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How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you take?

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Damien_Demolder, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    I suppose if I were offered a bicycle or a sports car to make the four-minute downhill journey to the train station in the morning, I would probably choose the sports car. At first anyway, until I realised how much money I was spending on petrol.

    We are always attracted to what we think is better, and we sometimes define ‘better’ in fairly basic terms – often without a great deal of thought.
    We are all familiar with the question of how many pixels one needs in a digital camera, and while we might all have sensible ideas on the subject when we are counting our pennies, it can be easy to get carried away.

    There was a time when all of us really did need more pixels, but I suspect now there are plenty who have more than they’ll ever need. The trick 
is to know exactly how many we’ll need for the sort of finished product or print size we aim for.

    On pages 45-49, Tim Coleman compares the 24 million pixels of the Nikon D600 with the 36 million pixels of the D800, to see what the difference really is. I currently have 24 million pixels and I like them all. But I think I could also become quite fond of 36 million.

    Take part in this week's poll - How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you take?

    Damien

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  2. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    12MP is fine for me, but I'd happily take 16.
     
  3. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    None of the above...

    I need, as a minimum, approximately 22,167,570.835141665043431086862174 - or thereabouts! :)

    Actually that is the minimum number of pixels to print at A3+ (329mm x 483mm) at 300 dpi, which is my target print size (I alway print full-bleed). I find the 24.6MP of the Sony Alpha A850/A900 ideal, as it allows for some modest cropping.
     
  4. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    How interesting. :D

    Just had a debate on this very subject in the Nikon V2 news thread.

    This why 24MP is a good level for consumer level photography. You can even interpolate to A2 with borders.

    SqueamishOssifrage I agree with your figures, but do you not have borders on your A3+ images?

    Because with 1" borders only 20MP is needed. :)

    PS: Er, the topic talks about 24MP and 36MP, yet neither are on the list to vote. :p
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
  5. pilliwinks

    pilliwinks Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    As usual, there isn't a straight answer that I can give to this question.

    My small print size is A3, with A2 as the normal largest. A4 is only fit for contact print type stuff to evaluate. I also look for the smallest amount of enlargement possible, so my first requirement would be for a 5x4 sensor. After that, I'd worry about the megapixels - but not very much as I could never afford it.

    Since I currently work with 700 megapixels, I opted for the "more than 36" box.
     
  6. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    Mmm, hang on 5x4" is 15x larger than 35mm film. Finest grain B&W is rated around 20-23MP so 15x23MP is 345MP

    If we are talking colour slide that around 18MP I believe so 15x18MP is 270MP on 5x4".

    I would point out that the best print system at say 300ppi only needs 139MP for A0.

    Of course a 4A0 print needs 557MP. But that is a really big print at 93.6 x 66.2" :)


    700MP seems abit overkill. IMHO.
     
  7. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    X2

    And I have absolutely no problem with printing from 12Mp at A3, even when I examine the result with a magnifying glass

    Roger
     
  8. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    I like the ability to crop. 20 Mpixels would be more than enough. I may well buy a camera with nearly twice that many to get the other functionality that I would like but do not need.
     
  9. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    If someone else were paying...however they're not and I haven't checked my lottery numbers yet tonight so I'll stick with 14.odd MP...does fine for me.
    Perhaps a bit of tinkering up to about 20MP as per my learned friend Learning might come in the future but probably not for a wee while yet:D.
    PS the 8MP I could get from scanning film also does me nicely:)
     
  10. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    What if I take more than one type of picture?:p;):)

    For sports 18MP is comfortable overkill but it's still nowhere near enough for macro. For landscapes and portraits I don't really care too much but from what I've seen more is still better.....well maybe to about f/13 or so then it's hard to see much benefit in higher pixel densities.
     
  11. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    It is the bigger sensor really that is attractive. The higher density we gave now gives advantages to crop and recover print size but better to start bigger. So I'd like a 6x6 which would be up at the 180 MP level I guess ( too early to do the math). Just need a factor 100 reduction on Phase 1 prices.
     
  12. George W Johnson

    George W Johnson Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    Like everyone else I played the "numbers game" for a few years, a dopey beginner who thought that a better number meant a better image. When I hit 15MBP with my 550D a year or two back I was pleased but the resolution and noise were still not quite to my liking.

    I finally jumped up to a FF 5DM2 ( 21MBP ) last year and the very first day I brought home the images I knew that was it, I'd finally got what I'd been looking for. I was blown away by the quality of the source images. A year later I have absolutely no wish to part with my 5DM2. After 35,000 shots taken on it in a year I am still being blown away by it's quality and for the next couple of years I have no desire to let it go for any reason!
     
