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Author Topic: PMA 2009  (Read 11023 times)

dalethorn

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PMA 2009
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2009, 09:24:31 pm »

Quote from: Ray
It's difficult to understand what some of you guys are arguing about. If you are convinced that there are benefits to having fewer but larger pixels on a sensor of a given size, relax. Fujifilm are now catering to your needs.
Here's a description of the remarkable properties of the Fujifilm Finepix F200EXR.
I think this might be the P&S for me, but I'm disappointed it does not support full HD movie mode.

My next 2 cameras are the GH1 and ZS3 by Panasonic, so I will be skipping the Fuji.  However, it would be *very* interesting to me to see if they can best what Panasonic did with the LX3, which IMO is useful in only a few situations. i.e. if the Fuji can perform well in a majority of scenarios, that might make it a good bet for a one-camera-does-all when the big camera isn't handy.  I've never been convinced by any of the less-dense sensor arguments for small cameras, so far at least, but it's possible that a step-down to 6 mp might make a good image if the result isn't muddy like the LX3's are in so many scenes I've shot. For this to work (I think), Fuji would have to have very limited noise processing, or the ability to turn the noise reduction off, at least for cases when the camera steps down to 6 mp.
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dalethorn

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PMA 2009
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2009, 09:29:42 pm »

Quote from: aaykay
Actually the Olympus manager stated that they intend to stick to 12MP for the 4/3 sensors, and improve other aspects of imaging.  
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13580_3-10189546-39.html

That follows what Panasonic is doing, which sounds good given the price they're charging for these cameras. I'll bet somebody who's reading this knows the game plan for the next couple of years, and if they want to make an anonymous prediction, that would be welcome.
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Ray

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« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2009, 11:06:36 pm »

Quote from: dalethorn
My next 2 cameras are the GH1 and ZS3 by Panasonic, so I will be skipping the Fuji.  However, it would be *very* interesting to me to see if they can best what Panasonic did with the LX3, which IMO is useful in only a few situations. i.e. if the Fuji can perform well in a majority of scenarios, that might make it a good bet for a one-camera-does-all when the big camera isn't handy.  I've never been convinced by any of the less-dense sensor arguments for small cameras, so far at least, but it's possible that a step-down to 6 mp might make a good image if the result isn't muddy like the LX3's are in so many scenes I've shot. For this to work (I think), Fuji would have to have very limited noise processing, or the ability to turn the noise reduction off, at least for cases when the camera steps down to 6 mp.

Both the Ricoh CX1 and Finepix F200EXR look very interesting with the sort of features that attempt to overcome the inherent DR limitations of the P&S. I'm not sure which I would prefer. I like the fact that the CX1 has a higher resolution LCD screen and a longer focal length than the F200EXR. I particularly like the fact that the CX1 can do focus autobracketing, in macro mode and normal mode, and the fact that in macro mode the minimum focussing distance is 1cm, as opposed to the minimum 5cm of the F200EXR. I like also the CX1's relatively fast frame rate of 4 frames/sec at full resolution

However, my main gripe with P&S cameras is that ultimately, whatever the bells and whistles, basic image quality even at its best seems lacking in pixel sharpness compared with a DSLR. This might be due to jpeg compression and default noise reduction which can't be turned off. Whatever the cause, I find it discouraging after the novelty of using a new toy has worn off.

The GH1 might be a better option, particularly as a result of its HD movie mode with more flexible control than the 5D2.
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BJL

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« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2009, 11:17:58 am »

Quote from: aaykay
Actually the Olympus manager stated that they intend to stick to 12MP for the 4/3 sensors, and improve other aspects of imaging.  

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13580_3-10189546-39.html
Actually, no such definitive claim of "never more than 12MP" is made, despite that being the way that many people read his statement. My reading is that Olympus feels that
1. resolution increases are now a lower priority than improving other aspects of IQ, so big or rapid increases in pixel count beyond 12MP should not be expected
2. 20MP is the limit for the foreseeable future for all formats smaller than 35mm full frame.

I would go only so far as to predict that the next few 4/3 models with offer "12MP" sensors with the current pixel spacing, but improvements in other respects. Panasonic already claims as much for the new GH-1 sensor, and the 10MP sensors went through several such incremental improvements. I severely doubt that the 4/3 partners will stick stubbornly at 12MP if APS-C DSLR's get to the point of having smaller photosites than 4/3, meaning going beyond 20MP. Panasonic uses the same MOS sensor technology in phone sensors of far smaller pixel size, so the technology is not close to its minimum possible size.


