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Author Topic: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)  (Read 12015 times)

RayS2121

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A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« on: December 03, 2011, 02:56:32 PM »
First, this is a tongue-in-cheek missive to the high MP hogs who discount the need for high ISO and I typed it smiling. I hope you read it in the same spirit.

I liken those who want just high MP in a 35mm format to those guys who drive a duster of a car with a super-sized 25inch polished wheels on which their newly-painted clunker is perched. He drives by with music blaring, windows down, seat all the way back, content yet clearly clueless. You don’t design a high performance car based on this guy’s needs or opinions (hold the flames please). If you show him a high end car, he’d ask where are the flashing neon wheels? So the high MP maven is keen on comparing  “sizes” (*ahem*) with other manufacturers and owners…”I own a higher MP camera, my uncle can beat up your uncle”-crowd. 

Then we come to the all too familiar and all so reasonable-sounding,  “Oh, but I am a landscape photographer” gripe.  We are at the threshold if not well beyond lens resolution with some of the current sensors and lens combinations. Just adding more MP to a cramped image circle is simply taking a fuzzy image “unit” projected by the lens and projecting it on 3 pixels when one pixel would have done it just as much justice.  There is no additional information to be gleaned from more pixels. This is besides the physics of the light gathering power of pixels of varying sizes and all that good stuff. Original resolution for the area in which the image is projected is limiting (a lot of impressive “lines/per….insert-awesome-math-terms-here” technical discussions are out there but I am trying to keep this to where the guy driving the duster in a 25inch wheel will understand ;}).
     
Instead of relying on obscurantist math, look at this in layman’s terms: many of the current 35mm lenses that fare well with smaller sensors, perform at a much lower level when you look at them in the full frame context.  Just look at the evolution of 70-200mm versions in the EF line if you want evidence of lenses given the same sensor size. Medium format, with larger image circle have the potential to capture more detail, provided you have good lenses. So if you cannot move to medium format, then you are simply asking to put larger and larger wheels on a duster ;)

Higher ISO on the other hand is not an abstract concept or a trivial issue. It has the potential to increase the reach of the equipment we already have in the market. It is not based on pie-in-the-sky, coming soon to your hood in 20 years wishlist of 25 inch car-wheel enthusiasts. As someone covered earlier, even with the current crop of lenses, high ISO will expand the use of slower lenses in general, will allow substantive leaps in using them in sports photography and nature photography and the use of super-telephoto lenses which are already pretty slow wide open. Advantages to videography have been covered extensively before.

So, Canon is doing the right thing trying to update ISO performance and opting not to up the MP. Despite the rampant, if not rabid rumors, Nikon has not actually released a 38MP (12 inch phallic long-dong-silver equivalent for the 25 inch wheel lovers) and I will believe it when I see it. I am not averse to higher MP if they can decrease noise and up the inherent lens performance but this really eventually will have an upper limit in the 35mm image sensor arena. So if you are that much of a landscape lover, move to a medium format and hope they develop as many lenses as there are among the 35mm now (Aunt Ethel probably told you they already exist in medium format in droves from 5 different manufacturers for a few bucks as it does in the 35mm field).

If you need higher MP, stick to 5D2 which in all likelihood will survive or a replacement with bells and whistles which Canon will introduce just to appease the “I-am-a-landscape-photographer-who-wants-Medium-format-level-performance-from-a-35mm-image-circle-and-you-can-too-do-it-cuz-my aunt-Ethel-said-so-hold-your-thought-I-gotta-super-size-my-Quarter-pounder-with-Cheese-Order”- Crowd.
Now be nice. You know I love ya.  :)
« Last Edit: December 03, 2011, 03:12:24 PM by RayS2121 »

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A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« on: December 03, 2011, 02:56:32 PM »

distant.star

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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2011, 04:03:50 PM »

as a former SAE member, I'm hoping you can define "duster."
You're offended? Oh, really! Life IS offense -- get used to it.

jrista

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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2011, 04:15:58 PM »
Quote
Then we come to the all too familiar and all so reasonable-sounding,  “Oh, but I am a landscape photographer” gripe.  We are at the threshold if not well beyond lens resolution with some of the current sensors and lens combinations. Just adding more MP to a cramped image circle is simply taking a fuzzy image “unit” projected by the lens and projecting it on 3 pixels when one pixel would have done it just as much justice.  There is no additional information to be gleaned from more pixels. This is besides the physics of the light gathering power of pixels of varying sizes and all that good stuff. Original resolution for the area in which the image is projected is limiting (a lot of impressive “lines/per….insert-awesome-math-terms-here” technical discussions are out there but I am trying to keep this to where the guy driving the duster in a 25inch wheel will understand ;}).

