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Less then available pixels for better shots?
I just got a Canon PowerShot SD1100IS (sweet!) that has more pixels than I really need. My old camera had 5 megapixels, and that was enough. I'm of the opinion that much more than 5 megapixels is generally wasted with the small amount of light through the small lens and tiny image sensor size that can be fit into such a compact camera. Also, I (sort of) understand that the color is interpolated across imaging cells, with 25% Red, 50% green abd 25% blue (usually)..

So my question is, might setting the camera at "M1" mode (5 megapixels) - which is *less* that the available 8 megapixels - actually *increase* my image quality by lessening the effects of color interpolation while still giving me a quality photo? Or does this setting actually remove some of the pixels used on the sensor (in which case no change in quality would occur)?.

Of course, lowering to 5 megapixels also increases the number of photos I can store on my card, but that's of minor importance..

Thanks,=Fen..

Comments (6)

Good news! Since you just got the camera, find out for yourself..

Just take three or four series of test shots, and get some 8x10 prints made..

Pick test subjects you like, so you can frame the better of the two shots from each pair of experimental shots..

I think it's a complete waste of time (except you get your pictures to frame) but maybe you're on to somethinghere that all forum members would find beneficial..

One time when fewer pixels is better is when taking pictures of subjects with multiple lines to them, very close together. Staples employees used to wear shirts like this, and when photogrpahed with too many pixels the shirts developed a smeary pattern to them..

Anyway, you've got the camera and the idea, so please report back..

BAK..

Comment #1

Fen....

I don't think you can improve picture IQ by selecting a lower resolution rate, and here's why I say this..

The image quailty of a digital photograph is largely based on the size and of the photosiles on the sensor. The larger the photosiles (pixles) the more sensitive to light the sensor will be. Also, larger ones will capture a greater dynamic range..

While it's true that 5 million pixles on a 1/2.5" sensor will probably provide better IQ than 10 million pixles on the same sized sensor, merely changing the resolution setting to "5 MP" won't make the pixles any larger, it will just result in fewer of them being used. So, resolution will suffer. When you turn that switch you are effectively cutting the sensor size in half. The camera is just using the central part of the sensor..

I'm sure if I am wrong about this, some helpful person will correct me.Martyhttp://flickr.com/photos/7735239@N02/Panasonic FZ7, FZ20, FZ30, LX2.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #2

Fen wrote:.

So my question is, might setting the camera at "M1" mode (5megapixels) - which is *less* that the available 8 megapixels -actually *increase* my image quality by lessening the effects ofcolor interpolation while still giving me a quality photo? Or doesthis setting actually remove some of the pixels used on the sensor(in which case no change in quality would occur)?.

There's no way for us to know. It depends on how the demosaicing software in that particular model functions, and Canon doesn't bother to publish that information..

Like Brian (BAK) said, just try it and see. That's one of the great things about digital photographyexperimental shots are essentially free of charge...

Comment #3

Fen wrote:.

I just got a Canon PowerShot SD1100IS (sweet!) that has more pixelsthan I really need. My old camera had 5 megapixels, and that wasenough. I'm of the opinion that much more than 5 megapixels isgenerally wasted with the small amount of light through the smalllens and tiny image sensor size that can be fit into such a compactcamera. Also, I (sort of) understand that the color is interpolatedacross imaging cells, with 25% Red, 50% green abd 25% blue (usually)..

So my question is, might setting the camera at "M1" mode (5megapixels) - which is *less* that the available 8 megapixels -actually *increase* my image quality by lessening the effects ofcolor interpolation while still giving me a quality photo? Or doesthis setting actually remove some of the pixels used on the sensor(in which case no change in quality would occur)?.

Of course, lowering to 5 megapixels also increases the number ofphotos I can store on my card, but that's of minor importance..

Thanks,=Fen.

Unfortunately it doesn't work like that. The CCD of the camera will always capture 8 megapixels as that is it's native resolution. If you set it to store the image as 5 megapixels in the setttings, all that will happen is that the camera will resize the 8mp shot it took down to 5mp before saving it. In most cases resizing an image will result in SOME loss of quality, although resizing down to a smaller size isn't quite as bad as resizing up (aside from the obvious, ie less pixels to represent detailed information in the image)..

Your best off just shooting in 8mp and not worrying about it. You never know when you will happen to get that once in a lifetime shot that you will want to print out very large or crop quite aggressively, and how annoyed would you be with yourself if the image had been degraded when you shot it by being downscaled to 5mp?..

Comment #4

Fen wrote:.

So my question is, might setting the camera at "M1" mode (5megapixels) - which is *less* that the available 8 megapixels -actually *increase* my image quality by lessening the effects ofcolor interpolation while still giving me a quality photo?.

No. Resizing is a post-capture operation. You image is captured at full resolution and then resized to the selected resolution..

An image might appear to have less noise. However, that's because of the lower resolution...

Comment #5

Marty4650 wrote:.

I don't think you can improve picture IQ by selecting a lowerresolution rate, and here's why I say this..

The image quailty of a digital photograph is largely based on thesize and of the photosiles on the sensor. The larger the photosiles(pixles) the more sensitive to light the sensor will be. Also, largerones will capture a greater dynamic range..

Actually it is photosiTes.

While it's true that 5 million pixles on a 1/2.5" sensor willprobably provide better IQ than 10 million pixles on the same sizedsensor,.

Not correct or, at least, an oversimplification. A 10 Mpixel sensor will provide better resolution (assuming the lens is up to it) but at higher ISO and, sometimes even at base ISO noise reduction software has to be used and this will smear the detail and you will not get the full benefit of the extra resolution and at higher ISOs may get no benefit..

Merely changing the resolution setting to "5 MP" won't makethe pixles any larger, it will just result in fewer of them beingused..

No. All will be used and the camera will interpolate down to a 5 Mpixel image..

So, resolution will suffer. When you turn that switch you areeffectively cutting the sensor size in half. The camera is just usingthe central part of the sensor..

If you used just the central portion of the sensor that would give digital zoom. You would change the crop factor and effective focal length in 35 mm terms of tbe lens. (Or to be strictly accurate you would be changing the angle of view at a given focal length).

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #6

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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