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Photography Question 

5MP vs 8MP for noise

Need to know more about digital noise of a 5MP vs 8MP. will there be a different of shooting at max of 5MP on a 5MP camera and shooting at 5MP on a 8MP camera, if the size and type of CCD is the same? I understand that 8MP camera tends to have more noise.Thanks

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5/24/2004 2:19:57 AM

Dave Cross   Hi Dan.
As a general rule (all other things being equal) as you make the pixels physically smaller (more megapixels) the noise factor increases.

Of course, there are lots of other factors mainly revolving round the 'quality' of the CCD. A 'cheap' 8 meg camera will certainly be more noisy than a more expensive 8 meg camera at the same equivalent ISO setting.

The quality of the electronics used to amplify the signal from the CCD (to increase the effective ISO) also has a significant bearing on the noise level, some cameras are (much) more noisy as you wind up the ISO level.

As to what happens when you shoot at 5meg with an 8meg camera. I suggest that because some degree of noise-cancellation or averaging will occur during the downsampling you will see less noise than you would on an 8meg shot. As to whether it would be more or less noisy than a 5meg CCD, who knows, I would suggest that it would still be more noisy than the 5meg, but that is really just a guess based on a number of years in the electronics industry rather than any concrete evidence or experimentation.

As you pass the 5meg mark the quality of the image becomes more dependent upon the optical system rather than the number of megapixels. My 6meg EOS D-60 produces much better images than many 8meg cameras mainly due to the superior optics of high-end 35mm lenses.

As with all these things, the only real way to find out is to suck-it-and-see. Read the reviews, handle the gear, play.!!!

One last thing, personally I would avoid the 'pseudo SLRs' with electronic viewfinders (yuk), go for either a 'real' DSLR or, if the budget won't stretch that far, a simple optical viewfinder.

Any other questions, please ask here, loads of good advice is available from a lot of very knowledgeable people.


Dave C.

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5/25/2004 2:57:24 AM

Dan    Thanks for your answer, it do makes lots of sense to me.
Just got myself a Nikon D70 two weeks ago. Love it. Noise level is very low, ever at high ISO. beautiful night shoot, ever at hand held without tripot. Good depth of field control. Need to experience more on it bulid in flash, somehow the color just not very right ( although it is still consider good).
Once again, thanks.

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6/20/2004 4:53:11 AM

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