Where's the issue with MP?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by damian_tinsley, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Someone please explain? My venerable 20D, cropped a bit in post will create great A3s, interpolated of course from an 8MP sensor.
    22MP looks great to me. I don't actually want any more - it will entail several huge hard drive upgrades, and mandate replacing the PC with a faster one.
    I really don't see that 95% of real world shots need any more pixels unless you are cropping heavily. That's really a lens issue not a body issue. And the real point is that more MP is detrimental to IQ anyway, all other things being equal. If MP is the be-all-and-end-all, why not go medium format?
    LoL
    D
     
  2. Rationalizing a bit?
    Unless the noise gets out of hand or the image gets smeary, more megapixels are better than fewer. The D800 does not have any such problems. Hard drives are very large and inexpensive and getting bigger every year. More megapixels gets to be a problems with small-sensor point and shoots, but a 24x36mm sensor still has a lot of room for expansion in the MP front.
    22 MP is great, and the 5Diii looks like a great camera, but its resolution is significantly behind the D800 at lower ISOs and some people will find that important.
     
  3. As a current 5DII user likely to upgrade to the 5DIII, I am quite content that Canon have stuck with roughly the same pixel count, as long as the payoff in other respects is real – early test shots suggest it will be, as does the technology change to gapless microlenses, which has always yielded a dividend where it has been applied in the past.
    File size is an issue in some respects but not others. For PC storage it really is not an issue – disk space costs very little. Processing speed is another matter, and does not seem to scale linearly with file size. On my old laptop (Core 2 Duo 7200 with 2.25GB) DPP converts 20D RAW data to a high-quality viewable image very quickly, but it really struggles with 5DII RAW data, 30 seconds or so to produce the final high-quality version. On my recent deskside machine (a real flyer, i7 2600K, 8GB, system on fast SSD) conversion is in practice instantaneous with 20D files but takes a second or two with 5DII files. That's fine, and I see no reaon why 5DIII files should be significantly different, but I would need to see real benefits from having more pixels if it was at the cost of substantially slower conversion.
     
  4. I agree with you Damian; more MP is not necessarily a good thing. Here's a little primer on what MP counts you really need:
    It seems intuitive enough. More megapixels is better, right?
    But, as with most things electronic, the magic number just seems to keep on growing… 2, 5, 8, 11, 15, 18, 21?!? How many megapixels do you really need?
    Approximate Resolution of Various Output Types

    One way to think about this question is to estimate how many pixels (and therefore the number of megapixels) it takes to effectively render a few different common output formats.
    Facebook. Let’s say you want to share a picture over the Internet. If you’re on Facebook, the largest possible image size is 720 pixel x 720 pixels. That’s 518,400 pixels… or a whopping 0.5 megapixels.
    Other Web Sharing. Let’s say you just want to share some pictures over the web and look at them on your computer. While the upper limit on the resolution will vary, it will be limited by the size/resolution of your monitor. My 19″ flat panel and video card on my desktop support a resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels. That’s a total of 1,296,000 pixels, or 1.3 megapixels. Hmm… now we’re getting closer to modern times.
    Basic 4×6 Print. Ok, let’s up the ante and contemplate a print product. Typical print resolution is 300 ppi (pixels per inch). That means that a 4 inch by 6 inch picture will require approximatley 1200 pixels by 1800 pixels. That’s 2,160,000 pixels, or a shade over 2 megapixels.
    Large 8×10 Print. Want something bigger? How about a nice 8×10 print that can fit in a matted 11×14 frame. At 300 ppi, that requires 2400 x 3000 pixels. That’s 7.2 megapixels. Now we’ve actually entered the realm of modern cameras. But, still, most consumer level digital point and shoot cameras deliver at least 7 or 8 megapixels.
    Uber-Large Poster Print (24 x 30 inches). And now for something obscene. Let’s make a really big poster print. At Costco, I can print an image at 24×30 inches for $8.99. That would require 7200 x 9000 pixels or 64,800,000 pixels. So, a full 300 ppi image would take, umm, 65 megapixels. Oops. They actually look pretty good at ~12-15 megapixels as long as you don’t hold your nose an inch from the picture.
    In other words, pretty much every conceivable normal output format (from web images to an 8×10 print) requires less than 8 megapixels. If you’re a professional photographer creating movie posters, large print ads, or the like, you could probably benefit from a higher resolution. And there are some reasons why you’d like to have a little extra resolution to spare. But, while more is better, that doesn’t mean it’s necessary…
    Food for Thought

