Is 4 Mpix camera just as good as 5 Mpix when available light is the limiting factor?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Woody, Sep 16, 2004.

  1. Woody

    Woody Guest

    I'm shopping for a digital camera and I've narrowed my choices down to
    the Canon Powershot A85 (4 megapixels) and the Sony DSC-W1 (5
    megapixels). I'm going to be taking some indoor photographs that will
    be enlarged to at least 8x10, maybe 11x14, with little or no cropping.

    Given ample lighting and using the lowest ISO setting, I would expect
    the 5 megapixel camera to produce a better enlarged image. However, I
    expect the available light in my situation to be only adequate at
    best, certainly not ample. Therefore, I will be forced to use a higher
    ISO setting, which will undoubtedly introduce noise into the image.
    Under these circumstances, wouldn't a 5 megapixel camera show just as
    much noise as a 4 megapixel camera, thus reducing the overall image
    quality and losing the advantage of having an extra million pixels?

    Leonardo
    Woody, Sep 16, 2004
    #1
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  2. "Woody" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > I'm shopping for a digital camera and I've narrowed my choices down to
    > the Canon Powershot A85 (4 megapixels) and the Sony DSC-W1 (5
    > megapixels). I'm going to be taking some indoor photographs that will
    > be enlarged to at least 8x10, maybe 11x14, with little or no cropping.
    >
    > Given ample lighting and using the lowest ISO setting, I would expect
    > the 5 megapixel camera to produce a better enlarged image. However, I
    > expect the available light in my situation to be only adequate at
    > best, certainly not ample. Therefore, I will be forced to use a higher
    > ISO setting, which will undoubtedly introduce noise into the image.
    > Under these circumstances, wouldn't a 5 megapixel camera show just as
    > much noise as a 4 megapixel camera, thus reducing the overall image
    > quality and losing the advantage of having an extra million pixels?
    >
    > Leonardo


    You have to check noise by buying or by reading reviews such as
    www.dpreview.com

    There is no simple way to evaluate digital cameras as each user has
    different priorities. Megapixels are important but are also over hyped by
    marketers.
    Charles Schuler, Sep 16, 2004
    #2
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  3. Woody

    Colin D Guest

    Re: Is 4 Mpix camera just as good as 5 Mpix when available light is thelimiting factor?

    Woody wrote:
    >
    > I'm shopping for a digital camera and I've narrowed my choices down to
    > the Canon Powershot A85 (4 megapixels) and the Sony DSC-W1 (5
    > megapixels). I'm going to be taking some indoor photographs that will
    > be enlarged to at least 8x10, maybe 11x14, with little or no cropping.
    >
    > Given ample lighting and using the lowest ISO setting, I would expect
    > the 5 megapixel camera to produce a better enlarged image. However, I
    > expect the available light in my situation to be only adequate at
    > best, certainly not ample. Therefore, I will be forced to use a higher
    > ISO setting, which will undoubtedly introduce noise into the image.
    > Under these circumstances, wouldn't a 5 megapixel camera show just as
    > much noise as a 4 megapixel camera, thus reducing the overall image
    > quality and losing the advantage of having an extra million pixels?
    >
    > Leonardo


    Noise is a function of the sensor size. Go for the camera with the
    larger sensor, and the faster lens. The difference between 4 and 5Mp is
    negligible.

    Colin.
    Colin D, Sep 17, 2004
    #3
  4. Woody

    Era Guest

    Re: Is 4 Mpix camera just as good as 5 Mpix when available lightis the limiting factor?

