lens vs. image sensors in digital photgraphy

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by aniramca, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. aniramca

    jpc Guest

    Take the sensor off the camera and you have a mosaic of static
    electricity with no place to go. Take the lens off the camera and you
    gave a stream of photons with no place to land. It's the control chip
    in the middle and the firmware running it that makes static electricty
    and the photons into a simple image.

    And most important, it's the eye and brain of the operator using the
    camera-- someone who knows how to work around the camera's quirks
    and limitations-- that turns the simple image into something
    approximationg a photograph.

    jpc, Dec 9, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  2. aniramca

    Gerald Place Guest

    My that's a complicated question! . Surely the skill and aesthetic judgement
    of the photographer will always outweigh the any technical considerations.

    Gerald Place, Dec 9, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  3. aniramca

    Guest Guest

    What is DR? All I can think of is dynamic range, but I don't know how that
    figures in photography.

    Norm Strong
    Guest, Dec 9, 2006
  4. I would strongly argue this. The film made a LOT of difference- why do
    you think the film companies offered so many types? For instance, Pan
    X, especially developed in dilute developer, was for resolution (very
    high) but was very slow. Sure, you could shoot in dim light in Tri-X,
    but don't expect much resolution (very grainy).

    I would say that what you say is MORE true of digitals. They all use
    silicon photosensors, though CCDs have a somewhat different flavor
    than CMOS.

    The quality of the electronics is an issue too- not all noise in the
    camera is from the imaging chip itself (it should be if the electronics
    are highest quality). Size of chip makes a difference too (especially
    size of pixels).
    Don Stauffer in Minnesota, Dec 9, 2006
  5. aniramca

    smb Guest

    Yes, DR is dynamic range. It is hugely important to photography. More
    dynamic range means fewer blown highlights and better shadow detail.

    smb, Dec 9, 2006
  6. Noise should NOT be from the "imaging chip itself!" The best noise
    one can get is due to Poisson counting statistics from the
    photons themselves (called photon noise), and that is independent
    of the chip or electronics. Fortunately, ALL digital cameras,
    from P&S to DSLR have been tested, have noise dominated by photon noise
    for signals above a couple of dozen photons. See:

    Digital Camera Sensor Performance Summary

    Digital Cameras: Does Pixel Size Matter?
    Factors in Choosing a Digital Camera

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Dec 10, 2006
  7. Digital camera sensors show a large performance range,
    beyond megapixels, and include dynamic range, low light sensitivity,
    signal-to-noise ratio, and high ISO performance. These performance
    parameters are directly correlated to the size of each pixel.
    But beyond basic sensor performance, the camera's electronics are
    critical in many situations, including autofocus performance (speed
    and accuracy), shutter lag, frames per second, start-up time,
    and the user interface, which includes easy moving of focus points
    during fast action and other information needed to make quick
    decisions in some situations (e.g from baby's first steps, to wildlife
    and sports action photography).

    For sensor performance, see:

    Digital Camera Sensor Performance Summary

    Digital Cameras: Does Pixel Size Matter?
    Factors in Choosing a Digital Camera

    Photos, other digital info at: http://www.clarkvision.com
    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Dec 10, 2006
  8. aniramca

    Bill Funk Guest

    Since the sensor is replacing the film, it has to replace *all* types
    of film that are relevant to the camera in question.
    For anything more advanced than the most basic P&S cameras, that means
    the camera must be able to emulate film of various speeds and white
    balances, as well as sharpness, contrast, saturation, and many more
    things that makes up the wide variety of film types.
    Bill Funk, Dec 10, 2006
  9. aniramca

    Bill Funk Guest

    I don't see how a camera that can't deliver what the photographer's
    skill and aesthetic judgement want isn't a technical drawback.
    While it's always possible for a good photographer to deliver good
    photos with a pinhole camera, it's obvious that a pinhole camera
    offers a lot of technical problems for a lot of photography.
    Yes, the input of the photographer is very important. So is the camera
    the photographer uses to implement that input.
    Bill Funk, Dec 10, 2006
  10. aniramca

    smb Guest

    That may be true, but the fact is that nobody is using pinhole
    cameras. With regard to the cameras that are actually available
    today, the photographer's input is FAR more important than a box with
    buttons and dials on it.