Below are some quotes, with emphasis added. (Aside: Olympus has now officially accepted the neologism of using "full frame" as a synonym for 24x36mm format!)
The first comment sounds a lot like something that Michael R. said in a recent essay ... but his new camera has a bit more than 12MP!


"Twelve megapixels is, I think, enough for covering most applications most customers need," said Akira Watanabe, manager of Olympus Imaging's SLR planning department ...

"We have no intention to compete in the megapixel wars for E-System,"

Instead, Olympus will focus on other characteristics such as dynamic range, color reproduction, and a better ISO range for low-light shooting.

"We don't think 20 megapixels is necessary for everybody. If a customer wants more than 20 megapixels, he should go to the full-frame models"
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 11:30:57 am by BJL »
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aaykay

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« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2009, 05:01:48 pm »

Quote from: BJL
"Twelve megapixels is, I think, enough for covering most applications most customers need," said Akira Watanabe, manager of Olympus Imaging's SLR planning department ...

So the conclusion I would draw from the above is that Olympus, with their thin slice of the market, would try to create products that will cater to most of the applications such products would be used for and which would fully meet the needs of most customers.  Basically, they don't have the vast resources to create esoteric products and leave the development of such products to the bigger manufacturers with larger resources.

Quote
"We don't think 20 megapixels is necessary for everybody. If a customer wants more than 20 megapixels, he should go to the full-frame models"

Yes, the above essentially means (as I interpret it), we personally will stick to 12mp and improve the other aspects of imaging.  People who have a real need for large 20+MP resolutions (something that a 14mp or 15mp or 16mp etc will not satisfy), should go toward large full-frame sensors.  

From their perspective, a person who is thrilled by 14mp or 15MP or 16MP or some such number (that lies between 12 and 20MP), would be perfectly satisfied with 12MP (as long as the other aspects of imaging are significantly better in the 12MP product)  but once the "resolution need gap" gets much wider - like say 20MP and beyond - a buyer may not be satisfied with 12MP at all, and thus should look at large sensors that will not have to stuff in too much pixel density to get to a large gross MP number.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 05:05:21 pm by aaykay »
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Guillermo Luijk

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« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2009, 07:29:55 am »

Quote from: BernardLanguillier
Pretty amazing composition.

Cheers,
Bernard
You can properly stitch 20 million shots done with marcmccalmont's 2x2 pixel camera and will get a better quality image than with a single shot on your Nikon D3X.

PS: you will get old as well. The way to go?  

BJL

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« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2009, 02:24:24 pm »

Quote from: aaykay
Yes, the above essentially means (as I interpret it), we personally will stick to 12mp and improve the other aspects of imaging.  People who have a real need for large 20+MP resolutions (something that a 14mp or 15mp or 16mp etc will not satisfy), should go toward large full-frame sensors.
That is also consistent with what was said. But there is enough ambiguity that I would not bet one way or the other on Olympus staying forever at 12MP in Four Thirds. (I would bet on Four Thirds to stay at 12MP for all of this year's models.)

At several stages Canon had a lower pixel count in it its top EF-S model than in a less expensive one, and in some competing products: 30D vs 400D and D200, 40D vs 450D and D300. At one point, a Canon rep. explained this in terms of a preference by customers for this level of camera for beter pixels over more of them, as if staying at a lower pixel count was a deliberate quality decision. Of course the 40D rather quickly caught up with the 400D and D200 at 10MP, and the 50D made the big jump to 15MP not so long after the 450D and D300.

Likewise, Nikon talked cagily about there not being much need for 35mmFF DSLRs, and about not having any current plans for such a product, while never explicitly ruling one out.

I see the Olympus comments in the same light; a vague indication of plans, carefully phrased more as opinion of the speaker than as official organizational policy and avoiding rigidly ruling out any response to future development in technology and market demand.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2009, 02:25:22 pm by BJL »
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eronald

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« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2009, 03:27:57 pm »

Quote from: BJL
That is also consistent with what was said. But there is enough ambiguity that I would not bet one way or the other on Olympus staying forever at 12MP in Four Thirds. (I would bet on Four Thirds to stay at 12MP for all of this year's models.)

At several stages Canon had a lower pixel count in it its top EF-S model than in a less expensive one, and in some competing products: 30D vs 400D and D200, 40D vs 450D and D300. At one point, a Canon rep. explained this in terms of a preference by customers for this level of camera for beter pixels over more of them, as if staying at a lower pixel count was a deliberate quality decision. Of course the 40D rather quickly caught up with the 400D and D200 at 10MP, and the 50D made the big jump to 15MP not so long after the 450D and D300.

