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Author Topic: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?  (Read 31312 times)

neuroanatomist

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2011, 11:56:23 AM »
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.

The final determinant is the resolution of the system, which is a non-linear combination of the parts.  The lens may seem limiting, based on the example above, but even with your 'sharpest' 50/1.4, you can see that as you go from 40D to 50D to 7D, resolution of that lens increases, and likewise from 5D to 5DII (not linear increases, but increases nonetheless). 

Full frame cameras will always deliver more resolution than APS-C cameras when your metric is lp/mm (which is what DxOMark uses), because the sensor size is different.  You can see this on DxOMark by comparing a lens on the 30D with the same lens on a 5DII (both sensors have 6.4 µm pixels). 

Also, keep in mind that there are many factors that determine the sharpness of an image - resolution is only one of them.

For some interesting reading on MTF curves, along with sharpness and other factors which influence it, check out this white paper from Zeiss.
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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2011, 11:56:23 AM »

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2011, 12:03:11 PM »


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.

I'll have to agree 100%. But am still glad for the nitpickers.

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2011, 12:09:13 PM »
Lenses can probably be made quite a lot sharper than they are today, but when will such lenses appear?

They are already appearing. Canon are busily updating their "L" lens range right now. And will no doubt repeat the exercise as often as needed as camera bodies produce ever increasing mp. Increasing lens performance is not an impossible task, just expensive as we are seeing because Canon certainly did not give my 70-200L IS mk2 away nor do I expect the 100-560 L IS to be a bargain when it appears. Nikon are also updating, although possibly at a less urgent pace given their reliance on Sony's sensor R&D.

Until now there has been no need to have lenses better than they have been. Only now that the dawn of megapixel counts's measured in the hundreds will soon be upon us does lens design have to up the anti.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 12:11:00 PM by motorhead »

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2011, 12:30:46 PM »
Also, don't forget about Diffraction in the megapixel war.

To quote directly from The Digital Picture (he says the same thing for every camera review):
Quote
DLA (Diffraction Limited Aperture) is the result of a mathematical formula that approximates the aperture where diffraction begins to visibly affect image sharpness at the pixel level. Diffraction at the DLA is only barely visible when viewed at full-size (100%, 1 pixel = 1 pixel) on a display or output to a very large print. As sensor pixel density increases, the narrowest aperture we can use to get perfectly pixel sharp images gets wider.
DLA does not mean that narrower apertures should not be used - it is simply the point where image sharpness begins to be compromised for increased DOF and longer exposures. And, higher resolution sensors generally continue to deliver more detail well beyond the DLA than lower resolution sensors - until the "Diffraction Cutoff Frequency" is reached (a much narrower aperture). The progression from sharp the soft is not an abrupt one - and the change from immediately prior models to new models is usually not dramatic.

the 7D (& 60/600/550) has the highest pixel density of any canon so far, and the DLA is f/6.8. I know you can't really tell that from f/11 for most things, but i like to keep my f/ below about f/8 wherever possible, except for really deep DOF landscapes. look at almost any review of any lens with any sensor at www.photozone.de, every MTF chart they produce starts tailing off at f/5.6 - f/11 too, depending on which camera for the exact spot.

edit: example: the TSE-24 ii is arguably one of the sharpest around these days. check out the www.photozone.de MTF Chart. Diffraction is already hitting it between f/5.6 and f/8 in the centre, and between f/8 and f/11 on the edges, and that's tested on a 5d2, with a DLA of f/10.3.


I don't know the exact formula for DLA, nor how badly diffraction affects the picture quality per f/stop past the DLA, but this is another limit we're going to reach sooner or later.
What happens when we reach a DLA of f/2.8? we simply can't pack more pixels in, there'd be no point for anything except wide-open for fast lenses, slow lenses would be pointless. Given that all but the best lenses are sharpest around f/4-5.6 these days, we'll need ever-widening apertures and sharpness wide-open to get anything better than we have now.

just take again the 7D, upscale the sensor with the same density to FF, we get (5184/22.3)*36.0 = 8268 and
(3456/14.9)*24 = 5566, giving a total of 46 megapixels for the same DLA on a Full Frame.
So we've got a bit of a way to go until then, but don't expect wonders once the 40+mp aps-c cameras start rolling in unless you've got fast lenses sharp from wide-open...
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 12:50:19 PM by dr croubie »
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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2011, 12:53:29 PM »
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.

It's the same problem I am facing. BMW are continually improving their performance while decreasing fuel consumption.  I hate this efficiency war !  ???

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2011, 12:53:44 PM »
The best photos 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.

+1 on that.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2011, 12:57:15 PM »
So we've got a bit of a way to go until then, but don't expect wonders once the 40+mp aps-c cameras start rolling in unless you've got fast lenses sharp from wide-open...