@RayS2121: While I understand the humorous point to your post, I think you are entirely wrong about sensors out-resolving lenses. To my knowledge (I'll see if I can find the reference), Canon's newest L-series lenses (mark II's and newer releases from the last few years) can resolve up to around 45mp worth of resolution in a FF image circle. Granted, not every single canon lens can resolve that much detail, however there are quite a few L-series lenses that are purported to support high-MP resolution. Canon seems to be dedicated to producing lenses with high resolving power on into the future as well.

I also think you may be confusing the pixel size of compact cameras with the pixel size of a full-frame camera. The 21.1mp 5D II sensor has an 6.4 micron pixel, vs. an average of 1-2 micron pixels for point and shoot cameras. Comparing the 7D 18mp sensor with its 4.3 micron pixels, which takes superb images with incredible sharpness, the 5D III would have to have a 46.7mp sensor to have the same size pixels. Here is the (far from "obscurest") math, in case you doubt:

Target Pixel Size = 4.3µm
FF Sensor Area in mm = 36mm * 24mm = 864mm^2

Pixel Area => 4.3µm * 4.3µm = 18.49µm^2
Pixel Area in mm => 18.49µm^2 / (1000µm / mm)^2 = 0.00001849mm^2
Pixels per Sensor Area => 864mm^2 / 0.00001849mm^2 = 46,727,961.06 pixels

If Canon's statements about their latest L-series lenses resolving up to 45mp is true, then a 5D III with a 46.7mp sensor (which is the same density as the Canon 7D 18mp APS-C sensor) would be at the limit. Thats not surprising, and it gives more credence to the 7D being an 18.1mp sensor, as IT TOO is right at the maximum resolving power of Canon's current lenses, and pushing pixel density beyond that wouldn't provide much benefit (except perhaps minimizing aliasing and moire). That would also mean a 26, 28, or 32mp 5D III is most certainly well within bounds, providing better resolution (which can't be beat when you need to blow your prints up to immense size...post-processing interpolation doesn't  hold a stick to native resolution), and still potentially leaving room to improve ISO and other sensor characteristics. Here is a useful answer on a forum that explains megapixels, and how increasing resolution is rarely ever "bad", it simply provides diminishing returns after a certain point (45mp most likely with FF 35mm sensors):

http://photo.stackexchange.com/a/14776/124

It should also be stated that high ISO performance is NOT a necessity when shooting landscapes...I shoot exclusively in ISO 100 or 200 for my landscapes. Dynamic range is usually managed with optical filtration such as polarizers, graduated neutral density filters, etc. (Better sensor DR can be achieved with improved sensor fabrication techniques such as better micro-lensing, higher capacity wells, lower-noise readout electronics, moving electronics out of the light path to the photo diode, etc.)

I'm certainly not against Canon meeting the cry of many professional photographers who are asking for better ISO performance. They certainly did so with the superb specs of the 1D X. I'm not at all against Canon meeting the needs of sports and action photographers with high FPS rate cameras like the 1D X and the 7D. However I do think Canon needs to listen to their entire customer base, and not ignore the huge community of photographers, be they landscape, macro, studio portrait, etc. photographers who still do care about resolution and cropping power AS MUCH as they care about other factors like noise and AF performance. Making every camera in the Canon lineup cater to the low-res, high-speed, low-light photographers and cinematographers eliminates a position in their camera lineup that NEEDS to be filled. I, and I'm sure many other current 5D II owners, would be perfectly happy with the 5D III staying as a 21.1mp camera, so long as the AF system was improved, noise was lowered, and other factors of the camera were improved (a 4th custom dial mode in favor of the default automatic mode, for example?)

