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Ian
27th June 2011, 10:07 AM
Olympus and Panasonic Lumix have been using the same 12MP LiveMOS Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds sensor for nearly three years since the launch of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 in September 2008. Panasonic introduced a new 16MP LiveMOS sensor recently with the new DMC-G3. It appears that the new Panasonic 16MP LiveMOS sensor performs about the same as the older 12MP sensor but of course with 25% more pixels, see the DxOMark ratings here:

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Compare-Camera-Sensors/Compare-sensors/%28appareil1%29/701|0/%28appareil2%29/687|0/%28appareil3%29/682|0/%28onglet%29/0/%28brand%29/Panasonic/%28brand2%29/Olympus/%28brand3%29/Olympus

But see what Sony can achieve with a similar pixel pitch to the 12.3MP sensor:

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Compare-Camera-Sensors/Compare-sensors/%28appareil1%29/685|0/%28appareil2%29/687|0/%28appareil3%29/684|0/%28onglet%29/0/%28brand%29/Sony/%28brand2%29/Olympus/%28brand3%29/Panasonic

So the question is, do you want more pixels at about the same image quality per pixel that we have now, or is 12MP enough but with improved pixel quality?

Please register your vote!

Ian

snaarman
27th June 2011, 10:29 AM
Same pixels please*, but sharper (anti alias filter I guess) and better at high ISO.

*Here's my theory, speaking as an engineer.

If I wanted to see a distinct improvment in your image, I would want it sampled twice as often. I.e - a new pixel in between each of my current pixels. Provided the lens was good enough then that would be a real step forward.

So, you have doubled the pixels in both directions. So a proper step up from a 12Mpixel sensor would be a 48Mpixel sensor *yes

Hmm.

Ian
27th June 2011, 10:32 AM
Same pixels please*, but sharper (anti alias filter I guess) and better at high ISO.

*Here's my theory, speaking as an engineer.

If I wanted to see a distinct improvment in your image, I would want it sampled twice as often. I.e - a new pixel in between each of my current pixels. Provided the lens was good enough then that would be a real step forward.

So, you have doubled the pixels in both directions. So a proper step up from a 12Mpixel sensor would be a 48Mpixel sensor *yes

Hmm.

Actually, if you consider the pixel array as a two dimensional matrix, then placing an extra pixel equidistant from the existing pixels would only double the resolution, not quadruple it?

So have you voted? :D

Ian

snaarman
27th June 2011, 10:41 AM
Actually, if you consider the pixel array as a two dimensional matrix, then placing an extra pixel equidistant from the existing pixels would only double the resolution, not quadruple it?

So have you voted? :D

Ian

Yep, vote first, comment later is my rule :-)

Pixels:

My '620 is (say) 4k by 3k = 12Mpixels

If I squeeze in these extra pixels along the horizontal axis, it will be 8k by 3k, and as you say, 24Mpixels. Clearly the horizontal axis now has twice the spatial resolution (which is what I want to see) but the vertical axis needs the same treatment as well. Hence 4k x 3k has to become 8k x 6k to get twice the spatial resolution in both directions. I maintain you would need to double the res in both directions to give you that smack in the face, can't miss it, real step forward.

I mean, you would think the jump from my old 8Mp 8080 to the 12Mp '620 would be enormous, but (raw for raw) it wasn't really :)

Pete

Ian
27th June 2011, 10:46 AM
Yep, vote first, comment later is my rule :-)

Pixels:

My '620 is (say) 4k by 3k = 12Mpixels

If I squeeze in these extra pixels along the horizontal axis, it will be 8k by 3k, and as you say, 24Mpixels. Clearly the horizontal axis now has twice the spatial resolution (which is what I want to see) but the vertical axis needs the same treatment as well. Hence 4k x 3k has to become 8k x 6k to get twice the spatial resolution in both directions. I maintain you would need to double the res in both directions to give you that smack in the face, can't miss it, real step forward.

