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Author Topic: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]  (Read 41097 times)

jrista

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #90 on: March 17, 2012, 09:08:46 PM »
@Lee Jay: Yes, I use MTF 50, although not necessarily for extinction. (Perhaps thats our disconnect...I've been referring to "useful" resolution, not the point where all detail becomes gray mud.) Using MTF 0 for extinction for digital SLR cameras is insane. Even using MTF 9 is pretty crazy...unless your talking about specialized CCD cameras designed for high end astrophotography, in which case I don't know much about them, and I honestly can't speak to that. However that is an entirely different story to DSLR resolution.

If you have some example studies done that actually demonstrate Canon glass like the 200/2, used on a Canon sensor, actually consistently resolving detail at 9% contrast, I'd like to see it (honest request there). I use MTF 50 because thats what is normally used to demonstrate camera resolution. Anything I say about glass is relative to a sensor. Glass is a different story, and obviously a LENS in isolation is capable of being measured at any level of contrast. I'm not surprised at all that the best GLASS, such as the 135/2, 300/2.8, or any of Canon's supertelephotos (like the 600/4 L II) are capable of resolving 370lp/mm with f/4 or 700lp/mm+ at f/2 at MTF 9%.

The limiting factor is the sensor. Sensors are not like human eyes, and can't resolve the same amount of detail at low contrast. Now, there have certainly been advancements, such as gapless microlenses, or even multiple layers of gapless microlenses; foveon-type stacked photodiodes; hardware level noise reduction mechanisms capable of transporting purer pixel data, etc. However not all of those things are perfect, noise still exists, and the majority of sensors are not monochrome or foveon-style, where every row of pixels is fully capable of resolving all of the image detail they receive. Bayer sensors still impose a significant hit to resolution (despite their densities), and their nature impacts their ability to resolve at lower contrast levels.

I'll certainly give a bit in the argument here...a sensor as dense as Canon's 18mp APS-C, Sony's 24mp APS-C, and now Sony/Nikon's 36.6mp FF sensor, are probably capable of resolving at a lower contrast than MTF 50. I'm still very skeptical they are capable of resolving consistent, accurate data at MTF 9 (especially without a low pass filter like the D800). I don't have readily available charts for MTF 40 or MTF 20, so I don't frequently quote those numbers. I could probably generate some rough mathematically generated data for those contrast levels for conversations sake, but they would only be accurate on a purely hypothetical level. The MTF and ISO 12233 chart data available today for lenses indicates even the highest density sensors start losing spatial accuracy and useful detail around 100-115lp/mm for APS-C sensors. You still get "spotty" detail at finer resolution, but its often obscured or otherwise limited by moire, color moire, and noise.

I'd love to know exactly what Canon glass is really capable of OUTSIDE the context of their cameras or theoretical, mathematically generated MTF charts (which don't even use adequate test images to start with, limited at most to 30lp/mm details.) All "real-world" lens tests that I know of are still performed using a DSLR camera, which always limits system resolution. Sometimes it indicates the lens is the limiting factor (especially for tests done at or near maximum aperture, which really make the tests rather useless), sometimes it indicates the sensor is the limiting factor. I've spent a lot of time looking for accurate MTF charts for Canon glass, and so far its lacking. The tests available indicate that something is limiting system resolution (approaching extinction) to numbers closer to the MTF 50 category than MTF 9, though.

If you are sitting on some magical database full of accurate MTF data for lenses, cameras, and telescopes, please, let me know. I'd love to have more accurate information to work with. I'm often a skeptic, but if I have concrete evidence of something, I'll happily change my mind. (BTW, the photos of jupiter and the moon you have linked a few times appear very, very soft to me. The moon photo seems to lack a lot of the fine detail I've often seen in other high res photos of the moon. I'm not sure those are the best examples of system spatial resolution. If you have something that demonstrates say two comparable shots of the moon, taken with the same 200 + 1.4x + 1.4x, one on a sensor that resolves the same resolution as the lens and one that oversamples the lens, such that they can be compared one on top of the other, I think that would be a much better demonstration of your point that increased sensor resolution does help increase system resolution.

I'm not sure anything would demonstrate an increase in spatial resolution when adding TC's, however...I'm still holding steadfast on that point.)

This is where your thinking has gone off the rails.

Fact:  If you are getting pixel sharp shots at 100%, you are undersampling the optics.

In such a case, using more pixels of a smaller size would get you better detail resolving power.

Sure, not arguing that point, really (I think we diverged a bit too far from the original complaint I had, which was equating spatial resolution to magnification...something I still assert is very, very inaccurate. At the moment, I don't think we really disagree on most of the points you made in your last post.) Scientifically, using more sensor resolution is a good thing, and will pretty usually produce better results (even if you push well past 2x oversampling, more resolution will still increase system resolution (totalBlur) from the standpoint of resolving closer to the resolution limit of a lens...ignoring issues like noise, sensitivity, and DR, which will all eat into those gains as you keep decreasing pixel pitch.)

However most people WANT sharp pictures at 100%. This forums has had several threads in the not to distant past where people have complained a LOT about the Canon 7D and how horribly soft its photos are. I found the complaints to largely be due to a lack of understanding about how very dense the 7D sensor really is (and the likelyhood that it probably has a slightly overaggressive low-pass filte.) I argued the point that the 7D is an excellent camera and that you have to downsample to fully realize its potential, since its oversampling (although probably not 2x oversampling) the lens at apertures wider than f/4 and narrower than about f/5.6 or so (using MTF 50 numbers anyway...which certainly seem to jive with the reality there). Personally, I like that trait in the 7D, as I have to downsample a bit for 13x19" prints (and its certainly more than enough resolution to upsample for large prints viewed at a greater distance.)