Even fast lenses that are 'sharp from wide open' still get sharper when stopped down slightly.  A 38 MP APS-C (1.6x) sensor will have an estimated DLA of f/5.6.  Since that's the point where most current lenses are at their sharpest, cramming more MP into a sensor that size will reduce or eliminate the aperture 'sweet spot'.  Canon's 120 MP APS-H sensor has a DLA of f/4.  Ouch.

It's just that I don't want more MP.

Why not?   :P
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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2011, 12:57:15 PM »

awinphoto

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2011, 01:00:54 PM »
Also, don't forget about Diffraction in the megapixel war.

To quote directly from The Digital Picture (he says the same thing for every camera review):
Quote
DLA (Diffraction Limited Aperture) is the result of a mathematical formula that approximates the aperture where diffraction begins to visibly affect image sharpness at the pixel level. Diffraction at the DLA is only barely visible when viewed at full-size (100%, 1 pixel = 1 pixel) on a display or output to a very large print. As sensor pixel density increases, the narrowest aperture we can use to get perfectly pixel sharp images gets wider.
DLA does not mean that narrower apertures should not be used - it is simply the point where image sharpness begins to be compromised for increased DOF and longer exposures. And, higher resolution sensors generally continue to deliver more detail well beyond the DLA than lower resolution sensors - until the "Diffraction Cutoff Frequency" is reached (a much narrower aperture). The progression from sharp the soft is not an abrupt one - and the change from immediately prior models to new models is usually not dramatic.

the 7D (& 60/600/550) has the highest pixel density of any canon so far, and the DLA is f/6.8. I know you can't really tell that from f/11 for most things, but i like to keep my f/ below about f/8 wherever possible, except for really deep DOF landscapes. look at almost any review of any lens with any sensor at www.photozone.de, every MTF chart they produce starts tailing off at f/5.6 - f/11 too, depending on which camera for the exact spot.

edit: example: the TSE-24 ii is arguably one of the sharpest around these days. check out the www.photozone.de MTF Chart. Diffraction is already hitting it between f/5.6 and f/8 in the centre, and between f/8 and f/11 on the edges, and that's tested on a 5d2, with a DLA of f/10.3.


I don't know the exact formula for DLA, nor how badly diffraction affects the picture quality per f/stop past the DLA, but this is another limit we're going to reach sooner or later.
What happens when we reach a DLA of f/2.8? we simply can't pack more pixels in, there'd be no point for anything except wide-open for fast lenses, slow lenses would be pointless. Given that all but the best lenses are sharpest around f/4-5.6 these days, we'll need ever-widening apertures and sharpness wide-open to get anything better than we have now.

just take again the 7D, upscale the sensor with the same density to FF, we get (5184/22.3)*36.0 = 8268 and
(3456/14.9)*24 = 5566, giving a total of 46 megapixels for the same DLA on a Full Frame.
So we've got a bit of a way to go until then, but don't expect wonders once the 40+mp aps-c cameras start rolling in unless you've got fast lenses sharp from wide-open...

Dont forget diffraction isn't so much an issue with the camera per se but the cameras resolution showing the flaws within each lens, hence why each lens has their own breaking point.  Some of the older lenses 17-40, 16-35, 50mm 1.4 etc were created in the film days and were class leaders at that time.  As digital cameras grew and grew and started outresolving film and showing flaws in the lenses, canon has been upgrading lenses based (probably) on sales volume and demand hence the 16-35 mii, 70-200 f4 IS, 70-200 F2.8 IS II, etc...   While I slightly agree with neuro regarding the higher MP cameras the higher the lens total resolution, however i feel it isn't a direct linear curve reflecting the higher MP... The higher the resolution of the camera will degrade lenses.. some lenses will degrade quicker than other, however, it should be noted.  For instance a 28-80 will have a quicker degrade and quicker diffraction point than lets say a 24-105 or 24-70...
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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2011, 01:17:53 PM »
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.

That is just plain weird. As I've written before, it isn't that I don't want more pixels. It's that resolution above 12-16MP is so far down my priority list that it is largely irrelevant. I want improvements in high ISO image quality and dynamic range that are so dramatic that I think it unlikely they can be achieved with 16MP FF, much less 32MP. If Canon can prove me wrong, I'll be more than happy to pull out my credit card.

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2011, 01:27:33 PM »
The consumer market - people who buy the Rebel, 60D, 7D, etc. - are too fixated on megapixels for Canon to withdraw from the megapixel war. In the consumer market, megapixels are more about marketing than they are about image quality. On the other hand, in the pro market (1D and 1Ds) Canon seems to take a more practical approach by packing their bodies with the feature sets most useful to working professionals without packing the sensors with a boatload of megapixels just for the sake of marketing.