While you may not need high resolution camera yourself, some people DO, and calling those who do "chrome rim fanboys" doesn't service anyone. There are existing niches that are fulfilled by high resolution full-frame DSLR cameras, and it doesn't serve Canon well to ditch that huge market.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2011, 04:24:41 PM by jrista »

dilbert

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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2011, 04:30:11 PM »
...
The 21.1mp 5D II sensor has an 6.4 micron pixel, vs. an average of 1-2 micron pixels for point and shoot cameras. Comparing the 7D 18mp sensor with its 4.3 micron pixels, which takes superb images with incredible sharpness, the 5D III would have to have a 46.7mp sensor to have the same size pixels. Here is the (far from "obscurest") math, in case you doubt:

Target Pixel Size = 4.3µm
FF Sensor Area in mm = 36mm * 24mm = 864mm^2

Pixel Area => 4.3µm * 4.3µm = 18.49µm^2
Pixel Area in mm => 18.49µm^2 / (1000µm / mm)^2 = 0.00001849mm^2
Pixels per Sensor Area => 864mm^2 / 0.00001849mm^2 = 46,727,961.06 pixels

If Canon's statements about their latest L-series lenses resolving up to 45mp is true, then a 5D III with a 46.7mp sensor (which is the same density as the Canon 7D 18mp APS-C sensor) would be at the limit.
...

If the maximum resolving power of the current L-series lenses is around 45MP for full-frame 35mm cameras then when the MP count exceeds 90MP is when we have too many MP. Why 90? Because at that point we've got enough resolution to properly sample the light and give clear definition to the 45MP worth of detail.

Kind of like how the music on CDs is sampled at 44khz, whereas the human can't hear much over 22k. The higher sampling gives better definition to what can be heard.

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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2011, 04:32:10 PM »
If the maximum resolving power of the current L-series lenses is around 45MP for full-frame 35mm cameras then when the MP count exceeds 90MP is when we have too many MP. Why 90? Because at that point we've got enough resolution to properly sample the light and give clear definition to the 45MP worth of detail.

Kind of like how the music on CDs is sampled at 44khz, whereas the human can't hear much over 22k. The higher sampling gives better definition to what can be heard.

True, I guess it would take double nyquist to fully out resolve the nature of a bayer sensor, assuming diffraction didn't decimate the gains.

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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2011, 05:02:57 PM »
I think the only way to exit this dilemma is to HAVE the 18 AND the 30+MP Canon and test them against all lenses :)
Let's shout CANON NOW for a while and it may work.
I think the 30+ owners will soon start looking into better lenses with less production errors while the 18 MP owners will continue shooting as usual
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Musicjohn

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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2011, 05:22:54 PM »
I can't tell who's right and who's wrong about max. megapixels / resolving power / resolution, because I am not a mathematician, nor a scientist.

What I CAN tell you is my personal experience.

I have owned a 350D (Digital Rebel XT) / 30D / 40D / 1D-mkII / 1D-mkIII / 5D-mkII / 7D / 1D-mkIV

My lenses are:

24-70 f/2.8 L
24-105 f/4 L - IS
16-35 f/2.8 L II
70-200 f/2.8 L
100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L - IS
200mm f/2.8 L
100mm f/2.8 L - IS Macro
35mm f/1.4 L
50mm f/1.4 (Sigma)

I shoot approximately 175.000 pictures per year!

My experience is that the 7D with it's 18 megapixels demands the MOST of all lenses. I get better results with the same lenses on my 1D-mkIV

It is my opinion that more megapixels on a sensor makes it demand more of my lenses.

To be totally honest, I have made my most beautiful pictures with the 350D (Rebel XT) and the 40D. Both sensors have excellent design characteristics, and get the very most out of all of my lenses. They just won't perform equally as good on any of the other bodies.

I feel that Canon would really need to re-design ALL of the above mentioned lenses in order to perform up to professional standards on the 7D / 5D-mkII / 1D-mkIV and the new 1D-X

That's just my two cents worth.

