These photos are taken from my Nikon B500 Point and Shoot camera. See the Orange marks here.

enter image description here enter image description here

The area nearby these marks is not well photographed. I guess you might not see much difference but as I have the original drawings, I know those spots missed details and it captures better from the middle only.

Secondly, there's always some noise. My drawings on paper are little better than they look here in Photographs.

So if I click the same drawings with a DSLR like Canon 200D, in same light, using same tripod and same lowest ISO, will I get better photos?


Here's the screenshot of the current photo's propeties: enter image description here

I can only control ISO in this camera.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If you click - no, if you take a photo and tune it - yes :) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 1, 2019 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ And what do you say about noise? Noise would be less with a DSLR? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vikas
    Jun 1, 2019 at 14:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Noise will always be present, until someone comes up with sensor technology that is immune to noise (don't hold your breath). Reducing noise as much as possible generally involves improving lighting so that you can shoot at the lowest ISO your camera supports (i.e. higher ISO values -> more noise). Sensors with larger pixels are also better - implying lower pixel count for a particular sized sensor is better. Up to a point, at least - you still want reasonably high resolution to capture details. Newer technology is also usually better than old... \$\endgroup\$
    – twalberg
    Jun 1, 2019 at 15:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay but I wanted to ask comparison of noise. Suppose light used is same for both cameras. DSLR would have lesser noise as it has larger sensor right? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vikas
    Jun 1, 2019 at 15:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ My question is: Would DSLR have lesser noise if same ISO and lights and tripod are used, when compared to a 16MP B500 camera? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vikas
    Jun 1, 2019 at 15:52

3 Answers 3


There's an old saying about photography:

Gear doesn't matter.

While true, it is only part of the fuller truth:

Gear doesn't matter... until it does.

What that means is that better gear won't make anyone a better photographer. If the photographer is not applying the proper technique, skill, and knowledge when using lesser gear then better gear will not improve the poor results that are due to lack of skill, knowledge, and proper technique.

Let's look at your examples and compare the results you got using the Nikon B500 with the likely results that might be obtained by applying the same skill, knowledge, and photographic technique using a "better" camera such as the Canon EOS Rebel SL2/200D.

The Gear

The Nikon CoolPix B500 has a 16MP 1/2.3" sensor that measures about 6.2 x 4.6 millimeters. That gives it an area of about 29mm². Each "pixel well" (more accurately called a photosite) is about 1.3 micrometers wide.

The 1.6X APS-C Canon EOS Rebel SL2/200D has a 24.2MP sensor that measures about 22.3 x 14.9 mm for an area of about 330mm². Each "pixel" is about 3.7µm wide.

Thus the Canon 200D has a sensor with a little over 11X the area of the Nikon B500. Each photosite on the 200D is about 8.1X the area of each photosite of the B500. (The conversion factor is somewhat messy due to the two cameras' different aspect ratios - The B500 has a sensor that is 1.3333X wider than it is tall, The 200D sensor is 1.5X wider than it is tall.)

On paper, the larger sensor of the Canon EOS Rebel SL2/200D should produce better results than the Nikon B500. But on paper, your Nikon B500 should be able to produce better results than what you're getting, too.

The "Equivalent" Comparison

When we view images from both cameras at the same display size, we must magnify the image from the B500 by a linear factor of about 3.4X more than the image from the 200D. The increased enlargement magnifies everything in the image - including noise and blur. This is one of the reasons larger sensors enjoy advantages over smaller ones.

Assuming we are shooting from the same camera position that is the same distance from your flat subject, and that both cameras are properly aligned so that the flat subject is parallel to the camera's sensor and perpendicular to the lens' optical axis:

  • To get the same angle of view/field of view of the flat subject, we would need to use a lens with a 3.4X longer focal length on the APS-C Canon Rebel SL2/200D than on the Nikon B500.
  • To get the same f-number in order to have the same exposure under the same lighting conditions (measured in terms of the field density of light per unit area), we'd need to use the same aperture: f/3.

Since your EXIF info indicates a focal length of 4mm with the B500, that would require about 14mm with the 200D. This equates to a 35mm/FF "equivalent" of 22mm.

The Limitations of Expecting "Equivalency"

Herein lies the first issue with our "equivalency" requirement: There aren't any really good 14mm lenses for the Canon EOS Rebel SL2/200D optimized for flat field work, which is what one needs to do high quality reproduction of two dimensional art. What few options we would have at 14mm and f/3 are also fairly expensive compared to the standard 18-55mm "kit" lens that usually comes bundled with the EOS Rebel SL2/200D.