    In 2004, Canon’s flagship camera was the EOS 1D Mark II. That camera, near the top of the line of professional Canon dSLR, offered 8.2 megapixels. It’s successor, the EOS 1D Mark II N also topped out at 8.2 megapixels, and the flagship line didn’t increase until the EOS-1D Mark III was introduced in 2007 with 10 megapixels.
    Up until a few years ago, 8-10 megapixels was enough for professional photographers the world round. So, although today’s flagship camera offers 16 megapixels and the more recent 5D MK II offers 21 megapixels, these aren’t exactly necessary. It’s nice, but it’s something of a luxury, and often times it’s entirely unnecessary.
    Does that mean you should turn away a high megapixel camera? No, not really… but you can find some few-years-old digital bodies in good used condition for a decent price. If there’s no other reason for you to choose the newer body, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars by buying a slightly less-than-modern camera that offers less-but-enough megapixels.
     
  5. You are correct that an uncropped 21MP or 22MP will produce absolutely excellent results in 13" x 19" size prints. In fact 12MP (e.g. - the original 5D) will produce prints at those sizes that virtually no one would be able to consistently tell apart. I know this because I have shot extensively with the 5D and the 5D2 and I print on a 24" wide printer at various sizes frequently, and I've tested this. When comparing 13" x 19" prints from a 5D and a 5D2, I think I can sometimes barely see a very subtle difference if I look for it and compare side by side... but you would not be able to tell them apart if I hung 10 of each in a room and asked you to go around and separated them into groups based on which camera had been used.
    However...
    ... it is a stretch to extrapolate from that to a generalization that more MP are not worthwhile. Circumstances vary and different photographers are working towards different outputs. While I agree that the majority of photographers (and, frankly, the majority of photographers purchasing high-MP full frame bodies) do not need 22MP, much less more than 22MP, there are those who will benefit from greater photo site density. When you make quite large prints - let's say in the 20" x 30" range and larger, especially if you have to crop - the importance of pixel dimensions becomes more important among the various factors that affect overall print sharpness. Greater pixel density can also pay off in terms of smaller "grain" (e.g. - "noise") in prints and somewhat smoother gradients.
    To be clear, I'm sort of agreeing with you and sort of not. I'm agreeing that most people really don't need to worry about the difference between 22MP and 36MP. But I'm disagreeing with the idea that we don't want to see Canon produce a higher-MP system for those who work in ways such that the additional sensor resolution would be useful. A camera company that builds gear only for the average user is probably not a company whose gear I'm going to be happy with.
    Dan
     
  6. Extra pixels can really come in handy in focal length limited situations, such as where you take a picture of a bird with a 600mm lens and you still need to crop to a final image. High pixel counts and low pixel pitch allow you to crop and still maintain feather detail.
     
  7. The D800 blows anything that Canon has out of the water for landscape/architecture, and it costs many times less than medium format. If Canon had come out with a proper camera I could be using my 17 TS-E to stitch and create 72 MP images instead of my current 42 MP images with the 5D II.
    The best way to do telephoto/sports is still with a crop body like the 7D. Again, I am not too impressed with the 1DX or D4.
    The silver lining to all this is that I won't have to buy another full frame camera until the 5DV by the looks of things, which means I can go out and get a used 7D for sports next year.
     
  8. "...The D800 blows anything that Canon has out of the water for landscape/architecture..."

