More shots in the Megapixel Wars

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by yog_sothoth, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. The latest noise reduction advances seem to be sparking another round in the megapixel wars. Sony and Samsung are off the mark with 20+ megapixel interchangeable lens cameras. The Sony has some 24 MP translucent-mirror cameras and a new NEX 7, while Samsung just has their 20 MP mirrorless camera.
    I am curious to see if Canon retaliates with a high-megapixel rebel in the near future. I honestly don't care much about more megapixels, but marketing people probably do care. I am waiting on a rebel-sized camera with better controls or a 7D style camera with a swivel screen and fast AF in live view.
     
  2. I think Canon will wait for Nikon to do something first, so they can then introduce something bigger and better.
    I ask you, has that not been the history of these 'advances'?
    Canon has stumbled on a downed UFO and has a huge bag of alien technology that they draw on.
    The facility is called "Area 6D". ;)
     
  3. Sony has had a 24MP camera out for some time now. 24MP is insignificantly more photosites than Canon's 21MP body. That said, there will certainly be cameras with more photosites in the full frame format before long.
     
  4. zml

    zml

    I think Canon will wait for Nikon to do something first, so they can then introduce something bigger and better.​
    It takes years to develop a camera model so whatever Nikons and Canons of this world might announce this year already exists in a finished form. Yeah, each company may have several similar models with different pixel count, etc., in the wings, sort of waiting for one another's move before deciding which one to release, but if Canon announces- say - a 36 megapixel camera next month, Nikon will not match Canon anytime soon unless they too already have such a camera ready to go.
     
  5. MP will climb higher and higher, there is no good reason for them not to and many good reasons for them to. In ten years I'd be surprised to not have 200 mp ff cameras, that is just the same as today's P&S cameras scaled up so the technology is already there.
     
  6. The full frame equivalent of the Sony would be 57 Megapixel and the Samsung is 47. I find my 7D tends to outperform my lenses a little and this is the full frame equivalent of a 47 mega pixel full frame sensor. Thus I think that 36 MP on full frame is probably where Canon and Nikon head next (or 32 or something) but as they approach 50 I think IQ will start to suffer. Since my lenses are all Canons best (the weakest ones are the 50 F1.4 and 35 F2 - after that the next poorest is the 16-35 F2.8 II - I am not counting my Sigma 8mm fisheye) and they are pushed to the limit on the 7D I can only wonder what consumer grade zooms (e.g. 18-270mm superzooms) produce on a sensor as densely packed as the Sony. I am guessing that we will get to about 60 MP full frame equivalent and then sense will prevail. We may well see the Hassy sensor shift technology at some point. Based on the glass I have I would imagine a full frame 200 MP sensor will just show up lens performance.
     
  7. Jeez, Michael L, I suppose you didn't see the part about Area 6D, eh?
     
  8. Area 6D? Is that in Roswell, too? ;-)
     
  9. Ok, a little sanity check here if you please. "I find my 7D tends to outperform my lenses a little and this is the full frame equivalent of a 47 mega pixel full frame sensor." 18 times 1.6 equals 28.8, not 47. and full frame twice in the same sentence,... redundant much? also area 6D is in Towadako Japan. It is a secret underwater laboratory in the crater made by the UFO crash. The Japanese government covers it up by saying it is an extinct volcano, but you can always find the Canon test shooters there with the future generations of Canon equipment in their mitts prowling the landscape testing the test gear with test shots of testy tourists. :-{))
     
  10. Theres enough information here to start a new rumor...
     
  11. Michael,
    Philip is correct. The maths isn't difficult but is so misunderstood. A 7D sensor is 329 mm² a 5D MkII sensor is 864 mm², the FF sensor is not 1.6 times bigger, it is 864 / 329, or 2.63 times the size of the crop camera. 1.6 is a linear measurement, not an area measurement, we are comparing areas so 1.6 is not the factor to use 2.63 is.
    18mp x 2.63 = 47,340,000.
     
  12. Michael 1.6 is the lens relationship. The 7D has a sensor that is 22.3mm by 14.9mm this has an area of 332mm square. full frame is 36x24 which is 864mm square - thus as Scott says the full frame sensor is 2.6 times the area of Canon's APS-C . You could look at it your way and find that since the Angle of view is equivalent to a lens of 1.6 times the focal length you have a horizontal and vertical factor of 1.6 so 1.6 x 1.6 is 2.56 (i.e. the same 2.6 above allowing for rounding by Canon on the FL multiplier). Perhaps the bigger question is do others agree with my statement that the 7D is getting to the limit of lens performance.
     
  13. the 7D is getting to the limit of lens performance.​
    People have been saying that since the Nikon D2x was released and we're double the MP count already.
     
  14. Jack - the 5DII is hard on lenses but the results seem fine, the &D in my opinion is getting to the limit but it is a complex topic. This article may help but I was actually interested in hearing if others are able to visibly detect a potential issue. I believe I am but wondered if other 600 / 60 / 7D users were able to (of course it helps if you also have a 1DsIII or 5DII for reference)
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/resolution.shtml
     
  15. When it comes to the "performance level" question, there are only three logical options:
    • The best lens and sensor have equal resolution. In the real world, this is simply an impossibility. No two lenses have the same resolution, and resolution varies even with a single lens both on the basis of aperture and where you measure in the frame.
    • The best lens has higher resolution than the sensor. To the extent that you want to produce the highest resolution image possible in a print, it is hard to see how this is the best possible outcome - and most photographers faced with this situation would not mind seening the development of higher resolution sensors, as long as the cost in financial terms and other aspects of image quality was not an issue.
    • The sensor has higher resolution than the best lens. As long as the sensor can produce an image that is otherwise of high quality and do so without the cost being far too high, this seems like the best option. Even if the lens "can't keep up" with the sensor resolution, there are other advantages in terms of rendering smooth gradations in the image and in reducing the need for strong AA filters.
    Some will object that increasing photo site density will lead to unacceptable noise or reduce dynamic range. However, those folks have been raising that objection since the increase was from 3MP to 4MP. If their concerns were valid in a way other than the theoretical, we would have seen a steady decline in the noise characteristics of DSLRs and their ability to deal with large dynamic range as photo site density has steadily increased. In fact, the opposite has been the case. It is also worth noting that in inflation-adjusted terms, the cost of these more capable cameras has gone down as well.
    Dan
     
  16. Philip,
    I have the 5D2 and I don't really believe it is hard on lenses. I can happily shoot with my 15 year old £99 Soligor 100mm macro and get razor sharp images, even less worry with Canon's L lenses. This argument seems to crop up each and every time a new higher MP range of DSLRs come out. Like I said, people were saying the 12MP Nikon D2x was pushing the boundaries when it was first released. I am sure when the 30-40MP 1Ds4 appears there'll be more people saying the same thing. I am sure Canon run tests on their prototype DSLRs with various lenses. If a sensor ever did outresolve a lens you can be sure Canon will know before us.
     
