Gear Talk > EOS Bodies - For Stills

High ISO shooting; high MP for detail or low MP for noise?

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Personally, if I had to pick one aspect about bad image quality at high ISO to address through sensor tech, I think it would be the low detail problem rather than the grain/noise problem.  It is not a slam-dunk choice, but I think the available software does a halfway decent job in smoothing out the noise artifacts, but not much good at all at supplying detail which was not captured by the camera if you intend to crop much.

In other words, it seems like a high MP sensor would solve more problems with its increased detail than it would cause with its tiny noisy pixels.

  Is this completely wrong? 

My 2cent: it comes down to individual needs - sport shooter Vs Landscape shooter.

I do lot of indoor shooting, clean IQ at high ISO is what I'm after.

The noise robs sharpness, and image processing to reduce noise, steals more details. In other words: Comparing two sensors with the same size and same megapixel, that one has less noise, have more detailed picture.

If you think through what typical High ISO shooting represents then you'll reach the conclusion that there is no detail advantage for higher-density sensors in this application. Specifically, High ISO is typically used in hand-held situations for scenes that are shutter-speed limited, ie ISO is bumped to achieve the minimum shutter speed necessary to avoid motion/camera shake. Higher-density sensors require faster shutter speeds to achieve the same pixel-level sharpness as lower-density sensors - this same pixel-level sharpness is required in order for the higher-density sensor to have a detail advantage over the lower-density sensor, even for downsampling cases, otherwise you're just oversampling motion blur/camera shake. Without a faster shutter speed the higher-density image will have the same acuity as the lower-density sensor at equivalent viewing sizes (but not worse). Because the High ISO image requires a faster shutter speed, the absolute exposure (roughly ISO) will be lower on the higher-density sensor, normalizing the detail advantage over the lower-density sensor due to higher noise.

Most High ISO comparisons are done with tripod-mounted setups, which fails to account for the necessary shutter speed adjustments since a stabilized setup can achieve pixel-level sharpness at any shutter speed (at least for camera shake if not motion blur).

Mt Spokane Photography:

--- Quote from: Dylan777 on June 29, 2014, 11:09:45 AM ---My 2cent: it comes down to individual needs - sport shooter Vs Landscape shooter.

I do lot of indoor shooting, clean IQ at high ISO is what I'm after.

--- End quote ---

That's it.  I bought a D800, and at low ISO's, it was very good.  At High ISO's, the amount of noise made the files gigantic, and it was taking Lightroom almost a minute to render it, and adjusting the noise slider took another minute to update.  I had a 4 core I7 computer.  Not the fastest, but plenty fast for my 5D MK III.  I've since updated to the latest i7 processor and to LR5, and it renders them much faster.
Then, there were the Nikon lenses, my 24-70 f/2.8G had a huge amount of CA's. It was so bad that Lightroom could not correct it all.  I thought the lens was bad until I read some reviews seeing the same issues.  DXO, of course rated them excellent ;)   I also saw that it takes a month or more for Nikon to repair a lens, while Canon turns one around in about 2 days.
A person needs to be aware of all the surrounding issues, and then go for what he needs.


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