Megapixels

Lacrossedad

TPF Noob!
Joined
Mar 10, 2017
Messages
45
Reaction score
28
So, after raising the kids, I finally have been fortunate enough to get back into photography again. Wow has this changed since I used to develop my own B&W film.

I bought the D500 on the recommendation of a local camera store. I was considering the then newly released D810 because of the megapixels it offered. I think the fps sold me on the D500.

So the question, is there a point where the number of megapixels reaches it's maximum benefits? And while I am at it, let me ask about my next purchase. Is there a huge difference in the full frame format over crop sensor?
 

john.margetts

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Dec 3, 2015
Messages
1,100
Reaction score
275
Location
Lincoln
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
It all depends on what you do with the kit.

If you only look at your photographs on a screen, megapixels do not really matter very much at all. It makes a bit of difference if you crop a great deal but for screen work 5 megapixels is more than plenty. If you print big (I sell my photos as fine art prints) and are looking for quality prints, then megapixels matter a lot more. But either way, I would not let the available pixels dictate my choice of camera. Plenty of other things are far more important (fps, write speed, ergonomics to name three).
 

KmH

In memoriam
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
41,401
Reaction score
5,706
Location
Iowa
Website
kharrodphotography.blogspot.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
The more MP an image sensor has the more resolution it has.
However, at some point the lens used can become a limiting factor because it can't make use of the higher MP resolution.
Another issue with high MP count is pixel size. If the image sensor size stays the same as MP count goes up pixels have to get smaller.
Smaller pixels may mean a lower signal-to-ratio, an increase in image noise and a less usable ISO range.

Bt the same token, given equal MP, the pixels on a full frame image senor are bigger than the pixels on a crop sensor.
Hence, FX image sensors generally perform better overall than DX or smaller image sensors.
The APS-C size (DX) sensor in the D500 has 1/2 as much area as a full frame (FX) image sensor. DX and FX are Nikon designations.

But as john.margetts alludes, which camera works better for you is about a lot more than just the MP count and the image sensor size.
 

Designer

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Apr 13, 2012
Messages
18,505
Reaction score
4,852
Location
Iowa
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
So the question, is there a point where the number of megapixels reaches it's maximum benefits?

And while I am at it, let me ask about my next purchase. Is there a huge difference in the full frame format over crop sensor?
First part; As mentioned above; it really depends on what you want to do and how you want to do it.

Megapixels is only one measure of a camera's features, and there is a trade-off. For instance; with the huge file sizes of the D810 or D850, the rate of writing to the memory becomes a limiting factor, and huge file sizes make for slow processing on most average computers.

Unless you want to print very large prints to be viewed up close, you really don't need a lot of megapixels.

Second part; You should not think in terms of megapixels, but consider every aspect of your camera purchase before deciding. For instance; there is a difference in the angle of view between DX and FX sensors, meaning; the included angle for any given lens, and the way your photograph looks may be more important than how large the file size is. Furthermore, different cameras will render colors and detail differently, so bear that in mind when shopping for your FX camera. Good luck!

It's not just about megapixels.
 

BrentC

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jan 8, 2017
Messages
3,575
Reaction score
2,333
Location
Brampton, Ontario
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
What do you mostly shoot? For action and wildlife there is not much better than the D500.
 
OP
Lacrossedad

Lacrossedad

TPF Noob!
Joined
Mar 10, 2017
Messages
45
Reaction score
28
What do you mostly shoot? For action and wildlife there is not much better than the D500.
I shoot mostly wildlife, birds in flight. I can see doing some sports stuff as my grandson gets older but wildlife is my love and passion. When I went to this really nice camera store, they had the Nikon and Canon factory reps were there. The Nikon guys listened to me talk about what I was going to do and sold me on the D500 vs the D810.
 

BrentC

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jan 8, 2017
Messages
3,575
Reaction score
2,333
Location
Brampton, Ontario
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
What do you mostly shoot? For action and wildlife there is not much better than the D500.
I shoot mostly wildlife, birds in flight. I can see doing some sports stuff as my grandson gets older but wildlife is my love and passion. When I went to this really nice camera store, they had the Nikon and Canon factory reps were there. The Nikon guys listened to me talk about what I was going to do and sold me on the D500 vs the D810.

I believe you got the right camera then.
 

photoflyer

TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2017
Messages
1,608
Reaction score
2,228
Location
Washington D.C. Area
Website
mikeatherton.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Is there a huge difference in the full frame format over crop sensor?

I will let others weigh in on megapixels. As for full frame versus crop sensor for me it is simple: low light performance. With any sensor, as ISO goes p so does noise. Full frame sensors in my experience have less noise as ISO rises relative to crop sensors.

I have both but when I am shooting in a lower light situation or when I want a faster shutter speed on a slower lens where I will need to bump the ISO up I use the full frame.

If there is lots of light I will sometimes use the crop sensor for the extra reach it provides with the same lens. For landscapes I lean towards the full frame for the opposite reason.

Other than that, I can get great results from either. If money is not an issue and I were getting only one, I would go full frame over crop.
 

Upadhyay

TPF Noob!
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Messages
21
Reaction score
3
Location
Pune
Website
www.justimmersive.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
So, after raising the kids, I finally have been fortunate enough to get back into photography again. Wow has this changed since I used to develop my own B&W film.