One of the main advantages of using an interchangeable lens camera is to allow one to use lenses optimized for a specific use case. Placing restrictions that unnecessarily eliminate lenses that would be the more appropriate for a specific task reduces the advantage of being able to change lenses for different tasks.

If we are willing to back up about 2.5X further, the EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM would be a much better lens to use for such a purpose. It's also relatively affordable compared to most other Macro lenses optimized for flat field work at close distances. Even if we insist on using the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM "kit" lens, it would do better at 35mm than at 18mm due to less geometric distortion in the middle of its focal length range than at 18mm.

The Real Way To Improve Results

For that matter, you would probably get better results with your Nikon B500 if you backed up about 2.5X further and used the camera's zoom lens at 10mm instead of at the shortest focal length of 4mm. You'd also probably get better results if you stopped the lens down instead of using it wide open at f/3.

Most lenses, particularly cheaper zoom lenses, are sharper when closed down about two stops than when they are used at the widest aperture. Of course to use a two stop narrower aperture you'd need to either extend the exposure time by two stops or increase the light falling on the subject by two stops. Raising ISO by two stops wouldn't really increase exposure, it would just increase amplification of the weaker signal coming from the sensor. This would also amplify noise.

As with many problems in photography, the real answer is more concerned with light than cameras and lenses.

Before you decide to start chasing improved photographs via GAS, learn to utilize the tools you already have to their fullest potential.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it possible to change aperture in Point and shoot camera? I don't see any option in my camera except ISO. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vikas
    Jun 12, 2019 at 16:01
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @VikasKumar That depends on the specific camera. Some can, some can't. Even if you don't have direct manual control, very often "automatic" modes can be manipulated into causing the camera to use a narrower aperture. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jun 13, 2019 at 9:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you very much. Would you please answer a simple query? My room has less light. So I ordered 2 torches (as I don't have much budget) images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/31A6aV1fFHL.jpg So my only concern is, since these are not meant for photography, can I use them in a better way, like less sharp light, and even spread on a drawing? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vikas
    Jun 13, 2019 at 17:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ when you said " with your Nikon B500 if you backed up about 2.5X further " you mean physically moving my camera away from art so I can zoom in from there and get a focal length of 10mm instead of 4mm? Right? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vikas
    Jan 15, 2021 at 19:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Vikas Yes, that's what I meant. Back up. Zoom in. Use your lens where it performs better. Not all cameras will be the same, but that's what works best for your camera. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 16, 2021 at 18:12

It isn't so much the camera body itself (that's just a sensor) -- it's more about the lens (photographer's understanding of the task is always important as well).

Mostly what the DSLR camera body offers... is the ability to change lenses to something more optimally suited for the task.

Optimizing Field curvature

A lens focuses to different distances and we tend to think of that focused distance as a flat plane. In reality it is slightly curved. This means that when you have the best possible focus at the center, the edges will likely be just slightly less focused due to field curvature.

A true macro lens is usually optically designed to do a better job controlling field flatness and may produce a well-corrected field all the way out to the corners.

I did mention photographer's knowledge in the mix because just having the right lens isn't necessarily enough.

Optimizing Aperture Selection

Few lenses will produce their best results if the f-stop is set to shoot "wide open" (lowest possible focal-ratio that the lens can offer). You'll generally get better results by slightly stopping down the lens f-stop. This varies by lens, but is often somewhere around 2 f-stops from "wide open". (Test this for your specific lens because it does vary by lens model.)

Optimizing Focus Point Selection

If you've still got a bit of field curvature and want to improve the overall focus, move the focus point. If the center is most in focus and the corners are the most out of focus... consider selecting a point about 1/3rd of the way from the center of the frame. This is the new area of best focus. The center of the frame is no longer the best ... but it's not far away so focus is still very good here. But this trade-off now means that the corners of the frame are now much closer to optimal focus than they were previously. The overall focus quality on the entire field will improve.

Noise: (added section)

What is Noise?

There are many types of noise including thermal noise, hot-pixels, amp-glow, and even quantum noise... but the most common type of noise is read-noise.

The short answer on noise is that if you are seeing significant noise then it generally means you did not have an adequate exposure.

A very important concept to be aware of is that noise is technically not a part of exposure (despite the numerous schools that teach that it is.) Understanding this will help you appreciate what contributes to noticeable noise and how to minimize it. This topic can get a bit lengthy. It does require some detail but I'll try to avoid going into too much detail.

The digital image actually starts out as an analog image. Light travels via photons, a form of energy. These photons have wavelengths. The shorter the wavelength, the more often the wave repeats in a given distance. That means the wave carries more energy.