    Woody wrote:
    > I'm shopping for a digital camera and I've narrowed my choices down to
    > the Canon Powershot A85 (4 megapixels) and the Sony DSC-W1 (5
    > megapixels). I'm going to be taking some indoor photographs that will
    > be enlarged to at least 8x10, maybe 11x14, with little or no cropping.
    >
    > Given ample lighting and using the lowest ISO setting, I would expect
    > the 5 megapixel camera to produce a better enlarged image. However, I
    > expect the available light in my situation to be only adequate at
    > best, certainly not ample. Therefore, I will be forced to use a higher
    > ISO setting, which will undoubtedly introduce noise into the image.
    > Under these circumstances, wouldn't a 5 megapixel camera show just as
    > much noise as a 4 megapixel camera, thus reducing the overall image
    > quality and losing the advantage of having an extra million pixels?
    >
    > Leonardo


    Why not get the Powershot A95 (5 megapixels) and the price is just a
    little bit more and performs better than the A85
    Era, Sep 17, 2004
    #4
  5. Woody

    Mike Guest

    Do you know how the A95 compares to the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W1?
    I'm buying a digital camera for my son and decided on the Sony DSC-W1.
    It'll be used primarily for P&S baby pictures and vacation pictures.

    Thanks,

    Mike

    Since I know nothing about digital cameras I'm trying to get all of the
    information I can.
    "Era" <> wrote in message
    news:414a2146$...
    > Woody wrote:
    >> I'm shopping for a digital camera and I've narrowed my choices down to
    >> the Canon Powershot A85 (4 megapixels) and the Sony DSC-W1 (5
    >> megapixels). I'm going to be taking some indoor photographs that will
    >> be enlarged to at least 8x10, maybe 11x14, with little or no cropping.
    >>
    >> Given ample lighting and using the lowest ISO setting, I would expect
    >> the 5 megapixel camera to produce a better enlarged image. However, I
    >> expect the available light in my situation to be only adequate at
    >> best, certainly not ample. Therefore, I will be forced to use a higher
    >> ISO setting, which will undoubtedly introduce noise into the image.
    >> Under these circumstances, wouldn't a 5 megapixel camera show just as
    >> much noise as a 4 megapixel camera, thus reducing the overall image
    >> quality and losing the advantage of having an extra million pixels?
    >>
    >> Leonardo

    >
    > Why not get the Powershot A95 (5 megapixels) and the price is just a
    > little bit more and performs better than the A85
    Mike, Sep 17, 2004
    #5
  6. Woody

    John Wright Guest

    "Mike" wrote
    > Do you know how the A95 compares to the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W1?
    >...It'll be used primarily for P&S baby pictures and vacation pictures.


    Both are good cameras, and each has unique features.

    The W1 has a much larger 2.5" LCD (1.8" in A95), and a very fast full
    autofocus shutter lag (wide angle) of 0.3 sec, pre-focus ultrafast lag of
    0.01 sec - something that would be very handy for taking pictures of kids.
    It also has a live histogram, pre-flash metering, etc. - for those who can
    use these features. A little smaller and solid compared to A95.

    But W1 has no shutter priority or aperture priority modes (A95 has both),
    has a smaller aperture range of f2.8-f5.6 (f2.8-f8 in A95), only three ISO
    steps 100/200/400 (A95 has 50/100/200/400).

    Take your pick.

    Regards - JW
    John Wright, Sep 17, 2004
    #6
  7. Woody

    Chuck Norris Guest

    On 16 Sep 2004 15:06:40 -0700, (Woody) wrote:

    >I'm shopping for a digital camera and I've narrowed my choices down to
    >the Canon Powershot A85 (4 megapixels) and the Sony DSC-W1 (5
    >megapixels). I'm going to be taking some indoor photographs that will
    >be enlarged to at least 8x10, maybe 11x14, with little or no cropping.
    >
    >Given ample lighting and using the lowest ISO setting, I would expect
    >the 5 megapixel camera to produce a better enlarged image. However, I
    >expect the available light in my situation to be only adequate at
    >best, certainly not ample. Therefore, I will be forced to use a higher
    >ISO setting, which will undoubtedly introduce noise into the image.
    >Under these circumstances, wouldn't a 5 megapixel camera show just as
    >much noise as a 4 megapixel camera, thus reducing the overall image
    >quality and losing the advantage of having an extra million pixels?
    >
    >Leonardo


    I can tell you from first hand experience that that A80 is crap in low
    light, and really not practical to use above ISO100. Autofocus is poor
    in lowlight as well. Manual focus is nice, sure, pictures are decent,
    but not in low light.