I bought the D500 on the recommendation of a local camera store. I was considering the then newly released D810 because of the megapixels it offered. I think the fps sold me on the D500.

So the question, is there a point where the number of megapixels reaches it's maximum benefits? And while I am at it, let me ask about my next purchase. Is there a huge difference in the full frame format over crop sensor?
Full frame cameras are generally a better choice if you shoot indoors, landscape etc but for sports and wildlife your D500 is a better choice. Based on what you want to shoot you can make a choice though both are very capable camera.
 

JBPhotog

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Mar 26, 2018
Messages
823
Reaction score
328
Location
Canada
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
You have made a fine choice. The D810 has an advantage in DR, colour depth and noise over the D500 but unless you have critical needs and those benefits are an advantage for you, the D500 is excellent.

The issue one can't avoid with DX vs FX is the bokeh effect since the DX format "effectively" reduces it by @1 stop. Again, this may not be of interest to your shooting style, for some it is a major factor.
 

vintagesnaps

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
8,891
Reaction score
2,916
Location
US
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Unless you're a full time working pro I don't think it really matters, use what works for you. Eventually if you realize you can't do something with the camera you have that might be the time to consider selling/trading in and getting something else.

I've done sports, am doing art prints now or just generally doing my own thing. I shoot film, digitally, and Polaroids and lumen prints (an 'image' from expired photo paper and sunlight). I can probably make just about anything work for anything (took a box camera to a hockey game once, but more for pictures of the venue and the end of season carnival than the game). I agree unless you want to do large prints or work in photography I doubt the differences between the two camera choices would make as much difference as your photographic ability.
 

ac12

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
2,473
Reaction score
818
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Some of my thoughts

For more MP
  • You can crop deeper into an image, before it gets pixlated.
  • IF you print LARGE, the print can go larger before it looks pixlated.
Against more MP
  • File size gets bigger. Seemingly not an issue, until you starts collecting THOUSANDS of images, then storage becomes the issue.
    • But then HUGE hard drives are getting less expensive all the time.
    • A few years ago, I could not image having a 4TB hard drive.
  • Backing up those HUGE files will take a lot of space, however you choose to backup.
    • But you can buy a 4TB external drive at Costco for about $100.
    • The time to do a full backup on the other hand, will still take HOURS.
  • For most people, who print no larger than 4x6, a 3MP camera is fine. 8x10 maybe 6MP. IOW with 46MP in the D850, you have way more MP than you will likely ever need.
Pros for an FX body
  • FX generally has better LOW light performance than DX. If you shoot in LOW light, this may be a consideration.
  • Some of the better lenses are designed for the FX format, and don't have an equivalent DX lens. Such as the 70-200 f/2.8 and 24-120 f/4.
    • I am a DX shooter, and this is my beef with the Nikon DX lens line.
      • I had to go to the FX 70-200 f/4, because there is no DX equivalent to it. But the short end of 70mm is too long for DX.
      • I am looking at the 24-120 f/4, because there is no DX lens with that focal length and aperture.
        • f/5.6 sucks for night games under lights.
    • Sigma has stepped in to plug some of the DX gaps, but other gaps remain.
Issues with getting an FX body (D850)
  • You need to get FX lenses, if you don't already have them.
  • You may need to get duplicate FX lenses, to duplicate some of the DX lenses you have.
  • The angle of view of the same lens on a DX and FX body are different. DX being narrower.
    • This can be both a positive and/or a negative, depending on the lens and purpose you have for it.
    • You loose the 1.5x reach of the DX body, but you gain image quality.
  • The D500 is 760 grams; the D750 is 750 grams (so even), the D810 is 810 grams, the D850 is 910 grams.
    • The D850 is 20% heavier than your D500.
    • I don't know about you, but for me at my age, gear weight has become an issue that it wasn't before. And this is what is holding me back from getting a D810. I need to start reducing my gear weight, not increase it.
 

KmH

In memoriam
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
41,401
Reaction score
5,706
Location
Iowa
Website
kharrodphotography.blogspot.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Note that most prints are made from JPEG files.
Online print labs don't want huge TIFF files using up their digital storage space when the storage space one 8-bit TIFF uses could hold 15 or more JPEG image files.

When a JPEG has to little image resolution (MP) for the print size prints will show a type of JPEG file size compression artifacts know as Minimum Coded Units, or MCUs.
MCUs are typically 8x8 pixel squares, but can be 8 x 16 pixels or 16 x 16 pixels. When most people think they see pixels (pixelation) they are actually seeing the borders of MCUs.

Note too that print resolution (pixels per inch, or ppi (not dpi)) & image resolution (xxxx pixels by xxxx pixels, or MP) determine print size.
For example, you have a digital image file that has image resolution of 3000 x 2000 pixels (3:2 aspect ratio).
You want one print of that image that is 8" x 12" and another that 16" x 24".
The math is easy 3000 px / 12" = 250 ppi ... 2000 px / 8" also = 250 ppi
If you want an 8x10 (5:4 aspect ratio) of that 3000 x 2000 px image the long side will have to have 500 pixels crop from it so it is only 2500 pixels long.
2500 px / 10" = 250 ppi ... the 8" side stays the same and needs no crop.

Hopefully you noticed that when you crop, you decrease image resolution.
 

Most reactions

Top