Pixel size vs pixel count

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Sanford, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. Does the 12mp Nikon D300 hold any advantage over the 20mp Nikon D500 because the D300 has fewer but much larger pixels?
  2. The D300 is long in the tooth (2009), whereas the D500 was introduced in 2017. Larger pixels tend to have a larger capacity, hence lower signal to noise ratio (S/N) and greater sensitivity. However advances in signal processing offsets that theoretical advantage, not to mention other desirable features like focus and tracking. Resolution alone does not determine pixel size, since the space between pixels may vary. Back-lit sensors have a major advantage over conventional sensors, since the circuitry is behind, rather than between the pixels. Use of copper rather than silicon "wires" lowers the S/N ratio.

    To make a long story short (not my forte'), the specifications and independent tests tell you a lot more about the performance than guesses based on the number of pixels. The 12 MP Sony A7S delivered ISO over 250,000. How does that compare to the D300? A Leica M9, at 18 MP, is as sharp or sharper than a 24MP Sony A7ii. The difference is the AA filter in the Sony, using the same Leica lenses on both cameras.

    The D300 is a capable camera. If it meets your needs, or a subset of your needs, it is a much cheaper choice than the D500, and uses all the same lenses (I think).
  3. There used to be a lot of discussion about this issue but I haven't seen it surface much lately. Newer sensor technology has allowed higher pixel counts (smaller pixel size) with improving dynamic range and lower noise so no, the much older D300 technology is not preferred.
  4. In any case, you can't really compare pixels between, say, 2010 and 2018 models. The evolution may have slowed a bit, but this technology is still developing quickly. Also there are many other important variables than merely the count or size of the sensor unit.
  5. I had fun with the D300 today. Nostalgia, memories, using the best crop frame camera of it era, but the truth is my Fuji XT10 runs circles around it for image quality. Nikon wins the battery life battle though.
  6. I still have fun with my D70 but I prefer my Sony a6000. I often think that the way processors reproduce colors and variations between areas of brightness is more important than the parameters we normally use to talk about IQ. Oddly there is a small resurgence of interest in cameras with CCD sensors and it probably has something to do with not how the picture was made but how it looks.
  7. Not sure if there is an advantage, maybe not having too much detail in portraits can be ok because you are not seeing every pore on someones face. You can still make great prints fairly large too, share photos on the web, view share on smartphone and tablets, social media all with 12mp.

    Interesting video on how many megapixels do you need. LINK

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