Likewise, Nikon talked cagily about there not being much need for 35mmFF DSLRs, and about not having any current plans for such a product, while never explicitly ruling one out.

I see the Olympus comments in the same light; a vague indication of plans, carefully phrased more as opinion of the speaker than as official organizational policy and avoiding rigidly ruling out any response to future development in technology and market demand.

Actually, Nikon seem to have surfed the better pixel wave quite nicely with the D3/D700. If they put the D3 sensor in an MF back it would do 6400 ISO, without binning, and look better than my P45+ at ISO 400.  I fail to understand why the junk technology goes in the MF backs, while the dSLR crowd are  anouncing their move to back-thinned sensors, after delivering *functional and usable*in-camera live view, lens or body stabilization, and adequate video? Or maybe is it that there are about 10x design hours more going into the cheapest Rebel than into the most expensive digital back ? Maybe Sony and Canon and Sony have actually invested a significant amount of time into creating new consumer technology, while Dalsa and Kodak just recycle existing designs into military gear? Does Kodak still manufacture anything related to consumer electronic imaging, actually, or are the S2 buyers going to be the last contributors to the dividends of a dying 20th century company ?

Edmund
« Last Edit: March 13, 2009, 04:03:21 pm by eronald »
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BernardLanguillier

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« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2009, 08:50:01 pm »

Quote from: GLuijk
You can properly stitch 20 million shots done with marcmccalmont's 2x2 pixel camera and will get a better quality image than with a single shot on your Nikon D3X.

PS: you will get old as well. The way to go?  

Yes, yes and most probably.

I was already thinking of investing in a UX21 and Painter 11 anticipating the day when carrying the tripod would become too much but your proposal is even more cost effective.

Now, I would argue that at most print sizes, the result of the 20 million shot stitch will be hard to distinguish from a uniform color computed to the average RGB value between the 4 patches... Either way, I will speak with the good folks at Autopano and PTgui to see if they can add 2x2 pixels images to their critical test samples.

Cheers,
Bernard

dalethorn

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PMA 2009
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2009, 11:52:51 pm »

Overall I like what Panasonic is doing, although given the lower-priced end of the quality-camera market they're serving, I think they're being too conservative with pixels (I know, I know, but ya gotta compete, and they're not crowding Nikon or Canon - yet.) Anyway buying a new camera for $1000 every six months is very affordable, with great new choices in the next few weeks. I see ever-more expensive Nikons and Canons at Best Buy now, so maybe along with the "convergence of stills and video" we are also headed for the "convergence of SLR and compact" in various sizes and shapes, based on EVIL designs.
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Dan Wells

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« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2009, 11:16:47 pm »

I wonder where the limits will prove to be? There really hasn't been much improvement in overall image quality from compact cameras since somewhere in the 5-8 mp range. 12 mp APS-C DSLRs work pretty well, while the 15 mp Canon 50D has gathered mixed reviews. It DOES seem to outresolve 12 mp cameras, but not by as much as expected, and its noise control may not be as good as some had hoped for (15 mp may work slightly better on the marginally larger 1.5x APS-C format, rather than Canon's 1.6x). The 24 mp FF DSLRs are very usable with good lenses, and there may be more room above that (probably not very much).

Will this be where we start to lose so much to diffraction, noise, etc... that the benefits of cramming in more pixels are outweighed by the costs?

Compacts - already way over what makes sense - rational number between 5 and 8 mp?
APS-C - 12 (4/3) to 14-16? (1.5x Nikon/Sony/Pentax format)?
FF35 - 25-32 mp?
645 - (medium format) 60 (36x48mm) to 75-80 (FF 645) mp - if the lenses can handle it?

                    -Dan

                                         



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DarkPenguin

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PMA 2009
« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2009, 12:58:05 am »

Quote from: Dan Wells
I wonder where the limits will prove to be? There really hasn't been much improvement in overall image quality from compact cameras since somewhere in the 5-8 mp range. 12 mp APS-C DSLRs work pretty well, while the 15 mp Canon 50D has gathered mixed reviews. It DOES seem to outresolve 12 mp cameras, but not by as much as expected, and its noise control may not be as good as some had hoped for (15 mp may work slightly better on the marginally larger 1.5x APS-C format, rather than Canon's 1.6x). The 24 mp FF DSLRs are very usable with good lenses, and there may be more room above that (probably not very much).

