Thursday, 7 June 2018

Camera Sensor technology has Plateaued

I was looking at a mates G80 and thinking wow, this is nice ... although its funny how its just come back to exactly the same form factor as the GH1 (and G1) originally had.

Naturally the G80 offers 4K video and a plethora of other groovy stuff like IBIS which is just "fuckDatsGood" (beyond belief).

However as a stills guy I keep feeling that even since the 2009 release of the GH1 that fucking not much has happened except tweak the tuning parameters, squeeze more pixels in (without fucking things up) and way better JPG engines in the cameras.

Now you may or may not agree with DxO Mark's measurements, but they are a ball park to start from. Myself I've compared my GH1 do a mates OM-D EM5 Mk1  as well as the Mk2 and found that I couldn't see much of any difference in RAW, but the JPG engines were ahead (but then as I prefer to just shoot RAW and process on Computer they are neck and neck.
The following examination of DxO measurement data seems to support this.
I compared these three cameras. Lets keep in mind that the GH1 was released in about July 2009.




those coloured blobs match in with the graphs, first lets looks at what ISO you get when you dial in a number



so the GH1 actually gives you a higher shutter speed (by virtue of its under-rated setting) for the same camera set ISO (because the actual ISO is higher than you think).


Ok, next dynamic range:



GX8@measured 109 ISO (dial setting 100) = 12.52 EV
GH1@measured 137 ISO (dial setting 100) = 11.63 EV

well for sure the newer cameras are doing better at 100ISO, but man it sure becomes closer at ISO 800 (where I do often work to get shutter speed) ...and none of those differences are likely ball breaking differences in real shooting.

Tonal range



Talk about your linear relationship. If this isn't showing that way back in 2009 sensors were at the edge of the plateau I don't know what does.

So to me, this supports my view that camera sensors plateaued, nearly 10 years ago.

Something to think about when justifying that camera upgrade ... and I can still get used GH1's in good condition for under US$180 pretty much every day of the week over at KEH.

Food for thought if you're a broke student looking to get into a system.

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