Riddle HQ

Pixel Quality

The marketing race for "more megapixels" would like us to believe that "more is better". Unfortunately, it's not that simple. The number of pixels is only one of many factors affecting image quality and more pixels is not always better. The quality of a pixel value can be described in terms of geometrical accuracy, color accuracy, dynamic range, noise, and artifacts. The quality of a pixel value depends on the number of photodetectors that were used to determine it, the quality of the lens and sensor combination, the size of the photodiode(s), the quality of the camera components, the level of sophistication of the in-camera imaging processing software, the image file format used to store it, etc. Different sensor and camera designs make different compromises.

Geometrical Accuracy

Geometrical or spatial accuracy is related to the number of pixel locations on the sensor and the ability of the lens to match the sensor resolution. The resolution topic explains how this is measured at this site. Interpolation will not improve geometrical accuracy as it cannot create what was not captured.

Color Accuracy

Conventional sensors using a color filter array have only one photodiode per pixel location and will display some color inaccuracies around the edges because the missing pixels in each color channel are estimated based on demosaicing algorithms. Increasing the number of pixel locations on the sensor will reduce the visibility of these artifacts. Foveon sensors have three photodetectors per pixel location and create therefore a higher color accuracy by eliminating the demosaicing artifacts. Unfortunately their sensitivities are currently lower than conventional sensors and the technology is only available in a few cameras.

Dynamic Range

The size of the pixel location and the fill factor determine the size of the photodiode and this has a big impact on the dynamic range. Higher quality sensors are more accurate and will be able to output a larger dynamic range which can be preserved when storing the pixel values into a RAW image file. A variant of the Fujifilm Super CCD, the Super CCD SR uses two photodiodes per pixel location with the objective to increase the dynamic range. A more sensitive photodiode measures the shadows, while a less sensitive photodiode measures the highlights.

Noise

The pixel value consists of two components:
(1) what you want to see (the actual measurement of the value in the scene)
(2) what you do not want to see (noise).
The higher (1), and the lower (2), the better the quality of the pixel. The quality of the sensor and the size of its pixel locations have a great impact on noise and how it changes with increasing sensitivity.

Artifacts

Besides noise, there are many other types of artifacts that determine pixel quality.

Conclusion

Unfortunately there is no single standard objective quality number to compare image quality across different types of sensors and cameras. For instance, a 3 megapixel Foveon type sensor uses 9 million photodetectors in 3 million pixel locations. The resulting quality is higher than a 3 megapixel but lower than a 9 megapixel conventional image and it also depends on the ISO level you compare it at. Likewise, a 6 megapixel Fujifilm Super CCD image is based on measurements in 3 million pixel locations. The quality is higher than a 3 megapixel image but lower than a 6 megapixel image. A 6 megapixel digital compact image will be of lower quality than a 6 megapixel digital SLR image with larger pixels. To determine an "equivalent" resolution is tricky at best.

End of the day, the most important thing is that you are happy with the quality level that comes out of your camera for the purpose that you need it for (e.g. website, viewing on computer, printing, enlargements, publishing, etc.). I strongly recommend that you look beyond megapixels when purchasing a digital camera.

