puzzling pixels

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nikonnl

puzzling pixels

Post by nikonnl » Thu Feb 16, 2006 5:24 pm

Dear friends,
am I right in the assumption that a Nikon D1 has in fact the same photon capture surface as the D2X and the D200? All sensors have (nearly) the same size. If we take the square pixels of a D1, which are 11.8 micron (so 11.8 x 11.8 = 139.24) and multiply them with 2.74 million (381.5 Mm), and we take the pixel size of a D2X (5.49 micron x 12.84 million = 386.99 Mm) and the pixel size of the D200 (6.05 micron x 10.92 million = 399.67 Mm) the total light capturing surface of all pixels on the respective sensors are nearly the same. Or do I make a logical error?
Pictures taken with my D1 in NEF and printed on A3 are (almost) as good as pictures I have seen made by the two others. Because the pixels are smaller, the D2X and D200 may be better in resolution.
Thanks for a reaction on this.
Regards,
Nico

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Re: puzzling pixels

Post by Webmaster » Thu Feb 16, 2006 8:03 pm

Good question. Take a look at this:

"I guess that it's now safe to reveal that the D1 image sensor, with specifications noting a pixel count of 2.7-million pixels, actually had a pixel count of 10.8-million pixels."

http://nikonimaging.com/global/technolo ... /index.htm

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10 million

Post by nikonhswebmaster » Fri Mar 24, 2006 7:09 pm

My brother recently wrote to me regarding his poor experiences with the DX2:

"Images from the D2X look like "paintings" the noise appears to be smoothed with a pallet knife ! It became more unacceptable to me as time passed. The fine hair or feathers never had the detail and natural look of my D2H or my Konica Minolta."

The revalation that the D1 had 10.8 million pixels confirms my feeling that Nikon has gone down a bad software path with their digital cameras, of bad processing decisions. While RAW has surfaced as a partial solution, it does not work well for many of us who do not want to be so dependent on Photoshop.

As my brother says:
"Returning to the real world - I would not use the D2X in my work if I were paid to do so."

Pretty harsh stuff, from a guy who owned 50k in Nikon Digital, but abandoned it.

I too (as members of the NHS forum know) have abandoned Nikon Digital for now. I of course remain open to new developments, but right now, I am far more interested in the high resolution from scan backs (which work like traditional film cameras with a moving slit).

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Re: 10 million

Post by Webmaster » Sat Mar 25, 2006 6:37 am

nikonhswebmaster wrote:"Returning to the real world - I would not use the D2X in my work if I were paid to do so."
In my opinion, the D2X is a great camera, producing excellent images. So far I've shot around 30.000 frames with mine. Couldn't be happier.

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Post by nikonhswebmaster » Sat Mar 25, 2006 12:00 pm

How large do you print? My brother and I are both routinely printing 24x36, and have been happier with the D2H, although we have both moved to other cameras (my brother to Minolta, myself to Panasonic)

30,000 images is a lot! We both will most likely not shoot that many in a lifetime. 1000 saved photos in a year would be a lot for us. My brother (www.photoartcanada.com) shoots everthing at F11 and almost always smaller.

I am personally pretty sure I will move to digital 4x5, and the "Better Light" scan back, I save even less, about 300 photos a year at most.

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Mamiya ZD?

Post by Webmaster » Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:47 pm

I print in all different sizes, and like I said I'm very happy with the D2X.

I'm sure the "Better Light" scan back is great, but have you considered something more convenient, like the new Mamiya ZD? I've seen some incredible test shots captured with other digital Mamiya's, and the new 22 megapixel 36mm x 48mm Dalsa CCD sensor should produce even better results. I'd love to have one of these things.

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Post by nikonhswebmaster » Tue Mar 28, 2006 2:17 am

I am interested in not so much the high resolution of the "Better Light" but in the motorized panorama head. Shooting a wider format, rather than using wide angle lenses really interests me, since I am searching for a more "human" looking view, rather than the distortion of a wide angle. These 4x5 systems have now dropped under 8000 usd. The only drawback is that they are software based like all scannners, so you do need a computer. The results are breathtaking however.

I seriously doubt that the Mamiya will do much better than your DX2, Mamiya just does not have the quality (or experience) behind a Nikon.

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Re: 10 million

Post by Stan Disbrow » Tue Mar 28, 2006 4:04 pm

nikonhswebmaster wrote:The revalation that the D1 had 10.8 million pixels confirms my feeling that Nikon has gone down a bad software path with their digital cameras, of bad processing decisions. While RAW has surfaced as a partial solution, it does not work well for many of us who do not want to be so dependent on Photoshop.
Well, one has to decouple the concept of a 'pixel' from a 'photosite' before any of this will make sense.

A diode is simply a semiconductor device that rectifies pulsing, or alternating, electrical fields into a steady, or direct, one. In the case of a digital camera, these diodes are made such that they are sensitive to the wavelengths known as 'light', hence the term 'photodiode'. They are placed in 'sites' on the chip, hence the term 'photosite'

A pixel is the smallest piece of a picture that exists, and the term is simply a contraction of 'picture element'. Yes, this is all very basic stuff, but sometimes we need to revert to the basics. :)

In the case of the original D1, it had 10 million + photosites, but they were ganged in groups of four under the color filter array. When the photosites were read out (off) the chip, the analog signals from the four photosites were combined into one digital value.

At this point, there are only 2.75 million or so pixels, not 10 million +, and this is well before the step where the digital processing inside the camera either spits out a 'raw' (which would be better off termed semi-processed, or as I call it 'half-baked') data file or continues with further processing to spit out a TIFF or JPEG.

The later D1X altered the grouping of photosites from four to two, with a change in the CFA of course, and the current D200 alters it still further to where we have one photosite per pixel.

This is what the revelation from Nikon was all about, although the use of the term 'pixel' to simplify things when we should be talking about two very different things, is unfortunate. It only leads to confusion.

Now, the D2X CMOS sensor is unrelated to the D1 series CCD one, so I cannot say what arrangement might be in use. However, I will note that from existing video camera sensor chip fab technology, that it is entirely possible that the D2X is also ganging up four photosites for each pixel as well.

Now, there's some food for thought.

I will say that us engineers do tend to pull all sorts of oddball stunts when we're designing things, and we rarely tell anyone just what it is we're up to. So, I don't expect anyone from Nikon to say jsut what's going on int the D2X. ;)

Later!

Stan
Amateur Photographer
Professional Electronics Development Engineer

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