems that have more to do with the permissible circle of confusion rather the reduction of pixels.
     
  10. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    Binning is nothing new. It's an old image processing technique. It's the cheap and dirty way to scale down an image. No special sensor needed. You can post it with any image.
     
  11. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    For MY needs, I would rather see technology improvements go toward decreasing noise (at low ISO, as well as high), improved DR, and the ability to give top notch results at ISO 50 as well as 1600, 3200 and higher.

    I'm never going to make a print greater than the capability of today's 16 - 18 MP sensors.

    Going from a 16 MP sensor (the OM-D's is about 15.5 MP) to an approximately 20 MP sensor results in only a 12-13% increase in linear resolution, not the 25% you might think.
     
  12. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
  13. umanemo

    umanemo New to Mu-43

    3
    Aug 1, 2012
    MP Confusion?

    I shoot to print at 1mt x 1mt. format. The subject requires size. So I could fall into the category of a "Landscape" photog yet I do not shoot Mtns or trees. Detail is my thing. So;

    I am interested in the M 4/3 format for spontaneity and easy of travel. I have seen some Oly prints from the OMD and they are sharp and at 16MP! So the system looks promising. Panny should come forward with their GH3 and that I await. For my purposes I wish a 24 MP sensor and I'll be sold!

    I see a lot of confusing commentary on photo site count vs chip size. Simply I would do the math like this... Other than my 645, I have a old D-Lux5 (Panny LX-5) I use for fun, it has a 1/1.7 10MP sensor, the 1/1.7 sensor is 5.357 times smaller than M 4/3. I have reached 20 x 30 prints (Fuji Lambda) with that D-Lux5 with damn good IQ!

    So why don't the digital Guru's on these forums believe in the math. If a M 4/3 chip is 5.357 times larger than the lowly 1/1.7 (10MP) chip then shouldn't it be able to populate up to 50 MP's with just as much comfortable inter-site spacing that the 1/1.7 sensors pixel sites enjoy? (5.35 x 10MP = 53.5MP) I am sure we would all enjoy 334% better resolution from the M 4/3 bodies! (sorry, more math; 54 MP / 16 MP = 334) Does it not work this way or am I missing something?

    I will give you some time to digest all of that babble...:rofl:
     
  14. cpt000

    cpt000 Mu-43 Regular

    64
    Mar 11, 2012
    Excerpted from the RX100 review:

    (The Sony RX100 Digital Camera Review. The best pocket digital compact of the year..actually…EVER! | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS)

    "...If a 1″ sensor can do this good imagine what is to come with APS-C or full frame sensors in the near future. The RX100 must have other manufacturers freaking out a bit. Here we have a small P&S size compact, Zeiss lens, superb ISO performance, Fast AF, 1080 HD video, quiet leaf shutter, discreet and beautiful design, made in Japan quality and IQ that sets it apart from any other compact to date."
     
  15. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    I would rather have dynamic range and low noise (not noise reduction), than more resolution.

    I am a guru in my own mind (nearly average intellect too!).

    I seem to remember there was this thing called noise that limits what detail can be resolved and also impacts dynamic range? :biggrin:

    I think the fact that smaller sensor cameras have so many pixels probably has much more to do with marketing (who is going to want to buy a 3mpx P&S sitting next to a 16mpx DSLR?)

    I have been looking at Sony DSLRs lately. It is interesting how hot the debate still is whether the 16mpx sensor is better than the newer 24mpx version (seems most prefer the older). You have the increased noise, but then also seems to be issues with corner performance on the newer sensor. Hard to tell whether this is a sensor issue (aa filter, etc), or just that the lenses can't keep up.

    I am not knocking the RX100, looks to be an impressive piece of kit, but I will be very surprised if there is something revolutionary in that sensor, versus a Nikon V1, for example.

    I am really curious to see how it does on lens resolution charts... does diffraction start kicking in at f2 with that sensor/pixel size? How do the corners resolve?