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CCD size and Image Quality



Moving forward from the all-in-one digital debate, I think that the underlining difference between the dslr and the coolpix series is the physical sensor size which makes the Coolpix smaller sensor size suffer in terms of image quality (apart from the glass in front of it). The bebefits of a large sensor size as you find in a dslr are emcapsulated below by
Kerr Cook in a similar debate elswhere:

"If the CCD area is constant, but subdivided into more pixels, then each pixel will have a smaller area and less "signal" can be generated when light strikes as compared to the constant underlying thermal noise of the silicon substrate.

In other words, there is a diminishing return on usability because the multiple megapixel CCD will have a lower Signal to Noise ratio.... meaning more "gain" and less crisp bright imaging".

At anything above ISO 100 all the 8mp point-shoot cameras exhibit such tremendous noise and loss of detail.
Just a follow up from my previous post: Quote from another expert Jeff Fiore of Photo.net

"Comparing the Canon 10D 6.3 mpxl sensor with the Canon Powershot Pro1 at 8 mpxl - the 10D has less pixels (or actually photosites but they are much larger - say about 7-8 microns in size as opposed to the Powershot Pro1 whose photsites are about 2 microns. The larger the photosite, the better it is at collecting light, less signal &lification is required hence less noise. smaller photodiodes cannot collect as much light info as the larger photosite so the signal must be &lified to a much higher degree so you get more noise. See this article by Bob Atkins for a more comprehensive explanation. http://www.photo.net/equipment/digital/sensorsize/".