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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2011, 05:22:54 PM »

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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2011, 05:55:38 PM »
If the maximum resolving power of the current L-series lenses is around 45MP for full-frame 35mm cameras then when the MP count exceeds 90MP is when we have too many MP. Why 90? Because at that point we've got enough resolution to properly sample the light and give clear definition to the 45MP worth of detail.

Kind of like how the music on CDs is sampled at 44khz, whereas the human can't hear much over 22k. The higher sampling gives better definition to what can be heard.

True, I guess it would take double nyquist to fully out resolve the nature of a bayer sensor, assuming diffraction didn't decimate the gains.

I'm not really worried about the diffraction problem.

Why?

Because when the sensor resolution is such that the "airy disc" covers three pixels then you know exactly what the colour of that "airy disc" is.

I mean think about it for a second.

If a purple point of light shines on the sensor today, for the camera to know that it is purple, the point of light that hits the sensor needs to be bigger than just one pixel or it needs to hit the sensor in such a way that part of the light goes in at least both the red and blue pixel wells.

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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2011, 05:57:49 PM »
If the maximum resolving power of the current L-series lenses is around 45MP for full-frame 35mm cameras then when the MP count exceeds 90MP is when we have too many MP. Why 90? Because at that point we've got enough resolution to properly sample the light and give clear definition to the 45MP worth of detail.

Kind of like how the music on CDs is sampled at 44khz, whereas the human can't hear much over 22k. The higher sampling gives better definition to what can be heard.

True, I guess it would take double nyquist to fully out resolve the nature of a bayer sensor, assuming diffraction didn't decimate the gains.

2.3x Nyquist, actually, to compensate for the low-pass filter.
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RayS2121

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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2011, 06:13:06 PM »
Quote
However I do think Canon needs to listen to their entire customer base, and not ignore the huge community of photographers, be they landscape, macro, studio portrait, etc. photographers who still do care about resolution and cropping power AS MUCH as they care about other factors like noise and AF performance. Making every camera in the Canon lineup cater to the low-res, high-speed, low-light photographers and cinematographers eliminates a position in their camera lineup that NEEDS to be filled. I, and I'm sure many other current 5D II owners, would be perfectly happy with the 5D III staying as a 21.1mp camera, so long as the AF system was improved, noise was lowered, and other factors of the camera were improved (a 4th custom dial mode in favor of the default automatic mode, for example?)

Canon will certainly not ditch the high MP crowd. I am sure Canon understands “which side of their bread is buttered”.

One can be cynical and say Canon is bound to split the full frame 5D II market similar to the 60D or 7D and 600D for the cropped sensors. It is debatable then what will fall in the higher end “7D-like” and what will go to the lower prosumer "600D-like” versions. Higher ISO performance, higher fps, body construction material, built-in flash (yes, that lame ploy) could all be used to “differentiate” (market?) the higher end from the prosumer version split. You correctly identify improved autofocus will have to be part of the package, whatever the split. Autofocus is atrocious on 5D II for the rung it occupies in Canon product line.

I would wager the high MP needs can easily be met by even tinkering with the gapless microlens aspect. http://www.flickr.com/groups/1dx/discuss/72157627941696082/

They may be able to squeeze out a few more MP’s without too much trouble for the higher MP customers. They may split it along 1) a professional line, higher end, but lower MP (perhaps same sensor as 1D-X), with higher ISO capabilities, higher fps, Lan, vediography tweaks, etc…at a higher price point;  and 2) a prosumer version that provides slightly higher MP or same as 5DII MP with lower fps, minor tweeks to ISO and some videography freebees at the same price point as current 5DII. Hopefully canon is smart enough to update autofocus on both versions. It will be fun to see which one will make the first appearance the higher MP version or the 1D-X-mini ;)

« Last Edit: December 03, 2011, 07:07:01 PM by RayS2121 »

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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2011, 08:19:09 PM »
One of the problems with very tiny photosites is the narrow angle of view of each photosite.  Those toward the outer edges have a real issue trying to get light due to the angle of the light rays.  Canon and other manufacturers have lots of tricks to minimize the effect, but it is still a concern, and gets more difficult to deal with as photosites get smaller.