That doesn't change the fact, though, that people want SHARP photos AT 100%. So it doesn't surprise me that companies like Canon aim to provide such results as much as they can (which is why I don't suspect they will push APS-C resolution much past 22mp or so, unless they are able to produce a sensor that is far more capable of resolving low-contrast detail. Its also not surprising that they are producing sensors with middle-ground resolution at 18-22mp for their full-frame sensors. Those cameras will undersample lenses by a considerable degree, and there is little chance of the sensor significantly oversampling such that all photos come out looking soft at 100% crop. Its a sad psychological problem, but far too many photographers don't understand the concept of image size normalization when comparing results, and if it doesn't look perfect at 100%, then its crap. Again, personally, I wouldn't mind sensors that twice-oversampled the lens (and at f/2 to boot), I'd prefer it as it does increase system resolution. Practical issues come to mind (immense file size and very slow post processing time come to mind), so again, its doubtful we'll really get sensors that oversample lenses all that much on a regular basis.

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #90 on: March 17, 2012, 09:08:46 PM »

LetTheRightLensIn

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #91 on: March 18, 2012, 12:12:23 AM »
Two TC's are added to a lens increasing magnification, spatial resolution remains constant, yet we are capable of "seeing" more detail in our much larger subject, even at a LOWER spatial resolution. Magnification and spatial resolution are not the same. Magnification and spatial resolution are disjoint concepts that can vary independently. Increasing magnification by adding teleconverters, while keeping spatial resolution constant, DOES increase the apparent detail we are capable of observing...because OUR SUBJECT IS LARGER RELATIVE TO THE FRAME FOR A GIVEN RESOLUTION.

Well, thats the best I can do. If a small animated picture isn't worth 4000 words, then no amount of proof in this case will sway your opinion. I do indeed believe science backs up what I've said here.

You seem to be arguing over things he didn't claim and missing his point and fixated on keeping the sensor disjoint.

Lee Jay

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #92 on: March 18, 2012, 09:38:14 AM »
First - you can get more spacial detail from adding TCs, even to already-slow optics.  This is a $60 Bayer-sensor webcam, not some high-end astronomical sensor.  Pixel size is 5.6 microns - about the same as the 40D.  f/30 on the left, f/15 on the right.  According to you, the f/30 shot couldn't possibly be better, but it is.  I took these:
http://photos.imageevent.com/sipphoto/samplepictures/Jupiter%20f30%20versus%20f15%20comparison.jpg

Second, and this is going to be a little hard to accept for you, but it's fact so I suggest you listen carefully.  You're thinking of a TC as a device that increases focal length and decreases aperture.  First of all, it doesn't decrease aperture.  f-stop = focal length / aperture diameter.  A TC can be thought to increase focal length while keeping aperture the same, thus increasing f-stop.  However, and this is important, this is only true from the camera's point of view.  From the lens' point of view, its focal length, aperture and f-stop remain the same.  The TC is, after all, mounted behind it.  From the lens' point of view, the TC has changed the camera.  How, you might ask?  By shrinking the sensor and the pixels on it.  If you don't believe me, try this little experiment yourself.

http://photos.imageevent.com/sipphoto/samplepictures/Teleconverter%20optical%20reduction.jpg

The point is, increasing focal length while preserving aperture (and thus increasing f-stop) and decreasing pixel size are equivalent.  Here's an example of that:

http://photos.imageevent.com/sipphoto/samplepictures/Pixel%20density%20versus%20teleconverters.jpg

Finally, if you want to see the effect of diffraction while shrinking pixel size, have a look at the link below.  If you prefer, you can think of these as APS-C sensors with 8MP, 16MP, 32MP, and 64MP, all at f/11.  The one on the bottom is for reference when using a larger aperture that isn't diffraction-limited.  As you can see, even at f/11, resolving power goes up in each case, by ever-decreasing amounts (the so-called law of diminishing returns), just as theory would indicate.  I've tested this all the way to oblivion (1.1 micron pixels at f/11), and the MTF 0 spatial cutoff formula I gave you from Wikipedia matches well with real-world testing.

http://photos.imageevent.com/sipphoto/samplepictures/Diffraction%20pixel%20size%20test%202.jpg

As for how good our optics are, I tested my version 1 70-200/2.8L IS at different apertures by mounting telescope eye pieces to it and trying to split double stars.  Essentially, this is a test of the Rayleigh criterion (MTF 9).  I found that it isn't diffraction-limited at f/2.8 but, amazingly, it is diffraction-limited at f/4 - I could split a double at exactly the Rayleigh equivalent separation angle for a 50mm aperture with that lens given sufficient optical magnification.  I think you'd agree that we have several lenses in the line-up that are better at faster f-stops than f/4 than the version 1 70-200 is.

For a little more evidence of that, compare the Jupiter shot I posted above, taken with 125mm of aperture of diffraction-limited f/15 Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope, with one posted yesterday also taken with 125mm of aperture this time in the from of a wide-open 500/4.  The detail retained is very, very similar providing further evidence that the 500/4 is diffraction-limited wide open.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1029&message=40928248

The take-home lessons are:

- We can extract more detail at finer resolutions than the MTF50 diffraction limit even with Bayer sensors with AA filters.
- We have optics that are diffraction-limited at f-stops much faster than f/8.
- Because of those two facts, we can make use of sensors much more densely packed than current 18MP APS-C sensors.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2012, 01:22:17 PM by Lee Jay »

Lee Jay

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #93 on: March 18, 2012, 10:44:25 AM »
Actually Lee Jay is the one who is more correct here.
The system resolution of the object will be the same with an ideal 1.4x as with doubling the number of pixels. If you can gain object resolution with TC you can do the same by increasing the number of pixels.

Assuming a wide enough aperture that does not lose resolution to optical aberrations, and is not yet blurring detail beyond the diffraction limit of the sensor, sure.

Good.  Glad we agree.

Let's work on that a bit.  Let's do f/4 since we have several lenses that are diffraction-limited by then.  Let's use green light (conservative).  Let's be further conservative and use Rayleigh instead of MTF5 or MTF0.

MTF 9 = Rayleigh = 1/(1.22*0.000550*f/4) = 373 lp/mm

We need roughly 3 pixels per line pair to resolve them on a Bayer sensor with AA filter.

3 * 373 * 22.3mm = 24,954 horizontal pixels
2/3 of 24,954 = 16,636 vertical pixels

24954*16636 = 415,134,744 pixels, or 415.1MP.

Here's a sample of the equivalent of 288MP:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1029&message=37493247

Obviously, we have plenty of room between the real limits and the 18MP we have today.

