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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Is the 5d mark II worth it?
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02/09/2009 04:59:58 PM · #1
I am looking to upgrade to the 5d or 5d II. I usually print about 2 or 3 20x30 and 24x36 images a week. Image quality means alot to me when printing, will the 5d II be more beneficial then the original? I am not very familiar with the inner workings of cameras and found this quote on the net "The current theory is that as you increase the number of pixels and maintain the same overall image area, the smaller each pixel has to be. As the pixels decrease in size, the digital noise goes up. So the Mfg's compensate for more noise by releasing new image processing engines to compensate. So the net gain in image quality is far less than implied by the pixel count." How true is this quote?
02/09/2009 05:05:28 PM · #2
I don't know how true it is in the case of the 5D specifically, but I find on the P&S cameras that "more" is definitely not better. I have my P&S set about two steps LOWER than it's touted number of available pixels. To me, cramming more pixels into the same space creates "mud" - at least on the P&S level.
02/09/2009 05:08:27 PM · #3
The quote is not without merit, but is only true as a general trend. In order to judge for a specific camera, you need to look at results for that camera.
The 5DII has very good noise performance, in fact it is better than the original 5D at high ISO. There *is* a big difference in the detail present in 5DII files compared to 5D files, when the lens is up to the task. For the size prints you are talking about, and the frequency with which you print that large, I think you will see a noticeable difference.
02/09/2009 05:09:56 PM · #4
I think the improvements are not so much for print quality (unless you want to do posters or billboards maybe)
I think things like noise, file size, (maybe video if you are into it), improved weather sealing.
I think if you shoot most images at 100-200iso and do not shoot for stock or in the rain,snow etc.
Then you probably should use the money towards something else....
imho
02/09/2009 05:10:21 PM · #5
I am no expert. And I havent tried 5d yet. But with the Canon 40d->50d reviews and comparisons (and I did try 50d briefly), I am of the impression that adding more MP was a marketing gimmick at best, and didnt improve image quality drastically. I hope this is not the case with 5d->5dMkII.
02/09/2009 05:31:07 PM · #6
My recent scores may not show it, but I can see a massive improvement in image quality in my 5D Mark II compared to my 30D. Now if I could just buy some talent I'd be getting somewhere....
02/09/2009 06:21:49 PM · #7
Originally posted by OmanOtter:

Now if I could just buy some talent I'd be getting somewhere....


Couldnt agree more. I thought I found it (talent) on sale in C-City this weekend, but it was just a copy of PS Elements 5.0.:-)
02/09/2009 06:29:20 PM · #8
Originally posted by Prash:

I am no expert. And I havent tried 5d yet. But with the Canon 40d->50d reviews and comparisons (and I did try 50d briefly), I am of the impression that adding more MP was a marketing gimmick at best, and didnt improve image quality drastically. I hope this is not the case with 5d->5dMkII.


Not to hijack the thread completely, but I think Canon's decision to pack more MP on the 50D was so that it could market the camera to pros to use as a back-up body. Really nice glass is able to get a lot of the perfomance out the sensor. The perfomance at low ISO is fantastic. I guess the gurus at Canon think that the ability to crop pictures is more important than improving low light performance, which is more or less on par with the 40D. With that said, both 5Ds have superior low light performance to the 40D and 50D, mainly due to their full size sensors.
02/09/2009 06:32:29 PM · #9
Packing more pixels in the same area could be seen as bad, but it may not always be. Semiconductor technology is improving and each individual device is much smaller. A larger pixel does mean more light falling on the area and a lower noise, but having more pixels could also mean the processor can correct single pixel errors based on the surrounding pixels.
e.g.
Unit area = 1 pixel before
unit area = 4 pixels now
Its very unlikely that all the 4 new pixels could be wrong due to noise. if only one of them is wrong, the processor could correct it based on other 3.
02/09/2009 06:44:13 PM · #10
Originally posted by gaurawa:

Packing more pixels in the same area could be seen as bad, but it may not always be. Semiconductor technology is improving and each individual device is much smaller. A larger pixel does mean more light falling on the area and a lower noise, but having more pixels could also mean the processor can correct single pixel errors based on the surrounding pixels.
e.g.
Unit area = 1 pixel before
unit area = 4 pixels now
Its very unlikely that all the 4 new pixels could be wrong due to noise. if only one of them is wrong, the processor could correct it based on other 3.


Very good point. I assume you are talking about the HW and/or firmware layer that would decipher RAW (CR2) pixel data from the circuitry.

Dont know about 5D, but with 50d I couldnt get that impression. From the images I took/saw, I felt the images were still considerably noisy.. mostly color (chroma) noise. Perhaps the 50d processor isnt at par with its sensor's resolution powers yet... dont know for sure.

The other thing I dont understand is when people say "Use a better lens and then 50d will deliver". I dont understand how a better lens will make chroma noise less. It may of course improve the per pixel sharpness by controlling scattering of incoming/transmitted light. But as to how an 'L' series lens would lead to reduced noise in the color channels, I fail to understand.
02/09/2009 07:04:55 PM · #11
nevermind

Does anybody know of any online comparisons between the 5D and 5DmkII?

Message edited by author 2009-02-09 19:05:47.
02/09/2009 07:14:34 PM · #12
FWIW, some actual numbers on pixel density... the pixel dimensions for the 50D, 5D, and 5DII are as follows:

50D pixel = 4.69µm x 4.68µm for an area of 22µm^2
5DII pixel = 6.41µm x 6.41µm for an area of 41µm^2
5D pixel = 8.24µm x 8.24µm for an area of 68µm^2

So we can see that the 50D pixels are just half the size of the 5DII pixels, and less than a third the size of the 5D pixels. The 5DII is still a pretty low density sensor by APS-C standards. It's pixel size is almost identical to the 8.2 Mpx 20D. And I'm still ignoring improvements in sensor electronics, microlens efficiency, and performance of A to D electronics.
In noise performance (real-world tests, plenty of them on the web to choose from) the 5DII noise is less than that of the 5D, which was (still is in fact) considered a superb low-light camera. The per-pixel acuity is nearly as high as the 5D, when the glass is up to the task (less taxing on lenses, on image center, than the 50D, FWIW).
The 5DII is not the ultimate king of image detail. There are a couple cameras that (just) edge it out. The only cameras of that small group that also edge the 5DII in feature set and compete in noise are three times the price (D3x and 1DsIII).
The 5DII is not everything to everyone, but it is a fabulous general-purpose instrument, and a fantastic value. For those shooting landscape or live subjects in low light, it is a wonderful tool.
02/09/2009 07:18:57 PM · #13
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

nevermind

Does anybody know of any online comparisons between the 5D and 5DmkII?


Here are two:

Cameralabs noise comparison
Sensor comparison

And here is an article relating higher MP to noise performance (specifically, SNR).

Assuming same sensor components, yes, higher MP will provide a gain in SignalToNoise ratio, BUT only if the increased resolution image is somehow averaged down to the lower resolution image. This step reduces noise and improves SNR. So the point remains: why get a higher MP sensor if the images will need to be averaged (downsampled) anyways? This seems to be the case with 40d->50d transition (see their sensor comparison scores here).

However, if you now consider a case where the sensor components themselves are improved so even if the pixel dimensions reduce, the noise isnt allowed to rise significantly. In this case, higher MP may actually make sense, giving a true benefit. This seems to be the case for 5D->5DMkII (see their sensor scores from dxomark).

Some food for thought!

Message edited by author 2009-02-09 19:49:44.
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