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Thread: Pixel quality guidline/market overview

  1. #1

    Pixel quality guidline/market overview


    I don't know if you've already seen this great camera overview displayed by manufacturer at
    I think the information about mpix per cm2 is new.

    Panasonic cameras as an example:

    You can choose another manufacturer very easy by selecting it under 'camera database' at the left menue side.

    We can see that
    todays compact cameras are going up to 43 mpix per cm2
    wherease DSLR's are between 1 and 3,
    mFT a bit higher with 5
    Pana LX3 moderate at 24
    Sigma dp1/2 at 1.6
    Ricoh GR digital III at 23, II at 25
    Pana fx01 at 24
    Canon G10 at 34

    Granted that there are differences in lens qualities I think that picture quality even at low iso values is mostly determined by pixel density.

    Before I looked into these statistics I got the impression that there are a few cameras that are ranked very high by forum members because of image quality (and other features like camera design, brand name tec.). These are Pana LX3, Canon G10 and Ricoh GR.
    I would have bet that they had a better pixel density than those other compact cameras. But in respect to this they are in the same class with every single other modern compact camera
    whose pictures at 100% view look as if the picture was cut into a million pieces and put together again (when compared to a smooth looking DSLR picture at 100% that looks like made by one piece).
    I'm not talking about higher ISO values.

    My personal picture quality 'guidline' now looks like this:

    1. DSLR's with FF sensors are best
    2. DSLR's with APS sensors and high pixel values are a bit worse at higher ISO values
    3.a. FT cameras with larger lenses
    3.b. mFT cameras that tend to be made as small as possible and sold together with as small as possible lenses with bad distortion that is heavily corrected in-camera.
    4. Sigma dp1/dp2 with small integrated lenses and SD15 with maybe unnecessary low pixel density
    big gap
    5.a LX3, Ricoh GR, Canon G10 with better lenses than other compacts
    5.b other compact cameras
    But I still wonder why 5a should be much better than 5b (as I read it in the forums) since the pixel level quality must be roughly the same.

    What do you think about 5a and 5b?

  2. #2

    Re: Pixel quality guidline/market overview

    Oh, what I tried was:
    I wanted to ask owners of cameras like LX3, ricoh and dlux to explain why these class of cameras are better than other compacts.

  3. #3
    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: Pixel quality guidline/market overview

    If you think that pixel density is what determines iq then your analysis is right for you.

    If you think that a number of different factors come into play including lens quality, user interface, size, along with other factors, then those numbers mean a lot less.

    The best camera is the one you have with you. If you can fit a D3 in your pocket then you're in business...

  4. #4

    Re: Pixel quality guidline/market overview

    I'm not sure what to think. That's why I asked.
    As a starting point for a discussion I posted pixel densities of different cameras.
    Now, after I've seen some very good examples of low ISO G11 pictures I doubt that this pixel density is the most important factor. I think that Canon must have improved the picture quality of these small high density sensors to a great deal. Now I see with my own eyes that a small sensor doesn't necessarily mean destroyed images at pixel level (100% view).

  5. #5

    Re: Pixel quality guidline/market overview

    One of the main things for IQ that people tend to forget is the quality of the light as in this shot

    My list for high quality images would be something like

    1) Quality of light

    2) Lens quality

    3) Quality of light

    4) Quality of light

    5)... followed by whatever sensor you have available.

    Shooting in B&W for a while makes you very aware of light quality.


  6. #6

    Re: Pixel quality guidline/market overview

    Here's another example taken with a Panasonic G1

    I would agree that pixel density makes a difference, if there's plenty of Light that difference is not very marked. In low light it's a different story of course. A low pixel density full frame sensor just expands the conditions where a picture with high quality can be captured, obviously a good thing, but a high pixel density small sensor need not stop you taking high quality images, you just have to be more aware of the light quality.


  7. #7
    D upton-Hackett.

    Re: Pixel quality guidline/market overview

    It's amazing just what you learn on this forum. Putting it into practice is another.

    Derek. Still have my L-plates on.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Re: Pixel quality guidline/market overview

    as i understand it, increased pixel density generally means more noise, which cancels out any gain in resolution. manufacturers finally focusing on the noise issue, why the g has gone down four megapixels.

    for the web none of this matters. 72 dpi hides all manner of sins. and destroys some pictures better seen more densely.

    for prints, much depends on the post-processing and the printer. look at and see the incredible work digital printers can do, no matter the files.

    photojournalism demands a different kind of picture from an ansel adams landscape. the question is: can you get the results you want?

    i think the right camera can make you a better photographer. this might be a pinhole, cause it stirs your imagination. it might be a hasselblad with a digital back giving you the kind of incredible detail you need.

    to me this last is the real question.


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