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Image Sensor Size and Image Format
Hi to all,.

I posted a question on Saturday and had some incredible help as I was diving into the world of DSLR's and I wanted to thank you all!.

I have another pair of questions now that I see that probably any DSLR I choose will be "above average" and I should look into better lenses for a better quality photograph..

So far I believe I've narrowed my cameras down to the Nikon D60/D80 and the Canon 450D (Rebel XSi). It seems at first glance that the Canon might have better specs (higher megapixels, larger LED screen, and some slight advantages) but I have a feeling the Nikon might last longer or is better built (I've yet to see these in person, but I will in a day or two)..

First Question: Does the image sensor size matter THAT much? As an example, most Nikons use an Image Sensor size of 23.6 x 15.8mm where as most Canons have an Image Sensor size of 22.2mm x 14.8mm. I will be taking a lot of shots at night and want the LEAST amount of noise possible. It would seem that the Nikons have an upper hand on this?.

Second Question: From reading countless posts on these forums and other sites it seems the BEST way to go with image format is RAW + JPEG. The only problem is that I've read several forum posts here mentioning that the Nikons don't have RAW + JPEG, but rather one or the other (I've even gone to the Nikon website and it's still a bit ambiguous). If this is true is it a REAL CONCERN? Couldn't I just get the RAW file on my computer and convert into a JPEG? I understand having the camera do it saves an extra step but maybe there's something I'm missing..

Thanks in advance,Tony..

Comments (7)

Slythic wrote:.

Hi to all,.

First Question: Does the image sensor size matter THAT much? As anexample, most Nikons use an Image Sensor size of 23.6 x 15.8mm whereas most Canons have an Image Sensor size of 22.2mm x 14.8mm. I willbe taking a lot of shots at night and want the LEAST amount of noisepossible. It would seem that the Nikons have an upper hand on this?.

Sensor size does matter, but not for such a small difference. If you see difference in image quality from Canon or Nikon, it won't be because of their sensor size..

Second Question: From reading countless posts on these forums andother sites it seems the BEST way to go with image format is RAW +JPEG. The only problem is that I've read several forum posts herementioning that the Nikons don't have RAW + JPEG, but rather one orthe other (I've even gone to the Nikon website and it's still a bitambiguous). If this is true is it a REAL CONCERN? Couldn't I just getthe RAW file on my computer and convert into a JPEG? I understandhaving the camera do it saves an extra step but maybe there'ssomething I'm missing..

Nikon cameras do Raw + Jpeg..

But the D60 only allows you to save RAW + JPEG basic. meaning that the jpeg picture will be very compressed, so of less quality. It is useful for a fast preview, but not for keeping..

The D80 allows you to save RAW + JPEG fine. So no loss of quality here..

And yes you could just get the RAW file on your computer and convert it to JPEG. If you get Nikon Capture NX, it will recognize all the parameters of your camara. So the image will look just the same (but with more details and better quality), than the jpeg out of the camera..

Other RAW converters don't recognize the parameters that you have set in camera (eg : saturation, sharpness, etc.). They just recognize the white balance. So their is more work to do here..

Claude Carrier..

Comment #1

Slythic wrote:.

So far I believe I've narrowed my cameras down to the Nikon D60/D80and the Canon 450D (Rebel XSi)..

All good cameras. The D60 I'd be a bit cautious of, as you have a much more limited selection of lenses that will autofocus with it..

It seems at first glance that theCanon might have better specs (higher megapixels, larger LED screen,and some slight advantages).

The specs are close enough to not matter..

But I have a feeling the Nikon might last longer or is better built.

There's no evidence of this..

First Question: Does the image sensor size matter THAT much?.

Yes, but these sizes are close it doesn't matter..

I willbe taking a lot of shots at night and want the LEAST amount of noisepossible. It would seem that the Nikons have an upper hand on this?.

Nope. Canon has the best high ISO performance, at least when comparing these sensors..

Second Question: From reading countless posts on these forums andother sites it seems the BEST way to go with image format is RAW +JPEG..

That's the easiest way to go, since if you like the jpeg you can simply use it, instead of going through raw conversion..

The only problem is that I've read several forum posts herementioning that the Nikons don't have RAW + JPEG.