© Vincent Bockaert

Below the list of CCD sensors used in modern digital cameras


Product name Pixels Type or
Size
Effective pixels
(H x V)
Frames
per sec.
Pixel size Year
Sony
Exmor (CMOS) 25.7M 35 mm 6,104 x 4,064 6.3 5.94 x 5.94 m2 2008.4Q
IMX021 (CMOS) 13.1M 1.8 4,320 x 2,888 10.39 5.49 x 5.49 m2 2007.3Q
IMX007AQ (CMOS) dsc 12.4M 1.8 4,288 x 2,848 5 5.49 x 5.49 m2 2004.3Q
ICX263 10.9M 1.8 4,024 x 2,648 1.6 5.9 x 5.9 m2 2003.4Q
ICX483 dsc 10.9M 1.8 3,900 x 2,616 5.57 6.05 x 6.05 m2 2006.1Q
ICX493 dsc 10.8M 1.8 3,900 x 2,616 3.3 6.05 x 6.05 m2 2006.3Q
ICX413 dsc 6.31M 1.8 3,040 x 2,024 3.08 7.8 x 7.8 m2 2002.1Q
IMX0??AQ (CMOS) dsc 10.3M 21.5 x 14.4 3,888 x 2,592 3 5.49 x 5.49 m2 2005.3Q
ICX456 dsc 8.31M 2/3 3,288 x 2,472 3.33 2.7 x 2.7 m2 2004.1Q
ICX282 dsc 5.24M 2/3 2,588 x 1,960 3.75 3.4 x 3.4 m2 2000.3Q
ICX685 10.4M 1/1.7 3,684 x 2,760 2.052 2.03 x 2.03 m2 2009.3Q
ICX652 13.9M 1/1.7 4,272 x 3,204 1.7 1.75 x 1.75 m2 2008.2Q
ICX612 12.4M 1/1.7 4,032 x 3,024 2.336 1.85 x 1.85 m2 2007.3Q
ICX476 dsc 8.30M 1/1.8 3,288 x 2,472 3.33 2.22 x 2.22 m2 2005.4Q
IMX017 (CMOS) 6.60M 1/1.8 2,928 x 2,184 60 2.5 x 2.5 m2 2007.1Q
ICX489 dsc 7.41M 1/1.8 3,112 x 2,328 3.33 2.35 x 2.35 m2 2004.2Q
ICX452 dsc 5.26M 1/1.8 2,616 x 1,960   2.775 x 2.775 m2 2002.3Q
ICX406 4.13M 1/1.8 2,312 x 1,720 3.33 3.125 x 3.125 m2 2001.2Q
ICX411 dsc 4.13M 1/1.8 2,312 x 1,720 4.28 3.125 x 3.125 m2 2003.1Q
ICX252 3.34M 1/1.8 2,088 x 1,550 4.28 3.45 x 3.45 m2 1999.4Q
ICX262 dsc 3.34M 1/1.8 2,088 x 1,550 4.28 3.45 x 3.45 m2 2000.4Q
ICX412 3.34M 1/1.8 2,088 x 1,550 4.28 3.45 x 3.45 m2 2003.2Q
ICX274 2.11M 1/1.8 1,636 x 1,236 15 4.4 x 4.4 m2 2002.1Q
ICX675 10.3M 1/2.3 3,684 x 2,760 1.96 1.68 x 1.68 m2 2008.2Q
ICX665 10.3M 1/2.3 3,684 x 2,760 1.96 1.68 x 1.68 m2 2008.2Q
IMX032 (CMOS) 10.3M 1/2.3 3,528 x 2,632 30 1.75 x 1.75 m2 2009.1Q
ICX224 2.11M 1/2 1,636 x 1,236 7.5 3.9 x 3.9 m2 1998.4Q
ICX284 2.11M 1/2.7 1,636 x 1,236 7.5 3.275 x 3.275 m2 1999.4Q
ICX205 1.51M 1/2 1,392 x 1,040 7.5 4.65 x 4.65 m2 1998.4Q
IMX060PQ (CMOS) 12.2M 1/2.5 4,040 x 3,032 10 1.4 x 1.4 m2 2008.4Q
ICX637 9.30M 1/2.5 3,492 x 2,616 2.38 1.66 x 1.66 m2 2008.2Q
IMX043 (CMOS) 8.30M 1/2.5 3,288 x 2,468   1.75 x 1.75 m2 2008.4Q
