12.1MP Sony, 6.1MP Nikon Difference?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ColinEC, May 1, 2008.

  1. ColinEC macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2008

    Right now I am using a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W200, but eventually I would like to buy a Digital SLR camera (most likely the Nikon D40).

    I have a quick question about the megapixel difference between my current camera, and the Nikon D40.

    The Sony camera has 12.1 mega pixels, but the Nikon D40 only has 6.1 mega pixels. I also understand that there is a Nikon D40X which features 10.2 mega pixels, as opposed to 6.1.

    How big of a difference will I see in image quality between the two cameras?
  2. killmoms macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Megapixels, like megahertz in CPUs, are largely meaningless—especially when camera manufacturers cram far more supposed megapixels on to a tiny sensor than makes sense. Beyond a certain number of output megapixels on a specific size sensor, image quality decreases because all that is added is noise.

    It's entirely likely, even probable, that the D40's 6.1 megapixels will look better than anything out of your Sony due to a better sensor and the better glass of a real lens in front of it.
  3. ColinEC thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2008
    Thanks for clearing that up.

    Also, I have another question...

    I'm looking at the prices for DSLR cameras, and I noticed you can buy cameras that have the "body only".

    Is this everything the camera comes with, just without the lens (meaning I'll have to pick my own lens)?
  4. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Nov 19, 2007
    Portland, OR
  5. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Yes, you generally get a battery, charger, body cap, neck strap and cables with a "body only" kit. Basically, a "body only" kit from a manufacturer through a normal retailer just means "no lens included." With both "body only" and "kit lenses" you don't get a memory card- so you'll need to budget for that, and generally you'll want larger/faster cards of whatever type the camera takes.

    I don't think the D40 is sold by Nikon as a body only though.

    Your 6MP are bigger pixels, so they'll have less noise and more exposure latitude. All things equal, smaller sensors have physical disadvantages over larger sensors in terms of noise, diffraction and sensitivity.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The D40 has astoundly better image quality then the Sony camera. I have a 6MP D50 and my wife has the Sony. It is pretty easy to see the difference.

    There is no reason for Sony to devide the sensor into some many small pixels other than for marketing purposes.

    What makes the SLR so much better is (1) the physical size of the sensor. On the nikon it is about abut 24mm x 16mm while the sony has a tiny sensor closer to 5mm wide and (2) The lens(es) on the SLR are worlds apart better quality optically.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Yes. But you always have to pick your own lens. even if you go for the one packeage as a "kit" you have picked a lens.

    Seeing as the lens has greater effect on image quality than any other part of the camera system it pays to pick a lens that is well matched to your needs.
  8. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    While the Sony's sensor has 12.1 megapixels, I would imagine the level of detail you're actually capturing is on the order of only a few megapixels at best. There are too many compromises that go into making a compact camera.

    And even comparing the two dSLR sensors you mention (6mp vs 10mp), you're probably not going to see a difference, even if you blow it up to poster size, unless you're practicing really good technique and/or using a tripod. The sensor resolution is probably not going to be the limiting factor in your photography, in other words, and won't be for several years (and maybe never, unless you really get serious about it).
  9. iBallz macrumors 6502


    Dec 31, 2007
    So. Utah
    I have a Canon G9 with 12.1 MP and the pics my daughter took of the exact same thing on a recent trip were not even close in quality to my 10MP Nikon D300. (in fact the Canons images were plain crap) I think its too small of sensor and too many MPs crammed in.? And a little itty bitty lens. My friends 6 year old 4 MP kodak superzoom sorta camera takes better images, and I think the glass must be twice the size of my Canon's glass.
  10. johnsy macrumors 6502

    Nov 15, 2006
    check this post out:

    this about future proofing. As far as MP, they matter for only one thing- HOW BIG PICTURES you going to print. If you will print poster or even bigger (wall) size picture, MP does matter. There is something more what matters- light and lenses. With good light you can do miracles. When there is no good light you can use flash. Good lenses saves a day. Sony has not enough glass!!! Check their selection of lenses (and prices) before you buy. They have just 8 zoom lenses (I assume that you will use zoom lenses most). Decide how much you can spend on a lens before you buy a body! Cheaper body + good lens is better combination than most expensive body and bad lens.

    Also for beginner Nikon is better choice because they have "?" button on camera which explains what one or other thing does.
  11. Zer0 macrumors regular

    May 22, 2007
    as everyone says.... MP is a marketing gimmick as far as casual shooters or even amateurs are concerned!! It is the quality of these MP's that matter! Given same quality of pixels, sure bigger is better.... but the MP's produced by the generous sensor of D40 are noticeably better than a P&S. I moved from a sony DSC-H5 to a D40. 7MP --> 6 MP and I can see the difference! The D40 images are so much better!
  12. nostaws macrumors 6502


    Jan 14, 2006
  13. cmcbridejr macrumors 6502a


    Sep 28, 2007
    Alpharetta, GA
    The only major difference you will notice between the mega-pixel specs at that level is if you try to output the images to poster-sized prints.

    If you are only looking to output at 4x6 or 5x8 size, then it will not be so noticeable.

    Also, large format printers are coming down in price dramatically, so you need to consider whether you will be printing large format in the near future or not.

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