  17. Well structured Dan - I think we are heading to your case 3 over the next decade but I suspect that at some point the basis of competition will shift from sensor megapixels. Just like in other markets this will take time (look how long it took for people to realize that RAM and graphics rendering were a bigger constraining factor on their experience than processor clock rate with PCs). However, I think this will happen somewhere in the 50-100 MP range. In terms of noise - we will get advances in signal processing, improvements in sensor cooling and efficiency and better amplifiers. However, in the end Shot noise and amplifier noise will be limiting factors. I think we will se continued improvement for a while but the pace of improvement will slow as we reach the limits of our current optical / electronic technologies. I suspect that in the longer term the next major breakthrough will be when we can operate the front end systems of a camera in an all optical manner - i.e. when the light to electricity interface takes place deeper in the camera processing and not at the sensor (the image capture amplification and some of the processing taking place at optical frequencies) but this is quite a way off.
     
  18. An interesting discussion about pixel density and the megapixels wars, as it is the reference to the manufacturers new products portfolios, focusing on two brands that still didn't enter the mirrorless market segment.
    And this suggests me a question: while we look at larger sensors (namely FF) and more megapixels as the trend, even if that will materialize, can we take for granted that the new technologic advances (photosites, sensors, processing circuits and signal processing) will keep them in that direction or will they be looking for other market segments where they consider to be the money to be made?
    Nikon points to a smaller sensor fot their mirrorless cameras and what about Canon?
    How can the tech advances change the way we look at smaller sensors? Could this allow them to design new lenses to match the higher megapixels counts and the competition or/and threats posed by cell phones and other segments where they think the largest future demand will be?
    We will have the DOF issues and other aspects that will keep FF well and alive, but will this market segment give them the demand and sales volume to be their main marketing bet?
    For the time being these are more question marks than views on clear directions the consumers can consider for their short/medium term buying decisions (specially the professionals and prosumers), but can we afford to put them away?
     
  19. I'm confident the megapixel war is over, the new war is dynamic range.
    For example, are you aware it takes 4x the MP to double the quality? If you have a 12MP camera, a 48MP camera will have only twice the quality. Then, there's crop factors and resolution, after around 12MP on a crop factor anything more is useless. I saw a test comparing the 18MP Rebel to some other brand 12MP equivalent, and the other brand was slightly sharper with more detail. How is that possible? The end result was since the 18MP Ti was a 1.6x crop factor camera vs the 1.5x the image quality sacrifices made to the Rebel for more MP combined with the bigger crop factor causing lenses used on it to have less ability to resolve put it behind in the sharpness/detail. So, if you wanted a sharper camera you were better with the 12MP other brand than the 18MP Rebel. Combined with, more MP means more susceptability to hand shake (so does more crop factor), more noise, less ability in lower light so 18MP 1.6x vs. 12MP 1.5x actually helped you get blurrier images in real use and whose pictures took up more hard drive space.
    Dynamic range though, seems to be the new battle. Being able to get 2-3 more stops of data in the highlights and shadows over the competitor is far more useful over more MP as the MP war is over. More and more are beginning to learn and understand RAW images and how to get detail out of shadows & highlights and that the dynamic range of the camera is more useful than cramming more MP. I'd personally take dynamic range over MP :) There are still so many others as mentioned that think MP is all that matters, and I REALLY like the poster who mentioned the CPU of the computer as an example... and now people are realizing it's the graphics card more than the CPU. More & more, I'm seeing people answer that MP at this point doesn't matter and sometimes saying more MP comes at a cost to image quality when used in real life, which is nice to see.
     
  20. "If you have a 12MP camera, a 48MP camera will have only twice the quality"
    No, you have twice the resolution, you have four times the information, how much of a quality improvement gets you is moot, but a 16mp camera gives considerably more than twice the quality of a 4mp camera, I know I own two.
     
  21. I think Canon will wait for Nikon to do something first, so they can then introduce something bigger and better.
    I ask you, has that not been the history of these 'advances'?
    That may have beenso, but Canon has failed to match either the D3X's resolution of detail, or the D3s' high ISO performance. I think it is Nikon who is waiting for Canon this time. In any case these cameras take years to develop so they will announce what they have ready to announce largely independently of the other's announcement. Of course the relative success of the different cameras will affect the future development of the next generation but not so much the immediate announcements.
     
  22. I don't think Nikon and Canon are really competing against each other anymore. I mean, I know the companies are, but their strategies and marketing seem to show otherwise.
    Take any Nikon/Canon/Sony models in about the same price point and at about the same age. The Nikon one will usually be built the sturdiest, and will often be the best at doing traditional camera things, like ISO performance and autofocus accuraccy. The Sony will usually be the best at new tech, like megapixels, video mode, and in-camera HDR/panorama/etc. The Canon will be right in the middle. Canon models have worse video than comparable Sonys and are not as solid as comparable Nikons, but they're more reliable than those Sonys and have better video than the Nikons.
    I realize that there are exceptions, but as a general rule Nikon courts the old-fashioned types, Sony courts the techies, and Canon goes after the all-around market. This is why a comparison between them, barring new models introduced by Nikon or Canon this fall, is irrelevant. My experience in both sales and education tells me that most people - even complete newbies - make up their mind as to what brand they want pretty quickly, and only a small amount give any weight to spec sheets when deciding brands. As long as all three brands stay competitive, it doesn't much matter which one actually has more whatever-it-is.
    And as for megapixels vs. quality, that's bs. More megapixels does not equal a better image, regardless of what the charts say. More megapixels means a bigger print at the same quality; and even that notion is highly suspect. Most people tend to forget that one generally views a poster print from several feet away, and won't be able to see minor pixellation at that distance. I don't have a chart to quote, but I would gamble that a 10 megapixel image printed at 16x20 and viewed at 5 feet will visually appear to be the same quality as a 10 megapixel image printed at 20x30 and viewed at 10 feet. After all - moving twice as far away makes the size of the 'pixel' on the paper half the size in relation to the eye.
     