And just in case you think I'm alone in thinking this, here's some information on gigapixel sensors from the guy that invented the type of sensors we use in our cameras:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1000&message=30006322
« Last Edit: March 18, 2012, 12:25:12 PM by Lee Jay »

jrista

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #94 on: March 18, 2012, 01:19:30 PM »
First - you can get more spacial detail from adding TCs, even to already-slow optics.  This is a $60 Bayer-sensor webcam, not some high-end astronomical sensor.  Pixel size is 5.6 microns - about the same as the 40D.  f/30 on the left, f/15 on the right.  According to you, the f/30 shot couldn't possibly be better, but it is.

I've highlighted where you've misunderstood me. Thats not my argument, and probably where we've made a disconnect. First off, "better" is such an extremely subjective and broad term, its a terrible term for this conversation.  Obviously magnifying a subject makes it "better" in the sense that your recording more detail of that subject. Again, that is not my argument. My argument is that neither the lens nor the sensor are recording at a "higher spatial resolution" (which is what it sounds like you are saying when you say that using 1.4x TC's == 141mp...increasing megapixel count in the same sensor area increases the amount of spatial resolution the system can record, but I'm arguing that is not what happens when you tack on teleconverters) when increasing magnification. They are recording a larger subject at the same (or slightly lower, given the math on total system blur) spatial resolution. I guess to put it another way...the IMAGE RESOLUTION, the width and height of your subject, increase, for the same SPATIAL RESOLUTION.

Second, and this is going to be a little hard to accept for you, but it's fact so I suggest you listen carefully.  You're thinking of a TC as a device that increases focal length and decreases aperture.  First of all, it doesn't decrease aperture.  f-stop = focal length / aperture diameter.  A TC can be thought to increase focal length while keeping aperture the same, thus increasing f-stop. 

Sure, f-stop, relative aperture, same thing. I know the absolute aperture, the physical diameter in mm, stays the same when increasing focal length with TCs. However due to the increased focal length, diffraction is magnified right along with everything else. The effects of a TC on diffraction are real, regardless of how the sensor may appear when looking through the TC.

However, and this is important, this is only true from the camera's point of view.  From the lens' point of view, its focal length, aperture and f-stop remain the same.  The TC is, after all, mounted behind it.  From the lens' point of view, the TC has changed the camera.  How, you might ask?  By shrinking the sensor and the pixels on it.  If you don't believe me, try this little experiment yourself.

http://photos.imageevent.com/sipphoto/samplepictures/Teleconverter%20optical%20reduction.jpg

Sure, the size of the pixels, as well as the size of the whole sensor, shrink when viewed through the TC...but the total density of the sensor does not increase for the same size. The former changes magnification, the latter would change the spatial resolution of the system. We are on the same page here, and I think I described this effect well when I described magnification as being the same as recording an image with a much larger (physical size) 141mp sensor, and cropping out the center 18mp. IMAGE resolution of the subject increases, SPATIAL resolution of the system remains the same or decreases with a TC. The image you linked does a good job demonstrating that everything viewed through the TC shrinks in size. If it was a sensor, the whole sensor...not just the pixel pitch, would shrink relative to whatever was being projected through the lens. I call that magnification. The actual width and height of the sensor in pixels has not changed. The distance between pixels has not changed. So spatial resolution is the same. (I'm again not sure were on different pages here...I think maybe we have been discussing the same thing from different angles.)

The point is, increasing focal length while preserving aperture (and thus increasing f-stop) and decreasing pixel size are equivalent.  Here's an example of that:

http://photos.imageevent.com/sipphoto/samplepictures/Pixel%20density%20versus%20teleconverters.jpg

Not disputing that. It again boils down to the comparison extra_magnification == more_megapixels, which sounds like extra_magnification == increased_spatial_resolution...assuming the rest of the system does not change. That comparison sounds like adding a TC increased the spatial resolution from 116lp/mm to 315.5lp/mm. Even if we do assume that DSLR sensors are capable of resolving fine detail at MTF 9, at f/16 for a 200 + 1.4 + 1.4 on a 7D, total system blur (ignoring any additional potential aberrations from the TC's, there probably aren't any at a physical aperture of f/8, and assuming just about twice the pixel pitch of the 7D for the blur of the sensor itself) is sqrt(10.8^2 + 8.4^2) = 13.7um, which translates into a system spatial resolution of about 73lp/mm. Lets ignore the nature of bayer sensors, and assume the 7D is capable of resolving 4.3 micron airy discs. Our system blur becomes sqrt(10.8^2 + 4.3^2) = 11.63um, or a system spatial resolution of about 86lp/mm. Decreasing pixel size relative to the subject could also be termed increasing the subject size relative to the pixel. Either way, thats magnification, the increase of object dimensions, or image resolution, not an increase in spatial resolution. The only reason you are resolving more detail is because the subject is larger...thats it.

Finally, if you want to see the effect of diffraction while shrinking pixel size, have a look at the link below.  If you prefer, you can think of these as APS-C sensors with 8MP, 16MP, 32MP, and 64MP, all at f/11.  The one on the bottom is for reference when using a larger aperture that isn't diffraction-limited.  As you can see, even at f/11, resolving power goes up in each case, by ever-decreasing amounts (the so-called law of diminishing returns), just as theory would indicate.  I've tested this all the way to oblivion (1.1 micron pixels at f/11), and the MTF 0 spatial cutoff formula I gave you from Wikipedia matches well with real-world testing.

http://photos.imageevent.com/sipphoto/samplepictures/Diffraction%20pixel%20size%20test%202.jpg

I'm not really sure what those images demonstrate, outside of the fact that the 6.4 micron pixels are simply incapable of resolving enough detail in the first place. I've never claimed that increasing pixel density doesn't help increase spatial resolution, I've only argued that after a certain point...a sensor with roughly 2x the resolution of the optical image its recording...does increasing resolution stop having a decent cost/value ratio. I don't generally consider f/11 to be severely detrimental to IQ. I consider f/22 and beyond to be detrimental to IQ, regardless of the sensor density.

