Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 07/02/2012

Grrrr not more megapixels!


Jaguar, originally uploaded by http://andrewskelton.net.

Just when you thought it was safe to mention your camera’s megapixel count, along comes Nikon with a new 36 Megapixel camera.. yes, you heard me right 36 million pixels. With their recent D4 announcement and Canon’s 1D X both having less than 20 Mpixels I was under the impression that the war on sensor resolution was well and truly over – pah, what do I know!

Actually one thing I do know is that I won’t be interested in such a camera unless they’ve somehow got round this issue that small pixels have of digital “noise”. Noise occurs when there’s not enough light to mask out the interference of electrical current from the camera itself. When there is enough light illuminating the image, then this electrical current is not a factor but in darkness, this noise can be apparent. Another factor is the size of the pixels themselves, the smaller the pixels the more the electrical noise is an issue unless the camera has some clever algorithms to cope with noise. As you can appreciate as you start packing in more an more pixels onto a sensor they become smaller and smaller (this is why a 10 Mpixel camera phone will never be as good as a camera(unless there’s LOTS of processing)) than a full framed 10 Mpixel sensor – all things being equal. A bit of a clunky explanation, Dear Reader, but hopefully you can see why I for one am not interested in have 128 gadzillion pixels in a camera for the sake of it, I’d much prefer a wider dynamic range more akin to film (ie two extra stops) plus good lowlight capability.

Not wanting to be left standing, Canon have announced a plethora of new products most of which I don’t have the slightest interest in, however they have announced three new lenses which, on the face of it, are of interest. Of the three, the upgrade to one of their workhorse lenses, the 24-70mm L lens would be of interest if it weren’t for the upgraded price which in the US equates to £1,452.738 however in europe it’s an eye watering £1,914.773 (not that the other price isn’t). I know this is an f2.8 lens, it can now focus closer all the way through the zoom range, but still…. that’s a lot of money in these economically hard times. The other two lenses, both primes.. both with IS built into them (some speculated that the 24-70mm would get the same treatment but it hasn’t), look interesting and if they are available at Focus-On-Imaging I might well have a play with them – though as these are more portraiture lenses (who says?) but it’s always fun to play with new bits of kit. Only time will tell whether Canon will counter Nikon’s new camera with something comparable.. 5D Mark III anyone?

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