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Thread: Lowering a Camera's resolution setting will improve on its picture quality?

  1. #1

    Default Lowering a Camera's resolution setting will improve on its picture quality?

    We know that the larger a sensor size is, for a fixed Mega-Pixel count, the better the picture quality is. One reason is that there is a larger surface area to capture more light for each pixel. This is why they say a DSLR can have better quality pics than a compact camera due to its larger sensor size for a similar mega-pixel count.

    One thing I wonder though, within the same camera, will changing the resolution setting between Large, Medium and Small change the quality of the pics (other than for enlarging purposes)?

    Since the sensor size for the camera is already fixed, and if I do not need such a large resolution photo, will changing the setting from Large to Medium resolution improve on the picture quality (less mega-pixel count per sensor surface area)?

    Or is it somehow the density of pixel per surface area is already fixed in a sensor, and changing the resolution setting only activates more or less of the pixels already fixed in the sensor?

    Thanks

  2. #2

    Default Re: Lowering a Camera's resolution setting will improve on its picture quality?

    Umm If im not wrong most camers will just downsample the image(using their internal software and processor and downsize it to the resolution you choose). Will the quality of the image improve? Well that depends on how good the processor is and the situation you are shooting. Will it be better then a well expose low ISO high resol? Probably not. Infact the biggest advantage of bigger sensor to MPx is that shooting at higher ISO will have lesser noise and stuff due to how the photosites are spread out and have more light to work on. So will downsizing a high iso picture make it look better? Well to say the reason all this problem came about is cause people pixel peep. If you view 100% crop of any picture, of course it will not look better then a bigger sensor picture. Bigger sensor = bigger lens = more light captured. Your get better per pixel sharpness and color due to more information avaliable for your sensor to read of if its bigger.

    I recently printed some ISO 1600 and 3200 pictures. Using software to reduce their noise abit and fix the color, I can say the pictures still look pretty good on 4R prints. If you want print bigger you will need higher MP and thus you cant afford to size down resulting in obvious noise at iso 800 or higher on most modern DSLR. Compacts on the other hand due to their extreme small sensor size, will probably have the same level of noise two stops lower which is like iso 200 - 400.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Lowering a Camera's resolution setting will improve on its picture quality?

    It depend on system. Lowering resolution = down sample will not do much.
    But its different when come to 50D and 5DmkII sRaw format, which I find resolution big enough to do anything.

    Someone do a sensor analysis on dpr http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...hread=29884324

    it seem sRaw 1 & 2 have less noise den raw
    Last edited by hammie; 8th November 2008 at 02:11 AM.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Lowering a Camera's resolution setting will improve on its picture quality?

    Thanks Zerartul and Hammie.

    So I suppose the question now is: What systems out there just down-sample in lower resolution, and which ones do something to improve on the pic quality in lower res, as the link below by Hammie seems to suggest?
    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...hread=29884324

    In that link, in seems that for the 50D, a setting of SRAW1 will gain that "less noise and better per-pixel quality". I wonder if a non-raw format lower resolution will also do the trick

    I happen to own a Canon 400D, but getting a bit concerned about upgrading to, say the 50D. The DPreview concluded that the 50D performance at high ISOs is no better than 40D, due to perhaps squeezing too many pixels into the available sensor. Since this trend of upping the mega-pixel count is most likely going to continue across most (if not all) brands, does it mean the pic quality might even get worse in the coming new models, compared to the older generations? Unless of course we upgrade to the FF

    That's what got me thinking if we could perhaps still have that good pic quality if we just use a lower resolution setting...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Lowering a Camera's resolution setting will improve on its picture quality?

    Take reviews site with a pinch on salt. To me since I am using the 50D, what dpreview said not really inconsistent to what I have experience. You need to look at the overall instead of pixel peeping. 15 vs 10mp. How should you compare the image. 10 mp upsize or the 15mp downsize. I think you worried too much.

    You only just need to get what you really want and not pixel peep. Worst case you can just go 5D mk II.

    Ulitmately, non-raw data is still raw data being converted internally.
    EOS 5DMkiii|17-40F4L|24-105f4L|70-200f4L IS|50f1.4|85f1.8|580EX II

  6. #6

    Default Re: Lowering a Camera's resolution setting will improve on its picture quality?

    For non commercial works, a simple dslr is good enough.

    One thing i learnt about sensors is this:

    With whatever digital formats, understanding exposure and equipment strength will help yield more useable image pixels.

    Put a digital meduim format gear on the wrong hands, the problems will still not be resolved.

    Just my novice input. Not inviting flames here though. Just gathered what I learnt over time.
    Last edited by contaxable; 8th November 2008 at 10:11 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Zeckson Chow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lowering a Camera's resolution setting will improve on its picture quality?

    Hi.

    In my opinion, lowering your image resolution in your camera during capturing the image does not affect your image quality unless you put them down onto print paper. Seeing an image of 12 megapixels and seeing the same image at 3 megapixels on your monitor will not make any difference. I do not think megapixels count if you are only viewing your pictures on the screen. Even small sized pictures, if the photography is done right, it is good.

    For larger sensors the main reason why they are considered better (there are many other reasons of course) is because they have larger light capturing elements called photosites which are made up of 2 green, 1 red and 1 blue element arranged in a uniform square pattern. Because the photosites are larger, they are able to capture light much better than photosites from APS-C sensors, thus discouraging the presence of digital noise (chroma and luminance). Images taken on a larger sensors are often sharper (some of my friends ever declare that they are able to get a much sharper image using a cheap lens on a large sensor than an expensive lens on an APS-C sensor!), contains higher dynamic range, better color differentiation and of course, much wider angle of view!

    I do not make prints of all my photos but even if I do, they are maximum 4R sized. I do not need the full 10 megapixels on my camera. I usually shoot at the lowest resolution so that I can store more on my CF card. Megapixels only matter to me when I want to do very fine Photoshop editing where I need to pixel-peep to make that correction.

    Conclusion: Megapixels does not count when it comes to image quality.

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  8. #8

    Default Re: Lowering a Camera's resolution setting will improve on its picture quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeckson Chow View Post
    Hi.

    In my opinion, lowering your image resolution in your camera during capturing the image does not affect your image quality unless you put them down onto print paper. Seeing an image of 12 megapixels and seeing the same image at 3 megapixels on your monitor will not make any difference. I do not think megapixels count if you are only viewing your pictures on the screen. Even small sized pictures, if the photography is done right, it is good.

    For larger sensors the main reason why they are considered better (there are many other reasons of course) is because they have larger light capturing elements called photosites which are made up of 2 green, 1 red and 1 blue element arranged in a uniform square pattern. Because the photosites are larger, they are able to capture light much better than photosites from APS-C sensors, thus discouraging the presence of digital noise (chroma and luminance). Images taken on a larger sensors are often sharper (some of my friends ever declare that they are able to get a much sharper image using a cheap lens on a large sensor than an expensive lens on an APS-C sensor!), contains higher dynamic range, better color differentiation and of course, much wider angle of view!

    I do not make prints of all my photos but even if I do, they are maximum 4R sized. I do not need the full 10 megapixels on my camera. I usually shoot at the lowest resolution so that I can store more on my CF card. Megapixels only matter to me when I want to do very fine Photoshop editing where I need to pixel-peep to make that correction.

    Conclusion: Megapixels does not count when it comes to image quality.


    Thanks Zeckson for the explanation on the photosites.
    Don't think I can afford to go for larger size sensors (FF) at this stage, so will have to learn how to make the best of my APS-C sensor 400D

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