It does, but the D60 implementation is crippled..

Couldn't I just getthe RAW file on my computer and convert into a JPEG?.

Yes..

Seen in a fortune cookie:Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed..

Comment #2

Ccarrier wrote:.

Other RAW converters don't recognize the parameters that you have setin camera (eg : saturation, sharpness, etc.). They just recognizethe white balance. So their is more work to do here..

Just to make it clear, the included Canon utilities (ZoomBrowser and DPP) know the in-camera settings, too. As do some other raw converters that use Canon's API (for instance, BreezeBrowser)..

Seen in a fortune cookie:Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed..

Comment #3

Some info on RAW that I thought may help you.....

Understanding Digital RAWPress the Shutter Release in your camera, What Happens?.

1) Light strikes the CCD.

Light strikes the CCD when the shutter release is pressed. Raw data is produced by the CCD. (This CCD takes the place of film in the old film cameras)This RAW data from the CCD is not yet stored..

2) A RAW data file is produced:.

If the Camera if set to RAW, then a raw data file is produced and stored in the camera on the memory card. This file may contain the camera settings (ie: White Balance, Sharpening, Color Mode, Saturation, etc.) but these parameter settings have not been applied to the raw data file. They are stored in the file for reference only and called Metadata. Changing these camera settings will not affect the raw data in the file. The amount of light falling on the sensor will change the raw data and therefore the shutter speed, aperture, ISO and lens filters will effect the raw data. This raw data file is a proprietary file type which is different for different manufacturers.



Jpg file produced in camera:.

If the Camera is set to jpg, then the computer in the camera uses the camera settings, of White Balance, Sharpening, Color Mode, Saturation, etc. to produce a jpg file on the fly, from the raw data. This takes place right when the shutter release is pressed. The camera has it's own RAW data conversion program, just not as versatile as the programs discussed in the next paragraph, below. Once the jpg file is produced in the camera, changing any in camera settings will only affect new pictures taken. The conversion from RAW to jpg can not be redone, as it can with the raw conversion programs discussed below..

3) Transfer the RAW file to computer for processing:.

Once the raw data file is transferred into your computer you can perform post processing (PP) of the RAW data and then save it into another image format (tiff, jpg, etc), by using Nikon Capture NX (CNX) or Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), or any other raw conversion program. The conversion parameters you use in these programs can be changed and the conversion of the raw data performed as many times as you like. The raw file is not changed. Only the processing parameters are changed and saved. The initial set of conversion parameters are called the default set, and affect your initial screen preview of the image. The RAW data must initially be converted, in order to view it on the screen.

These programs instead, offer many more complex parameter changes and adjustments that are not available in the camera. The repeated processing ability and extensive parameter changes are only two of the advantages of these raw conversion programs like CNX and ACR..

Transfer jpg file to computer for editing and processing..

If you selected a jpg file in camera, then you will transfer this jpg file to your computer for editing, not for RAW data processing which has already been done in the camera. You will use editing/organizational programs such as Photoshop (PS) , Lightroom (LR), Bridge, (Capture NX also has some editing ability), etc. Each of these programs offers a different set of features and objectives. Some are more editing oriented, others more organizational, and some overlap in features. Some of these programs also accept files directly from the raw conversion programs. But these programs are not to be confused with the raw conversion programs themselves.



(Note: as stated some programs like Capture NX may do both RAW conversion and some other editing features.).

Some advantages in using raw data files.

1) RAW data is normally in 10, 12 or even 14 bit depth, where the converted jpeg file in the camera is 8bit..

2) Raw conversion programs offer many more and more detailed complex adjustments, than available in the camera RAW conversion programs..

3) Conversions which can be applied to RAW data, can not be applied as successfully to RGB image data files such as Tiff, jpeg, etc. You have more control over raw data resulting in better processing results..

4) Raw data conversion parameters can be changed and then applied again to the same raw data. If we are not satisfied with our results, we can just tweak the parameters and convert once again..

5) Raw data conversion parameters can be applied in an optimized order to yield the best PP results..

6) The raw data in RAW data files is not altered. The conversion parameters are being changed and stored with the file (or in an associated file), but the raw data is left unchanged..