I mean, you would think the jump from my old 8Mp 8080 to the 12Mp '620 would be enormous, but (raw for raw) it wasn't really :)

Pete

OK, I was thinking of this:



O O O O O O

O O O O O O

O O O O O O

O O O O O O


O O O O O O
N N N N N N
O O O O O O
N N N N N N
O O O O O O
N N N N N N
O O O O O O
N N N N N N

Where O = 'original' pixels and N = 'new pixels'

Ian

snaarman
27th June 2011, 11:11 AM
OK, I was thinking of this:



O O O O O O

O O O O O O

O O O O O O

O O O O O O


O O O O O O
N N N N N N
O O O O O O
N N N N N N
O O O O O O
N N N N N N
O O O O O O
N N N N N N

Where O = 'original' pixels and N = 'new pixels'

Ian

Ooh. "code".. Let me try that :)

If we were upgrading a camera design here to offer twice the resolution we would want to go for this



1 ONONONONONO
2 NNNNNNNNNNN
3 ONONONONONO
4 NNNNNNNNNNN
5 ONONONONONO



(Sorry about that - the {code} thing is clearly cleverer than me.. But you see what I mean..

Where lines 2 and 4 are whole new lines you didn't get before, so for each "old" you and up adding three "news"

Now that would have some serious resolution :-)

Bikie John
27th June 2011, 11:12 AM
Numbers-wise, 12 Mpix does me fine. It is "enough" for my use of the camera, I don't see any great advantage in an incremental increase. Any application that I can imagine using that wants more is probably pathological and would need an order of magnitude increase.

Despite the better high ISO results the E-5 gives, there is still plenty of room for improvement there. I suspect that a lot of the recent improvement has come from smarter processing of the sensor data rather than the sensor itself, which is more or less confirmed by Ian's comments. I find it pretty good for sports work up to about 1600, but at 3200 the images are reasonably clean but lose quite a bit of detail. This isn't a theoretical requirement - at one rugby match in January I was using the 150mm f/2 wide open with no converter, shooting at 3200 and eventually almost gave up because the shutter speeds were still too slow.

Ciao ... nocturnal John

Bikie John
27th June 2011, 11:19 AM
To drift off-topic a bit, I wondered about monochrome sensors. The sensors we use are basically monochrome devices which construct colour data by having lots more actual sensor sites than there are pixels, with coloured filters in front - the so-called Bayer Matrix. The processing the camera combines the data from the individual sites to give us RGB values. This has two effects - it vastly reduces the potential pixel count, and because each sensor site has two thirds of the light filtered out it limits low light sensitivity.

Having been used to shooting bands in badly lit pubs on black & white film, I could get quite excited about using a 30 Mpix sensor ran well at ISO 10000. It should be feasible using current technolology but sadly I suspect the market would be minuscule.

Ciao ... John still in the dark

wanderer
27th June 2011, 11:26 AM
As regards Ian and Snaarman,

Oh No. Anoraks.:D

I'll take better quality as increased no of pixels means much larger files therefore the computer has to be upgraded to cope. So more incidental costs that have to be written in.

Ian
27th June 2011, 11:35 AM
As regards Ian and Snaarman,

Oh No. Anoraks.:D

I'll take better quality as increased no of pixels means much larger files therefore the computer has to be upgraded to cope. So more incidental costs that have to be written in.

Now there's the answer of a stereotypical Scotsman :D

Ian

Ulfric M Douglas
27th June 2011, 11:42 AM
12 mpx
0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0

48 mpx
0X0X0X0X0
X X X X X X
0X0X0X0X0
X X X X X X
0X0X0X0X0
X X X X X X
0X0X0X0X0

jamie allan
27th June 2011, 11:49 AM
I really don't see I'd need/want more pixels for the images I take. I wouldn't want to spend an inordinate amount of time waiting for a large number of large files to be downloaded from the camera or card reader. I agree with John re the low light sensitivity and if this could be improved that would be the first thing I'd plump for.
I've voted.

francois
27th June 2011, 12:46 PM
For me, it's all a question of the quality/price ratio. So whether it's 12 or 16mp is a secondary factor. This is also why I'd rather keep an E-3 and spend money on quality glass rather than upgrade to an E-5.