ICX646 8.29M 1/2.5 3,298 x 2,472 2.5 1.75 x 1.75 m2 2007.3Q
ICX636 8.29M 1/2.5 3,298 x 2,472 2.5 1.75 x 1.75 m2 2007.3Q
ICX629 7.41M 1/2.5 3,112 x 2,328 3.33 1.86 x 1.86 m2 2006.3Q
ICX624 dsc 6.18M 1/2.5 2,840 x 2,128 4.28 2.03 x 2.03 m2 2005.4Q
ICX495 dsc 5.26M 1/2.5 2,616 x 1,960 4.28 2.2 x 2.2 m2 2004.4Q
ICX498 4.23M 1/2.5 2,344 x 1,752 4.28 2.5 x 2.5 m2 2004.2Q
ICX488 4.23M 1/2.7 2,344 x 1,752 4.28 2.35 x 2.35 m2 2004.1Q
ICX432 3.34M 1/2.7 2,088 x 1,550   2.575 x 2.575 m2 2002.1Q
ICX454 2.11M 1/2.7 1,648 x 1,240 8.563 3.275 x 3.275 m2 2002.4Q
IMX020 (CMOS) 5.31M 1/2.7 2,616 x 1,968 15 2 x 2 m2 2007.2Q
IMX011 (CMOS) 2.13M 1/3 1,656 x 1,249 15 2.925 x 2.925 m2 2004.3Q
IMX046PQ (CMOS) 8.11M 1/3.2 3,288 x 2,468 15 1.4 x 1.4 m2 2008.4Q
IMX034 (CMOS) 5.33M 1/3.2 2,616 x 1,968   1.75 x 1.75 m2 2008.4Q
ICX434 2.11M 1/3.2 1,636 x 1,236 7.5 2.775 x 2.775 m2 2002.1Q
IMX006 (CMOS) 1.33M 1/3.2 1,296 x 985 15 3.45 x 3.45 m2 2004.3Q
ICX232 1.31M 1/3.6 1,290 x 966 7.5 3.125 x 3.125 m2 1999.2Q
IMX045PQ (CMOS) 5.15M 1/4 2,616 x 1,968 15 1.4 x 1.4 m2 2008.4Q
ICX098 0.33M 1/4 659 x 494 30 5.6 x 5.6 m2 1998.4Q
Sharp
RJ21Y3BA0ET 12.5M 1/1.7 4,032 x 3,024   1.88 x 1.88 m2 2006.4Q
RJ21Y3DA0ET 12.5M 1/1.7 4,032 x 3,024   1.88 x 1.88 m2 2006.4Q
RJ21W3BA0ET 10.5M 1/1.7 3,696 x 2,776   2.05 x 2.05 m2 2005.4Q
RJ21V3BA0ET dsc 8.50M 1/1.8 3,320 x 2,496 5 2.2 x 2.2 m2 2005.1Q
RJ21T3AA0PT dsc 6.36M 1/1.8 2,872 x 2,160 2.7 2.5 x 2.5 m2 2003.3Q
RJ21S3AA0PT 5.19M 1/1.8 2,592 x 1,944 2 2.8 x 2.8 m2 2003.1Q
RJ23V3BA0BT 8.50M 1/2.5 3,320 x 2,496   1.75 x 1.75 m2 2007.1Q
RJ23U3BA0ET 7.40M 1/2.5 3,096 x 2,328   1.9 x 1.9 m2 2006.1Q
RJ23T3BA0ET 6.20M 1/2.5 2,872 x 2,160   2.05 x 2.05 m2 2005.2Q
RJ23S3BA0ET 5.05M 1/2.5 2,600 x 1,944   2.2 x 2.2 m2 2004.3Q
RJ23R3BA0ET 4.06M 1/2.5 2,332 x 1,740   2.5 x 2.5 m2 2004.1Q
RJ24P3BA0ET 3.27M 1/3.2 2,096 x 1,560 3 2.2 x 2.2 m2 2004.2Q
Panasonic
MN39960 (CMOS) 7.38M 4/3 3,136 x 2,352 3 5.6 x 5.6 m2 2006.1Q
MN39750PM 8.12M 1/1.8 3,288 x 2,472   2.2 x 2.2 m2 2005.3Q
MN39593PT 5.20M 1/1.8 2,620 x 1,984   2.275 x 2.275 m2 2004.1Q
MN39591PT 3.85M 1/1.8 2,272 x 1,696   3.25 x 3.25 m2 2001.3Q
MN39830PM 6.37M 1/2.5 2,864 x 2,160   2.025 x 2.025 m2 2005.3Q
