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

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

  1. To the OP: it'll do nothing whatsoever for your photography, but you could get pleasure from bragging about it. If you have to ask you definitely do not need more pixels.
  2. I usually figure that threads are an ongoing discussion, not necessarily everyone trying to answer the OP.

    Sometimes it should go in a new thread, but comparison against film resolution doesn't seem so bad to me.
    mikemorrell likes this.
  3. I respectfully disagree, Glen,

    Yes, threads do wander OT and there's usually no harm in this. It's often beneficial.

    In this one case, I disagree. The (new) OP posed a very specific and legitimate question. She first got reactions about whether her question was posted in the 'right forum' and then she received responses on 'film', which had no relevance at all to her question.

    With some exceptions, I pretty much accept that (with a few exceptions), PN as a whole is pretty much a ''classic camera'' and 'film'' based community.
    with this. I do have a problem when 'film'' photographers interject in questions about digital photography
  4. The expression "Horses for courses" sums it up nicely. For most purposes, 24 MP is the sweet spot for family, travel and documentary photography. High resolution is desirable for subjects for which medium or large format film might have been preferred 20 years ago. These include formal portraits, landscapes and architecture. As a bonus, companies tend to add features to high resolution cameras not found in lesser models, much as f/2.8 zoom lenses receiver the greatest attention. Cameras higher than 24 MP usually omit an anti-aliasing filter, which increases the effective resolution about 50%. In part, this is because aliasing an Moire affects a lower percentage of the image as the resolution increases.

    There are some caveats to high resolution. It takes premium lenses to deliver enough resolution to be pixel-sharp. IBIS or OSS won't deliver the best results. It takes a solid tripod and good technique, including careful focus and a remote release. No worry if you leave the tripod at home. Your photos will be as good or better than a lower resolution camera, sans tripod.
    Nick D. likes this.
  5. Can we add IS to the discussion?
  6. Of course. I was thinking "in body" and "optical", but with my Sony mindset.

    In an odd turn, I will probably spend more for less resolution, with respect to the Sony A7/Siii, which comes with a mere 12 MP sensor. The "course" is video, with many of the perks of a cinematic camera at half the price. This full frame video camera is capable of extreme wide angle shots with affordable lenses. In that regard, at 1/3rd the cost of a Canon C300 or Sony FX9. I found my self with my back to the wall (literally) several times this month, and still not enough to take in the entire group. Social Distancing made things worse.
  7. I think I would agree if it was the second or third or fourth post. (After the OP's first.)

    It was the 28th post in the thread.

    Maybe she is young and never had a film camera, but maybe her parents had, and she might be interested
    in knowing how they compare.

    Also, while it is well known that film doesn't give useful resolution out to the end of the MTF curve, DSLRs also don't give resolution out to the rated pixel count.
    They need either an anti-aliasing filter or lenses that limit the spatial frequencies reaching the sensor. I tried to find MTF curves for Nikon DSLR cameras, but could only find them for lenses.
    mikemorrell likes this.
  8. Indeed. I'm sure that more MP make bigger prints possible.
  9. I tend to agree on this. Back when I had a D600, I often found myself grabbing it as it was a nice little sweet spot of size/weight and still more than enough resolution.

    With that said, I still prefer the 36mp D800(and now D810 in addition to it, or rather as a primary camera, with a D800 often carrying a second lens) because I like the "pro" control layout as opposed to the mode dial, the better AF with more focus points, larger buffer and faster card writes, and several other things.

    On the D600 front, the first time I used it, I was not exactly 'machine gunning" but was taking 3 frames every two seconds or so(discrete frames, not mashing the button) and found it dead after about 10 seconds. I learned VERY quickly that I needed up my card quality seriously, but that still didn't fix it completely. That was not a "hold down the button" camera for me, but even with top of the line Sandisk cards I'd still get maybe 20 seconds of shooting as above, and that caught me more than once. By contrast, my D500 at 10fps with only an XQD card can run as long as I've ever cared to do it, and shooting as above with the D800 I've never run long enough to cause a problem with a fast CF+fast SD. I think the buffer+write speed combination can be a bigger deal than is sometimes realized if you're doing any sort of shooting in a potentially fast shooting situation even if not strictly doing bursts.