  23. "moving twice as far away makes the size of the 'pixel' on the paper half the size in relation to the eye"
    Zack, and what about the inverse square law, does that not apply to your pixels? If you double the viewing distance the size of the pixel is a quarter the size it was.
     
  24. >> I honestly don't care much about more megapixels.

    Just enough to begin a discussion of more megapixels.


    >> but Canon has failed to match either the D3X's resolution of detail, or the D3s' high ISO performance.

    But for 2500 bucks US, Canon offers a camera that nearly matches all of the D3 family's features simultaneously and
    revolutionized the film and TV industry along the way. 20+ MP at ISO 3200 can be an amazing tool, except you'll
    never experience it if you dropped $13,000 on two Nikon bodies. The 5D2 is within ten percent of the D3x's resolution,
    which is impressive given that the Nikon's pixel count exceeds Canon plus ten percent. And don't get me started on
    Nikon's implementation of Live View. Granted the Canon has less dynamic range, but all in all they've turned out an extremely capable camera which has sold like hotcakes.
     
  25. Scott Ferris [​IMG], Sep 02, 2011; 09:00 p.m.
    "moving twice as far away makes the size of the 'pixel' on the paper half the size in relation to the eye"
    Zack, and what about the inverse square law, does that not apply to your pixels? If you double the viewing distance the size of the pixel is a quarter the size it was.​
    Were it light, maybe. I'm not sure how the maths work with physical ink droplets. Either way, the fact is that increasing the megapixels only increases the resolution if you're viewing it from a constant distance that is near enough for the eye to perceive differences. I don't think whether it's twice or quadruple is relevant if the viewer can't perceive either.
    Dan South [​IMG], Sep 02, 2011; 09:01 p.m.
    >> but Canon has failed to match either the D3X's resolution of detail, or the D3s' high ISO performance.
    But for 2500 bucks US, Canon offers a camera that nearly matches all of the D3 family's features simultaneously and revolutionized the film and TV industry along the way. 20+ MP at ISO 3200 can be an amazing tool, except you'll never experience it if you dropped $13,000 on two Nikon bodies. The 5D2 is within ten percent of the D3x's resolution, which is impressive given that the Nikon's pixel count exceeds Canon plus ten percent. And don't get me started on Nikon's implementation of Live View. Granted the Canon has less dynamic range, but all in all they've turned out an extremely capable camera which has sold like hotcakes.​
    So the Canon is a better camera, despite the fact that it comes second to the various D3 cameras at high ISO, megapixels, and dynamic range? Even the D700 has better high-ISO performance. Isn't that like saying an Olympian with two silver medals is a better althete than an Olympian with a single gold medal? Certainly the guy with two silvers is more consistent, and I'd want him on my team more than a guy with the one gold. But having said that, I know I'd trade lots of silver medals for a single gold, and I'm pretty sure most other people would too.
    I'm not saying this means Nikon is a better company mind you - but it's very clear that the companies are taking different approaches.
     
  26. Zack,
    I assumed you had just overlooked something you understood, I didn't realise you don't understand the concept.
    "Were it light, maybe"
    Well for a start, it is light, it is reflected light from the print. But if something becomes half as wide and half as high it is one quarter the size it was, that is the case for you individual pixel.
    But if your viewers are happy to not get close to your prints all power to you, I have never put a print out anywhere at any size where within an hour somebody hasn't stuck their nose on it. How do you propose to keep people ten feet away? I'd love to know.
     
  27. Scott Ferris [​IMG], Sep 02, 2011; 09:59 p.m.
    Zack,
    I assumed you had just overlooked something you understood, I didn't realise you don't understand the concept.​
    Wow, Scott. Seeing as your post was worded in such a way as to agree with my point, even if it did correct my math, and since I made NO effort to argue with you whatsoever, I have no idea where this negativity is coming from. Seriously, if you want to get all upset and flame somebody, you're going to have to find someone else, as this will be my only post on the matter.
    The inverse square law is usually applied to 'light' in the sense of how much reaches the subject, aka how bright it is. A focused light source that projects a beam the same size 5 and ten feet away will expose brighter at the closer distance, despite having the same size spead. Printed matter may reflect light, but since it is not a light source it will also take into account the user's vision, how it's lit, the texture of the paper on which it is printed, and all manner of other things that I frankly don't have any authority on or the desire to argue. I suspect that you have one of those things, although phrases such as "I would gamble", "I don't have a chart to quote," and "would (visually) appear" should not have given you the impression that I was presenting myself as a mathematical expert.
    If you don't have anything nice to say ...
    But if your viewers are happy to not get close to your prints all power to you, I have never put a print out anywhere at any size where within an hour somebody hasn't stuck their nose on it. How do you propose to keep people ten feet away? I'd love to know.​
    It's a very simple concept, Scott. If you have a compelling image, people will decide that they love it or hate it before they get close. No one that appreciates art is going to like an image, get close enough to see grain or pixels, and then change their mind. Pixel-peepers do that. As far as keeping people away, here is a short list of places where an image can be where people are unlikely to get close to it:
    Above a fireplace
    Behind a desk
    More than six feet up on a wall
    Billboards
    Above a bed
    Most in-store advertisements
    At the top of a stairway leading down
    Lastly, I'd like to remind you that if you get very close to a Georges Seurat painting, the image actually GOES AWAY! And yet, we still study him in art history classes. How weird is that?!
     