As for how good our optics are, I tested my version 1 70-200/2.8L IS at different apertures by mounting telescope eye pieces to it and trying to split double stars.  Essentially, this is a test of the Rayleigh criterion (MTF 9).  I found that it isn't diffraction-limited at f/2.8 but, amazingly, it is diffraction-limited at f/4 - I could split a double at exactly the Rayleigh equivalent separation angle for a 50mm aperture with that lens given sufficient optical magnification.  I think you'd agree that we have several lenses in the line-up that are better at faster f-stops than f/4 than the version 1 70-200 is.

I do agree, I've mentioned many lenses that I think are capable of stellar optical characteristics at maximum aperture. Again, thats not really the point of my argument.

For a little more evidence of that, compare the Jupiter shot I posted above, taken with 125mm of aperture of diffraction-limited f/15 Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope, with one posted yesterday also taken with 125mm of aperture this time in the form of a wide-open 500/4.  The detail retained is very, very similar providing further evidence that the 500/4 is diffraction-limited wide open.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1029&message=40928248

Tough to evaluate this stuff, since the images were the result of some extensive stacking. Stacking completely changes the game, and allows things like superresolution and extreme noise reduction, pushing image resolution well beyond what is possible spatially with physical hardware. Thats all a discussion for another day, and doubt we would disagree much with the benefits of stacking and superresolution.

The take-home lessons are:

- We can extract more detail at finer resolutions than the MTF50 diffraction limit even with Bayer sensors with AA filters.
- We have optics that are diffraction-limited at f-stops much faster than f/8.
- Because of those two facts, we can make use of sensors much more densely packed than current 18MP APS-C sensors.

1. Still not sure about the first point. I'll make my arguments again below in the final quote.

2. Totally agree we have diffraction-limited lenses at faster f-stops than f/8. That was never a point of argument...I simply used f/8 in my prior posts because that was the aperture you mentioned using for your 200+1.4+1.4 setup to capture the moon. It never intended to portray that I thought f/8 was the first diffraction limited aperture in any lens. I think, outside of some of Canon's top L-series glass starting around 135mm, most of their lenses seem to achieve "best" resolution (normalize optical aberrations with diffraction) somewhere around f/4 (a little less in some cases, a little more in others.) Super fast lenses, like the 50mm and 85mm f/1.2 or f/1.4 lenses seem to achieve that normalization around f/2.8-f/3.5, however they are rather wide, and don't magnify their subjects enough for it to matter in the context of this discussion.

3. Agreed that more densely packed sensors are not "bad". Agreed that they can help us oversample optical resolution enough to eliminate sensor aberrations and capture a little bit more detail. Agreed that as we approach the "pixel pitch" of rods and cones in the 2° foveal spot in the human eye (which clear, high detail vision occurs), 0.5um, that our ability to resolve fine detail at lower contrast will increase. I'm not sure I agree that we can do that today at 9%, although I'm happy to offer that we probably can resolve fine detail at a contrast level below 50%.

Let's work on that a bit.  Let's do f/4 since we have several lenses that are diffraction-limited by then.  Let's use green light (conservative).  Let's be further conservative and use Rayleigh instead of MTF5 or MTF0.

MTF 9 = Rayleigh = 1/(1.22*0.000550*f/4) = 373 lp/mm

We need roughly 3 pixels per line pair to resolve them on a Bayer sensor with AA filter.

3 * 373 * 22.3mm = 24,954 horizontal pixels
2/3 of 24,954 = 16,636 vertical pixels

24954*16636 = 415,134,744 pixels, or 415.1MP.

Here is where your argument breaks down, at least as I am interpreting it. Lets get back to facts:

FACT: A 415mp APS-C sensor with the dimensions 24954x16636 DOES NOT EXIST. It never has existed, and will very likely not exist in the coming decades.
FACT: The 7D 18mp APS-C sensor is certainly not capable of resolving 415mp worth of spatial resolution.
Fact: For a lens that resolves 373lp/mm of resolution, the sensor is the LIMITING FACTOR (both from a resolution standpoint and a contrast standpoint.)
Fact: At 373lp/mm, the airy disc is 2.7 microns.
Fact: An 18mp APS-C sensor as in the 7D's has a minimum resolvable spot of 4.3 microns, assuming monochrome.
Fact: An 18mp APS-C sensor as in the 7D's has a minimum resolvable full-detail spot of about 2x pixel pitch, or 8.4-8.7 microns, assuming a bayer array, low-pass filter, IR filters, etc.
Fact: System blur of such a system would be about 8.9 microns.
Fact: System spatial resolution of such a system would be about 112lp/mm.

Equating the increase in subject detail as resulted from the addition of teleconverters to a lens for a given sensor as literally having a sensor with more megapixels in the same physical area is incorrect. That presumes an increase in the spatial resolution of the sensor as a result of increased optical magnification, which is obviously impossible...sensors have a fixed resolution (both spatially and dimensionally.)

So, I still don't understand your insistence on this formula that TCs == denser sensor. At best, given the math, your 373lp/mm lens setup and 116lp/mm APS-C sensor boil down to 112lp/mm of system spatial resolution (and I'm still ignoring the fact that adding additional TC's still has a drag on IQ, even though it may be minimal at f/4.)

Here's a sample of the equivalent of 288MP:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1029&message=37493247

Obviously, we have plenty of room between the real limits and the 18MP we have today.

And just in case you think I'm alone in thinking this, here's some information on gigapixel sensors from the guy that invented the type of sensors we use in our cameras:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1000&message=30006322


I still don't see 288mp in that image. If you could show me an image that literally had the necessary dimensions of around 20756x13844, then I might have to change my mind. The moon image you linked has an image resolution of 1000x1500 pixels (1.5mp), and coming from the 7D, I am going to assume the original non-cropped version was 5184x3456 pixels (which is still 18mp). There is a serious disconnect in the thinking that more magnification equals increased system spatial resolution. Even assuming the optics are capable of FAR superior spatial resolution (which at MTF 9% they are...I still dispute the idea that CFA bayer sensors are even close to resolving detail at that level of contrast), the camera  (being the sensor, low pass filters, and any other filtration devices between the virtual image projected by the lens and the sensor) is going to severely limit the total system resolution you are capable of actually recording. What you actually record is really what matters, regardless of how much spatial resolution exists in the virtual image the lens may be projecting at any level of contrast. The more you oversample the lens, the more soft an image will appear at 100%, so while theoretically things may be "better", you require greater and greater downsampling to achieve a sharply detailed image (which is really the ultimate goal anyway, unless you have scientific goals.) As of today, it is not yet possible to record 415mp, let alone 288mp, with a single sensor in a single shot using a DSLR camera. The closest thing I've ever seen to several-hundred megapixel images of stellar bodies are mosaics of hundreds of shots of the moon, usually shot with telescopes with rather high light gathering capabilities.

