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Author Topic: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?  (Read 30996 times)

unfocused

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Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« on: June 20, 2011, 10:38:19 PM »
Nikon Rumors is reporting that Sony will soon announce a 24mp APS-C Sensor which is likely to become the foundation for the next generation of the D300.

That got me thinking, will Canon continue to up the ante in the megapixel war, or will they, at some point, decide to shift strategies and open up a new front (increased dynamic range, improved high ISO, superior noise control)?

Certainly, they have the technology and expertise to keep increasing the megapixel count, but I wonder if they might decide that a more modest increase (say 22mp) in the next generation of APS-C sensors, coupled with an extra stop or two of speed and improved image quality might be more advantageous.

I'm generally a fan of more megapixels, but I'm beginning to wonder if there is much point to going too much bigger. With a native size of over 21 x 14 inches (at 240 ppi) the current 18 mp sensor is more than sufficient for most needs.

At some point, the trade off in file size outweighs the benefits of a native size that exceeds anything that even most professionals will ever need. (Yes, portrait, wedding and commercial photographers need the larger sizes, but most photographers shooting for publication, either in print or on the web, don't. And, yes, I know that folks like Macfly need the resolution for their work, but photographers at that level aren't ever going to be shooting with an APS-C camera).

Anyone who's read any of my past posts know that I am definitely not one of those "fewer megapixels are better" people. Frankly, I think that is ridiculous. But, I do understand the law of diminishing returns and I can't help thinking that we may be reaching that point.

I have tremendous respect for Canon's market savvy and I wonder if they might decide that they can really shake things up and gain a competitive advantage by taking the market in a totally new and unexpected direction.
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Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« on: June 20, 2011, 10:38:19 PM »

Canihaspicture

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2011, 11:22:22 PM »
I, for one, hope they don't withdraw from the megapixel war. No matter what people will tell you there are still not enough pixels to out resolve the lenses that Canon are putting out. In the last few days alone I have needed those pixels to crop images that I didn't have the lens to capture properly nor could I get physically close enough. More pixels proved invaluable to my needs.  I cannot afford a medium format camera and medium format cameras will always out resolve and have better dynamic range than full frame sensors, but I'd like to come as close as I can with the affordability of a full frame camera.

UHDTV in the future will be 33 megapixels and I'm told looks like nothing else ever seen. I at least want my still camera to produce better images than on a TV. Otherwise, it is downright pathetic. Data sizes are irrelevant with improving technology.

I imagine that canon will use the technology gained when making that 120 megapixel APS-H sensor to make some incredible cameras. You just wait... The future of digital photography isn't as noisy as you think.

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2011, 01:21:14 AM »
I imagine that canon will use the technology gained when making that 120 megapixel APS-H sensor to make some incredible cameras. You just wait... The future of digital photography isn't as noisy as you think.

Make everyone happy:

151MP, full frame with APS-H & APS-C crop modes; and 4:1 (37.8MP/8K+), 16:1 (9.4MP/4K), and 64:1 (2.4MP/2K) pixel binning.

dr croubie

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2011, 03:45:29 AM »
Up until the 24mp D3X, nikon's best was about 12MP. that was released end of 2008. and after that the best that came along was the 16mp d7000 halfway through last year.

compare canon, the 21mp 1ds3 came a full year before the d3x, the 5d2 even beat the d3x announcement by a few months. at the same time the 50d got 15mp then the 550d a few months later, then the 7d got 18mp (then 550d, 60d, 600d).
even the 1ds2 was 16mp back in mid 2004.


the way i look at it, nikon gave up on the megapixel race years ago. most people argue that their 12mp sensors do better high iso than the canons, but canon certainly beat the crap out of them with regards to megapixels (and i think to sales volumes, can someone verify? i'm late for work)

i don't think the war will be over until 40mp+, medium format is 80mp and still going, they'll get to 200mp at least. not to say that either will stop there, that's just when diminishing returns kicks in and time between major upgrades becomes too long (or are we seeing this already, where are you 1ds4??). and the difference between a 30mp camera and 20mp is the same % as 3mp to 2mp. they sure went from 3-4-5mp fairly fast, we should see leaps to 30/40/50 just as fast. (or are we nearing the tech limit? i don't think so)
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macgregor mathers

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2011, 04:45:24 AM »
Nikon's way, as I understand it, is smarter.

It released the D3X with high resolution for those who need / want it, and a full year later the D3S with half the resolution for those who don't.

motorhead

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2011, 05:42:59 AM »
I see no reason why I cannot have it all. Ever higher pixel counts as well as superior noise control and DR.

We are in on the dawn of digital photography. I see massive changes before we can begin to believe that things should stay as they are. It's an odd reaction at a time when technology is gaining pace with new discoveries being made daily all around us.

So give it  maybe 50 to 75 years and ask the question again.   

zerotiu

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2011, 06:07:13 AM »
Nikon's way, as I understand it, is smarter.

It released the D3X with high resolution for those who need / want it, and a full year later the D3S with half the resolution for those who don't.

yes..it is better if new pro cameras are splitted based on that way. Not video or non video way  :-\.

