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      08-18-2018, 01:15 PM   #1
allachie9
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Has Image Quality Really Improved ?

. . . . or rather has it improved in line with sensor sizes ?

I've recently been working on a slideshow project which has involved processing some images from as far back as 2006. Many of the images have not been looked at for some considerable time, but I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality.
To show what I mean, below is an image which I took on a Canon EOS 30D DSLR which had an 8.2 megapixel sensor.



I suppose any answer will depend on what we want to, or need to do with our images. For use online or in a slideshow using a resolution of 72 or 96ppi will obviously suffice. However, printing images at bigger sizes, say A3 or A2, at 300ppi, then we probably need bigger files created by a bigger sensor. But then again, I have produced good / excellent quality A3 prints from files from the Canon EOS 30D, and also my Canon EOS 50D with a 15.1 mp sensor.

It's certainly made me think.
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      08-18-2018, 01:23 PM   #2
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I have absolutely no expertise to add to this question, but I can say looking at some old black and white photos from 100 years ago, it's amazing just how clear they are. ;D
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      08-18-2018, 02:56 PM   #3
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Compared to 100 years ago, of course, but I think most of the “improvements” we are seeing now has more to do with post processing. It used to be that you could tell a Nikon from a Canon or Olympus etc by their lenses and the way photos looked and that gave photos a certain character. Now the character has more to do with someone’s photoshop abilities. Not saying that’s bad, just saying that’s how I see it now.
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      08-19-2018, 10:27 AM   #4
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There's a frequent poster on POTN named philmar. Amazing photographer. I've been following his work on POTN and Flickr for years. Much of his stellar work was shot on a Canon 30D.

I think the big improvements in quality come at the low-light end of the spectrum. It's unreal how easily you can shoot handheld in very low light these days and still have crisp images with little noise.
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      08-20-2018, 02:13 PM   #5
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I would go as far as to say no it hasnt improved. I believe the products/ technology that we use to view and print photos has greatly improved.

Today you don't really need anything larger than 6MP to make a photo look sharp. 6MP is great for Newpapers, Magazines and online web content. If you are shooting billboards or large murals then you will need larger MP's. To me the more MP you have the more saturated a photo can look.

If you take a 35mm film camera from yesteryear and compare it today its equivalent to today's full frame cameras. The only similarities compared from the past to now is medium format... thats pretty much been the same. But what Im getting at is that even in the 1950's we had full frame cameras but at the time they were limited by the technology used to develop and print. Today film can be developed and printed the same or sometimes better than digital. The only problem with Film is the time and products needed to develop and print the film. With digital you can print to any printer or email the negative.

This is just my 2 cents about this, either way pick up a camera no matter the brand or age and just start shooting and get used to it before spending thousands of dollars on something that has every gadget and doodad and get overwhelmed and just don't want to shoot photos. Just have fun and experiment, that's the whole point to photography
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      08-20-2018, 03:21 PM   #6
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I'm still using a Canon XTi (12 MP) that was bought in 2005. I have been using it with a 15-85 EF-S IS lens. Still takes great pictures, except in low light. I was at a museum last week with very low lighting and the pics were difficult to take. I had to use my iphone to take some of them.
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      08-20-2018, 04:53 PM   #7
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Low light, noise reduction, dynamic range, auto focus are all areas that have improved a lot. More pixels donít increase quality anymore, it just provides more ability to crop and more detail for post processing.

But those are all elements that make it easier to take great photos. A great photo is still a great photo no matter what it was taken with.
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      08-28-2018, 08:44 AM   #8
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I think that IQ has improved in two main respects. First is resolution, which can be hard to see on the internet. My 5D MkII, with around a 22mp sensor was pretty darn good, up to a 50" print. Now, with either my 50mp Canon 5DSR (for sale BTW) or my Sony a7RIII, I can print 72" easily, with no pixelation.

The other BIG improvement is in dynamic range and the related improvement in high-ISO performance. Shooting at ISO 10,000 is now an everyday thing for me, with no worries about noise or loss of detail (yes, there is loss at pixel-level, but it's really manageable):

Handsome Drop-tine Buck IN Velvet by David Stephens, on Flickr

Or, I can shoot at ISO 50 and get two or three stops more dynamic range than possible with my old 5D2:
Approaching Storm by David Stephens, on Flickr

In good light, with limited dynamic range, the only improvement is in resolution, which you can't see here on the internet.
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      08-28-2018, 08:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdott View Post
Low light, noise reduction, dynamic range, auto focus are all areas that have improved a lot. More pixels donít increase quality anymore, it just provides more ability to crop and more detail for post processing.
....
More pixels are huge when printing large prints, like 72".

For a wildlife photographer, have a large file to crop and still maintain excellent detail is really big. We crop almost everything.

When you can get really close and limit your crop, then the payoff in details is very clear.

5304x5304p, after small crop:

Prairie Dog Sentry by David Stephens, on Flickr

Lot's of dynamic range in this image also, which would have been problematic with a 5D2, but no problem with an a7RIII. Also shot at ISO 2000, which I would not have done with my 5D2, hand holding an 800mm setup.
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      08-28-2018, 09:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcstep View Post
More pixels are huge when printing large prints, like 72".

For a wildlife photographer, have a large file to crop and still maintain excellent detail is really big. We crop almost everything.

When you can get really close and limit your crop, then the payoff in details is very clear.

Lot's of dynamic range in this image also, which would have been problematic with a 5D2, but no problem with an a7RIII. Also shot at ISO 2000, which I would not have done with my 5D2, hand holding an 800mm setup.
Great shot! Agree for large printing also. I see you are a Sony converter i've been seeing alot more of you guys around. For me I'm just a hobbyist, I barely use my 5D2 enough, let alone justify upgrading it and buying all new lenses.
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      08-28-2018, 01:58 PM   #11
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I Love The Sony!!!
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