So, I don't disagree with you on every point. Yes, there is plenty of room for improvement, obviously (on both lens and sensor fronts.) I strongly disagree with you on the point in your last quote...that TC == denser sensor. Thats just plain and simply not based in fact.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2012, 01:26:34 PM by jrista »

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #95 on: March 18, 2012, 01:22:23 PM »

jrista

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #96 on: March 18, 2012, 01:25:30 PM »


LOL. Sorry...for some reason I just can't let this go. :P It feels so wrong to claim your capturing a 288mp image of the moon when its STILL AND 18MP IMAGE!!  ???

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #96 on: March 18, 2012, 01:25:30 PM »

Lee Jay

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #97 on: March 18, 2012, 03:10:14 PM »
Sure, the size of the pixels, as well as the size of the whole sensor, shrink when viewed through the TC...but the total density of the sensor does not increase for the same size.

The second part of that sentence is a direct contradiction for the first part.  Pixel shrink = increased density.

Quote
The former changes magnification,

You seem to have a problem with the term "magnification".

Magnification = image size on sensor / object size
Enlargement = size of final print or image / image size on sensor

Quote
The point is, increasing focal length while preserving aperture (and thus increasing f-stop) and decreasing pixel size are equivalent.  Here's an example of that:

http://photos.imageevent.com/sipphoto/samplepictures/Pixel%20density%20versus%20teleconverters.jpg

Not disputing that.


Good, since it's correct.  The problem is, you do dispute it below:

Quote
Equating the increase in subject detail as resulted from the addition of teleconverters to a lens for a given sensor as literally having a sensor with more megapixels in the same physical area is incorrect.

So, make up your mind.  Correctly, would be nice.

Smaller pixels = more pixel density = higher pixel counts = higher spacial resolution if the optics can support it.  And we now agree (I think) that many of the optical devices we have available can support it.

traveller

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #98 on: March 18, 2012, 04:07:57 PM »


+1

This thread is getting close to handbags at dawn!  ;)

I don't want to pour fuel onto the debate that you guys seem to be having fun with, but have you seen Roger Clark's page, which seems to touch on some of the issues that you are discussing:

http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/telephoto_reach/

What are your takes?

Lee Jay

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #99 on: March 18, 2012, 05:04:22 PM »
What are your takes?

He equated focal length with pixel pitch just like I did, because they have the same effect on resolving power.

300mm      f/2.8    4.3microns        3.0 arc seconds
500mm      f/4       7.4microns        3.1 arc seconds

600mm      f/5.6    4.8microns        1.65 arc seconds
1000mm    f/8       8.2microns        1.7 arc seconds

Teleconverter = longer focal length = smaller pixels = more pixels in the same area.

jrista

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #100 on: March 18, 2012, 06:50:41 PM »
Sure, the size of the pixels, as well as the size of the whole sensor, shrink when viewed through the TC...but the total density of the sensor does not increase for the same size.

The second part of that sentence is a direct contradiction for the first part.  Pixel shrink = increased density.
[/quote]

Pixels shrink, but so does the sensor when viewed through a TC. The WHOLE SYSTEM shrinks. But thats only when viewed through the TC (or for that matter the whole lens setup.) Were talking about WHAT THE SENSOR SEES, since thats what actually produces the output image. The physical size of the sensor as it exists inside the camera DOES NOT changed size in any physical sense of the word, so in REALITY, the spatial resolution of the system is SENSOR BOUND. It doesn't matter what we may see when we look down the lens...our eyes are not recording a two dimensional image for presentation on...any medium. The sensor is what matters here, and what the sensor sees according to its perspective...through the backside of the TC's and lens, is what I'm talking about. Sensors are fixed constants, and they output information at a specific density and physical size. No matter how the optics work when observing through the front is immaterial to how the sensor sees through the back.

Quote
The former changes magnification,

You seem to have a problem with the term "magnification".

Magnification = image size on sensor / object size
Enlargement = size of final print or image / image size on sensor
[/quote]

I'm not sure where this came from. I've been talking about object size relative to sensor (or rather, relative to the spatial resolution of the whole system, lens+TCs+sensor) from the start. I haven't even mentioned print or enlargement, as it too is immaterial to the discussion.

The point is, increasing focal length while preserving aperture (and thus increasing f-stop) and decreasing pixel size are equivalent.  Here's an example of that:

Quote
Equating the increase in subject detail as resulted from the addition of teleconverters to a lens for a given sensor as literally having a sensor with more megapixels in the same physical area is incorrect.

So, make up your mind.  Correctly, would be nice.

Smaller pixels = more pixel density = higher pixel counts = higher spacial resolution if the optics can support it.  And we now agree (I think) that many of the optical devices we have available can support it.


The pixels are NOT PHYSICALLY SMALLER. You seem to think that what you observe through the front of the lens equates to what the sensor observes through the back of the lens. The sensor is a fixed construct with fixed attributes. IT DOES NOT PHYSICALLY CHANGE SIZE. The only thing that actually changes when adding or removing a teleconverter is the VIRTUAL IMAGE that is projected by the lens ONTO the sensor. Without a TC, that virtual image may contain a small circle representing Jupiter in the middle, constituting just under 1/4 the full area of the sensor, at 112lp/mm. With the TC, the virtual image would then contain a large circle representing Jupiter that is nearly the full height of the sensor, also at 112lp/mm. The sensor did not change...the virtual image changed, because the optics projecting it changed.

