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  1. #1
    saddlemeat
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    Sensor pixel density question

    Does lowering the resolution of my digital camera from say 10 mp to 6 mp result in wider sensor pixel spacing or does it just crop the sensor size? Figure someone here might know that...
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    Does lowering the resolution of my digital camera from say 10 mp to 6 mp result in wider sensor pixel spacing or does it just crop the sensor size? Figure someone here might know that...
    Sensor size varies with design. Much more important is the lens. Most of the light hitting a sensor is broken/lost to weak optics. All of which is smoothed over by software.

  3. #3
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    What camera? Different cameras do it different ways.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycle151 View Post
    Friggin' coward. Give me a red chiclet instead of debating like a man. You don't deserve your green blocks.

  4. #4
    saddlemeat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    What camera? Different cameras do it different ways.
    Nikon D5000
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  5. #5
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    Lowering the resolution usually means the camera will just deinterpolate all the pixels from the sensor into a reduced number of pixels for the processed image. You'll still get the same angle of view.

    I think the important thing here is that the sensor's pixels stay the same. You won't get better noise performance by shooting at a lower resolution. If you're having trouble with available light shots, either get a faster lens (wider max aperture / lower f/number), or get a new camera body with a better sensor and use higher ISOs.

    Advantages of better sensors compared to faster lenses is that raising the ISO doesn't reduce the depth of field like using a larger aperture does. Getting another body also means you can use all of the lenses you already have with better low light performance.
    Also, skipping a generation of sensors or two can get you 2 or 3 stops better noise performance, but it's quite hard to get that performance gain by switching lenses. You'd have to go from an f/4 lens to a f/1.4, for example. Since you can get a newer body for the price of a lot of f/1.4 lenses (or f/2.8 zooms), it's the better choice.

    On another note, some of the Nikon FX cameras can automatically go into a crop mode when you attach a DX lens, in which case the camera only uses the pixels from the center of the sensor that correspond to a DX sensor size. On the D800, this is can actually be pretty useful since you still get 15MP images.
    Last edited by Kanik; 06-13-2012 at 01:00 PM.

  6. #6
    saddlemeat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kanik View Post
    You won't get better noise performance by shooting at a lower resolution.
    This is why I asked, it came up in a discussion and I was curious. I don't have any particular low light problems with the D5000. When I look at my digital images from 15 years ago there is a certain punch present in those old 2.3mp CoolPix 950 images from the pre-dslr age.
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  7. #7
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    Oeps, wrong thread.

  8. #8
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    All it will do is provide you with smaller-sized files. That's it.

    This is both good and bad...good because it'll take less space on a hard drive, but bad because you won't be able to print as big.

    Quite frankly, hard drive space is cheap, so I always shoot everything on the highest possible resolution.

    Also, it won't do anything to pixel density or pixel pitch (related measurement) on your sensor.

  9. #9
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    Always better to have more resolving power in your sensor but it will also expose any optical flaws of your lenses...it's almost always better to have fine optics than it is to have better sensor.

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