  13. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    The previous posters, with their mega-megapixel requirements, are exceptions to what the majority of photographers need IMHO.

    Anything over 12 megapixels is overkill for the majority of photographers; it is perfectly possible to print to A3 with a 2 megapixel camera using stair interpolation, so I would suggest that anyone who regularly prints at greater than A3+ is a professional or a regular exhibitor, and not necessarily one of the majority.

    As 12 megapixels was not an option in the poll, I voted for 10 megapixels, which is more than adequate for A4 prints, and good enough for A3+ when professionally printed.
     
  14. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak


    I redid my math. Indeed my original 5D (12 MP) is still impressive for me at the use I put it to. I think 16-20 (I ticked 16 on the poll) gives a bit more crop flexibility but scaling up to 6x9 - would be a really nice sensor to have. I was suprised the pixel count would be as "small" as 100-120 MP. I think the Phase one backs (although the sensors are not so big as 6x9 ) now get into this range but cannot say I follow the market as they are just a tad expensive.

    So I reduce my wish by 30%.
     
  15. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    I suspect most photograps taken by the general population need less than 6Mega pixels to be used or viewed at the sizes they are... only a few % of the rest need more than 12 megapixels. The few Photographers who fit into the bracket needing more than that, are either professionals, specialists, exhibitionists, or nerds.

    Space definately becomes a factor in anything over six MP, and one to be taken seriously over 12MP. Anything larger needs to be planned for in a costed and systematic way.
     
  16. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    I've answered 16MP.
    Why? Because I've recently traded up from a 10MP Eos 1D Mark III to a 16MP 1D Mark IV. It was an expensive upgrade complicated by Canon apparently removing the 1.3x crop model from their range, and with, for a period, used Mark IVs being very rare on the UK used market. I use it for bird photography at which I'm not very good, but I like the challenge, and occasionally I get one worth showing to others, and perhaps printing out. Cropping is very common, even when I'm using extenders behind a 500mm lens.

    Why a 1D Mark IV? (instead of the much lower cost, higher crop factor and more MP 7D?) 10fps, and the ability to auto-focus at F/8.

    I also have and use:
    6MP Eos 10D - now kept for time-lapse sequences
    12MP Eos 5D - full frame, goes well with my TS-E 45 F/2.8
    21MP Eos 5D Mk II - full frame - lots of detail, more croppable after exposure than the 5D. But its large images can't be shown full size by old and no longer upgraded "Exifer" which I often use when running image comparisons.
    15MP Eos 50D - 1.6x crop, but doesn't focus at F/8, and 6fps can be slow for capturing bird wing flaps. Excellent good quality and responsive DSLR for touring with its decent 18-55 IS lens.

    12MP Powershot SX40 HS - excellent small, but not slim notebook/superzoom camera. Can zoom from 24mm (equiv) to 840mm (equiv) and with built-in IS, and a digital zoom if I'm really nuts! I find the interface gets in my way, but it does get some good shots which it takes when it decides. On screen its images look soft compared to those from my Eos DSLRs - the 5D's 12MP are very much better quality.
     
  17. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    Really? I seldom print as small as A3 because I like to put prints on walls - it's their only real purpose for me, and I always use the best camera I can for that purpose.

    Equally, just about everyone here seems to have confused input resolution and output resolution, and got hung up on a rule of thumb as to output resolution. Simple scenes can easily enough be shot on very low MP cameras and printed large, whereas complex scenes will always benefit from more pixels even when printed relatively small (A4, say).

    Personally, I'm not sure how many pixels I want. I've not found 21.1 MP to limit me significantly, and I certainly don't want more than about 45 MP on a full-frame sensor as diffraction would make it pointless anyway. Somewhere in that range is fine with me, anywhere outside it is a bit of a concern.
     
  18. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    Firstly anything would have to be full frame. I'll settle for 48MP. It would be a worthwhile gain from my 24MP and should comfortably give me A2 prints that I can stick my nose against and be satisfied. A 24MP compact (RX1) might be satisfactory for a carry round camera. (I'm a bit put off by Sony wanting £250.00 for the leather case:mad:)
     
  19. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    That must make you the exception. How many prints a year do you do over A3? And how big are your walls?
     
  20. Atavar

    Atavar Well-Known Member

    Re: How many pixels do you want for the type of pictures you tak

    In all honesty? 6mp was more than enough for me, and to be truthful I think I was happiest with the picture quality I got from my old D40. Yes, the ISO ceiling was lower than I have at present but those images had a certain quality... Or it could be rose tinted spectacles... But I don't think I've really needed more than 6 with the type of pictures I've been producing. An affordable 6mp sensor with ISO up in the 100,000s would make me a very happy bunny.
     

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