Will this be where we start to lose so much to diffraction, noise, etc... that the benefits of cramming in more pixels are outweighed by the costs?

Compacts - already way over what makes sense - rational number between 5 and 8 mp?
APS-C - 12 (4/3) to 14-16? (1.5x Nikon/Sony/Pentax format)?
FF35 - 25-32 mp?
645 - (medium format) 60 (36x48mm) to 75-80 (FF 645) mp - if the lenses can handle it?

                    -Dan

I don't think it ever gets worse.  There is something to be said for capturing diffraction completely and accurately.  It just means that the individual pixels might not be as pristine as those generated on the happy side of the diffraction limit.

As to the 50D it is my understanding that it pretty much shows the increase in resolution one would expect.  Look around for some more reviews.  This was much discussed.  (Particularly after the DPreview review.)
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Dan Wells

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« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2009, 10:50:25 am »

Quote from: DarkPenguin
I don't think it ever gets worse.  There is something to be said for capturing diffraction completely and accurately.  It just means that the individual pixels might not be as pristine as those generated on the happy side of the diffraction limit.

As to the 50D it is my understanding that it pretty much shows the increase in resolution one would expect.  Look around for some more reviews.  This was much discussed.  (Particularly after the DPreview review.)

Diffraction never does get worse - it just stops the image from getting any BETTER. At standard compact camera image sensor sizes, a 15 mp image is limited to somewhere around 5 to 8 by diffraction at most reasonable apertures. According to the diffraction calculator posted by Cambridge In Colour (the best online one I've found), a 14 megapixel compact is diffraction limited by f2.8 unless it uses a 2/3" sensor - an unusual  size found primarily in some older Olympus hybrid cameras. With more standard 1/1.7" or 1/1.8" image sensors, even an 8 mp compact is diffraction limited before f2.8. How many compacts actually have f2.0 lenses (almost nothing is diffraction limited at f2.0)?

The infamous 50D is NOT diffraction limited at f5.6 (so even a slow lens actually has one full resolution stop on it), but it IS before f8, so slower lenses are only theoretically capable of  delivering full resolution wide open - for the most part these coincide with the consumer lenses that don't deliver good performance in other respects wide open. The 50D DOES have extra usable resolution when used with a prime lens or an expensive high-speed zoom.

For resolution that disappears into diffraction, we seem to be giving up some noise performance and dynamic range (high-pixel compacts have notoriously poor dynamic range). Is it worth it, or should the engineers be concentrating on making cameras with existing (or in the case of compacts, lower) resolution levels, but better performance in other regards?

             -Dan
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Ray

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« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2009, 02:10:19 pm »

Quote from: Dan Wells
Diffraction never does get worse - it just stops the image from getting any BETTER. At standard compact camera image sensor sizes, a 15 mp image is limited to somewhere around 5 to 8 by diffraction at most reasonable apertures. According to the diffraction calculator posted by Cambridge In Colour (the best online one I've found), a 14 megapixel compact is diffraction limited by f2.8 unless it uses a 2/3" sensor - an unusual  size found primarily in some older Olympus hybrid cameras. With more standard 1/1.7" or 1/1.8" image sensors, even an 8 mp compact is diffraction limited before f2.8. How many compacts actually have f2.0 lenses (almost nothing is diffraction limited at f2.0)?

The infamous 50D is NOT diffraction limited at f5.6 (so even a slow lens actually has one full resolution stop on it), but it IS before f8, so slower lenses are only theoretically capable of  delivering full resolution wide open - for the most part these coincide with the consumer lenses that don't deliver good performance in other respects wide open. The 50D DOES have extra usable resolution when used with a prime lens or an expensive high-speed zoom.

For resolution that disappears into diffraction, we seem to be giving up some noise performance and dynamic range (high-pixel compacts have notoriously poor dynamic range). Is it worth it, or should the engineers be concentrating on making cameras with existing (or in the case of compacts, lower) resolution levels, but better performance in other regards?

             -Dan

There's a clear conflict here between the mathematical calculations of Airy disc diameter and the results the eyes see. Which do you believe?

There's a Canon EOS Digital Camera forum which concerns itself only with Canon cameras at http://photography-on-the.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=9

I remember a few years ago, some apparently knowledgeable poster whom I shan't name, started a thread titled, to the effect, that the stoping down beyonf F11 with the D60 serves no purpose and that Canon engineers were aware of this and that Canon were therfore hoodwinking the public.