  28. Zack,
    I apologise if you feel insulted/hurt or any other negative feeling from my comments, it was not my intent. I thought I remembered you posting some interesting comments in the lighting forum so was genuinely surprised.
    I know the photography's most common use of the inverse square law, but that doesn't stop it applying here. Remember, the flash is just reflected light off the subject, in a print you are just viewing ambient light reflected off the print, it follows the same law. Neither the subject nor the print are light sources, they are both reflecting subjects.
    I didn't say people could find something compelling but then be disappointed on closer inspection. But I have been very disappointed in some work on closer looks, are you suggesting if an idea is compelling but the execution or workmanship sucks the acceptable route for acceptance is to make people stand further back! My experience has been when people do like an image they get closer and closer, then back off, then get closer again, they take in the detail and nuances, even in a print with no detail, they take in the complete picture and the negative space around it, but nothing I have ever seen has stopped them getting closer than traditional viewing distance figures would suggest were optimum.
    The fact that, Georges Seurat's images dissolve as you get closer is irrelevant, I have seen images you can only see on interference patterns on phone screens, yes you have to view the art through a phone. I have seen big paintings of regular subjects painstakingly made from tiny wooden block stamps that contain sign language, if you don't go right up to them you can't even see the 1/4" stamp marks they are comprised of, let alone read the messages contained within them. I've seen faces carved into mountains that make no sense unless you are half a mile away, but that still doesn't stop people climbing up to practically touch them. How weird is that?
    Take care, I really meant the apology, Scott.
     
  29. Scott's square law is in fact correct - think about the conical angles. For a pixel to have the same conical angle when seen at twice the distance it needs to be twice the radius and thus four times the area.
    By the way this article on the human eye and the camera is quite interesting
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/eye-camera.shtml
     
  30. In light of your response Scott, I believe I owe you an apology as well.
    I was not suggesting that distance is an appropriate way to increase quality. Some images just plain look better and have more impact big; I was suggesting that since the typical viewing distance of a large print is several feet back, and the typical viewing distance of a small print is only a foot or two, an artist that feels that they have a genuinely strong image should not be at all concerned with a loss of resolution in larger print sizes unless it is really awful. From an impact standpoint the impression has already been made before the viewer can get up close, and from a sales standpoint there are plenty of places in your average home where a potential buyer could hang the image without guests noticing any pixellation. For this reason, I've seen plenty of 'digitally flawed' images sell for well over a thousand dollars.
    Also for this reason I didn't upgrade by D70 until it finally crapped the bed this year. I always shoot at 200 ISO and almost never print larger than 12x18, so what was I going to gain? A little broader tonal range isn't even terribly useful, since I'm controlling contrast with lights anway. But now I've got the bug, so ...
    As to the lighting, I've pretty much stopped caring about techie stuff, really. I finally have a setup that (mostly) does what I need it to do, and I've pretty much just blanked out everything that doesn't directly apply to me. There's so much that I need to know, that I can't be bothered to learn anything that doesn't directly affect my work. I think that mentality started about the same time that I learned that most of Robert Mapplethope's images were printed from Polaroid negatives. I figured that if one of the best photographers in the history of the medium wasn't concerned with anything technical beyond 'how do I make this image happen?' then I didn't need to worry about anything else either. I'll leave that up to the engineers.
     
  31. >> I honestly don't care much about more megapixels.
    Just enough to begin a discussion of more megapixels.​
    Oh, cool, you can take half of one sentence out of context and criticize the snippet. Good for you.
     
  32. Most of the people thing that higher MP results better IQ and here where they get disappointed with their dslr. I am shooting nikon,
    canon, sigma and I have good result in all of them. Most of us will end up storing his shots in hard desk or 4x6 print to extent A4size.
    All of this you can do with 5 Mp camera.

    It s good to invest on lens & lighting rather changing bodies.

    There are some tech. You can increase the MP with existing camera, and that's why HB40 was changed from 40MP to 120 by taking
    3 shots with sensor shift

    Most of the camera will take random photo sites on the sensor and you can stack multiple shots for higher MP

    Finally even I am canon fun but I like shooting with my SD14 faveon sensor the results are awesome and I don't know why canon and
    nikon are not going for it
     
  33. I didn't upgrade by D70 until it finally crapped the bed this year. I always shoot at 200 ISO and almost never print larger than 12x18, so what was I going to gain?
    Higher MP shows significantly better detail even in 8x12 inch size ... which increases even more when you go to larger print sizes. If you're not seeing e.g. 12MP (even in DX) as clearly crispier than 6MP in an A4 size print then you've got a technique problem, a lens issue, a vision problem, or a problem in the process chain of making the print. It should be immediately obvious when looking at the print if the subject is of a detailed nature.
    At A3 and A2 sizes, prints made from 40-60 megapixel scans of 6x7 black and white film blow your mind (again when properly made). The print medium is capable of showing stunning detail and it does make a difference in the impression on the viewer, if the subject is of such nature that detail matters.
    There are those who settle for "good enough" by the lowest critic, and others who seek to push what is technically possible. Since the push for technical perfection rarely interferes with your creativity (if you're using a tripod then this is already the case; you've already slowed down sufficiently so that you can go all the way) then you should go as far as you can because someone somewhere will always do that and have at least as compelling a subject as you do, some time in the history of man, now, in the past, or in the future. I don't see what the point of a creative endeavor is, if the goal is merely "good enough" instead of what is the very best that is humanly possible.
    Then there are subjects where movement is in the picture and sharpness is not part of the equation. Those are not the subjects of high resolution cameras. But to say that there is no picture which substantially benefits from high MP is just ridiculous.
     
  34. On an inkjet print - which is what my digital files generally are - the size of the ink droplets themselves is a limiting factor. Again, I am not claiming to be an expert in the matter - but I think that we can all agree that at a certain size, ink droplets will become the same size or larger than pixels. At whatever that size is, anything beyond that resolution is unneccessary. I'm not arguing that the detail is not there; just as a 4x5 contact printed negative has more detail than a negative enlarged to 4x5. I'm just saying that having detail there is not the same as making it visible to the viewer.
    But again, I refer you to Robert Mapplethorpe, who created stunning prints from a 25 ISO Polaroid negative that was, by all accounts, lower resolution, accutance, and dynamic range than a regular 25 ISO negative. Or Cartier-Bresson, whose camera and negative technology would both test extremely poorly on a modern test chart. There are the Ansel Adams' of the world of course, but there are other approaches as well.
    It is a different approach, and not a linear scale of good and bad.
     
  35. I used to shoot Kodachrome with a Canon F1N equipped with a FD 100mm f2.8 lens. A 35mm Kodachrome transparency contains an equivalent of approximately 20 megapixels of data. I was perfectly happy with the sharpness of the images, even when they were projected to large size on a wall or screen. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II has a 21.1MP Full Frame CMOS digital sensor. So I would seem that digital cameras have reached the level of performance (in terms of sharpness and resolution ) needed for most photographic situations. The additional performance enhancements that photographers are paying for in digital cameras come in the area of autofocus, image stabilization, and the shooting rate (in frames per second) that is useful for sporting events. If Leica can produce both digital and film cameras that utilize their line of lenses, I think that Canon could have continued to support their FD line of lenses with a compatible digital body. Some photographers, like myself, actually LIKE to focus their lenses manually!
     
