Megapixels count doesn’t tell the whole story !! Far from it. Pixels, Schmixels, I say.
Low light photos are the bane of every Urbexer. There is just never enough light to create a decent image though. Our camera sensors are helpless little things, struggling to capture any bit of information they can in the darkness. However it often falls short of creating a sharp, detailed image. Not only that, but sometimes it’s not just the lack of light, it’s also the fault of our good ol’ buddy, shitty equipment.
Let’s talk about gear, shall we? You know, the lenses that make you question your life choices and the camera sensors that make you want to pull your hair out…
When it comes to Urbex (low light), our gear can make or break our shots. A sensor is like the gatekeeper of light, determining how much of it can be captured and how well it can be used. But when the light is scarce, the sensor better step up its game and capture every tiny photon it can find, otherwise we end up with a noisy mess of an image that would make our grandma’s flip phone pics look like Ansel Adams.
Whatever some random girl might say, size matters. Especially in the world of camera sensors. IMHO, bigger pixels are the cool kids on the block, capturing more light and producing less noise.
And don’t even get me started on ISO capabilities; the higher, the better, or so, some would argue. Not me though. I am aware that in low light situations, we need all the sensitivity to light we can get, like a vampire craving for blood. But with the blood, you’ll get poison. Noise poison. And loads of it. So ISO cranking up is, to me, at least, not necessarly an option.
There’s allways dynamic range though, the “Captain Marvel” of Urbex photography.
You see, in abandoned buildings, there’s often a stark contrast between bright and dark areas, like dramatic scenes straight out of a B-grade horror movie. But a sensor with high dynamic range can swoop in and save the day, capturing all the juicy details in the shadows and highlights, and give you a balanced and natural-looking image.
Without a good sensor, you’ll be stuck in the dark, fumbling around, ending up with images that would make even the most amateur photographer cringe.
As we’re going to see, many factors can impact a sensor’s performance.
Don’t you just love it when a fuckin’ tiny piece of technology has so much power over creative expression?
So, besides the obvious need for enough light, the type of sensor technology used, CCD (charge-coupled device) or CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor), also play a role in performance.
- CCD sensors use a complex process to convert light into digital signals. They contain an array of tiny light-sensitive diodes called photodiodes, which generate an electrical charge when exposed to light. These charges are transferred across the chip to an amplifier, which converts them into data.
- CMOS sensors use a simpler process. Each pixel on a CMOS sensor has its own amplifier, allowing the sensor to capture and convert the light into digital signals in a more efficient manner.
In terms of image quality, CCD sensors generally offer higher quality with better color accuracy, dynamic range, and low-light performance. However, they are more expensive and consume more power than CMOS sensors. If your camera uses a CCD, buy yourslef a spare battery.
Finally, one of the most talked-about feature on sensor is the number of megapixels it has. The common misconception is that a higher number of megapix always means a better image quality. However, this is not entirely true.
Megapixels refer to the number of pixels in the camera sensor. Each pixel captures a tiny bit of light, and the camera combines all these pixels to create the final image. While a higher number of pixels can result in a higher resolution image, it doesn’t necessarily mean better image quality. A camera with fewer megapixels but better sensors and lens will produce a higher-quality image than a camera with more megapixels but inferior components.
So….really, it is about the size of the sensor, because that’s where things really get interesting. The size of a sensor also determines your crop factor, a.k.a how zoomed in an image will appear.
A full-frame sensor is the standard for professional film cameras, but if you’re not living the high life, trust me, you’ll be dealing with a smaller sensor and a lovely crop factor. Not that it’s all bad. I have a lovely 300 mm that is now a super 450!
On the other hand, my fancy 28mm-F1.4 lens clearly does not give me the same results on my Nikon, with a crop factor of 1.5. You’ll have to do some math to figure out what your effective focal length will be.
Who doesn’t love doing math while out Urbexing?
The size of the crop factor will impact other important image aspects though: namely low light performance and depth of field.
Bigger sensors mean better low light performance and shallower depth of field. Smaller sensors result in poorer low light performance and deeper depth of field. Obviously.
So, if you’re all about those bokehlicious shots, you might want to invest in a camera with a bigger sensor.
Sensor innovation in camera technology has revolutionized the way we capture images. However, while modern sensors have enabled us to capture more detail, color, and dynamic range than ever before, they have also introduced a hole lot of fuckin’ noise. And boy, do I hate digital noise.
As sensors advance, the data captured becomes increasingly complex. This complexity leads to increased noise, particularly in low light, Urbex, conditions. Not to mention the tradeoff between resolution and low-light performance. While modern sensors offer incredible resolution, this often comes at the expense of low-light sensitivity.
As long, as we’re on small sensor technology, let’s talk about phones…
In the early days of camera phones, the sensors were small and produced low-quality images. However, manufacturers realized the potential of phone cameras, they began to invest heavily in development.
Today, phones have come a long way, with many high-end devices offering sensor resolutions that rival (or in many cases exceed) those of dedicated cameras. My phone has a 108 megapix camera. 108 !!
And it won’t stop there. No sire; manufacturers are using a range of technologies to continuously improve images; larger sensors of course, multiple lenses, and computational power !!
The biggest advantages of phone in Urbex is, of course, portability. With many people carrying their phones with them wherever they go, it’s easy to Urbex on the go. As phone camera sensors continue to evolve, expect more exciting developments in the years to come.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or just an Urban adventurer who loves photos, the future of sensors is bright. Hahaha. See what I did there ? Yea, sorry.