Megapixels - Do we need more? Are we already there?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Slaphead, Jun 3, 2008.

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Do we need more Megapixels

  1. I was doing OK with 4Mp

    3 vote(s)
    4.5%
  2. I've got more than enough, thanks

    30 vote(s)
    45.5%
  3. No I need 20, 30, 50, 100 Mp. Bring it on

    28 vote(s)
    42.4%
  4. Doesn't matter, digital will never have the resolution of film

    5 vote(s)
    7.6%
  1. Slaphead

    Slaphead TPF Noob!

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    We all know about the megapixel marketing myth but is there a point at which further increases in megapixels are, for all intents and purposes, pointless. Have we already reached that point?

    A few years ago when digital photography was only just becoming usable for professional applications, I was speaking to a photographer (a client of mine) about digital photography in general, and naturally the subject of megapixels came up. He said to me "that once we've reached 13Mp that will probably be all that's required. Above that size we'll start to need better and better lenses to take advantage of the increased resolution and also the files sizes would become unmanageable"

    Of course this is a few years ago and computer tech, especially storage space, has come on significantly, so the unmanageable file size problem has all but vanished. But the question still remains. Do we actually need more than 13Mp? And how good would todays top of the line lenses (general production, not one off specialist lenses) be with say 30Mp or 100Mp?

    Cheers
     
  2. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OK, I voted for more ... but only because in landscape photography you can never have enough. ... BUT ... some things to think about

    1. MP-mania only makes sense if your optical system provides the resolution to actually take advantage of the MPs. Some of today's expensive lenses for 34mm could probably justify 30ish MP, but not much beyond.

    2. However, if we had a 40 MP sensor producing 10 MP images, then we would not need to worry about Bayer-pattern interpolation anymore. Also, noise at raised ISO would not be of much problem if 4 pixels are combined into one.

    3. More MP allow for more cropping/magnification for wildlife shots where your lens is just too short.

    4. Converting 100 13MP RAW is already a challenge for my rather fast computer, ... I would not want to know how painful 100 50MP RAW would feel like ;) A 50 MP JPG panorama is already slow to handle in post processing. More MP make only sense if your computer power is increased accordingly.

    5. Ask yourself, if currently your focus in most images is good enough to serve your current 10-20 MP .. in most cases I would say it is not. So do you need more dead resolution in your file?
     
  3. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    "Megapixels - Do we need more? Are we already there?"

    Yes, we need more if we want bigger print and screen images at true photo quality or better. So, no, we're not there yet.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. JimmyO

    JimmyO TPF Noob!

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    I think for simple 4x6's you can easily get away with 3 MP, but for enlargements nothing gets close to even 35mm filmm
     
  5. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    If you had taken a good look at the megapixel print chart you would have known that e.g. an 8 mp camera can produce 11x8" prints at true photo quality (300dpi). True photo quality is what a 35mm film frame produces. I.o.w.: printed at 11x8" the image quality of 8mp image files doesn't only get close to the image quality of a 35mm film frame, it matches it. Comfortably.

    In fact it has been calculated that 10,5 megapixels match the resolution of 35mm film frames.
    So anything over 10,5 megapixels exceeds the image quality that 35mm film is capable of.
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    More is always better, but quantity without quality means nothing.

    I would prefer to live with 12MP and high ISO cleanliness and picture sharpness over a 20MP foggy, noisy and blurry masterpiece.

    If I could get a 20+MP camera that gives me high ISO with little to no noise and a picture that makes people with dentures have their teeth fall out of their mouth in awe... well I am ALL for that. :D

    Under those circumstances, I vote "no, bring it on".
     
  7. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    I am already past 13 megapixels but good lenses are very necessary at this level and development will continue in this area.

    skieur
     
  8. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    Crappy Bayer interpolated pixels don't really match 35mm film at only 10.5 MP imho. Maybe 10.5 'real' megapixels and not Bayer ones. Pop Photo recently did a comparison and found that ISO100 print film still outresolved even an $8k Canon 1Ds MkIII with 21MP. The 1DSIII still uses a Bayer sensor, correct?

    Also I've made 3-feet wide prints from my 6 and 10MP cameras and they've looked fine. You don't need in excess of 44MP to make prints that big. That's ridiculous. You don't need to maintain a full 300 dpi with larger and larger print sizes because you don't view large prints standing up close. You hang them on the wall and look at them from a distance. Our own eyes only resolve detail at about 1/60th of a degree, and then only have that ability to resolve in the center of our vision. Work out the math if you care to, but even 100dpi is plenty for larger prints.

    If you want to be able to stick your nose into a 3 foot wide print and see full detail then you're better off shooting film, especially a larger format. I was amazed to discover that a lot of the images on the covers of the common photography magazines that push a lot of digital stuff are actually taken with film. :lol:


    Anyways, my vote is that we're fine where we're at with regards to megapixels. I actually clicked on doesn't matter because digital will never have the resolution of film which more accurately describes me. If you really want higher quality, larger formats and film is where it's at for any reasonable amount of money. I actually prefer the output of my 6MP D40 over my 10MP D80 because it's a bit sharper, and because it works better at higher ISOs. Cram small sensors with more and more MPs and you get softer images and poorer high ISO performance which isn't what I want on digital. For ultimate quality I'd shoot film and/or larger formats. By default, 35mm film is a slightly larger format than Canikon 1.5/1.6x crop body sensors, but even that 35mm ISO100 print film still beats a 1DSIII which is a full-frame sensor for a tiny fraction of the cost.
     
  9. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, haven't read that article, but from personal experience, 13MP (35mm) feel pretty close to 35mm fine grain colour slide film. I am using the same lenses in both cases. I have to admit though, that I did not do any proper technical resolution testing.

    Agreed!
     
  10. RubyMagic

    RubyMagic TPF Noob!

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    I think the techonlogy we have today is more than suffice. We have Medium Format cameras that exceed 40 MP.

    40MP is enough to print out a 25x25 foot print (Granted it is below 300 DPI, and that youd need to shoot the shot on a tripod), and still make it look good.

    Thats even too large for Billboards. For the things I do, 12 Megapixels a great size for me. Which is why Im getting a D3 within the next year.
     
  11. TamiyaGuy

    TamiyaGuy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've got a 6mp camera, and that kind of resolution is absolutely fine for me. I've printed a couple of 30" by 20" prints, and they look fine in real-life situations. OK, they look just about good when viewed from two inches, but you don't, you view them from 6 feet. So for that reason, I vote for B. Another thing to take into account is that if you cram more things into a smaller space, quality is bound to deteriorate. 10mp images on a compact look really bad, and a 100mp image on even a full-frame sensor would be worse when zoomed to 100%. But then again, that would only show up on HUGE prints...

    Also, I'm don't quite understand the option C. Is that an "against" or a "for" more megapixels?
     
  12. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I need more. And bigger sensors. Show me a 4x5 capture that will go pixel-for-pixel with the film's native ~500mp. Hell, I'll even settle for a full-frame medium format sensor.
     

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ISO100 20mp Print Sizes