Back in 2003 I obtained my first digital camera. The Canon 10D was certainly expensive at $2500 compared to the film camera bodies I had been using, but the savings in film cost and processing and the instant image feedback was irresistible. The image quality was clearly as good as film in 8x10 images and many thought it looked better in side by side comparisons with 11x14. At that time it was believed by many that digital cameras would have to have around 20 megapixels to equal 35mm film.
Over the ensuing years Canon has increased
the pixel count incrementally in each new prosumer camera. The 20D and
30D had the same 8 megapixel sensor, the 40D has 10 megapixels and finally
the latest 50D has 15 megapixels. Going from 6 to 8 megapixels produced
a barley noticeable increase in image detail under an extreme blowup. Theory
predicts there is little resolution difference between a 6 and 8 megapixel
camera. To double resolution all other things being equal requires that
the pixel count be increased four times as both vertical and horizontal
dimensions need to be doubled.
The 10D and 50D images were shot in RAW and converted to TIF with Canons DPP. No sharpening was applied in the RAW conversion but the 10D file was sharpened optimally after rezing it up to match the pixel count of the 50D for a side by side comparison on the computer screen with 300% magnification. Two areas of the test target with fine detail were cropped from each file. Color balance and contrast were tweaked in the TIF files. Finally the cropped images were converted to JPEG with minimal compression for display on the website. Other tests were also performed without flash and supported the flash results but are not displayed here.
The Comparison images below are both from
different areas of the same target.
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