    Really? Could you please post some of your sample images that show that. 100% crops will do. Include the comparison shots from the 5D III as well, so we have a standard to judge by.

    Why more pixels? Simple. Bigger is Better. It's the American way (well, actually the Japanese way...

    There's nothing that improves your photography more than more pixels. It will make those 4ft x 6ft prints really pop.
     
  9. "...Extra pixels can really come in handy in focal length limited situations, such as where you take a picture of a bird with a 600mm lens and you still need to crop to a final image. High pixel counts and low pixel pitch allow you to crop and still maintain feather detail..."


    That's true. And since the EOS 7D has higher pixel density than the D800, it will give you more detailed images than a similarly cropped D800 image will.
     
  10. I have to agree with the OP. Don't be fooled by the single digit. An 8 MP image has about 60% of the resolution of a 22 MP image and still, IMO, can look stunning. I've always felt the bigger issue is "better pixels," not "more pixels." There are much more important reasons (besides resolution) to prefer the 5DIII over the 20D.
     
  11. >>> There's nothing that improves your photography more than more pixels.

    Not even more brightly colored boat marinas?
     
  12. Speakig as the OP I'd like to make a confession...
    The Mykonos staircases shown on this post were actually taken on a 4MP point 'n shoot - Canon IXUS 400 actually. Shame on me...
    Dan, I reckon we're in violent agreement: I want to buy my gear from a company that can stretch the boundaries and create the very best imaging equipment known to humankind. I also want that company to use their extensive expertise to produce something that the 'middle of the road' photog will appreciate and will want because it is so capable either side of the road.
    My real point was that if you want the 72MP camera - go and buy one. But don't then complain it won't take noise free images at ISO 100000 and 10 a second into the bargain. Similarly, if you want a decent DSLR in the mainsteam then whining that it has 'only' 22MP is a little pointless. If you really need more than 22MP on a regular basis I am suggesting you are out of the mainstream.
    Personally I want a one-size-fits-all DSLR, and the 5D3 is most certainly that.
    Bob - I've had nothing but respect for your opinions over the years. Please tell me that "...more MP makes you a better photographer...' is a result of one too many beers this evening, or my lack of a sense of irony?
    Damian
     
  13. Damian - You're irony challenged in this instance! Unfortunately we don't have HTML tags for irony.
    Pixels matter, but both in quantity and quality. There's a balance. Almost nobody wants a 1MP full frame camera with low resolution but no noise. Similarly the market for a 250MP full frame camera which was incapable of producing a noise free image at ISO 100 and above would have a very limited market.
    You can draw the line at 10MP, 20MP or 40MP, but for a given sensor size, above some limit "X"MP there are rapidly diminishing returns. "X" keeps getting bigger and where it is today is debatable. There's a limit on "X" which is related to optics, but we certainly haven't reached that limit yet. However the closer we get to the limit, the better the lenses will need to be and the better technique will need to be to dig those last few lp/mm out of an image. When you need to be stopped down on a vibration isolated tripod with sub micron focus precision, using mirror lock up and a remote release to get the best of of a sensor, you've hit the limit.
    "X" also depends on what you are going to be doing with the images. All else being equal (which it never is), if you're making 4ft x 6ft gallery exhibition prints to be viewed from a distance of 2 ft, "X" needs to be larger than if you're making 11x14 prints to put on your wall at home.
    What certainly isn't true is that more pixels = better images, but then again the only thing that really holds true there is more talent = better images.
     
  14. Guys
    All you say is very wise, yet me say
    that chap who buys 40MP camera for
    $3000 might pay $1500 more for new
    PC to process images. Chap who buys
    $3500 22MP camera just takes
    pictures and gets better noise levels
    into the bargain. Retains $$$$ to spend
    on new speed lite, GPS unit etc.
    Everybody (especially Canon) happy!
    Lol
    D
     
  15. The D800 blows anything that Canon has out of the water for landscape/architecture, and it costs many times less than medium format. If Canon had come out with a proper camera I could be using my 17 TS-E to stitch and create 72 MP images instead of my current 42 MP images with the 5D II.
    The best way to do telephoto/sports is still with a crop body like the 7D. Again, I am not too impressed with the 1DX or D4.​
    Can you give me details of your contacts at Nikon and Canon? I would love to be able to use and compare all those unreleased cameras like you obviously have.
     