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2011, 06:07:13 AM »

Heidrun

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2011, 06:41:07 AM »
I dont think that Canon ever will withdraw itself from cameras with more MP. Digital cameras is only in the beginning of its development. In 10 years time we will see cameras with high resolution and maybe a couple of hundred MP

torger

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2011, 06:56:51 AM »
I generally like high megapixel count (I like to shoot landscapes), but unfortunately we're starting to press the limit of most current lenses. An 18 megapixel APS-C does not produce sharper prints than a ~12 megapixel fullframe because of lens limitations. With the fullframe sensor size we can perhaps go up to 25 - 30 megapixels before we start to see a sharp drop-off in gain due to too little resolving power in the lenses.

I'd like to have 50 - 60 megapixels, but after studying lens performance I have realized that unfortunately with today's lenses I'll have to move to medium format to make that kind of resolution worthwhile.

Lenses can probably be made quite a lot sharper than they are today, but when will such lenses appear?

kirillica

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2011, 08:01:26 AM »
I generally like high megapixel count (I like to shoot landscapes), but unfortunately we're starting to press the limit of most current lenses. An 18 megapixel APS-C does not produce sharper prints than a ~12 megapixel fullframe because of lens limitations. With the fullframe sensor size we can perhaps go up to 25 - 30 megapixels before we start to see a sharp drop-off in gain due to too little resolving power in the lenses.

I'd like to have 50 - 60 megapixels, but after studying lens performance I have realized that unfortunately with today's lenses I'll have to move to medium format to make that kind of resolution worthwhile.

Lenses can probably be made quite a lot sharper than they are today, but when will such lenses appear?
I don't know about lenses you are shooting, but new Canon lenses (AFAIK) are sharp up to 60Mp...

macgregor mathers

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2011, 08:08:42 AM »
I see no reason why I cannot have it all. Ever higher pixel counts as well as superior noise control and DR.

I couldn't care less whether FF cameras can have more MP and at the same time superior noise control and DR. It's just that I don't want more MP.

torger

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2011, 09:48:05 AM »
I don't know about lenses you are shooting, but new Canon lenses (AFAIK) are sharp up to 60Mp...

Full-frame lenses such as 70-200/2.8 IS USM II and TS-E 24mm II. My sharpest lens (center) is actually the cheap 50/1.4. Some focal lengths are sharper than others. In landscape I'm quite interested in wide angle.

These lenses are really fine lenses but you can see when shooting the lenses on a 7D body (4 um pixels) you don't get as high resolving power as you should if just looking at the pixel count. The lenses are sharper with the larger pixels on current fullframe sensors. Formal tests for this can be found at dxomark. Antialias filters make it a bit harder to judge, but comparing the resolution you get from 50/1.4 on 7D with that of TS-E 24mm (considered very sharp wide angle) you still see that you get more resolution out of the 50. So the lens is clearly limiting here. Note that wide angle are considered difficult to design with good performance, especially when you need to do retrofocus designs like you have to on DSLRs (to fit the mirror).

I've also made some practical print tests and pixel-peeped images and come to the same conclusion, so I have not just looked at measurements.

However, resolving power of a lens is not a hard limit, what happens is that contrast of micro details get lower and lower, so you gain less and less by adding more megapixels. Yes a 60 megapixel fullframe would produce sharper images than a 30 megapixel, but it would not be twice the lines-per-mm, probably something like 15% more.

The mentioned lenses produce nice images even when outresolved due to the good corner-to-corner performance and low abberations, but they are a bit soft. Meaning that if next fullframe camera gets lots of megapixels a 300 ppi print may not be sharper than a 200 ppi print of the current cameras.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 09:56:30 AM by torger »

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2011, 10:08:25 AM »
There's just too much money involved with high MP... You're forgetting that storage is cheap but also Canon and Nikon are pushing the envelope on  what film could even resolve and produce.  10 years ago it would have been a photographers wet dream to be able to take a 35mm camera body and lens and pump out 16x20's and even larger and not have it look soft and grainy.  Now we can do that without batting an eye.  If you dont need it, dont use it and downsize or shoot at a lower setting.  Like fast primes, I would rather have them and not need them rather than need them and not have them...
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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2011, 10:08:25 AM »

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2011, 10:29:52 AM »
There's just too much money involved with high MP... You're forgetting that storage is cheap but also Canon and Nikon are pushing the envelope on  what film could even resolve and produce.  10 years ago it would have been a photographers wet dream to be able to take a 35mm camera body and lens and pump out 16x20's and even larger and not have it look soft and grainy.  Now we can do that without batting an eye.  If you dont need it, dont use it and downsize or shoot at a lower setting.  Like fast primes, I would rather have them and not need them rather than need them and not have them...

I have to entirely agree.  When looking at a 24x36mm transparency (which makes a perfectly fine 8x12 enlargement) under a 4x lupe, everything looks great.  It was not until the advent of digital and pixel peepers that we ever became so obsessed with corner sharpness, et al.

When you consider that your monitor at full resolution is not going to be much more that about 3MP, and that most printers don't print more than 13x19 (very large), unless you do gallery work (very few people), 21.3MP is more than enough.

The best photo's are not the ones with perfect corner sharpness, they are the ones with perfect composition and lighting.  When everyone forgets about the art of photography and starts to obsess on the science of electronics, visual aesthetics is replaced by minimum chromatic aberrations.
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kirillica

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2011, 10:40:11 AM »
Full-frame lenses...
Sure I was talking about FF. Crop bodies like 550d I had were not so sharp with the same lens like I use on 5dm2. So it looks like pixel size/sensor issue rather than lens stuff. Or at least both :)

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2011, 10:40:11 AM »