Since the sensor is the "eye" here, a piece of hardware with actual concrete, immutable, physical characteristics...such as being 22.3x14.9mm in size with 5184 columns of pixels and 3456 rows of pixels, capable of a resolving a maximum of 115.97lp/mm (the low-pass filter, IR filter, and possibly microscopic nuances in the microlenses, color filter array, etc are going to diminish that potential maximum)...that is recording and processing visual stimuli, it stands to reason that it is not the sensor that actually changes, physically shrinking to produce pixels with a smaller pixel pitch (or more insane yet, remaining the same size while its pixels shrink and multiply to create 288mp or even 415mp by some mystical, magical means), which in turn are capable of recording finer detail at a higher spatial resolution.

It stands to reason that it is the world, say Jupiter, which is being resolved by the lens into a virtual image and projected onto the sensor, that is changing RELATIVE to the sensor. As such, the characteristics of the sensor...say that 115.97lp/mm maximum real-world spatial resolution it is capable of recording at, do not change relative to the world, and the sensor remains the limiting factor in terms of what fineness of detail can actually be resolved and at what contrast.

Lenses create virtual images. By observing the sensor through the lens (or even just a TC), you too are seeing a virtual image of the sensor. VIRTUAL. The sensor has not actually shrunk. Its pixel density has not actually increased. It is not actually capable of greater spatial resolution than it is if you do not observe the sensor through a lens. Relative to the biological sensor of  your eyes, thanks to the lens between you and it, it APPEARS to have shrunk, but it has not in actuality done so. If we could magically create more resolution with a few hundred bucks of optics, the sensor megapixel race would have never gotten off the ground. What we see through the front of the lens is immaterial to the reality of what the SENSOR sees through its end of the lens, and what the sensor sees is what we (well, most) photographers really care about.

briansquibb

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #101 on: March 18, 2012, 07:02:04 PM »
So when is the large mps body coming and how many mps will it be??

Lee Jay

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #102 on: March 18, 2012, 08:27:12 PM »
Actually Lee Jay is the one who is more correct here.
The system resolution of the object will be the same with an ideal 1.4x as with doubling the number of pixels. If you can gain object resolution with TC you can do the same by increasing the number of pixels.

Assuming a wide enough aperture that does not lose resolution to optical aberrations, and is not yet blurring detail beyond the diffraction limit of the sensor, sure.

Just reminding you that you agreed before - with Tuggem, not myself - that increasing focal length with a TC is equivalent to shrinking the pixels on the sensor.

You also agreed with me on that point:

Quote
The point is, increasing focal length while preserving aperture (and thus increasing f-stop) and decreasing pixel size are equivalent.

To which you replied:

Quote
Not disputing that.

For some reason, you dispute the next step, namely that shrinking the pixels results in more pixels in the same area.  Thus, adding a teleconverter is just like increasing pixel count in the same space.  I don't understand what could be more clear about that.

I also want to point out your own statement that started this:

Quote
The 7D is already pretty maxed out when it comes to resolution as well with 18mp in an APS-C format. You might gain a bit more by going to 20 or 22mp, but thats going to make it really hard to get sharp shots right down to the pixel level...and you would only be able to do so at a very narrow range of apertures at the center of the lens before diffraction or optical aberrations kill you.

That statement is in error, and more to the point, it's irrelevant.  Sharp shots down to the pixel level means you are throwing away detail by definition.  If people really want that, then we have an education problem.  Regardless, even if we use MTF 50, and we agree that many lenses can achieve diffraction-limited performance at f/4 like my now-discontinued 70-200/2.8L IS can, the resolution is:

0.38(0.000550*4) = 172.7lp/mm

Given 3 pixels to resolve 1 line pair, that's 11,554x7,702 = 89 megapixels on APS-c.

So, two conclusions:

- Teleconverters are just like multipliers on pixel count (1.4x = 2x pixel count), but with reduced field of view which is irrelevant if you're looking at a small portion of the frame anyway.
- We still have plenty of room to grow pixel counts before we are capturing nothing but additional gray sludge.

I'd love the next 7D to be 24MP on APS-C and have f/8 AF sensors.  Such a system would almost achieve MTF50 at f/8 - certainly it would achieve way above the commonly-used extinction points of MTF9, MTF5 or MTF0.  If they can't provide f/8 AF sensors, 32MP or more would be nice.

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #102 on: March 18, 2012, 08:27:12 PM »

jrista

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #103 on: March 18, 2012, 11:35:12 PM »
Actually Lee Jay is the one who is more correct here.
The system resolution of the object will be the same with an ideal 1.4x as with doubling the number of pixels. If you can gain object resolution with TC you can do the same by increasing the number of pixels.

Assuming a wide enough aperture that does not lose resolution to optical aberrations, and is not yet blurring detail beyond the diffraction limit of the sensor, sure.

Just reminding you that you agreed before - with Tuggem, not myself - that increasing focal length with a TC is equivalent to shrinking the pixels on the sensor.

You also agreed with me on that point:

Quote
The point is, increasing focal length while preserving aperture (and thus increasing f-stop) and decreasing pixel size are equivalent.

To which you replied:

Quote
Not disputing that.

Yes, IN REALITY, not virtually by looking at the sensor through the front of the lens!! I agree that literally using a sensor with more megapixels with the original lens without TCs, and cropping the image produced by a higher density sensor is similar to using a TC with a smaller sensor: both of them magnify the subject relative to spatial resolution. I've never agreed about anything else.

Using a higher density sensor, though, is not exactly the same. A 116lp/mm 18mp APS-C can double-sample an image produced by a lens+TC combo at f/13 (MTF 50, which is about 56lp/mm). That lens+sensor system, despite the fact that the sensor is double-sampling the virtual image, is still only achieving a total resolution of 52.6lp/mm. Lets drop the TC, and double the number of pixels. We are now at 165lp/mm for the sensor and 82lp/mm for the lens. The sensor is oversampling by almost a factor of three, however our system resolution, while its definitely an improvement over the system with a TC and lower resolution sensor, is still only 73.5lp/mm. I believe it was Tuggem who actually said doubling the number of pixels is actually better than using a 1.4x TC and quadrupling pixels is better than using a 2x TC. Crunching the numbers, it appears to really indeed be true (double the pixels is about 40% better than using a 1.4x TC)...assuming its actually a LITERAL INCREASE, as in, you physically use a sensor with double the number of pixels.