His assertion was based upon a standard mathematical calculation of Airy disc size. At F11, the Airy disc (or blur) due to lens diffraction was as big as the D60 pixel. As a consequence, the D60 could not deliver any greater resolution than the 3mp D30, when stopped down beyonf F11.

This view was not supported by any comparison images and the thread continued for many pages. In fact, the thread became one of the longest on the forum. As I recall, it was only exceeded in length by one other thread which encouraged posters to show pictures of their empty Canon equipment boxes.

Some years after the thread had begun, I posted a few comparison images demonstrating that even at F22 the 20D captured more detail than the D60 at F22. Did this have any effect on the OP's view? Of course not. We were into the religion of mathematics here. The maths must be right, and I must be wrong. My test images must be flawed.

I had a dejavu experience recently on this forum when I tried to demonstrate that the 50D captured marginally more detail than the 40D even at F22. Some character by the name of Slough (who later claimed to be a PhD) vehemently disagreed with my results for no rational reason whatsoever that I could discern.
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Slough

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« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2009, 02:41:28 pm »

Quote from: Ray
I had a dejavu experience recently on this forum when I tried to demonstrate that the 50D captured marginally more detail than the 40D even at F22. Some character by the name of Slough (who later claimed to be a PhD) vehemently disagreed with my results for no rational reason whatsoever that I could discern.

I said no such thing, as you well know. But don't let reality get in the way of a 'good' story.

I recall some while back that the limit of your ability to argue your point of view was to call me a wanker.   I also recall that you had trouble with logic, and clarity of expression. You took Humpty Dumpty's view that a word would mean exactly what you wanted it to mean.  

« Last Edit: March 15, 2009, 02:45:55 pm by Slough »
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Ray

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« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2009, 02:48:16 pm »

Quote from: Slough
Are you trying to be offensive? I recall some while back that the limit of your ability to argue your point of view was to call me a wanker.  

I said no such thing, as you well know. But don't let reality get in the way of a 'good' story.

No. Just trying to get at the facts. Trying to help you to be more rational. I'm trying to make the point that you seem to have a belief in a theory like a theologian has a belief in God, and that no amount of rational argument or empirical evidence will change your view. That's my sincere opinion.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2009, 02:49:56 pm by Ray »
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Slough

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« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2009, 04:19:58 am »

Quote from: Ray
No. Just trying to get at the facts. Trying to help you to be more rational. I'm trying to make the point that you seem to have a belief in a theory like a theologian has a belief in God, and that no amount of rational argument or empirical evidence will change your view. That's my sincere opinion.

You should try reality. You might like it.
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Ray

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« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2009, 06:09:46 am »

Quote from: Slough
You should try reality. You might like it.

I like my reality. My studio's outside of the metropolitan madness. I commune with nature. I love my wallabies and parrots and I think Australia's the best place on earth. I wouldn't swap it for quids with your reality. (No offense, mind you   ).
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BJL

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« Reply #38 on: March 17, 2009, 04:32:54 pm »

Quote from: aaykay
Actually the Olympus manager stated that they intend to stick to 12MP for the 4/3 sensors, and improve other aspects of imaging.  

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13580_3-10189546-39.html
This is now clarified as not meaning a permanent 12MP limit, in another PMA 2009 interview at http://news.fourthirdsphoto.com/node/14

a. We believe the most important factor for excellent image quality are the lenses. From the view point of the sensors and engine development, we have focused both to increase the MP and to reduce noise. Now, I think 12MP is covering most photo applications by the majority of users, and we should not be in a hurry to increase the pixel count as has been the case before. This does not mean we will stop at 12MP, but rather would like to focus the priority of our efforts on improving other characteristics of a sensor.
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dalethorn

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« Reply #39 on: March 17, 2009, 11:06:28 pm »

Quote from: BJL
....Now, I think 12MP is covering most photo applications by the majority of users, and we should not be in a hurry to increase the pixel count as has been the case before. This does not mean we will stop at 12MP, but rather would like to focus the priority of our efforts on improving other characteristics of a sensor.[/i]

This *seems* reasonable, since improvements in areas other than pixel count are forthcoming, and being in a *hurry* to increase pixel counts is a non-starter. However, looking at actual 12 mp images, I see missing info I would like to have. Today, a photo of a photographer shooting a bride prepping for the big day, I clearly captured the bottom plate of the camera, as well as other details. But I can't read the bottom plate, even though the image is sharp, due to lack of pixels. So claiming that "12 mp is enough" for nearly any purpose other than abstract art is simply a denial of reality, literally and figuratively.
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