The photo-sensitive spots on your sensor (not technically pixels, but photo-sites) can be though of as miniature solar panels. They absorb the photon (which carries energy) and convert it to electronvolts. This is an analog process ... not a digital process.

But since it is a digital camera, it needs a way to convert the analog electronvolts into digital values. These units are often referred to as ADUs ... an acronym for Analog Digital Units. It is the ADU which we think of as the digital output from the sensor.

Consider the case where you leave the lens cap on the camera and set the camera to base ISO (usually ISO 100) and set the shutter speed to the shortest possible exposure (e.g. perhaps that's 1/4000ths for your camera). Aperture doesn't matter since the lens is capped... no light can enter the camera. You take the shot.

The camera reads-out the sensor via the same process it always does ... but in this case no actual light reached the camera. You might expect that all the "pixels" (photo-sites) should have ADU values of 0 since there was no actual light... but this isn't what happens.

The sensor requires some power just to function. The mere act of powering it up and performing a read-out without taking a shot will actually result in an image where each photo-site has some non-zero value. This is the bias level of your sensor.

More importantly ... each photo-site will not have precisely the same ADU value... they will vary just slightly. This is noise. But these levels are so low that you won't be able to see them. The image will simply appear to be black.

The noise becomes noticeable when it is amplified. If we double the value of every ADU, then average difference between them also double. If we quadruple the value of every ADU, the differences will similarly quadruple. The more we do this, the more we end up with pixels that we can see ... and they aren't all the same light level because now we can see the differences. This is the noise.

If you follow this process through, you realize these differences from photo-site to photo-site were always in the image data. They were simply too small to be noticed by a human eye. What made them noticeable was the amplification.

Why isn't ISO part of Exposure

When you change the ISO, the sensor doesn't actually change. It does not become more sensitive to light. The sensor is whatever it is. ISO is a photographic term invented by photographers to describe the sensitivity of film. In the digital world there is no such thing (we don't physically change the sensor) -- but we do keep the labeling because it is a concept that photographers understand.

The concept we call ISO (in the digital world) is actually something more accurately referred to as applied gain. There are many methods to apply the gain ... both analog methods prior to analog to digital conversation (ADC) as well as mathematical applications to the ADU values after the data goes through the ADC. Since this is process that was designed by the camera maker, the algorithm they use can vary (perhaps they do not linearly apply the gain... but use some non-linear process to amplify the shadows more strongly than they amplify the highlights (e.g. highlight-tone-priority). This creates the illusion of more dynamic range.

Regardless of what method is used to apply the gain... it is never applied until the camera shutter closes and the exposure has ended. The gain is applied as a post-exposure process. But since it is a post-exposure process ... it doesn't matter if you apply the process a fraction of a second after the exposure ended... or 10 days later. Later is later ... the key take-away is that it did not happen during the exposure and that's why ISO is not actually a part of exposure.

Noticing Noise or the Signal to Noise Ratio

The signal-to-noise ratio (or SNR) is a way of thinking about the ADUs for each photo-site in your camera.

Consider two cases... in one case we will under-expose by 6 exposure stops but will apply digital gain. In the other case we will take a correct exposure.

I'll use a made up value and state that for one particular photo-site, the bias level shows an ADU of '4'.

For my example I'll assume an f/2.8 lens but we'd like to shoot 2 stops down for sharper results ... so we'll use f/5.6.

We use a light meter and it suggests that at ISO 100 we should take a 1/2 second exposure. But we don't have a tripod (shame on us) and we need to hand-hold the shot. We'll never get a good hand-held shot at 1/2 second. We do some quick math in our heads and realize that if we boost this by 5 stops (ISO 6400) we could take this as 1/125th and we think we can hand-hold the shot at that speed.

We have some dark areas in our image which, if properly exposed, should have an ADU value of around 1024 (again... I'm making up the numbers but I picked this particularly value since it's a power of 2 so it'll make the example easier).

In the case where we take a correct exposure (ISO 100 and 1/2 second) we end up with:

Signal level of 1024 Bias level of 4

Since ISO 100 is the base ISO for the camera there is no applied gain so the SNR stands as is.

This gives us an SNR of 1024:4 ... that's not bad. We wont notice the noise in that image.

But now suppose we take the same shot but we use 1/125th at ISO 6400. This gives us:

Signal level of 16 Noise level of 4

We apply the gain (6 stops) and we get: Signal level of 1024 Noise level of 256

16:4 isn't great ... this means the noise levels are 1/4 of the signal value ... which is terrible and we're sure to notice this much noise.