So I vote for better quality. And to be more specific, I'd like the better quality to be focused on results under low light conditions. I think we can all agree that the current crop of Olympus products do give pleasing results when the conditions are conducive to photography.

benvendetta
27th June 2011, 12:54 PM
No more pixels with four thirds but if you look at full frame (my eventual goal), the more the better.
Olympus will be more and more off the pace when it comes to attracting new people to photography. It is these people that think the higher the MP count, the better the camera.
Unfortunately.

francois
27th June 2011, 02:47 PM
It is these people that think the higher the MP count, the better the camera.

It must be a factor. Then again, I don't think Olympus attracts people who only think that way. Already, if you make the choice to go for 4/3 or m4/3, you've already made a conscious decision. However, the pixel race must have played a part in the reason why Olympus have lost grounds and market share on the DSLR front.

Ian
27th June 2011, 03:25 PM
No more pixels with four thirds but if you look at full frame (my eventual goal), the more the better.
Olympus will be more and more off the pace when it comes to attracting new people to photography. It is these people that think the higher the MP count, the better the camera.
Unfortunately.

Nikon seems quite happy to produce a couple of 12MP full frame models (D3s and D700), and these are very popular.

Meanwhile, Andy Elliot tells us that the 12MP E-5 is a match for the Canon EOS-5D Mark II full frame camera in terms of resolution even though the canon has a 22MP sensor.

Ian

Greytop
27th June 2011, 03:26 PM
Higher quality pixels at 12Mp resolution please.

JohnF
27th June 2011, 05:48 PM
To drift off-topic a bit, I wondered about monochrome sensors. The sensors we use are basically monochrome devices which construct colour data by having lots more actual sensor sites than there are pixels, with coloured filters in front - the so-called Bayer Matrix. The processing the camera combines the data from the individual sites to give us RGB values. This has two effects - it vastly reduces the potential pixel count, and because each sensor site has two thirds of the light filtered out it limits low light sensitivity.

Having been used to shooting bands in badly lit pubs on black & white film, I could get quite excited about using a 30 Mpix sensor ran well at ISO 10000. It should be feasible using current technolology but sadly I suspect the market would be minuscule.

Ciao ... John still in the dark

Hi -

This is what I'd like as well. Plus binning the 12MP into 4MP to take the ISO to the moon: I'd rather have an exquisite, noise free image at 4MP than an exquisite, very noisy image as 12MP. You can never really get rid of that noise...

JohnF

DekHog
27th June 2011, 07:04 PM
12mp is fine for me, but better DR and less noise at high ISO would be lovely.... I've printed 20" x 30" from 6mp with no problems, so just can't think of a reason I need more than 12....

gazza95
27th June 2011, 09:02 PM
12mp is fine for prints I need to produce, and I suspect most people need to produce. What I want to see is better highlight and shadow detail along with wider usable ISO range.

Also the lenses we use today do not seem to resolve much better than 12mp at apertures we use. So increasing pixel count would not help much.


Gary

David M
27th June 2011, 09:40 PM
Go back to 10mp and give us the best quality possible.

And make it retro fit the E-410 and E-3. :D

Greytop
27th June 2011, 09:44 PM
Go back to 10mp and give us the best quality possible.

And make it retro fit the E-410 and E-3. :D

And the E-510 ;)

birdboy
27th June 2011, 10:01 PM
I am not sure I fully follow the more pixels vs quality issue. My simple understanding is that a pixel is like a grain it is a single point of one particular colour value. The more pixels you have the better the definition of youir final picture within glass limitations. Jpegs compress your filoe size. I have often told my friends not to buy a camera on pixel size it is only relevant if you want to print pictures on A3 A2 A1 A0 etc. Having said that I can see the advantage to larger pixels when you want to crop but the lens had better be good as well.

I think the voting ought to include better higher ISO images. You can but software that improves post pictures when shot with higher ISO so why not do the processing in camera.

I vote
1st better images at higher ISO
2nd more pixels
3rd better quality only because I feel pixels leads quality.

Just my twopennyworth.
Is Ian doing some market reaserch for Oly?

John

JonSchick
27th June 2011, 10:41 PM
8-10 MP in an E-1 body with a bigger rear LCD and more focus points, and I'd be in heaven!