Some disadvantages in using raw data files.

1) Raw data files are 2-6 times larger than the corresponding jpeg files..

2) Post processing takes some extra time. How much really depends on your demands and criteria. Most raw conversion programs offer batch processing to speed things up when applying the same conversion parameters to multiple images..

SeeThom's Quick & Dirty Guide to RAWhttp://www.bythom.com/qadraw.htm.

See alsoThe Advantages and Disadvantages Explained.

Http://www.popphoto.com/...aw-the-advantages-and-disadvantages-explained.html.

SeeUnderstanding Digital RAW)http://www.adobe.com/...ts/photoshop/pdfs/understanding_digitalrawcapture.pdf..

Comment #4

Ed Grenzig wrote:.

Some advantages in using raw data files1) RAW data is normally in 10, 12 or even 14 bit depth, where theconverted jpeg file in the camera is 8bit..

Not as much of an advantage as it may seem. raw data is linear, jpeg is gamma encoded. For example, the highlights using the top bit (i.e. 1 stop worth) in a 12 bit raw have 2048 gradations. That's way more gradients that your eye can see. The same highlights in a jpeg file might have 60 gradations..

2) Raw conversion programs offer many more and more detailed complexadjustments, than available in the camera RAW conversion programs..

True, although in-camera jpeg processing is becoming much more configurable..

3) Conversions which can be applied to RAW data, can not be appliedas successfully to RGB image data files such as Tiff, jpeg, etc. Youhave more control over raw data resulting in better processingresults..

Absolutely. jpeg has everything (white balance, sharpening, contrast, noise reduction, etc) already applied to it. If you'd like to manipulate these things further you are already starting at a disadvantage. With raw none of these things have been applied yet..

4) Raw data conversion parameters can be changed and then appliedagain to the same raw data. If we are not satisfied with our results,we can just tweak the parameters and convert once again..

Yep, assuming the conditions are the same for all shots. Then again, if conditions are the same, you should be able to dial-in in-camera jpeg to get them all correct in camera and save yourself a bunch of time in post processing..

5) Raw data conversion parameters can be applied in an optimizedorder to yield the best PP results..

This is done in-camera to jpegs. If you don't need to PP, then jpeg is better..

It boils down to what your confidence level is to getting the results right (or pretty close to right) in camera. If you are used to shooting film, jpeg is to slides as raw is to negatives. Once you shoot a slide, you're done, there is little that can be done to manipulate it (mess with development times, retouching, etc) and often it isn't easy to do. With negatives you can do a whole bunch of things that can be done not only at development time, but on the enlarger as well..

Some disadvantages in using raw data files.

1) Raw data files are 2-6 times larger than the corresponding jpegfiles.2) Post processing takes some extra time..

Also buffer depth and buffer flush time. It's becoming less of an issue because cameras are getting faster, but there's still a difference..

Seen in a fortune cookie:Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed..

Comment #5

Slythic wrote:.

But I have a feeling the Nikon might last longer or is better built.

Many prefer the hand feel of the Nikon, but that is not a good predictor of "build" for a modern camera. Search the Nikon D40..D80 forum for "Blinking Green Light of Death" or BGLOD. Early rebels had a problem with the AF mirror pin breaking. Neither of these problems have anything to do with body rigidity..

Does the image sensor size matter THAT much? [..] It would seem that the Nikons have an upper hand on this?.

This size difference is insignificant w.r.t noise. It does get you a few extra degrees of wide when using a 10mm lens, but even that is only 1/2 step back to make up the difference..

Couldn't I just getthe RAW file on my computer and convert into a JPEG? I understandhaving the camera do it saves an extra step but maybe there'ssomething I'm missing..

A lot depends on the software and workflow you are using and perhaps the speed of your computer. I shoot raw mostly, but for quick web work I often just extract the embedded JPEG almost all cameras embed a medium or large size jpeg used for the preview/review image. If you are downsizing to 1200x800 anyway and the exposure is correct, there is little need for a full-size conversion. The SW I use (Thumbs+ & Irfanview) make this trivial or I can have them launch the raw converter of my choice..

Erik..

Comment #6

Thank you ALL for the great replies!.

Best regards,Tony..

Comment #7

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