If you need to make a living with your camera, things like a fast AF, FPS, dynamic range, high ISO performance, weather sealing, dual card slots, and rugged build quality are more important than having a few extra megapixels to brag to your online buddies about. Otherwise, if megapixels were the only thing that mattered, why would anyone pay four times as much for a 21 megapixel 1Ds instead of just buying an 18 megapixel 7D for 1/4 the price? Of course, if you're a professional fashion, landscape or wedding photographer, you need all the  megapixels you can get, but no working pro in their right mind would shoot with a 1.6:1 sensor body over a full-frame body just because small-sensor camera has almost as many megapixels for a lot less money.

The bottom line is Canon gives pros what they need to get the job done, and Canon gives consumers what they think they need, but will rarely actually use in super high megapixel totals.     

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2011, 02:00:05 PM »
The consumer market - people who buy the Rebel, 60D, 7D, etc. - are too fixated on megapixels for Canon to withdraw from the megapixel war. In the consumer market, megapixels are more about marketing than they are about image quality. On the other hand, in the pro market (1D and 1Ds) Canon seems to take a more practical approach by packing their bodies with the feature sets most useful to working professionals without packing the sensors with a boatload of megapixels just for the sake of marketing.

If you need to make a living with your camera, things like a fast AF, FPS, dynamic range, high ISO performance, weather sealing, dual card slots, and rugged build quality are more important than having a few extra megapixels to brag to your online buddies about. Otherwise, if megapixels were the only thing that mattered, why would anyone pay four times as much for a 21 megapixel 1Ds instead of just buying an 18 megapixel 7D for 1/4 the price? Of course, if you're a professional fashion, landscape or wedding photographer, you need all the  megapixels you can get, but no working pro in their right mind would shoot with a 1.6:1 sensor body over a full-frame body just because small-sensor camera has almost as many megapixels for a lot less money.

The bottom line is Canon gives pros what they need to get the job done, and Canon gives consumers what they think they need, but will rarely actually use in super high megapixel totals.     

Yes and No... I think you're glorifying "professional photographers" budgets a bit much... I know several wedding photographers making a living on a 7D/5D MII...  I'm a "professional" and shoot primarily 7D.  I shoot architecture/landscape/commercial and my photography shown on TV, the Olympics in Vancouver, on printed catalogs and flyers for companies sent internationally, however if I didn't think my gear couldn't do what I need it to do, I wouldn't be shooting with it.  Being "pro" isn't about gear as much as it is knowing what to do with your gear that you had.  Even since college I knew I didn't have a lot of money to play with so I bought what gear I could afford at that time (10D and a couple of lenses) and have incrementally upgraded as business picked up and my budget increased.  I could save up and budget for 1d this, 1ds that, however at the end of the day, 5D mark III is more within my crosshairs if and when it comes... Until then I will keep doing my "pro" work with my 7d. 
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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2011, 02:03:52 PM »
Once upon a time, Bill Gates allegedly said 640kByte RAM is enough for everyone. Not too long ago, the Olympus president said 12 Mpx is more than enough for everyone... see the similarity?

Once upon a time, people complained that there was no need for more powerful processors, Moore's Law will not persist in the next 5 years.. well, back to the future, Moore's Law held and processors kept packing more transistors with no signs of slowing down... And guess what? We kept finding new uses for all that processing power.

This is technology... with it, we are meant to overcome the shortcomings while improving the capabilities of our equipments. Without it, we are no different from our banana eating, tree swinging cousins.

Haven't anyone noticed the wonderful innovations that have gone into our sensor technologies. The Nokia N8 with its glorious 12mpx sensor will blow the old 2mpx sensors in my old Sony Ericsson phone out of the water in terms of noise performance and Drange. The BSI sensors will easily out do old 4mpx camera sensors in terms of DRange and noise performance. And the great 7D sensor with its gapless microlens and reduced photosite distance is a great break through in sensor design worth admiring.

So diffraction is a problem now? Is it an indication that lens design might be falling behind sensor design? Well, lens engineer go solve it... Is this a limitation with laws of Physics? Did they not say that microprocessor will face an inevitable limit with laws of Physics at xx nm and there is no way to go beyond? ... well, we are well into 20nm territory now and going strong....

So I say, go for 100 mpx... solve the issues, improve Noise Issues, improve DRange issues, innovate and make a better camera each year.