To be honest, the 5MP it has do me pretty well - and the fact that you don't have an enormous ability to crop means I think a little more carefully before pressing the shutter button - to get the composition as right as I can first time around.

Ian
28th June 2011, 07:20 AM
I am not sure I fully follow the more pixels vs quality issue. My simple understanding is that a pixel is like a grain it is a single point of one particular colour value. The more pixels you have the better the definition of youir final picture within glass limitations. Jpegs compress your filoe size. I have often told my friends not to buy a camera on pixel size it is only relevant if you want to print pictures on A3 A2 A1 A0 etc. Having said that I can see the advantage to larger pixels when you want to crop but the lens had better be good as well.

I think the voting ought to include better higher ISO images. You can but software that improves post pictures when shot with higher ISO so why not do the processing in camera.

I vote
1st better images at higher ISO
2nd more pixels
3rd better quality only because I feel pixels leads quality.

Just my twopennyworth.
Is Ian doing some market reaserch for Oly?

John

My reasoning is that Panasonic has released the G3 with a 16MP LiveMOS sensor and maintained the quality (dynamic range, noise) of the pixels (usually when you increase the pixel density you lose quality, but clearly other improvements in the sensor hardware has compensated). The proposition is in the next generation of Olympus and Panasonic cameras we would prefer the G3 sensor with more pixels and maintained image quality per pixel or stay with 12MP and so benefit from the hardware improvements in the form of better quality pixels - more dynamic range and lower high ISO noise. The latter is theoretical, but entirely plausible, especially as at a similar pixel pitch Sony offers a significant improvement in dynamic range and noise.

I suppose I am doing market research, but only for the interest of everyone here :)

Ian

dbutch
29th June 2011, 06:44 PM
Hmm rumours of new 12meg olys out tomorrow does Ian know something i wonder
i believe for 4/3 we should keep at about 12meg to keep the onset of defraction within usable limits
Dave

Zuiko
29th June 2011, 07:05 PM
I think Olympus know that the optimum 4/3 sensor population is 12mp and will concentrate on other improvements in image quality for the forseeable future, despite virtually every other manufacturer, including Panasonic, jumping on the 16-18mp bandwaggon. These higher pixel counts are mainly to do with marketing and little to do with image quality in the real world, but when have Olympus been concerned with marketing their products by following the herd anyway? Traditionally they've always ploughed their own furrow and (to use another agricultural metaphor) I think they are about to reap the rewards and gather in the harvest of all their hard work developing the system. :)

DekHog
29th June 2011, 08:39 PM
8-10 MP in an E-1 body with a bigger rear LCD and more focus points, and I'd be in heaven....

Me too, but don't forget the IBIS.... :)

David Morison
10th July 2011, 09:12 AM
Just to put the whole thing in perspective this is a 100% crop of a photo taken on a Leica Digilux 2 camera with only 5.1 mp. Not only does it demonstrate the quality of German built Leica lenses (28-90mm EFL) but also that quality of pixels is of great importance. From in-camera jpeg. No pp except cropping.


http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/Edensor.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/36626)


David

zuiko-holic
10th July 2011, 11:28 AM
I vote for better pixels.

More pixels are good and I would be glad to see a 16MP or 18MP camera from olympus. Zuiko lenses provide superb resolution and I believe they easily outresolve 10 and 12MP. The ability to crop 16 or 18MP images would be of great use for wild life or macro photography.

BUT! Olympus has to resolve more important issues than the pixel count.
12MP are very reasonable and adequate for most uses, as mentioned before, hi-end models of Nikon provide "just" 12MP.

High-ISO and DR performance are what Olympus have to concentrate on.
That's easier with fewer MP and far more important than pixel count.

E-5 seems to be on the right way but there is always room for improvement and development.

8-10 MP in an E-1 body with a bigger rear LCD and more focus points, and I'd be in heaven!


Amen to that!

I recently purchased an Olympus E-1 and I am amazed by the ergonomics of the camera.

May I also add IS function?

JonSchick
10th July 2011, 03:23 PM
Too true. Had the Panasonic LC1 cousin of the Digilux 2 for years - perhaps the best "kit" lens I've ever used! There are many of us that wish Panasonic would simply update the thing a little for the micro four thirds era....