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Author Topic: 21 vs 12 MP  (Read 10210 times)
davewolfs
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« on: February 22, 2009, 03:23:53 PM »
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Realistically, in terms of details and image quality is there a big jump when going from a 12MP sensor to a 21MP sensor?  Any comments from those who have?
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2009, 03:35:10 PM »
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Quote from: davewolfs
Realistically, in terms of details and image quality is there a big jump when going from a 12MP sensor to a 21MP sensor?  Any comments from those who have?

Yes small details like foliage, grass etc look more realistic, large details remain the same, lenses/filters make a bigger difference now.
Leaves on trees look more like photographed leaves and less art like.
5D to 5DII
Marc
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2009, 03:35:50 PM »
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I would say only if you want to make big prints. Really you just have more pixels to play with, so if you only print say to 16 x 12 inches you will not see any difference.
I do not think that there is any other inherent advantage in pixel numbers.
Jim
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Roger Calixto
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2009, 03:48:12 PM »
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honestly, I've had the same question ....
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lattiboy
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2009, 04:13:51 PM »
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Going from the A700 (12MP) to the A900 (24.6MP) I'd say the biggest real world difference besides larger prints is the ability to crop substantially. On telephoto this doesn't make a huge difference because lenses aren't perceived to be as long as APS-C, but on medium/wide shots it can help a great deal when dealing with difficult angles and framing obstructions.

In my particular upgrade I found the DR, build quality, and viewfinder trumped any resolution gains.
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pete_truman
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2009, 04:43:33 PM »
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Advantages I have found through using and seeing (in prints and on screen, not through scientific measurement or test results)

+ there's detail within the detail and the details in prints appear somewhat richer as a result
+ ability to crop more and still make large prints
+ later generation sensors are less noisy at higher ISOs
+ later generation sensors appear to have increased dynamic range - so it is often possible to pull out more detail in shadow areas than previously

Most of this will be hardly visible if you only ever make small prints or publish to the web.

There are however some downsides:

- increased disk space needed. Disk space is relatively inexpensive but makes managing large amounts of image data more complex.
- any camera shake is exacerbated - it takes very little movement to be seen
- optical problems with lenses will be more visible, or you may find problems you never knew you had  

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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2009, 05:30:38 PM »
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Quote from: pete_truman
+ later generation sensors are less noisy at higher ISOs
+ later generation sensors appear to have increased dynamic range - so it is often possible to pull out more detail in shadow areas than previously
I agree with these two points. I've owned all three models/generations of the Canon 1Ds and if you don't up-rez your images, and are diligent about sharpening, the only differences you'll see will boil down to these two factors.
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2009, 06:59:39 PM »
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Quote from: davewolfs
Realistically, in terms of details and image quality is there a big jump when going from a 12MP sensor to a 21MP sensor?  Any comments from those who have?

Yes, you'll see a difference. Ctein notes that you need roughly a 50% increase in megapixel count before you'll have an easily perceived improvement in image quality, and that matches my experience. Like another poster in this thread, I've owned all three versions of Canon's Eos-1Ds. The move from the 11 megapixel initial model to the 16 megapixel mark II provided a modest improvement in resolution that was only visible in very large prints. (The vast improvement in operating speed and general usability was another thing entirely). Moving from the mark II to the 21 megapixel mark III again provided a modest improvement in resolution, evident in large prints only.

If I compare images from the 11 megapixel mark I to those from the 21 megapixel mark III, the difference is easily apparent at large print sizes. If you're comparing 8x12" prints, you probably won't be able to distinguish them. The larger you print, however, the more evident the difference becomes. If you aren't going to print any bigger than about 12x18", you may want to save your money. On the other hand, if you print large, it's worth the move to 21 mp. And if you're stitching, you don't need so many frames in your stitch.
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Roger Calixto
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2009, 01:53:56 AM »
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I have a 30d and was pretty gung ho about upgrading to a 50D this year when the price goes down but after all I've been hearing about super-sensibility to camera shake and on-the-spot focusing, I think I'm going to end up going to a used 40D and save the money and the hassle. As a hobby photographer I ofthen don't have more than a little while to spend on my photography. The extra procesing time and hassle might not be worth it.

Anyone else in that boat? I can do without the extra mps =)
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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2009, 01:55:29 AM »
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Quote from: davewolfs
Realistically, in terms of details and image quality is there a big jump when going from a 12MP sensor to a 21MP sensor?  Any comments from those who have?

I jumped from a Canon 1D MrkII 8.2MP to a 21MP 1DS MrkIII.