  36. OK. I am just a dumb *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* ex-wedding photographer. How would all this have an effect on me were I still doing weddings and photogpraphing for a newspaper and running my own studio. Several very successful wedding photographers are still using the 5D1 and 12.7 MP. They have happy customers who don't give a rats about whether their pictures are 12 or 24 or 47MP. There is a law of diminishing returns in R&D where I worked that roughly says that when you reach extremities in development they become increasingly more costly and provide much smaller actual gain that when technology was leaping forward and when there was a lot of gain to be achieved. Now to got Back to being again a dumb ex wedding photographer who was doing business where I think most professionals do today do theirs; I wonder what they all get out of more megapixels. If I do a wedding and have to process 48 MP raw images to get a thousand wedding prints out I will have to get a computer with with 50 gigs of ram. Do I think I would do that. Probably not. Like Zack says I would have to upgrade my printer to something that has really tiny droplets. Now let me put a marketing hat on. The market IMO for all these changes that produce somtimes unseeable benefits to the unwashed seems to get narrower and narrower particularly if the next 5D is 5000 bucks or better. Then I think if it got as good as some of say it will be there go my years of investment in L lenses. If I were marketing I would be far more concerned about Apple and Android taking my low end business by improving photo capabilities in multi-use technologies than I would by producing huge incremental advances in the number of megapixels. I still think the price point for a large measure of DSLR customers is around the D60-7d-5DII range. I don't have Canon's sales numbers but I bet that's where the bulk of professional sales are and the consumer cameras are in the new Rebel area. Someone tell me , where Canon and Nikon and others will attract enough customers to move forward with large incremental advances in MPs.
    After all I am just a dumb *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* ex wedding photographer who doesn't really belong in this discussion. In my humble and flawed opinion I agree that dynamic range is much more important than MPs. I think that having humped literally tons of heavy eqipment around for about twenty years that better quality for lower weight and bulk as Apple has done with iPads may be the next frontier. I also believe that even with Lightroom and CS5 I think learning processing is a great hobby for me but far to complex compared to the big airplanes I used to fly. I think, in the long run, it would be nice to download pictures and have them processed with a Lightroom with an effective application of Articial Intelligence to spit out wedding pictures that look good to brides without my playing with them. Ah, but I am dreaming.
     
  37. Zack,
    No, the size of an inkjet droplet does not limit resolution on a good sized print. A 7D pixel is 4.3 microns, an inkjet droplet is around 100 microns, seems obviously limiting doesn't it? But wait we have to revert to maths and the way inkjets make millions of colours from ten or less colours.
    If you make a 12"x18", or 30cmx45cm for ease of calculations, print from a 7D you have to divide 450,000 by 5,184. This gives you 87 microns. Again common sense would suggest the bigger ink droplet is going to limit your resolution. But one droplet is not all it takes to make a print representation of your image, even a test target. Ink is laid down in layers, one drop on top of and overlapping others, some drops are full drops, some are not, it is called dithering, this makes it possible to accurately represent small things with ostensibly bigger things. And that is with a comparatively small print. Go much bigger, use a camera with less pixels, crop etc and it becomes even easier for the printer. Besides, printers don't actually understand pixels as you would think, they don't print one pixel, then another then another, they turn the pixel map of your image into a series of colour sets that it then lays down, that is one reason why printers are so good at working around image pixel per inch calculations, it will continue smoothing the edges of colours and details to give you a sharp and accurate rasterized interpretation of your pixel based image file.
    I took some big liberties with the methodology to make it a concise explanation.
    Dick,
    Specifically for you, for weddings it would enable you to crop the *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* out of an image (to use your vernacular), say you have a penchant for the legendary 35 f1.4, you stand back to take some environmental portraits of the bride and groom, but as you look through the viewfinder, she touches his hair, it is the quintessential moment of the wedding, all the love and dedication the couple share is in that moment, but it is completely lost because you don't have an 85 or 100 to get in tight. Fear not, your new high mega pixel camera can crop into that moment, you are a genius, the tight portrait image cropped from the wide angle one wins you a wedding photographer of the year award, you can triple your prices, you need to take on two more assistants a studio manager and a secretary.
    Seen like that, why would you not want the extra MP? I can't think how many times I have wished I had a different lens to my eye, so I use a zoom, I have the zoom on and I can't tell you how many times I've wished I had a prime on. Very high MP will enable me to not buy a lens or two, I carry less, I feel better and I can work longer, I make even more money, the benefits just get bigger and bigger.
     
  38. They make a lot of money stringing the consumer along by putting out something [barely] incrementally better every year or two. Milk it baby, milk it!
     
  39. Keith,
    Only if you choose to play the game and buy into it every year. It is your choice on what features you want to buy and which you feel will help you. I am using three year old and seven year old DSLR's, they work for me.
     
  40. The real problem is the rate of development - my 7D is as good as my 1DIIN (better in some areas e.g. resolution, menu system, live view and worse in others e.g. build, multi spot metering, possibly AF, viewfinder blind) but was 1/3 of the price 3.5 years later!
     
  41. I'm sorry Scott, but it sounds very much like in arguing with myself and Dick in the same post, you've practically rebutted yourself. You already made it very clear that more megapixels make a better image, so why would you want to crop in and reduce image quality? How can Dick possibly win wedding photographer of the year if he crops in and produces an image that is so obviously worse?
    It also sounds like you've rebutted yourself in your description of printer technology. Are you suggesting that even though an ink droplet is larger than a pixel at 12x18 (in your description) it doesn't matter because there are multiple droplets? I hate to play Dr. Phil here, but old-fashioned learning would suggest that those additional droplets will also be larger than the pixels that they represent. And half-droplets? Come on man, you're making that up. Do you know what the vernacular for a half of a droplet is? A smaller droplet. If the smallest amount if ink that a printer can lay down in a single drop is 100 microns, then the smallest amount of ink that a printer can lay down in a single drop is 100 microns. If a half a droplet is a real thing, then that means that the smallest amount of ink it can lay down is 50 microns. Not 100 divided by two.
    Plus at the end of it, you tell me that the printer doesn't even see pixels as such, provided there are enough to create sharp edges and smooth transitions.
    I'm not saying that you don't know your stuff mind you. But I am saying that if you wish to inform someone, you should word your post in a way that makes it about teaching them, and not showing what you know. Because if you go the latter route, there are always going to be devil's advocates like me calling you out on it.
     
