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Downsampling and Binning

Kim P writes:

When speaking about the D800, the possibility of downsampling from 36MP is often mentioned to improve quality. I wonder whether there is any special way of downsampling or if the “resize” in e.g. Capture NX2 or Photoshop is doing a proper job.

Also the possibility of binning has been mentioned in relation to the D800, e.g. combining 4 pixels to one. Could binning just be made in postprocessing and is it different from “downsampling”. So in short my question is:

Is “binning” = “downsampling” = “resizing”?

Thanks for your good work on all the details. I have been a long time subscriber of DAP, Making Sharp Images and Zeiss Guide.

By the way, I have the ZF’s 25/2.8, 50/2, and 100/2, so I image to be well equipped for the D800, which I already pre-ordered.

DIGLLOYD: Downsampling and resizing are synonymous. When I use those terms, I mean resizing the image in Photoshop or a similar program and/or converting from RAW to a size that is smaller than the native resolution. I expect that the process is pretty similar either way, but that would depend on the particular RAW converter. I have not studied the relative results from downsampling during RAW vs downsampling in Photoshop, and even there Photoshop has several variants.

The term“binning” usually refers to taking more than one photosite and combining it with others (dumping them into the same “bin” so to speak) at the sensor/electronics level, producing a file in the camera of some lower resolution. The process is certainly more complex than just a simple addition, due to the Bayer pattern on most sensors. And in theory, a camera might be smarter about making the best use of its data via binning, especially if it has a powerful CPU to use some extra smarts. In practice, one might be much better off with all the resolution intact, and then being able to selectively address any noise in any troublesome areas (since high-key areas are likely to have little issue with noise). Unless one really wants smaller files to begin with.

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