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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:53 pm 
Recently I saw a rather dour review of the Four Thirds sensors (click here), saying that because of pixel density due to the small size of the sensor, there was an inherent and built in-noise problem that needn't have been, had they only used a larger sensor.

They showed a chart illustrating a kind of no-man's land that sensor manufacturers have avoided, just to get away from the noise problem of packing the pixels too close. They predicted dire consequences for the whole E series for venturing into this territory.

Any thoughts?

Leonard


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:25 am 
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Hello Leonard, and welcome to the Camera Labs forum!

First there is a major blunder in the article you linked to: APS-C size sensors are approx. 17x25mm and thus have almost 100% more area than the four-thirds sensors.
So what happens: the Oly snesor is in priciple 1 stop worse than a APS-C sensor with regard to noise, provided both have the same number of pixels. So in this respect they suffer a little.
But this is still far away from the problems of P&S sensors with their dismal sensor sizes.
We are here really talking about the same difference as between APS-C and FF sensors. Taking that into perspective, the Oly offer is not to bad, especially when they can use it to make smaller cameras. I'm still shakin my head that a APS-C DSLR has to be as bulky as a FF DSLR :roll:

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Last edited by Thomas on Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:51 pm 
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Hi Leonard, yes it's true the Four Thirds sensor is smaller than the APS-C sized sensor used in most other DSLRs, and in simplistic terms, this would mean the smaller sensor would have lower sensitivity (resulting in higher noise), and also a lower dynamic range.

BUT it's crucial to realise there's more than just sensor surface area to overall sensitivity. While it does of course play the biggest part, you must also take into account the gaps between the individual photosites and the micro lenses above each them.

Canon once made a jump in DSLR resolution while maintaining sensitivity by shrinking the size of the gaps between the photosites, and more gains can be had by improving micro lens design.

Ultimately a physically bigger sensor will always be better, but it's important to realise it's not the only factor when it comes to noise and dynamic range.

Also in all the discussions about how the Four Thirds system loses out on sensor size, few people bother to mention the optical advantages of the standard which allows lenses with minimal geometric distortion and light fall-off.

Not to mention an optical path which allows for an anti-dust filter to be placed much further from the sensor's surface, thereby rendering most foreign particles invisible on the focal plane.

So it's swings and roundabouts.

At Cameralabs we will of course be keeping a very close eye on noise issues as resolutions inevitably increase. The next step for APS-C will be around the 12-13 Mpixel mark, so it'll be interesting to see what impact this has on noise levels and dynamic range.

Gordon


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:05 pm 
Thanks to both of you gentlemen, Gordon and Thomas, for the responses to the pixel density/noise flap! I feel much better about owning my E-510!

BTW, I'm enclosing a field review which includes images taken in India using a 520 which have just astonishing detail: Field Review. Enjoy!

Another question now: Olympus has just announced a new upgrade of the firmware for the 510, which they claim will improve the performance. I once downloaded and installed a firmware upgrade into the 500 which I used to own, and I think I screwed up the camera.

They warn that the procedure must be done very carefully, otherwise the camera might have to be sent in to be serviced. Is it really necessary that I upgrade the camera to the next build in firmware?

Leonard

(BTW Thomas, I appreciate Nur Buddha gibt Ruhe!)


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 6:55 pm 
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Hi, Leonard. I appreciate, that you interpreted the Nur Buddha gibt Ruhe correctly. You have some background in German?
As to your question with the update: You unfortunately never know what the manufacturers hide under the bonnet (so to speak), so perhaps in addition to the advertised improvements they also corrected some major blunder that they don't like to talk openly about: Ruining other peoples photos by firmware-errors is not to taken lightly :?
So I would always update, but only when I'm not planning on going on a trip immediately afterwards - if you know what I mean: there must be enough time to send it in to service if you produce a major lock-up.
I have done so and found the directions for my D80 clear and nothing bad happened. So I'd assume, giving your battery is fully loaded and you stick to the advertised procedure, nothing will go wrong.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 7:28 pm 
tombomba2 wrote:
Hi, Leonard. I appreciate, that you interpreted the Nur Buddha gibt Ruhe correctly. You have some background in German?
As to your question with the update: You unfortunately never know what the manufacturers hide under the bonnet (so to speak), so perhaps in addition to the advertised improvements they also corrected some major blunder that they don't like to talk openly about: Ruining other peoples photos by firmware-errors is not to taken lightly :?
So I would always update, but only when I'm not planning on going on a trip immediately afterwards - if you know what I mean: there must be enough time to send it in to service if you produce a major lock-up.
I have done so and found the directions for my D80 clear and nothing bad happened. So I'd assume, giving your battery is fully loaded and you stick to the advertised procedure, nothing will go wrong.


Hi Thomas,

I studied German in college years and years ago: it was the Nebenfach to my Hauptfach, which was music.

According to the Olympus website, this firmware update is to enhance the recording speed on CF cards. If that's all it is, I think I'll leave things alone. I've had my E-510 for too short a time to be willing to take a chance yet! :shock:

(Good lord, you think they might be hiding some shameful blunder under the hood? Ah well, I think I'll just keep on using the camera, keeping a watchful eye out to see if something mi├čtrauisch unter den Kittel emerges through general use.

Leonard :mrgreen:


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