    Just reading some forums on the Sony, a lot of people saying it's not
    to great in low light, and wishing they'd of bought the Canon, check
    here:

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/read_opinions.asp?prodkey=sony_dscw1

    If your going indoors, and could live with 3MP, I'd recommend the
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3. Great in low light (for the price, very
    great), autofocus actually works in poor light, flip up flash works
    pretty well as a fill flash, and it cost a bit under $400. Oh, and 12x
    optical zoom and Leica lens ain't bad either.
    Chuck Norris, Sep 17, 2004
    #7
  8. Woody

    Grim Guest

    "Woody" <> wrote
    >
    > However, I
    > expect the available light in my situation to be only adequate at
    > best, certainly not ample. Therefore, I will be forced to use a higher
    > ISO setting, which will undoubtedly introduce noise into the image.


    So forget the crap cameras with max apertures of F2.8. Get a digicam with a
    fast lens; something like F1.8 or F2.0. That will allow you to shoot in poor
    light without having to use a high ISO setting and deal with the resulting
    noise. Something like an Olympus C-5050 if you can still find them (I think
    they stopped making them, and switched to the C-5060 with a crap slow lens).
    Grim, Sep 17, 2004
    #8
  9. (Woody) writes:
    >I'm shopping for a digital camera and I've narrowed my choices down to
    >the Canon Powershot A85 (4 megapixels) and the Sony DSC-W1 (5
    >megapixels). I'm going to be taking some indoor photographs that will
    >be enlarged to at least 8x10, maybe 11x14, with little or no cropping.


    >Given ample lighting and using the lowest ISO setting, I would expect
    >the 5 megapixel camera to produce a better enlarged image. However, I
    >expect the available light in my situation to be only adequate at
    >best, certainly not ample. Therefore, I will be forced to use a higher
    >ISO setting, which will undoubtedly introduce noise into the image.
    >Under these circumstances, wouldn't a 5 megapixel camera show just as
    >much noise as a 4 megapixel camera, thus reducing the overall image
    >quality and losing the advantage of having an extra million pixels?


    This depends on the size of the individual cells in the sensor. All
    other things being equal, if the overall sensor size is the same,
    increasing the number of pixels makes each pixel smaller which makes
    noise worse. But the "1/1.8 inch" CCD in the DSC-W1 is quite a bit
    larger than the "1/2.7 inch" CCD in the A85, so it has larger individual
    sensors, and ought to have somewhat lower noise.

    But you should be comparing to the Canon A80 (4MP) or A95 (5 MP). These
    are the equivalent Canon cameras with 1/1.8" CCD. Or to a Canon G2,
    which should be relatively inexpensive used, which has a 1/1.8" CCD
    *and* a lens that is one full stop faster.

    Dave
    Dave Martindale, Sep 19, 2004
    #9
  10. Woody

    Mike Guest

    Sony W1: can the user see the f stop and shutter speed on the lcd or view
    finder?

    "John Wright" <> wrote in message
    news:414a3d12$0$10346$...
    > "Mike" wrote
    >> Do you know how the A95 compares to the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W1?
    >>...It'll be used primarily for P&S baby pictures and vacation pictures.

    >
    > Both are good cameras, and each has unique features.
    >
    > The W1 has a much larger 2.5" LCD (1.8" in A95), and a very fast full
    > autofocus shutter lag (wide angle) of 0.3 sec, pre-focus ultrafast lag of
    > 0.01 sec - something that would be very handy for taking pictures of kids.
    > It also has a live histogram, pre-flash metering, etc. - for those who can
    > use these features. A little smaller and solid compared to A95.
    >
    > But W1 has no shutter priority or aperture priority modes (A95 has both),
    > has a smaller aperture range of f2.8-f5.6 (f2.8-f8 in A95), only three ISO
    > steps 100/200/400 (A95 has 50/100/200/400).
    >
    > Take your pick.
    >
    > Regards - JW
    >
    >
    Mike, Sep 26, 2004
    #10
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