Another way to think of it is that if you increase the ISO by 6 stops, you increased the noise by 2^6 or ... you increased the noise by a factor of 64!!!

It is not entirely accurately to say that noise is caused by shooting at high-ISO. The noise is always there. The difference is that when you crank up the ISO, you hurt the signal-to-noise ratio by the same number of stops as the ISO gain.

It is the poorer signal-to-noise ratio which now makes the noise noticeable.

If you are worried about noise, you can fractionally over-expose the image (just make sure you don't over-expose so much that it results in clipping) and this will boost your SNR even higher.

Post Process Noise Reduction

At this point you should be considering that given an adequate amount of light (given a proper true exposure) most cameras will provide excellent results and noise will be difficult to notice.

But what if you do notice the noise? Noise tends to most often show up in the shadows ... not the highlights.

A second consideration is that the human eye tends to spot the noise more easily in flat areas that offer little complexity or contrast. In other words if I paint a wall completely flat but put a tiny spot of white paint on it, that spot will easily be noticed. If I paint a wall nearly white and put a tiny white spot it, that spot might be noticed... but it might escape notice. And then there's the "Where's Waldo?" case... where I have a highly complex image on the wall ... loads of complexity and strong contrasts... and I hide a tiny white spot (the same size as the others) and that spot is almost certain to escape notice from all but the most determined inspectors.

A post-processing noise-reduction technique involves creating an edge-detection mask and masking out the areas of high-complexity so that you're just left with the low-contrast (flat) areas... and just de-noise those. You can also be a bit more aggressive about de-noising in shadows and less aggressive about de-noising in highlights.

(After years of learning what noise actually is and how to deal it ... I no longer fear noise in my images and consider it to be no-big-deal.)

Why do more modern cameras seem to have less noise?

Two reasons:
- Technology has advanced a bit (but only a bit) - They've gotten better with algorithms that cook the noise out of the image.

Many modern cameras don't produce true RAW files anymore. They produce cooked-RAW files where internal algorithms have attempted to reduce the noise before saving the file. This is a bit of a cheat. Most of the time it works in your favor ... some of the time it does not (astrophotography is an application where cooked-RAWs hurt the photographer.)

Some Conclusions on Noise

  • Noise is always there and cannot realistically be eliminated (there are techniques to reduce it.)
  • Noise isn't really part of exposure.
  • Noise is more noticeable when you have a poor signal-to-noise ratio. It is less noticeable when you have a high signal-to-noise ratio.
  • Shooting at high ISO harms the signal-to-noise ratio and makes the noise more noticeable.
  • To reduce noticeable noise, shoot at base ISO and collect an adequate number of photons to create an excellent signal-to-noise ratio. This eliminates (or substantially reduces) any applied gain that needs to be added to the image and protects your SNR.
  • Slightly over-expose (but make sure you don't clip the histogram) to improve the SNR
  • Learn how to spot and reduce noise using post-processing tools (these are techniques you'll probably want to learn anyway regardless of how good the camera is.)
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok and what about noise? DSLR would have less noise? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vikas
    Jun 1, 2019 at 14:57
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @VikasKumar Do you just want someone's blessing to get a new camera? To reduce noise, use the lowest ISO with a tripod and good lighting. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Jun 1, 2019 at 15:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ It still doesn't answer my question: Would DSLR have lesser noise if same ISO and lights and tripod are used, when compared to a 16MP B500 camera? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vikas
    Jun 1, 2019 at 15:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you looked at any reviews and sample images? What did you see? \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Jun 1, 2019 at 16:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ " it doesn't matter if you apply the process a fraction of a second after the exposure ended... or 10 days later." Not exactly. In general, only digital amplification can be done 10 days after the fact. Most of the highest performing CMOS digital camera sensors do analog amplification at the photosite itself before transporting those charges to an ADC - some even do ADC on the chip itself. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jun 4, 2019 at 15:59

The sample images cannot be evaluated for focus or noise because they have been resized to about 10% of the original. The rest of my response is based on your textual description.

... those spots missed details and it captures better from the middle only.

I agree with Tim Campbell, You would benefit from a macro lens to minimize field curvature and technique to maximize depth of field.

... there's always some noise... So if I click the same drawings with a DSLR like Canon 200D, in same light, using same tripod and same lowest ISO, will I get better photos?

There are DSLRs that would capture very clean images. There are also DSLRs that capture very noisy images. The EOS 200D is a lower-end model, so it may or may not do better than what you have.


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