The issue of prioritizing Drange vs Mpx is a slightly more tricky one... However, if we look at the Fujifilm Super CCD technology which groups pixels into two groups, each taking the same scene at different brightness and then combining them to form a HDR image, it would seem like having more pixels might help your Drange after all. Back to my imaginary 100 mpx  sensor. I may be able to group them into four groups which capture a scene at 4 different exposure. I can then use these 4 sets of images to cancel out random noise and create a HDR photo. This would give me a glorious 25mpx HDR image which has very low noise...

So why is more megapixel bad?

awinphoto

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2011, 02:09:24 PM »
V8beast, case in point about your gear comments, I knew 2 photographers... one works on Hollywood movie posters and the other taking photos at airports... The airport photographer had to take some pictures of airplanes taking off on runways... He sat on the runway and took pictures of airliners as they charged at him.  He didn't shoot 1ds's or medium formats or such, he had this little point and shoot camera so when he got the picture he needed he can run off the runway.  The other Hollywood guy took the original photo for the "i am legend" movie poster with Will Smith with a point and shoot as well.  Not all pro's shoot with $4000-8000 gear...
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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2011, 02:09:24 PM »

awinphoto

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #28 on: June 21, 2011, 02:10:00 PM »
Once upon a time, Bill Gates allegedly said 640kByte RAM is enough for everyone. Not too long ago, the Olympus president said 12 Mpx is more than enough for everyone... see the similarity?

Once upon a time, people complained that there was no need for more powerful processors, Moore's Law will not persist in the next 5 years.. well, back to the future, Moore's Law held and processors kept packing more transistors with no signs of slowing down... And guess what? We kept finding new uses for all that processing power.

This is technology... with it, we are meant to overcome the shortcomings while improving the capabilities of our equipments. Without it, we are no different from our banana eating, tree swinging cousins.

Haven't anyone noticed the wonderful innovations that have gone into our sensor technologies. The Nokia N8 with its glorious 12mpx sensor will blow the old 2mpx sensors in my old Sony Ericsson phone out of the water in terms of noise performance and Drange. The BSI sensors will easily out do old 4mpx camera sensors in terms of DRange and noise performance. And the great 7D sensor with its gapless microlens and reduced photosite distance is a great break through in sensor design worth admiring.

So diffraction is a problem now? Is it an indication that lens design might be falling behind sensor design? Well, lens engineer go solve it... Is this a limitation with laws of Physics? Did they not say that microprocessor will face an inevitable limit with laws of Physics at xx nm and there is no way to go beyond? ... well, we are well into 20nm territory now and going strong....

So I say, go for 100 mpx... solve the issues, improve Noise Issues, improve DRange issues, innovate and make a better camera each year.

The issue of prioritizing Drange vs Mpx is a slightly more tricky one... However, if we look at the Fujifilm Super CCD technology which groups pixels into two groups, each taking the same scene at different brightness and then combining them to form a HDR image, it would seem like having more pixels might help your Drange after all. Back to my imaginary 100 mpx  sensor. I may be able to group them into four groups which capture a scene at 4 different exposure. I can then use these 4 sets of images to cancel out random noise and create a HDR photo. This would give me a glorious 25mpx HDR image which has very low noise...

So why is more megapixel bad?

+1
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dr croubie

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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #29 on: June 21, 2011, 02:25:58 PM »
aside: this thread, and actually the whole issue in general, is reminding me waay too much of the MegaHertz race (later the GigaHertz race).
Short recap:
intel and AMD made computer chips, racing each other to have higher cpu MHz. Intel won the race, their pentium 4s got up to over 4GHz. But the AMDs were much more efficient, they got more number-crunching done for the same MHz, consumed less power, they brought in dual-core years before intel.
flash forward a few years, it turns out AMD's tech won the war, now it's reversed and almost a race to see how many cores you can put on a chip even at lower MHz, and lots of marketing goes on power consumption too...

But in the end, did it translate to market share? The whole time intel kept pushing the MHz numbers, consumers just kept buying it. A few nerds knew what they were buying and amd's sales went up a little bit, but not everyone reads the reviews, the average consumer just went for the higher numbers (and alleged business practices by intel currently in court, which we won't start on).
By the time the average consumer realised that more MHz didn't mean better computing, intel was ready with their Core-series and they kept on selling...



So will there be a parallel to cameras? is canon like intel and going to keep pushing the MP up, while, say, nikon keep the MP low and push the other side, like ISO and Dynamic Range? Will canon keep their market share because of their marketing and higher numbers, while eventually the consumers drift more to a company that offers lower MP and higher dynamic range? By the time it starts affecting sales figures, will canon have a better dynamic-range/iso option?

and most importantly, will canon make a sensor with so many megapixels that it catches fire?
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Re: Will Canon Withdraw from the Megapixel War?
« Reply #29 on: June 21, 2011, 02:25:58 PM »