  42. Zack,
    The my ability to covey complex issues in short paragraphs is the problem. I didn't say, re Dick's comments, more MP makes a better image per se, what I said is there are occasions, despite Dick's reluctance, where even he could use those extra pixels to dramatic effect, even if he prints to a size where all the native pixels can't normally be rendered.
    For wedding photographer of the year he can electronically submit a comparatively tiny file, he can't make as good a 20"x30" print from his crop as he can from the entire image, but as you so correctly pointed out earlier, most times we might not need all we have. That doesn't mean always though, if it did the market for any camera above a 5D MkII would stop tomorrow.
    For the printer stuff, well you either believe it or don't, it is up to you, do your research, read up, it might not be important for your imaging now but who knows what affects it might have on your career in the future. I don't claim to be a teacher, though many of the people who have worked with me would say I do a pretty good job of helping them learn a lot, but as I say, my ability to paraphrase very complex processes that I understand myself but struggle to convey adequately in a few short paragraphs is my downfall.
    But do believe I am not interested in writing this stuff to boost my ego, I do it in the true belief that I can help people. I live in a very isolated location and whilst my motives are not 100% altruistic (I find answering questions forces me to better understand and explain the things I do know and sitting at a computer for two weeks processing 45 GB of images is boring!) I have never curried favour, linked to my own website or solicited critiques etc.
    Call me out, play devils advocate, I have on many occasions, but keep learning.
     
  43. I think the only time I cared about MP count was when I had a ~3MP and wanted at least 5, I ended up getting a 6 or 7 model. After that, I haven't paid much attention, I don't think it makes much difference in IQ.
    @ Scott, my earlier comment was to suggest the camera companies probably deliberately focus on incremental changes because there isn't much to gain by forging ahead by leaps and bounds. Staying a little bit ahead and putting out new models when the market suggests its time is perhaps a better business model. The consumer pays (in $$) for the strategy and thinking their camera is now "obsolete" because a new model with 3 additional MP just hit the market.
    Who gives a F&%k?
     
  44. Scott. I have no doubt that if I had 48MP I could do better airplane pictures because I could do smaller crops but the further you get away the more atmospherics interfere with sharpness. More to the point when I did weddings starting in 1997 I had adequate film gear to do the job. I used MF and fixed focus lenses and could crop some to make pictures work. However I slowly gravitated to Canon zooms because film improved and I got tired of walking around weddings carrying six camera backs, loading them when they ran out of film and I got tired of changing lenses. Not one of my customers ever noted the difference. However, as with my newpaper work I always made enoough pictures to cover my assignment and I did not care if I lost some keepers because I always satisfied my editor and customers by taking more pictures by a factor of two or more than I needed. I was not then and am not now shooting for masterpieces rather just interesting images for the audience I was shooting for. The other thing about running a business is that I had a rule not to buy stuff that was not essential to do the job or alternatively would make a quick return on investment. So increasing capability that did not make good business sense was not my policy. My bottom line was extremely important to me. So from a philosophical working standpoint it did not then and does not now make a lot sense to me to spend a lot of my working budget to get a small product incremental improvement. I think some people trying to do business would agree with me. If I were still in business my question would be how would an investment to radically raise Megapixels affect my bottom line based upon initial investment and ROI and what would be my financial or now in retirement my aesthetic benefit? or loss?

    I also made some comments about where I thought the broader photo business was headed. I can't predict the future but from earlier executive training, studies and work experience I see the digital wave going to a more mature stage where progress is slower, costs more and delivers change in smaller more expensive increments. I was responsible for major acquisitions regarding the use of GPS for civil aviation. I found along with my colleagues that the last increment of any technical project was always the hardest and disproportionally expensive. In my simplistic opinion this is the phase we are heading. I have an old friend whom I used to work with at United Air Lines who would continually tell me that the best was the enemy of the good. I also think that as these businesses mature they are ripe to be undercut by new competitors from outside the photo industry. I think the DSLR and P&S business models are changing and the rapid advance of marketable innovations has slowed. Canon has sold a huge number of cameras in the past ten years. I wonder if that can be sustained in the next ten I think they are too big to fail but they may change.

    But the question has always been the same for me does what I am buying make sense for the use I intend for it. That was always my job in my business and as a former pilot running aviation acquisitions to keep programs on a practical track. Scott I admire your knowledge of the technical side of this and always carefully read your posts. Only you can tell what makes sense for you.
     
