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Better way then MP to rate cameras with one number

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#1 EliC



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Posted 27 April 2014 - 11:08 AM

We all know that the megapixel race is pointless. However, the quality of a digital camera is all to often boiled down to 1 number, the megapixel count.

Unfortunatly there is much more to a good camera. Some are hard to quantify, such as optics, software, etc. Some lend themselves to check boxes, like optical image stabilization. Others such as sensor size and pixel size are easy to quantify, but lost, as everyone wants one simple number.

I was thinking about some type of scoring system that would rate sensors based on their total area, pixel size, and megapixels. Here is what I am thinking:


Effective (Eli's) MegaPixel Quality = Sensor Size in mm2 + ((pixels size in µm - 1) x MP count )


Nokia 808 = 101.4 EMQ
10.7 mm × 8 mm sensor size = 85.6mm2
1.38 µm pixels
41.5 MP

Lumia 1020 = 63.1 EMQ
8.8 mm × 6.6 mm sensor size = 58.1 mm2
1.12 µm pixels
41.3 MP


Sony Z2 = 31.8 EMQ
6.17 x 4.55mm = 28.1
1.176µm pixels
20.7 MP

Galaxy S5 = 28.6 EMQ
5.76 x 4.29mm = 24.7
16.1 MP


Apple iPhone 5s = 21.9 EMQ
4.89mm x 3.67 mm = 17.9
1.5 µm pixels
7.99 MP

HTC One M8 = 20.9 EMQ
5.44 x 3.07mm = 16.7
2.02 µm
4.09 MP


I tried to put the primary emphasis on the size of the sensor. I used pixels size in µm - 1, because the closer you get to 1µm, the closer you are to the wavelength of visible light and the more noise. Manufactures should be penilized in camera stats the smaller the pixels get. With this calculation they actually would start dropping in score as the size falls below 1µm, which is good.

I don't know that the units should be called or if this is the best calculation.

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#2 SamuriHL


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Posted 28 April 2014 - 03:54 PM

You and I have talked about this in PM but you asked for me to put my thoughts here.  As I said, I think it will be difficult to get buy in on this concept.  I think it's a GREAT idea to give a more meaningful gauge of quality than "oooh, 12 mp, wow!"  The idea of a new metric (overall score made up of different useful measurements) definitely is awesome.  This is something the industry should adopt.  The idea of a numerical representation where higher REALLY does mean "better" is smart.  The choices you've made make sense.  Obviously the weighting of the different attributes is open to personal opinion.  There would need to be widespread agreement on the metrics to measure and what weight they should hold.  This is not an area I'm an expert in so I can't intelligently determine if the weighting you've chosen makes the most sense or not, but, I think it's a step in the right direction.

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