MN39620PQ 5.20M 1/2.5 2,620 x 1,984   2.2 x 2.2 m2 2003.3Q
MN39720 5.20M 1/2.5 2,620 x 1,984   2.2 x 2.2 m2 2003.3Q
MN39482PJ 4.07M 1/2.5 2,336 x 1,744   2.5 x 2.5 m2 2004.1Q
MN39592PJ 3.24M 1/2.5 2,088 x 1,550   2.75 x 2.75 m2 2004.1Q
MN39480PJ 3.24M 1/2.7 2,088 x 1,550   2.575 x 2.575 m2 2004.1Q
MN39922 3.24M 1/3.2 2,088 x 1,550   2.2 x 2.2 m2 2004.4Q
MN39400 3.24M 1/3.2 2,088 x 1,550   2.2 x 2.2 m2 2004.4Q
MN39472PJ 2.04M 1/3.2 1,648 x 1,236   2.75 x 2.75 m2 2004.1Q
MN39192FH 1.24M 1/4 1,290 x 966   2.8 x 2.8 m2 2001.3Q
Samsung (CMOS)
S5K2E1FX 5.16M 1/2.5 2,616 x 1,960 10 2.2 x 2.2 m2 2005.2Q
S5K3C1FX 3.20M 1/3.2 2,056 x 1,544 15 2.25 x 2.25 m2 2005.2Q
S5K3BAF 2.00M 1/3.2 1,600 x 1,200   2.8 x 2.8 m2 2005.2Q
S5K3B2FA 1.97M 1/3.2 1,612 x 1,208 30 2.8 x 2.8 m2 2005.2Q
S5K3AAE 1.31M 1/3.2 1,280 x 1,024   3.5 x 3.5 m2 2005.2Q
S5K3C1FX 3.15M 1/3 2,048 x 1,536   2.25 x 2.25 m2 2005.2Q
S5K4AAF 1.31M 1/4 1,280 x 1,024   2.8 x 2.8 m2 2005.2Q
Micron Technology (CMOS)
MT9T001 3.15M 1/2 2,048 x 1,536 12 3.2 x 3.2 m2 2005.2Q
MT9E001 7.99M 1/2.5 3,264 x 2,448   1.75 x 1.75 m2 2006.3Q
MT9P011 5.04M 1/2.5 2,592 x 1,944 12 2.2 x 2.2 m2 2006.1Q
MT9P031 5.04M 1/2.5 2,592 x 1,944 12 2.2 x 2.2 m2 2006.1Q
MT9P001 5.49M 1/2.5 2,592 x 1,944 12 2.2 x 2.2 m2 2005.3Q
MT9T012 3.17M 1/3.2 2,056 x 1,544 15 2.2 x 2.2 m2 2005.3Q
MT9D111 2.00M 1/3.2 1,600 x 1,200 15 2.8 x 2.8 m2 2005.2Q
MT9M112 1.31M 1/4 1,280 x 1,024 15 2.8 x 2.8 m2 2005.4Q
MT9D112 1.92M 1/4 1,600 x 1,200 15 2.2 x 2.2 m2 2006.1Q
Philips
FXA1012 2.09M 2/3 1,616 x 1,296 5 5.1 x 5.1 m2 1999.4Q
Canon (CMOS)
EOS 1Ds III (1060) 21.0M 35 mm 5,616 x 3,744 5 6.4 x 6.4 m2 2007.3Q
EOS 1Ds II dsc 16.6M 35 mm 4,992 x 3,328 4 7.2 x 7.2 m2 2004.3Q
EOS 5D (706P) dsc 12.8M 35 mm 4,368 x 2,912 3 8.2 x 8.2 m2 2005.3Q
EOS 1Ds dsc 11.0M 35 mm 4,064 x 2,704 3 8.8 x 8.8 m2 2002.3Q
EOS 1D II dsc 8.19M 28.7 x 19.1 3,504 x 2,336 8.5 8.2 x 8.2 m2 2004.1Q
EOS 400D 10.1M 22.2 x 14.8 3,888 x 2,592 3 5.7 x 5.7 m2 2006.4Q
EOS 10D (704F) dsc 6.29M 22.7 x 15.1 3,072 x 2,048 3 7.4 x 7.4 m2 2003.1Q
EOS 20D (704W) dsc 8.19M 22.5 x 15 3,504 x 2,336 5 6.4 x 6.4 m2 2004.3Q
EOS 350D dsc 8.00M 22.2 x 14.8 3,456 x 2,304 3 6.4 x 6.4 m2 2005.1Q
Kodak
KAI-16000 16.5M 35 mm 4,904 x 3,280 3 7.4 x 7.4 m2 2006.4Q