I have a 7D and a 5D MK II, the 7D having much smaller photosites.  I'd prefer larger photosites and better high ISO performance, but my 7D isn't bad.  The 24 mp sensor that Sony has is for those who believe that more MP must be better.  You will gain a bit of resolution, but lose out on high ISO performance and noise. 

I lie 21 mp of my 5D MK II just fine, but I'd like to have better high ISO performance and better DR.  If a 18 mp sensor does that, I'm sold.

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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2011, 08:54:10 PM »
My lenses are:

24-70 f/2.8 L
24-105 f/4 L - IS
16-35 f/2.8 L II
70-200 f/2.8 L
100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L - IS
200mm f/2.8 L
100mm f/2.8 L - IS Macro
35mm f/1.4 L
50mm f/1.4 (Sigma)

I shoot approximately 175.000 pictures per year!

My experience is that the 7D with it's 18 megapixels demands the MOST of all lenses. I get better results with the same lenses on my 1D-mkIV
My opinion is that you have a collection of mostly older lenses that struggle on current cameras (although the 100mm L IS should not).  Canon puts out many lenses that don't break a sweat on my T1i, at least, which has a similar enough pixel density (15.1 MP across an APS-C frame).

A good example of a lens that doesn't quite cut it is the 50mm f/1.4.  It is great at f/8 in terms of sharpness, but at f/1.4 it really struggles.

On the other hand, lenses like the TS-E 17mm and 90mm variants, the 135mm f/2L, and the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS do not have any problem at all pushing out impressive resolution even wide open (at least in the center).  If you have an APS-C camera (as I do) the situation is even better than full frame in that regard.

jrista

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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2011, 09:00:51 PM »
My opinion is that you have a collection of mostly older lenses that struggle on current cameras (although the 100mm L IS should not).  Canon puts out many lenses that don't break a sweat on my T1i, at least, which has a similar enough pixel density (15.1 MP across an APS-C frame).

I would agree there. I think, out of the list shown, the 16-35mm f/2.8 L II and the 100mm f/2.8 L IS Macro are the only two newer lenses that probably qualify for the 45mp resolving power. I don't know what the others might resolve to, however the pixel density of the 1D IV is so low (relatively speaking these days) the lenses are probably far outresolving it.


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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2011, 09:00:51 PM »

jrista

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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2011, 09:10:09 PM »
I'm not really worried about the diffraction problem.

Why?

Because when the sensor resolution is such that the "airy disc" covers three pixels then you know exactly what the colour of that "airy disc" is.

I mean think about it for a second.

If a purple point of light shines on the sensor today, for the camera to know that it is purple, the point of light that hits the sensor needs to be bigger than just one pixel or it needs to hit the sensor in such a way that part of the light goes in at least both the red and blue pixel wells.

I agree with you in the sense that the nature of Bayer array sensors are starting to show their limitations. It would be nice to see the photography world capitalized on the Foveon concept, and move away from Bayer. I'd assume patents will prevent that for quite a number of years to come (either that, or one of the big players like Canon or Sony buys up Sigma.)

Regarding diffraction, though, physics would dictate that it have a detrimental impact. You can see it with a majority of point and shoots or phone cameras today...their sensors are about a quarter the size of a fingernail, with pixel areas some 5 times LESS than an 18mp APS-C today. Technically, the benefit you describe would begin to manifest itself in those tiny sensors with their immense pixel densities (which are equivalent to about a 240mp FF sensor!) On the contrary, diffraction severely impacts the IQ on those sensors. Granted, the physical apertures of such cameras are probably closer to f/22 with a 50mm lens on DSLR, but at 90mp, diffraction limitation would probably set in around f/4 or worse, and visible diffraction blurring would probably set in by f/7.1.

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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2011, 10:49:20 PM »
First, this is a tongue-in-cheek missive to the high MP hogs who discount the need for high ISO and I typed it smiling...Now be nice. You know I love ya.  :)

I'm glad you got that off your chest. However...if you're thinking of becoming a comedy writer, I'd suggest that you might not want to quit your day job just yet. :)
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Re: A tongue-in-cheek missive to those who want a high MP 5D3 :)
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2011, 10:49:20 PM »