12mpx full frame vs 18mpx compact

..continued from a previous blog, I ran some more tests, this time with a 50mm prime on the 5D, and with the G1x set close to 50mm. Both focused on the same spot, both on a tripod, both with the same exposure settings, ISO at 100, and the results are a little more as expected with the 5D producing what I think is the better image. The lighting conditions were bright sunshine to dark shadows for these shots, and I used the jpgs this time so that my own mis-processing in RAW would not be apparent.

With the next test a 24-105mm was used on the 5D, with both cameras set to 30mm. Happily the 5D is clearly better when judged from the unadjusted, cropped jpegs.  Honour is almost restored but I feel that I’m missing out something crucial, because I am surprised by the closeness of the results.

The final images were taken at nearly the same focal length and then extrapolated to 1m on the shortest side. These are the originals-

..and now a detail taken to illustrate the differences at pixel level-


Whereas the G1x image appears more pleasing at full size and extract shows th differences at pixel level, and the full frame on the right is easily superior.  So why does the G1x look better?  Perhaps it’s just subjective.

I also took the same shot on a 6×6 and 35mm cameras, and when I have thos eprocessed and scanned I’ll to this thread. I’ll also print all four images at A3 size and examine the differences in “real life”.

I know that Moore’s Law applies to digital technology, and that a sensor released in 2005 can expect to be overtaken considerably by a sensor released in 2012, even though one is 36x24mm and the latest that I used is 18.7x14mm.  I’ve taken on trust the continuing industry statements that the number of pixels is becoming less relevant,  and that pixels on different sensors have different characteristics and spacing, but the obvious fact is that a compact camera with 18mp is very close to outdoing a full-frame sensor with 12mp.

The trigger for this and the previous blog was my hunt for the best image resolution for very large prints, around 1m square, driven by the large images I see in galleries week after week that I want to emulate in size if not subject.

My thinking was that a 6×7 film camera might provide the best solution within my small budget, and so I went out with my cheap 6×6 film camera, a 35mm film camera, the 5D full frame, and the compact. I have not yet developed the films, and now I want go again and shoot the same scenes with the same lens on the 5D and EOS500, which will match the standard 80mm fixed lens on the 6×6 Lubitel, and now I must include the compact in the comparison. I did not expect to have to do that.

to be continued..


About watlvry

Flaneur for my own ailments; government and corporate hypocrisy; guitar stuff; the music business; home made videos featuring home made tunes played at home; a bit of golf; and of course photography. Specifically "art" photography (doesn't exist) and contemporary photography ( sadly does exist in all its grotesque reality).
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2 Responses to 12mpx full frame vs 18mpx compact

  1. Catherine says:

    You’re definitely on the march! What I’m hoping you’ll tell me is that there’s a smaller cheaper camera out there which will out perform the larger/more expensive versions.

    • watlvry says:

      It’s not so simple though, the images from this afternoon show the full frame is obviously better when blown up and viewed at pixel level, but on a computer screen at 1m x 1.5m (1.33m on the 5D) the G1x looks better. I’ll make the best quality A3 prints I can and see how that looks, along with the film versions.
      Confused? I am..

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