    On your f/2.8 lens comment-the Nikon Z series launched with what was by all accounts an incredible 24-70 f/4 lens. The F mount f/4 zoom over that range-the 24-120-is good but not outstanding. I'd love that f/4 24-70 in F mount to avoid the heavy 24-70 f/2.8. Nikon does make a 70-200mm f/4 that's supposed to be good, but no one seems to talk about it and I don't know anyone who has one. Between VR/IS and very good high ISO performance these days, I'd often prefer to carry a good f/4 zoom that should-at least in theory-be easier to make better than a comparable f/2.8 and of course would weigh a whole lot less. Walking around with even a 24-70mm f/2.8, much less adding on a 14-24mm f/2.8 or 70-200mm f/2.8 on either a separate body or just in a bag can be uncomfortable.
  10. 24mp is enough for most photographers. A good file from a 24mp sensor will make good prints up to poster size. A good 24mp file is properly exposed, in focus and the image fills up as much of the frame as possible with little or no cropping. More megapixels means you can crop an image and maintain more information but has a downside that you can google to see the various opinions. You may want to consider upgrading your camera to a full frame DSLR or mirrorless camera and get some good lenses that will facilitate your portrait work. All the major brands have what you are looking for in both the camera bodies and lenses. Buying used from a respectable dealer (KEH, Adorama, B&H etc.} is a good way to begin. My opinion only.
  11. Now you do - I own one and my wife has one too. I gave my 70-200/2.8 VR (1st version) up for it - about half the weight and optically excellent.
    My thinking exactly. Of course, Nikon (and others) often put less effort into the slower aperture lenses (maybe to keep the cost down).
    If you need f/2.8, you'll have no choice. I don't need it - hence my Sony mirrorless kit which consists of 12-24/4, 24-105/4, and 100-400/4.5-5.6. Covers a lot of ground. The 70-200/4 fits also neatly within a DX kit together with a 16-80/2.8-4 and a 11-20/2.8.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2020
  12. My experience is more megapixels make doing fine detail edits easier. For example, you want to clone something smallish out of the shot, if you have more resolution then you can zoom in more and be more selective in what you remove and what you leave behind; same is true when working with selective layers. Also, going from 24 MP to 36 MP I have seen increased acuity and have more cropping latitude at lower ISOs (noise will become the gating factor in how much you can crop regardless of MP as you start relying on higher ISOs).
  13. For film, cropping was always a reason for smaller grain, and so more resolution for digital images (or scans).

    Shutterfly says at least 3MP for up to 20x30 inch prints. That considers that you usually view them from farther away.
    (There are minimum resolutions that they will print, and also ones that they warn you, but will do it anyway.)

    Noise per pixel will increase as pixels get smaller, everything else equal.
    (Though it rarely is.) That will give high (spatial) frequency noise, which will tend to disappear when viewing
    from a distance. (That is, the distance at which lower resolutions would be fine.)

    In any case, 24MP is fine for many uses.
  14. In theory, this is true, but in practice it makes little difference.

    There is an absolute maximum luminosity a pixel can deliver, it's saturation point (100%) beyond which no further increase can occur. There is an absolute minimum value too, but unlike the upper limit, cannot be approached due to noise. Once you reach the noise floor, decreasing the exposure further has no effect. In other words, dynamic range is determined by the noise level at low exposure. We find that the maximum dynamic range of modern sensors is in the 14 to 15 stop range, regardless of resolution. All else being equal, the effect on noise by increasing the ISO (gain) has less effect on large pixels than smaller ones.
  15. I would get familiar with Lightroom/Photoshop before I invested in additional gear. Software has come leaps and bounds recently and many of the issues you wish to see improved may actually be addressed with proper post processing techniques. I think this is critical given the photography you do.

    Best of luck,

  16. I have one. It is a good lens but not particularly exciting. When doing long studio shoots, a lighter telezoom makes the ordeal less heavy on my arms and it delivers a pleasing image. I also thought it would be great for travel. However, there are a number of drawbacks. I find the sharpness to be good to excellent at average distances but I've found the sharpness disappointed both when doing close-ups near minimum focus distance as well as at long distances. In between those, I find the image quite pleasing. It is enjoyable to shoot with and light to carry around. However, the autofocus tends to jitter a bit in indoor lighting and focusing on approaching subjects doesn't yield the consistency of the f/2.8 version (current or previous). Finally, the VR behaves erratically in winter conditions, one time it would not activate at all (I went out of the car and it was fairly but not extremely cold, and turning VR on / off did nothing) and just yesterday, after I had been out a couple of hourse, it started to behave strangely, the viewfinder image was shaking horizontally. This was quite annoying. An hour later it seemed to behave normally. So in the end I am not completely happy with it, even though I do think it's a good lens, it's not my favorite. In my opinion, the FL 70-200mm f/2.8 is a by far better lens. However, there is of course a weight and price difference.

    Yes, this seems to be the case.

    Right. The weight does add up, and having the option of lighter-weight lenses is important.

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