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Pixel war over? An interesting article about Moore's Law at LL.

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Could we use more pixels?

Hi,

I've just read this very interesting article at the Luminous Landscape site by Ray Maxwell about the Moore's Law and why it does not apply to digital photography. Certainly recommended.

Cheers,
Michael Reichman does like to announce new era. He did so correctly in recognizing the Canon 3D as the change-maker in photography way back in 3 MP days. Here however, the Maxwell's article references the physical limits of the wavelength of light on lenses and asserts that we can take no more pixels because lenses cannot use them. Well, that may not be quite true. Just some ideas to stimulate discussion. Could these work

1. Perhaps the lens does not need to fully focus the image on the plane so wide apertures can be used and the recorded potentials in the sensels be used to reconstruct the image by deconvolving.

2. No small apertures are used, rather ND filters instead.

This would put off partially the limits of the COC being decreased by smaller apertures. DOF determined by reconstruction of the image at different planes of the subject.

I think we will hit the wall eventually, but there's likely much more image quality that might be squeezed out by improving the optics and relying on mathematical solutions to complete focus, define DOF by focus stacking, extend the dynamic range, decrease noise as well as increase resolution.

These are not meant as statements but rather as questions to seed a debate.

Asher
 
I think we will hit the wall eventually, but there's likely much more image quality that might be squeezed out by improving the optics and relying on mathematical solutions to complete focus, define DOF by focus stacking, extend the dynamic range, decrease noise as well as increase resolution.

These are not meant as statements but rather as questions to seed a debate.
And rightly so, especially since the article focused (pun intended) on only one issue, Diffraction at the pixel level. Having more pixels will allow to output them individually at a smaller size, so the diffraction in output is not impacted by sensel size. Diffraction is only related to the relative aperture, the f-number. Smaller pixels do allow a more precise sampling of the diffraction pattern, which allows software to deconvolve it more accurately and restore sharpness.

There are also several other (related) issues, like dynamic range and MTF, that impact image quality. I'm not sure we've reached that "wall" yet, on the contrary.

Bart
 

Daniel Buck

New member
I think digital cameras probably have enough megapixels now, I would think the focus would be on quality rather than Quantity now. The ability to shoot in very very dim light, with smooth results. Already, I'm amazed at what some of the new cameras look like at 1600 and 3200+ ISO, I think an even higher quality higher ISO would be astounding :)

A nice smooth (but crisp) 128000 ISO, with a 28/2.8 and 50/1.4 lens would make a very interesting low-light setup for indoors!
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
More pixels mean greater ability to segment temporally the mapping of luminosity as we can assign some pixels to faster frame rate to account for brighter light and earlier filling of the well. Also, as Bart points out, finely resolving the concentric waves of diffraction would allow better deconvolution and undoing of this artifact to resolving fine detail.

This means great dynamic range and resolution.

Asher
 

Cem_Usakligil

Active member
"Not So Fast in Dismissing Moore’s Law" by Nathan Myhrvold

Here is another article written by Nathan Myhrvold as a response to the first one and is also extremely interesting to read.

Cheers,
 
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