For some reason, you dispute the next step, namely that shrinking the pixels results in more pixels in the same area.  Thus, adding a teleconverter is just like increasing pixel count in the same space.  I don't understand what could be more clear about that.

I also want to point out your own statement that started this:

Quote
The 7D is already pretty maxed out when it comes to resolution as well with 18mp in an APS-C format. You might gain a bit more by going to 20 or 22mp, but thats going to make it really hard to get sharp shots right down to the pixel level...and you would only be able to do so at a very narrow range of apertures at the center of the lens before diffraction or optical aberrations kill you.

That statement is in error, and more to the point, it's irrelevant.  Sharp shots down to the pixel level means you are throwing away detail by definition.  If people really want that, then we have an education problem.

I'm not so sure its as much an education problem as it is a mental and perceptual problem. People don't spend money on 18mp, 22.3mp, or even 36.3mp to get what they perceive as soft photos (regardless of how irrational that may be). Thats more than readily apparent in how much flak the 7D gets from people complaining about how soft it is (at apertures much above or below f/4.) Personally, while intellectually I fully understand the value of oversampling optics and downsampling the results to achieve the level of sharpness I want, that whole psychological bent towards wanting sharp results strait out of the camera still exists (and is actually a necessity if you shoot JPEG for immediate review and publish.)

Regardless, even if we use MTF 50, and we agree that many lenses can achieve diffraction-limited performance at f/4 like my now-discontinued 70-200/2.8L IS can, the resolution is:

0.38(0.000550*4) = 172.7lp/mm

Given 3 pixels to resolve 1 line pair, that's 11,554x7,702 = 89 megapixels on APS-c.

Optically, 172.7lp/mm at f/4 is certainly possible, again never disputed that (I believe I've used the number 173lp/mm for f/4 on several occasions in my previous posts.) I've tried to account for low-pass filters (particularly the stronger one on the 7D...although low pass filters are a bit of a wildcard and can never be fully accounted for without a full understanding of their impact on spatial frequencies), and the fact that bayer sensors require interpolation to produce "full color" (or final RGB) pixels once processed, and the fact that the spatial phase of the sensor is not always aligned with the spatial phase of the virtual image, by using 4 pixels / line pair. Perhaps a tad conservative (although it is a general practice to assume 4p/lp when discussing bayer sensors, even by astrophotography enthusiasts), however I think using 3 pixels / line pair is a bit aggressive. Perhaps a happy medium of 3.5 would be more realistic. Either way, sure, at the sharpest aperture after optical aberrations are eliminated and before diffraction sets in and starts diminishing maximum potential resolution, you could keep pushing sensor resolution. Its a very narrow window within which you can achieve more resolution, and there are rather few lenses that are not aberration-bound at wider apertures that can currently support higher resolutions than are attainable at f/4 (the majority of which cost a small to moderate fortune.)

My comment above about 20-22mp is inaccurate on a scientific level, but it wasn't originally intended to be hard core scientific (my desire to be more accurate only came after you decided to conflate the use of TC's with literal increases in sensor spatial resolution.) I think I originally made that comment in the context of the average photographer who usually does suffer from the "psychological impairment" discussed above. I still agree, for most apertures of the lenses the majority of 7D photographers are likely to use, I think the softness of photos caused either by optical aberrations or diffraction around the f/4 "sweet spot" is going to be a turn-off for more photographers than not. I've spent more time arguing the fact that the 7D is not sharpness-impaired, its just that it frequently outresolves the lens at the apertures used, than I have argued my points in this particular thread. ;) In that context, I don't think pushing APS-C resolution much beyond where we have it now is going to buy the average photographer all that much. The window around that sweet spot, wherein you can get very sharp images that keep increasing in detail as you use better and better optics will shrink the closer you get to 70, 80, or 90 megapixels packed into the space of an APS-C sensor. (We haven't even touched on the fact that for all but a few of Canon's L-series lenses, such resolution is also only really possible in the center of the lens, and falloff, sometimes severe, to the corners reduces resolution well below theoretical perfection. There would need to be considerable center-to-corner improvement in lenses to fully support "perfection" across the area of the lens, and in many cases where trade-offs are required...such as wide angle zoom lenses...perfection may be unattainable, at least for the refractive optics of DSLR cameras.)

I think far greater benefits can be gained at the resolution were at now by improving ISO, lowering noise, etc. instead of chasing a difficult to attain perfect resolution at a very narrow aperture range, where all other apertures achieve less and produce softer and softer photos at higher and higher resolutions. Yes, its all psychological, but thats really what matters beyond the rather narrow bounds we've been arguing within lately. Thats all besides the points I've been making thus far, however. And hopefully my comment to the original quote at the beginning of this post clears up my position.

So, two conclusions:

- Teleconverters are just like multipliers on pixel count (1.4x = 2x pixel count), but with reduced field of view which is irrelevant if you're looking at a small portion of the frame anyway.
- We still have plenty of room to grow pixel counts before we are capturing nothing but additional gray sludge.

I'd love the next 7D to be 24MP on APS-C and have f/8 AF sensors.  Such a system would almost achieve MTF50 at f/8 - certainly it would achieve way above the commonly-used extinction points of MTF9, MTF5 or MTF0.  If they can't provide f/8 AF sensors, 32MP or more would be nice.

You are certainly free to conclude all you want, however I still think its factually invalid. The sensor's pixel count DOES NOT ACTUALLY INCREASE, two fold or any other fold. Thats a fixed constant for any given camera, no amount of optics will ever change that. Neither will they improve the spatial resolution of the system at large unless you replace the lens with something that is closer to perfection than its predecessor (and probably replace the teleconverters as well.) Even if you do replace a less than perfect lens with a perfect lens, the final spatial resolution of the system will never surpass that of the sensor itself...you can only approach it.