All the benefits mentioned in the previouos post I agree  with. The other benefits for me were moving to full frame and moving up 1 camera generation. So camera handling improved with new features like:
Live Preview with realtime histogram
Better menu system
Joystick select thing
My Menu
Sensor Cleaning
Lithium battery that lasts forever

All these small things add up to a much improved camera system





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Daniel Browning
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2009, 01:17:51 PM »
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Quote from: pete_truman
+ there's detail within the detail and the details in prints appear somewhat richer as a result
+ ability to crop more and still make large prints

Agreed.

Quote from: pete_truman
- any camera shake is exacerbated - it takes very little movement to be seen
- optical problems with lenses will be more visible, or you may find problems you never knew you had  

I wouldn't consider these "downsides", per se. It's like getting a new eyeglass prescription.

Your old eyeglasses may seem to work fine, but when you get a new and much stronger prescription, suddenly a lot of details will pop out. Specs of dust on your furniture that were invisible pop into view. The facial aberrations (minute scars, blemishes, hairs) you see in the mirror suddenly increase in great number. When you cut off other cars while driving, the other driver no longer just waves, you can now see he is using a specific hand gesture.

In the same way, the pixel resolution is like eyelgass prescriptions. With your old "12MP" prescription, the large pixels blurred fine detail so much that you couldn't see the blur caused by camera shake or the optical aberrations in your gear.

With your new "21 MP" prescription, the pixels are no longer blurring out the fine detail that obscured problems before. Now you can see the camera shake and aberrations that were always there, but hidden. Of course, you don't have to see them if you don't want to: downsize the image to the same spatial frequency (resolution) as your old camera and they will disappear. This is like putting on your old glasses.

A better solution is to improve your gear and technique enough to take greater advantage of the higher resolution.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2009, 03:02:44 PM »
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Hi!

A900 (24MP FF) vs A700 (12 MP APS-C)  uprezzed to 9921 pixels width at actual pixels
http://www.pbase.com/ekr/image/107619976/original

Scans at 300 PPI from aproximately A2 size prints
http://www.pbase.com/ekr/image/107823207/original

In this case very little difference in A2-size prints, but I have seen larger differences on other prints. Probably depending on subject.


Best regards
Erik

Quote from: lattiboy
Going from the A700 (12MP) to the A900 (24.6MP) I'd say the biggest real world difference besides larger prints is the ability to crop substantially. On telephoto this doesn't make a huge difference because lenses aren't perceived to be as long as APS-C, but on medium/wide shots it can help a great deal when dealing with difficult angles and framing obstructions.

In my particular upgrade I found the DR, build quality, and viewfinder trumped any resolution gains.
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lattiboy
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2009, 05:37:22 PM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Hi!

A900 (24MP FF) vs A700 (12 MP APS-C)  uprezzed to 9921 pixels width at actual pixels
http://www.pbase.com/ekr/image/107619976/original

Scans at 300 PPI from aproximately A2 size prints
http://www.pbase.com/ekr/image/107823207/original

In this case very little difference in A2-size prints, but I have seen larger differences on other prints. Probably depending on subject.


Best regards
Erik


Hmmm. That's interesting as I've noticed the difference even at 13x19. I suppose this could be my preconceived notions of more pixels. Thanks for the side-by-side.

At any rate, I found the non-resolution related upgrades of far more value. Another huge difference is how much better some of the older glass performs on a proper 35mm platform. I have a ton of Minolta glass and it really got a whole second life on my A900. I had always imagined that APS-C used the "sweet spot" and I'd be disappointed, but it turns out optical design is wildly more complicated than that  
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2009, 11:52:43 PM »
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Hi,

Actually I was quite surprised. Because the difference was absolutely striking on screen I expected a lot of significant difference also in prints. My prints were just A4 of 50% crops, but that is essenitially identical to A2 at 100% crops. I showed my prints to two friends at work, one is older and has a lot of experience from one of the top professional labs in Sweden the other is younger. Both could not really tell the prints apart. I have seen larger difference on other prints. On the other hand I had the impression that my A700 with my best lenses and was quite adequate for A2 prints. For that reason I was in doubt regarding the additional value of the A900. I feel that if I make a great image I want it to be as good as possible, even if seldom printing larger than A2 which is my maximum print size. I need to go to a lab for larger prints.

Nice to hear about your old Minolta glass getting a second life! I have also some 20/2.8, 28-75/2.8, 100/2.8 Macro, 80-200/2.8, 300/4 and 400/4.5. The short lenses have not seen a lot of usage on the A700 but both the 20/2.8 and the 28-75/2.8 perform very well on the A900 even if they need to be stopped down.

