How much does megapixel count mean?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by mbell75, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. mbell75 macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2007
    I know its obvious for still but for video? I am looking at the Sony HDR CX500 and the Canon Vixia HF S10. The Sony sensor is 6MP (4MP effective) and the Canon is 8.59MP (6MP) effective. Is the difference in 2MP that much more noticeable? I know in still cameras it really isnt. Both have about the same size sensor too, 1/2.88 for the Sony and 1/2.6 for the Canon, so thats pretty much even. Thoughts?
  2. zachsilvey macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    Battle Ground
    It doesn't matter how many MP you have in a camcorder because HD video is only about 2 MP. The higher MP count is for taking stills otherwise its down sampled to 1920x1080. One reason you don't want a higher MP count on a smaller sensor is that the higher the MP count the smaller the pixel pitch meaning that there is potential for more noise. It varies from camera to camera but if you aren't going to be taking stills with this camera then don't worry about the MP count.
  3. mbell75 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2007
    Can you explain why the Sony and Canon I mentioned both have noticeably sharper and crisper video then the 2MP versions? Because they have a lerger sensor? I wouldnt think the difference between a 1/4 sensor and a 1/2.88 would be that noticeable at all. But the video on the higher end versions are much better. I figured it had to do with the better MP count video resolution.
  4. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006
    I'm not a pro, but as I understand it, the pixel count is generally the same as the sensor size... i.e. higher is better.

    in the end, it's all being scaled down to 1080i/p anyway, so the only purpose a higher pixel count sensor has is to make the color more accurate...if you're sampling 4 pixels and turning it into 1 it's going to be less accurate than sampling 16 pixels and turning it into one ( well, that's the theory as it was explained to me )

    IMHO a bit of this is tech spec "pizzaz", since what's far more important in the sensors itself is the actual accuracy of what it's reading. It doesn't matter if you have 12MP if the quality of that sensor is poor in low light, or if greens look drab in all but the brightest of lights.

    One other thing to consider since these are both AVCHD cameras is bitrate. Highbitrate recording equals higher quality video ( all other things being equal )

    There are a few review sites out there ( is a good one if you can get over all the stupid ads they have now and the really bad new interface to the in depth reviews ) that will really get down and dirty and test low light performance etc.

    Ironically, here's an article comparing your exact 2 cameras:

    ( not saying it's a good article, I didn't read it actually )

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