KAI-11002 11.1M 35 mm 4,032 x 2,688 5 9 x 9 m2 2006.1Q
KAI-11000 11.1M 35 mm 4,032 x 2,688 5 9 x 9 m2 2007.1Q
KAF-10500 11.2M 27 x 18 4,010 x 2,686 2.4 6.8 x 6.8 m2 2006.3Q
KAF-6303 6.35M 27 x 18 3,072 x 2,048 0.6 9 x 9 m2 2004.1Q
KAF-6302 6.25M 27 x 18 3,072 x 2,034 0.6 9 x 9 m2 2002.3Q
KAF-10010 10.3M 26.4 x 17.6 3,876 x 2,584 2.4 6.8 x 6.8 m2 2003.2Q
KAI-10100 11.2M 4/3 3,776 x 2,856 5 4.75 x 4.75 m2 2007.1Q
KAF-8300 dsc 8.52M 4/3 3,358 x 2,536 2.48 5.4 x 5.4 m2 2004.3Q
KAF-5101 dsc 5.32M 4/3 2,654 x 2,006 3.1 6.8 x 6.8 m2 2003.2Q
KAC-5000 (CMOS) 5.04M 1/1.8 2,592 x 1,944 6 2.7 x 2.7 m2 2005.3Q
KAC-05010 (CMOS) 5.04M 1/2.5 2,592 x 1,944 7 2.2 x 2.2 m2 2007.1Q
KAC-3100 (CMOS) 3.15M 1/2.7 2,048 x 1,536 12 2.7 x 2.7 m2 2005.3Q
Nikon (CMOS)
D3 12.1M 35 mm 4,256 x 2,832 9 8.45 x 8.45 m2 2007.3Q
D2H dsc 4.02M 23.7 x 15.5 2,464 x 1,632 8 9.6 x 9.6 m2 2003.2Q
Dalsa
FTF4027C 10.7M 35 mm 4,008 x 2,672 7.5 9 x 9 m2 2004.2Q
FTF3020C 6.29M 35 mm 3,072 x 2,048 20 12 x 12 m2 2004.1Q
FTF2416C 4.03M 22.1 x 14.8 2,460 x 1,640 9 9 x 9 m2 2003.1Q
ATMEL
AT71200M 8.05M 35 mm 3,500 x 2,300 2.8 10 x 10 m2 2003.2Q
Foveon  (CMOS)
Fx17-78-F13 4.82M 20.7 x 13.8 2,652 x 1,768 5 7.8 x 7.8 m2 2006.3Q
F7X3-C9110 3.40M 20.7 x 13.8 2,268 x 1,512 4.4 9.12 x 9.12 m2 2002.1Q
FO18-50-F19 1.50M 1/1.8 1,420 x 1,060 7 5 x 5 m2 2003.1Q
Cypress (CMOS)
CYIHDSC9000AA 9.03M 1.8 3,710 x 2,434 5 6.4 x 6.4 m2 2005.4Q
Toshiba  (CMOS)
ET8E99-AS 3.24M 1/2.6 2,080 x 1,560   2.7 x 2.7 m2 2005.3Q
OmniVision (CMOS)
OV5623 5.04M 1/2.5 2,592 x 1,944 7.5 2.2 x 2.2 m2 2007.1Q
OV5620 5.04M 1/2.5 2,592 x 1,944 7.5 2.2 x 2.2 m2 2007.1Q




Type Aspect
ratio
Sensor size (mm)
Diagonal Width Height
1/4 4:3 4.450 3.560 2.670
1/3.6 4:3 5.000 4.000 3.000
1/3 4:3 5.500 4.400 3.300
1/3.2 4:3 5.700 4.560 3.420
1/2.7 4:3 6.750 5.400 4.050
1/2.6 4:3 7.000 5.600 4.200
1/2.5 4:3 7.170 5.740 4.300
1/2.3 4:3 7.750 6.200 4.650
1/2 4:3 8.000 6.400 4.800
1/1.8 4:3 9.000 7.200 5.400
1/1.7 4:3 9.500 7.600 5.700
2/3 4:3 11.000 8.800 6.600
4/3 4:3 22.500 18.000 13.500
1.8 3:2 28.400 23.630 15.750
35 mm 3:2 43.267 36.000 24.000

    IB/NEWS 


Rambler's Top100
07.08.2005  -

27.03.2005 
[...]
 
Home Copyright (C) 1998-2017 Vitaly Lunyov