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: lattiboy
Hmmm. That's interesting as I've noticed the difference even at 13x19. I suppose this could be my preconceived notions of more pixels. Thanks for the side-by-side.

At any rate, I found the non-resolution related upgrades of far more value. Another huge difference is how much better some of the older glass performs on a proper 35mm platform. I have a ton of Minolta glass and it really got a whole second life on my A900. I had always imagined that APS-C used the "sweet spot" and I'd be disappointed, but it turns out optical design is wildly more complicated than that  
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 12:18:56 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

lattiboy
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« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2009, 01:16:45 AM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Hi,

Actually I was quite surprised. Because the difference was absolutely striking on screen I expected a lot of significant difference also in prints. My prints were just A4 of 50% crops, but that is essenitially identical to A2 at 100% crops. I showed my prints to two friends at work, one is older and has a lot of experience from one of the top professional labs in Sweden the other is younger. Both could not really tell the prints apart. I have seen larger difference on other prints. On the other hand I had the impression that my A700 with my best lenses and was quite adequate for A2 prints. For that reason I was in doubt regarding the additional value of the A900. I feel that if I make a great image I want it to be as good as possible, even if seldom printing larger than A2 which is my maximum print size. I need to go to a lab for larger prints.

Nice to hear about your old Minolta glass getting a second life! I have also some 20/2.8, 28-75/2.8, 100/2.8 Macro, 80-200/2.8, 300/4 and 400/4.5. The short lenses have not seen a lot of usage on the A700 but both the 20/2.8 and the 28-75/2.8 perform very well on the A900 even if they need to be stopped down.

Best regards
Erik


Yes, I think it seems dSLRs have reached a kind of wall. I mean, what percentage of people do you think are actually producing A2 or larger prints with their 20+ MP beasts?

Personally, I upgraded because I had heard prices were going to be increasing in the future and Microsoft Cashback was in the finals days. Paid $2250 from an HK ebay store for mine and feel it was worth every penny for the things I mentioned earlier. I actually forgot the biggest addition: The viewfinder! I was toying around with an A700 at Circuity City and couldn't believe the difference! What seemed to be perfectly good when I was using it turned into a long tunnel with a small window at the end. It really spoils you for life once you've used the 100% VF.

As to old glass: The beercan, the 85mm f/1.4, and (especially!) the 28-135mm are just fantastic. The beercan regains the utility of true 70mm on the wide end and the sharpness and bokeh you found in a good copy on the A700. The 28-135mm becomes that perfect super-zoom it was designed to be, and the 85mm goes back to being an amazing walkaround lens. The focus speed bump on all of them is also astounding. The 28-135mm could quite literally burn your hand if you aren't careful! That rear focus ring is one of those "Mind of Minolta" things that keeps you shaking your head....
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 01:17:38 AM by lattiboy » Logged
ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2009, 03:06:05 AM »
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Thanks for good points. I'll look into that when I'm back from US.

I also expect differences may be more visible on tiny high contrast edges like branches? We don't really have that much foliage in Sweden this time of the year.

I'll do more tests...

Best regards
Erik

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Makes me wonder if you have optimized head alignment and ink laydown.
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JRKO
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« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2009, 08:07:13 AM »
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Don't forget when going from 12-21MP with the 5d mk1 and mk2 you also get a much upgraded processor - now 14bit.  IIRC that means gradation in colour tone, light, shadow and texture are smoother and more natural in appearance.
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Mort54
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« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2009, 12:45:29 PM »
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It depends on how big you print, really. If you print 13" x 19" (12" x 18" actual image size), you won't see much, if any, difference. If you print bigger you'll start seeing a difference. Seeing a difference on screen at 100% isn't really indicative of what you'll see on the print.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 12:46:16 PM by Mort54 » Logged

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lovell
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« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2009, 10:42:16 AM »
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12mp to 21mp is just a jump of just under 50%.  This difference will show in large enlargements (16" x 20" or larger).

To double the resolution you'd have to go from 12mp to 48mp.
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Gemmtech
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« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2009, 02:59:10 PM »
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Quote from: lovell
12mp to 21mp is just a jump of just under 50%.  This difference will show in large enlargements (16" x 20" or larger).

To double the resolution you'd have to go from 12mp to 48mp.


As an architect and a math major I've always disliked this statement.  If I have a room and it's 10'x10' that's 100 sqft. if I double the square footage of the room it's 200 sq.ft. or 10'x20'.  Wouldn't the correct statement be, if you want to double both the horizontal and vertical resolution then it would be 48mp?  I agree that we have to stay within the confines of the sensor, but 24mp is double 12mp.  What if we changed the sensor size or aspect ratio?
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