  45. So the Canon is a better camera, despite the fact that it comes second to the various D3 cameras at high ISO, megapixels, and dynamic range? Isn't that like saying an Olympian with two silver medals is a better althete than an Olympian with a single gold medal? Certainly the guy with two silvers is more consistent, and I'd want him on my team more than a guy with the one gold. But having said that, I know I'd trade lots of silver medals for a single gold, and I'm pretty sure most other people would too.​
    Expanding on the Olympics analogy, the D3S and D3X are gold medalists in individual sports, whereas the 5D Mark II is the gold medalist in the Decathlon. It does everything well. And do you know what they call the gold medalist in the Olympic Decathlon? "World's Greatest Athlete." They don't give that title to the winner of the pole vault. (Sorry, D3S). Or the winner of the 200. (Sorry, D3X).
    Even the D700 has better high-ISO performance.​
    I own a D700 and have used it extensively. The D700 has better dynamic range than the 5D2. You can pull more detail out of the shadows with less noise. But that's where the advantage ends. If you compare output at 100 percent, the Nikon looks a little cleaner. But at 100 percent, the Canon has 75 percent more information. If you look at them at the same SIZE, there's no difference in noise performance except for the shadow detail issue that I mentioned above. Granted, the 3DS is approximately a stop better than either the 5D2 or the D700, but 12 MP is a lot less forgiving when cropping is necessary. Bottom line: The Nikon ISO advantage is small and it's offset by a striking difference in resolution.
    The D3X has a little more resolution at ISO 100, but it struggles at ISO 800 to do what the Canon can do at ISO 3200. I have enjoyed using ISO 3200 EXTENSIVELY with the Canon. Lots of handheld urban and interior shots would not have been possible at a lower ISO setting.
    As for base ISO comparisons, has anyone done a double-blind test of D3X and 5D2 prints side by side? I can't claim that I have ever heard of such a study, but I doubt that people would be able to pick one camera out over the other one (either way) consistently. Is a ten percent bump in resolution worth five grand? My 4x5 exceeds the resolution of any sub-60-MP digital camera, so when I really need to crank up the resolution, I reach for a dark cloth and some film holders.
    Video specs: 5D2 (1080p), D3S (720p), D3X (N/A).
    Live view implementation: 5D2 (excellent), D3S (improved), D3X (poor).
    Weather sealing: 5D2 (poor), both Nikons (excellent).
    Battery and shutter life: 5D2 (average), both Nikons (excellent).
    Street price (USD): 5D2 (2600), D3S (5k), D3X (7500).
    Lenses: Canon offers pro f/4 zooms and a more flexible tilt-shift design. Canon AF lenses adapt very well to manual focusing with live view. Nikon excels with two lenses: 14-24 and 200-400.
    Is the Canon a better camera? Well, it's clearly better than either of the Nikons given that it exceeds most of their capabilities. Is it better than the Nikon duo? Getting back to the sports analogy, it's probably a dead heat. Yes, you'll pay a lot more for the two Nikon bodies, but that investment provides 600,000 shutter actuations. The 5D2 is going to need a heart transplant after 150,000. So if you shoot a LOT and you need weather sealing, the Nikon combo isn't a bad investment. If you need a light body and lens package for trekking, brilliantly implemented live view, a better T/S lens design, or if you need the best feature set that a single body can offer, the Canon wins hands down. Just don't expect to use it in a typhoon.
     
  46. don't really care about megapixels or noise reduction - what I want is more dynamic range. digital still trails ag-x by a long margin, and will always be just a more convenient medium, yet vastly inferior to film until it begins to catch up.
     
  47. Several very successful wedding photographers are still using the 5D1 and 12.7 MP. They have happy customers who don't give a rats about whether their pictures are 12 or 24 or 47MP.​
    McDonald's has happy customers, too. LOTS of them!
    The market for a fine steak is smaller, but for those who care, the difference is obvious.
     
  48. Several very successful wedding photographers are still using the 5D1 and 12.7 MP. They have happy customers who don't give a rats about whether their pictures are 12 or 24 or 47MP.​
    When the 6MP Nikon D100 and Fujifilm S3 were current, many wedding photographers stated that they were the ideal cameras for weddings. Now 12MP is not enough?
     
  49. Dan. I took classes from Monte Zucker who has been deceased since 2007 He reached the apex of the wedding business in terms of inspiration, artistic merit and just simply beautiful pictures. At last look someone was maintaining a web site of his work; it is compelling. You should see the work he did with 6MP. It was not steak it was chateaubriand rendered by one of the worlds finest chefs. I don't think anyone gets to his level with MPs. It is pure inspiration and talent, hard work and in his case a compelling personality. I admit I serve a lot of McDonalds quarter pounders and I will never come close to what Monte did but my rather mundane talents and work have nothing to do in particular with megapixels. It has to do with my lack of inspiration and talent and knowledge of the business. Several of those 5d mark one users I cited also serve exquisite highly professional meals and are able to charge appropriately for their work. I just don't ascribe to the idea that one has to use 48 or 30 MPs to be an effective photographer.
     
  50. I just don't ascribe to the idea that one has to use 48 or 30 MPs to be an effective photographer.​
    Nobody has said you do - but there's no question that there are numerous situations where more pixels is an advantage.
    And - frankly - wedding photography as a genre hardly pushes the envelope of what can be done with a camera.
     
  51. Dick, I don't dispute that great photography is possible at lower resolutions. In terms of impact and emotion, the number of pixels is meaningless. One of my favorite photographers of all time, Galen Rowell, famously used 35mm cameras when the prevailing thought was that small formats were inadequate for landscape photography.
    My point is that more resolution offers additional options. If you're already making great photos with 6 MP, a 12 MP camera isn't going to suddenly take away your skill and artistic ability. If someone could go back in time and give your former professor an 80 MP Phase One system for a couple of weeks, he wouldn't suddenly start shooting bad photos just because he was working with more pixels. He would have shot photographs that were equally magnificent to his 6 MP work. The larger resolution would simply provide better cropping and printing options.
    I'm sure that your associates who make their living with 5D's do lovely work. You are an expert, and if you judge their work to be solid, I accept that. That said, the average wedding client is not an expert, and their assessment of quality work is probably more in tune with sentimentality than technical or artistic quality. Just because someone has "many happy wedding clients" doesn't necessarily mean that that person is an accomplished photographer. Maybe they're just competent enough to fool a layperson who is already emotionally invested in the outcome of the wedding album. To many people, a poorly-framed camera-phone image of their dog constitutes a "better photograph" than the complete works of Ansel Adams. Most of those satisfied wedding clients are not in a position to judge the merits of higher pixel counts.
     
  52. Keith I agree that wedding photography is not the highest and greatest use of photography but it provides the basis for a lot of corporate income in the DSLR area. I think more pixels are nice but I also think they may be very expensive in terms of equipment replacement iincluding bodies, perhaps lenses with greater resolution, increased ram capacity computers, printers that match the quality of the file.and replacement of other peripherals. I do think that the OEMs do cost benefit and market breadth studies before they move to embrace more advanced technologies. If they deem that higher pixels will drive new sales then it will happen but that is a market driven issue not a technical one. In other words, is there a market for a 5D mark III with 35 Mps? or a 7DII with 48mp. Maybe so but I did and do a lot of sports as well as formerly doing weddings. What would be the incentive for me to spend a substantial amount of money to use more megapixels when my work is already accepted with the equipment I have. More and more of what I do goes on the web where increased MPs are not necessary. I just believe as others that dynamic range and less complicated and more capable gear through algorythms to do high quality work in smaller packages is more important. I don't buy technology because it is the next best thing coming along it has to do something for me in the realm that I consider acceptable. Like my friend from United kept telling me when we were designing aviation navigation systems the best is the enemy of the good trying to keep my engineers from over designing stuff. I don't do prints larger than 18x24. I have a number of them hanging in my home. They have been done with Medium Format both from my former darkroom and scanned, plus 6MP and higher digital cameras and some have been cropped considerably. No one can tell the difference from one to the other and adequately identify which is which. If I gave someone a loupe they probably at ten centimeters find quality distinctions. So I don't see where adding higher pixels for me, not you Keith or not Dan, just for me I am fairly happy where I am. That is just my opinion but I think there is way too much emphasis on the technical side of things. I spent a lot time using cost/benefit analsysis in my former profession. Show me the cost and then the benefit I would get from spending more money on more pixels. I think it depends on what one does with photography and where Canon and Nikon and Sony determine where their markets are. Mr. Zucker did practice, IMO, a higher and greater form of the art of photography. His work is still selling. It was his talent that got him there not his gear.
     