To turn things around, lets assume the lens is the limiting factor, rather than the sensor. The same rules apply to increasing the physical resolution of a sensor. If you are using a lens that is only capable of resolving 150lp/mm, using a sensor capable of 300lp/mm (2x oversampling) will still result in a system resolution of only 134.3lp/mm. Doubling the sensor resolution again to 600lp/mm still only gets you to 145.7lp/mm, and the returns diminish well beyond the realm of reason to actually approach 149.99lp/mm. The only thing you can do to increase the resolution of the system as a whole at this point is to physically improve the least effective component...a better lens, in this case. With a perfect lens capable of 173lp/mm and your 300lp/mm sensor, your system resolution is now 149.5lp/mm.

There is no one-piece magic bullet that can instantly improve the resolving power of any system by orders of magnitude. If you want to achieve 173lp/mm, you need to improve each and every component of the system to raise the lowest common denominator high enough that it surpasses your target resolution by a sufficient amount. To actually achieve a system resolution of 173lp/mm, you would need both a lens and a sensor capable of 247lp/mm, and that imposes a minimum aperture of f/2.8 in a perfect lens (or less than perfect lens with an even wider aperture.) It would be at this point, with a perfect f/2.8 lens, that we could finally use everything an 80mp APS-C sensor had to offer.



As a note on low-contrast photography and astronomical bodies. The use of extremely low contrast photography, at Rayleigh or even as low as Daws, by astronomers is to determine if two extremely close points of starlight are indeed separate points and thus separate...such as a binary star. Using photography for such purposes is not an average case, it is a rather specialized and more scientific case than anything else. One usually has to explicitly know about contrast, diffraction, MTF, etc., and know exactly what they are looking for, to be able to use MTF 0% photography to identify distant binary stars and the like. Special processing techniques are also usually involved when working at MTF 0%, such as multiple image stacking and superresolution that can use computation and algorithms to produce a final high resolution image that is more likely to show the 5% peak dip between two low-contrast points of light at Daws MTF 0. NorthLight images have this to say about digital photography down to MTF 0 (emphasis added):

Quote
So to resolve all data up to a frequency corresponding to 4000 lines—the Rayleigh criterion-- would require a Nyquist frequency of 8000 vertical lines, corresponding to 100 megapixels.

The Rayleigh criterion was derived based on a simple model that correctly predicted what astronomers could see. More recent astrophotographic techniques allow stars to be distinguished up to the point that MTF drops to zero. This is about 20-25% closer spacing than the Rayleigh criterion, and is referred to as the Dawes limit[14]. If we wished to use this as the criterion for resolution, then the required sensor resolution would be about 150 megapixels. It is also possible for astronomers to detect whether a star image is a single star or a binary star even of there is no separation between the two adjacent maxima: the form of the merged maximum can still be indicative of a binary subject.[15] . But there is a catch to the latter method: you have to know in advance that you are looking for two closely separated points. If you have no a priori information about what the subject is, this method won’t work. So it is pretty much useless for normal photography.

At current digital camera resolutions of 20-35mp, which are well below the 150mp necessary Dawes level photography (0% contrast) and 100mp necessary for Rayleigh level photography (9% contrast), we may be able to achieve useful resolution at less than MTF 50, but outside of specialized cases and potentially specialized processing, we still need considerably more contrast than at either Rayleigh or Dawes for the average type of photography where sharpness strait out of camera is highly desirable.

It should also be noted that much of Rayleigh and Dawes criterion astrophotography for the purposes of identifying binary stars started out with film. Film has better characteristics to gathering detail at low contrast than digital sensors do, so its more capable at resolving fine detail at MTF 9. Conversely, digital sensors are better than film at resolving contrasty detail at closer to MTF 40-50 than film is. For specialized photography, such as astrophotography, where low-contrast detail is supreme, there is probably far more room to grow in terms of digital sensor resolution than there is for general forms of photography, where sharpness and contrast are frequently more important.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 12:53:29 PM by jrista »

SandyP

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #104 on: April 03, 2012, 02:53:13 AM »
I hope they are, actually. Here's why...

I shoot weddings, every year, I shoot wedding. I like them, not only because they pay the bills, but because they're fun, and I enjoy that type of shooting. But yes, they're a major money maker for me. I also shoot documentary type stuff a few times a year, which involves shooting thousands and thousands of photos every few days, for upwards of 10+ days at a time. This is taxing. Even with 21MP of my 5D Mark II.

You can see where this is going. File sizes. Blah blah blah, yes, it matters. I was shooting a lot of stuff in SRAW1 on certain parts of the wedding, and during many parts of the documentary shooting in Cuba. Even whilst I knew that a lot of the stuff was going to print when I got back.

Anyways, I do shoot a lot of fashion, and portraits and stuff like that. High resolution is absolutely not needed for me, 21MP has always been amazing, (and a good friend shoots all that stuff with a D3s, at 12MP), but let's face it, 36MP would be nice in SOME situations for editing and potential magazine submissions where they like to crop heavily sometimes.

When I look at the D800, I'm secretly jealous of the resolution. I'm not a megapixel (mega pickles!) junkie, and I don't think the grass is always greener, but I love editing, and when I go to retouch, I'm always at 100% for a lot of the work I do. The D800 is sexy in this regard. DR isn't really my concern, and I see the 5D Mark III isn't quite up to it, but has more then the Mark II.

When I look at the Mark III, I think about all my sexy L glass, and the Canon files that I've always loved from my Mark II. And I see vast improvements where I've always wished they existed (AF being one).

I'm not into video, I'll use it now and then, but it's not my thing.


So, I'd love for Canon to eventually address this market, and I think eventually they will absolutely have to have something to compete with that. And I'll buy that Canon megapixel monster for sure, because I'd like to use specific tools for specific jobs. It wouldn't go to Cuba with me, it wouldn't be at my weddings. But it would be in the studio with me, and it would be at all the on location shoots I do.

Having both would keep me happy forever. Really.


As it is right now, I'm choosing the 5D3, because it's a very well balanced camera. It has good resolution, high ISO and great features such as excellent AF, finally. And in the end, we know that creativity, lighting, and vision have 1000x more to do with good photography than megapixels and the brand of camera you use.

But Canon, wake up a bit more! And surprise us a bit. :)

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Re: The Megapixels are Coming [CR1]
« Reply #104 on: April 03, 2012, 02:53:13 AM »