    Choice of a camera is more often a matter of personal preference and
    convenience features than it is of actual technical limitations. That
    being said, if you have specific needs such as shooting sports at high
    speed, you may want a high FPS and good autofocus to make the job
    easier for you. But good sports photgraphers took awesome pictures
    back in the day when these things were not available. The difference
    is that they had to rely on their own skill more than on the camera's

    smb, Dec 10, 2006
  11. I don't know what kind of cameras you use, but many cameras also have
    AF and light meters as part of the 'dumb box'. And then there are
    viewfinders as well.
    Philip Homburg, Dec 10, 2006
  12. But would those techniques work today? In a lot of sports, photographers
    have much more limited access than they had before. At the same time,
    an editor may want to get an entire sequence to pick the image he like
    best instead relying on the single image provided by the photographer.

    In a lot of fields, once a particular new technology has been introduced,
    professionals have to use it or they are no longer competitive.
    Philip Homburg, Dec 10, 2006
  13. aniramca

    Paul Rubin Guest

    But did they do it as often as they do now? If a good sports
    photographer went to ten basketball games with that old equipment, how
    many awesome pictures would s/he likely come back with? What about
    with today's equipment?

    In fact I think they did use fast motor drives and simply burned a ton
    of film. There was a sports photog who used to hang out here, who
    spoke of shooting 75 rolls of film in a single basketball game.
    Paul Rubin, Dec 10, 2006
  14. aniramca

    J. Clarke Guest

    And if the shutter's not accurate and repeatable then you've got problems.
    J. Clarke, Dec 10, 2006
  15. True. But while it is part of a potentially philosophical debate,
    one could still argue that that does not directly determine the
    camera's impact on the quality of the picture --- if anything, it
    impairs your capability of taking good pictures by getting in the
    way; if the camera does not have a good and robust AF, if it does
    not have a good viewfinder, if it doesn't have a good light meter,
    then it's getting in the way and doing all in its power to prevent
    you from taking good pictures.

    (so, definitely, *dumb* is perhaps a very bad adjective to describe
    what I --- and the previous poster --- was trying to describe)

    But the thing is, for a given instance of taking a picture, with
    the given conditions, the camera has no impact on the quality of
    the result (provided that the minimum conditions to call it a
    functional camera are met --- that is, that it doesn't leak light);
    the lens does. And the film also does. (and in the case of the
    Digital cameras, the sensor and the pre-processing electronics
    and soft/firmware do [have a *direct* impact on the quality of
    the result].

    Carlos Moreno, Dec 10, 2006
  16. aniramca

    Bill Funk Guest

    *IF* you assume that there's no difference between (for example, and
    at my peril :)) a $150 camera and a $5000 camera.
    To make such an assumption is absurd; if it were so, one or the other
    wouldn't exist. (Well, it would of course, marketing being what it is.
    :0(. ).
    If only.
    Budget comes into play for the vast majority of us.
    Yet, those better cameras allow for a vastly greater number of good
    sports shots today.
    As well as low light shots, underwater shots, candid shots, etc, and
    etc, and etc...
    Bill Funk, Dec 10, 2006
  17. aniramca

    Bill Funk Guest

    And unless he had an assistant, he missed shots while he was changing
    Bill Funk, Dec 10, 2006
  18. aniramca

    prep Guest


    Roger, have you ever come across anyone changing the clocking levels
    of CCDs to change modes acording to the conditions? Like using MPP
    for low levels, and `conventional' levels with greater well capacity
    for higher light levels?
    Do you have data for the Nikons and Pentaxes yet?

    Paul Repacholi 1 Crescent Rd.,
    +61 (08) 9257-1001 Kalamunda.
    West Australia 6076
    comp.os.vms,- The Older, Grumpier Slashdot
    Raw, Cooked or Well-done, it's all half baked.
    EPIC, The Architecture of the future, always has been, always will be.
    prep, Dec 10, 2006
  19. aniramca

    Surfer! Guest


    In trying to leave out the human touch and talent you are omitting at
    least 80% of what makes a great image, probably more. I saw a panel of
    photos done by a guy using one of those disposable cameras. He knew how
    to use it, the photos were great, the camera was obviously pretty
    limited in what it could do. I've also seen lots of awful photos taken
    on various expensive SLRs.

    Why is it that people want to focus so much on the mechanics of
    photography rather than the human element? Because money can buy
    mechanics but not an artistic eye, or talent for spotting a photo? It
    beats me.
    Surfer!, Dec 10, 2006
  20. aniramca

    Surfer! Guest

    LOL! I needed a good laugh, you've pointed me right at one. Thanks.

    (I did sort of guess which bit might win, but not how. The joke is in
    the telling.)
    Surfer!, Dec 10, 2006
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.