  53. and he taught me a lot, particularly about studio lighting that I still use. Dan your post crossed mine. when talking about the future who is to know who is correct. I certainly respect your opinion and that of Keith. Zucker was not a professor btw he was very well known and very successful at his profession of photography.
     
  54. "Street price (USD): 5D2 (2600), D3S (5k), D3X (7500)."
    You are comparing apples and oranges.
    The D3x and D3s should be comapred to 1D and 1Ds series.
    It reminds me of car tv comercials in which they selectively compared power, size and other specs to other cars's specs that are not really their strength area (ie. more room interior than a X brand, more power than Y brand, etc).
     
  55. >> Keith I agree that wedding photography is not the highest and greatest use of photography.

    I don't agree with that at all, having seen the work of people like Marcus Bell, Cliff Mautner, et al. And I'm surprised to
    hear this coming from someone who formerly worked in the wedding field.


    >> What would be the incentive for me to spend a substantial amount of money to use more megapixels when my
    work is already accepted with the equipment I have?

    I have no idea what motivates you, but for me the additional cropping and printing options would be worthwhile in
    many cases, especially with sports photography where the action can be quite distant from the lens.


    >> It was his talent that got him there not his gear.

    Better gear doesn't rob anyone of their talent.


    >> The D3X and D3S should be compared to the 1D and 1Ds series.

    Compare whatever you wish. I made my comparisons and decided to go with the 5D2 instead of wasting a ton of cash
    on a camera with a single specialty, poor High ISO performance, no video, and an archaic Live View implementation.
    Your mileage may vary.
     
  56. The denigration of wedding photography (or just about any other genre) in a discussion of technical issues is not only
    irrelevant and an inappropriate cheap shot, but it suggest only a superficial acquaintance, if that, with the genre.
     
  57. Yeah Dan I kind of regretted saying that after I thought about it. Zucker was in that rarified class of wedding photographers who are true artists. What I said was to show me the cost and show me the benefit and I will make a decision. I do crop a lot of the swiming I do but I would have to weigh the cost impact upon what I do to see if it is worth it. It is interesting that when I started doing weddings in 97 I used Bronicas with manual focus and I did a lot of outdoor weddings where I incident metered a lot of my pictures so I was not using any automation at all. I was my own autowind. The pictures were fine. I do a lot of swimming pictures in indoor pools like Harvard and BU. I would really like to be able to use 6400 ISO to get my shutter speed up in dark corners with strong backlight behind the swimmers without fighting noise or adding noise compensation. Increases in dynamic range would be of great benefit particularly with high contrast. At my stage in life where I don't do very much paid work any more I would like to protect the rather large investment I have in gear. That means making careful buying decisions. Probably increases in megapixels are coming but I would guess perhaps something in the range of 6 or so MPs for the 5D3. I believe marketing strategy relies upon enough increases to be tempting but not enough for a quantum leaps to forestall fast changes in peripherals and large increases in prices as well as leaving a range of enhancements for the future. Dan I don't think we are disagreeing that much.

    I do think having managed large aviation programs that as technology develops by relying on enhancing and bulding upon what has already been developed has its limits. We now have had eleven years of DSLR development and we are continuing to rely on a mechanical mirror technology along with the bulk and weight it represents and I think this is going to change and maybe quite rapidly. I stood behind a press photographer at an affair last night. He must have had thirty pounds of stuff around his neck and hung on his waist. I think DSLR techonlogy in its present form it is ripe for some significant technological change but I don't know what. As an analog I was the FAA program manager for what was called the microwave landing system for aircraft in the late eighties. It was a ground based system like the ILS system it was supposed to replace. While I was that program manager GPS signals were being released by the US military and GPS space based technology rapidly supplanted the couple of hundred million dollar MLS program I was managing. Twenty years later GPS is universal in aviation with little or no backward compatibily with older sysems although ILS is still the primary low weather landing system hundreds of ground based system are being supplanted. I have worked in development of technologies for some time before I retired and became, by accident, a wedding photographer. It bothers me that as photo technology changes we seem to keep narrowing our vision to what we know. BTW I did eventually manage the GPS program for some time.
     
  58. "Compare whatever you wish. I made my comparisons and decided to go with the 5D2 instead of wasting a ton of cash on a camera with a single specialty, poor High ISO performance, no video, and an archaic Live View implementation. Your mileage may vary."
    Yeah! The 5D2 has state of the art focusing and metering system (sarcasm).
    Anyone can justify his/hers own purchasing easily by making the right comparisons.
    For me 5D2 was never the right camera, shutter lag is just too freaking slow!
    I seldom use live view on my Canon DSLRs, they are just too slow to be useful except for still life photopgraphy.
     
  59. Yes G. Dan I should not have agreed with that statement particularly when I tried to figure what was the best and highest form of photography. My apologies.
     
  60. Adam, we may just have different gear requirements. The 5D2's AF works fine for me and has proven at least as
    accurate and reliable as the D700's much more complex system. For stationary subjects, it's actually more accurate in my
    experience, and I've done extensive shooting with both models. More options does not equal better. I give the D700
    the edge in sports, but the 5D2 is my choice for everything else.

    Shutter lag? Maybe you evaluated a bad copy. Mine hasn't any.

    Live view is critical in landscape and architectural photography or for any application where maximum sharpness is
    desired. Or when using perspective control lenses. Canon's live view is brilliantly designed. Have you tried it?

    If I were posting out of some need to "justify a purchase" I suppose that I would have started with all of the Nikon gear
    I bought over a decade. Or my MF and LF systems. I use the Canon because it gives me the results that I want
    under the conditions where I shoot most often.
     

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