Megapixels: is it worth buying a new camera for more?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by suzannem, Nov 12, 2020.

  1. Moderator Note - Originally posted in "Black and White" Forum

    What are the pros and cons of having more megapixels in your camera? Mine is 24 ( a nikon d5600 ). As I am mainly a portrait photographer, how could I benefit from buying a camera with more pixels?
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2020
    mikemorrell likes this.
  2. Buy good lens instead.
    NetR and Jochen like this.
  3. Depends on the demands set by your output. How many pixels do you need to get a good looking image in, say, a print of the maximum size you might print at? How many pixels do you need to get a good looking image on screen? That sort of thing.
    24 MP can be all you ever need. Or far too few. Don't look at MPs in different cameras. Look at your needs. Do your prints not look good? Or do you need bigger prints than the 24 MP camera allows?

    The con of more is that you need more of a number of other things too. More money to pay for the higher MP camera. More storage in camera, computer and external storage. More working memory in the image processing computer. More power in the computer processor used to work on those images. That sort of thing.
  4. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    This is not a question for "Black and White Forum" (Note this forum historically and now still does mainly reference Film) .

    Is this a question for an assignment at a school or college?

    If yes then you'll probably get more suitable responses expanding in detail.

  5. Unless someone wants to ask about the Monochrom...

    Should this be moved somewhere else.
  6. 24 is plenty for most purposes, whether you’re in b&w or color. Unless you have a particular reason why you want more pixels, don’t worry about it.
  7. If so, I wonder if it could be a good idea to rename the forum with a clarifying title, such as "Black&White Film" or so.
    Or maybe pnet`s intention is to keep it related to a black&white creative approach, either traditional or digital... not clear.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2020
  8. To the OP: More pixels is simply more resolution. It could be a benefit or not, depending on the needs.
    I'd say the higher the pixel count the better, but as mentioned above at a cost. That expense could be not worth it.
  9. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    The comment was not with any intention other than explaining to the OP that the question is not suited for this forum and to encourage the OP to disclose whether or not this is another question prompted by a School or College assignment.

    The Forum's name "Black and White", under the sub heading "Practice and Technique" is essentially for conversations about Black and White Practice and Technique: this Opening Post clearly does not fall into that category.

    Although historically this forum bears conversations concerning Film Technologies, there is no reason why Digital Black and White Practice and Technique is excluded.

    There is no need to rename the Forum.

    In any case, Moderators will and do move threads to achieve the best outcome and most suitable membership reception for the OP - in this regard, I trust the OP will respond to the questions posed.

    There is no need to for you to be confused, the comment was meant simply as a stimulation to the OP to clarify their requirements and expand with more detail: nothing more nothing less.

    mikemorrell likes this.
  10. William, I notice I should have not posted my comment here, my excuses. I accidentally took your response as a moderator to place my suggestion, just because there are other threads (i.e., the one that follows in the list right now) that demand a film or digital clarification, the answer could be different or more specific depending on the media.
    I get it, thanks.
  11. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    There is no problem.
    No need to be concerned about your comments.
    Have a great weekend.

  12. Good question! I'll leave it to the mods to move this thread to a different sub-forum if necessary.

    As far as I can see, the Nikon D5600 has an APS-C (crop) sensor that delivers images of 6000 x 4000 pixels (24 MB). That's more than large enough to print A3-size photos at the 'standard' print quality of 300 dpi. If you need to print at high quality (600 dpi), then you still have more than enough pixels to print A4-size photos.

    There's some discussion on-line about whether APS-C or Full-frame sensors are better for portraits. In some 'reviews', FF comes out slightly ahead. In others, the differences - after retouching - are marginal. A good portrait lens is probably the best investment.

    Here's a 'real world' comparison by Manny Ortiz of APS and FF cameras that's often referred to in articles on APS vs FF. Bottom line: your Nikon D5600 has plenty of pixels for most purposes. More pixels may give you more room for tighter cropping, if that's important.

  13. The answer depends on how much light you have available for your portraits, and on how much detail you consider 'enough'.

    If you take available light 'candid' portraits, then having bigger and fewer photosites may be advantageous by delivering less noise at higher ISO speeds.

    OTOH, if you have thousands of Lux of studio lighting at your disposal and delight in revealing every pore of your sitter's skin in exquisite detail, then more megapixels just might be of benefit - provided your lenses are up to the job.

    But quite frankly, unless you're printing greater than A3 size, then 24 megapixels ought to be more than enough.

    If your pictures look less than sharp; look to the quality of the lens first.
    mikemorrell likes this.
  14. kendunton

    kendunton Edinburgh

    I reckon 10 is enough...
  15. If you display on a screen and don't crop like crazy, more pixels won't do much for you. If you print A4 (8.25x11.75") and don't crop like crazy, more pixels won't improve things and Joe is probably right about even A3 being a usable limit. If you go a lot bigger, to where a 45+ megapixel camera makes sense, your lens quality and technique need to be near perfect to gain the benefits.
  16. How can you possibly compare image quality in a pitiful little YouTube video? Especially when the full-frame lens is obviously more susceptible to flare than that used on the crop-sensor body?

    Or maybe the guy should take the time to clean his lens or filter?
    mikemorrell and q.g._de_bakker like this.
  17. Another variable is that for much portrait work, absolute "sharpness" is not only not often necessary, but is sometimes detrimental to the purpose.

    Brutalist modernism is not a common portrait style. Stealing images of a bum on a bench, on the other hand ....
  18. I can't possibly see why anyone would need more than 16mp...12mp is more than enough. More than 20 makes about as much sense at that 1000hp Dodge Challenger.
  19. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    Thank you - that has made my day, since I have just bought a 24 moggie pickle Pentax ! Ho hum. :):);)
    kendunton likes this.
  20. Large size prints?

    When I increased from 8mp on my Canon 30D to 21mp on my 5D Mk II, it made quite a difference. Of course, so did the full frame and other factors but I think bigger prints can benefit from more mp.
    markminard likes this.

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