  16. Sorry Bob, I got excited. The D800 will blow Canon away. As you say yourself, more pixels the better. The advantage the D800 has over the 7D, and the 5D II has over the 7D for that matter, is the selection of ultrawide angle lenses for landscape/architecture. Particularly the 17 TS-E on full frame. My Nikon 8mm f2.8 circular fisheye would not give the effect I want on a crop body either, and I highly doubt circular fisheyes for crop bodies can resolve as well, control flare as well, control CA as well, or provide superior contrast as well.
    While it would be nice having a laptop newer than my 5 year old one, it has no problem tackling stitched 1 GB .psd files or 300 MB .tif files. External terabyte drives are very affordable too.
     
  17. The D800 will blow Canon away.​
    In what way? You mean it has a pop-up flash?
     
  18. Based on specs the D800 is both better and cheaper. The 5Diii has less pixel-level noise at very high ISOs and 10 more autofocus points, so at least Canon has that.
    The market will decide how the prices change and how quickly Canon feels the need to develop something with a higher-resolution sensor.
     
  19. While it would be nice having a laptop newer than my 5 year old one, it has no problem tackling stitched 1 GB .psd files or 300 MB .tif files.
    Really! Must be some five year old laptop, being able to read and write a 300MB TIFF in less than one second (that's about the extent of my patience when editing).
     
  20. Nothing improves your photography more than abstaining from inane forum arguments when you could be taking pictures instead. Special allowance is of course made for those who, as a gift of the digital revolution, have photographed everything within a five mile radius of their homes at nearly every possible angle and lighting situation and have extensive online galleries testifying to same.
    Using the 300dpi print or online image as the golden standard, more megapixels = more cropping ability, nothing else. Some folks need it, some folks don't. Every once in a while I pull out this 20x30 print I made from my old 20D and go "Wow, that's nice.". Eight mexapixels did that. If you look at your prints and find them sadly lacking in resolution, more megapixels might be the answer. Or maybe not. I firmly believe you only get better results by improving your technique. Not your equipment.
    Newer cameras can offer new features that older ones lack, so there are definite reasons for buying new equipment. But megapixels isn't usually the relevant one.
     
  21. Based on specs the D800 is both better and cheaper.​
    Theoretically better if you need a pop up flash and the tiny extra benefit the extra pixels will give a very few photographers. The 5D3 will theoretically give you better AF, faster fps, more manageable file sizes, access to a far wider range of lenses and better performance at high ISO (see below)
    The 5Diii has less pixel-level noise at very high ISOs and 10 more autofocus points, so at least Canon has that.​
    Not just better pixel-level noise at very high ISOs. If the 5D3 has better high ISO performance than the D800 (which it surely will have) then that will naturally translate to less pixel-level noise at all ISOs, not just high level.
     
  22. A 36MP full frame DSLR will not "blow away" a 22MP full frame DSLR. If you look at the actual change in print dimensions at the same ppi you may be surprised at how small the difference turns out to be. If you are pushing the upper boundary of print size and pixel dimensions turns out to be the limiting factor (and it usually isn't quite that simple) then the difference could be important, just as going from 12MP to 21MP was for folks who moved from a 5D to a 5D2. But the very large majority of people who buy full frame DSLRs are not using them in ways such that the difference will matter much if at all.
    Also, just increasing photo site density will not turn a full frame DSLR into a MF digital camera. While full frame DSLRs do compete with MF film on basis of resolution, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, MF cameras are now digital, too. Quite a few former LF photographers have moved to digital MF because... digital MF can produce, in many but not all ways, image quality equivalent to 4x5 film. Second - and a sort of "however" - there are other factors at work, too. Larger formats produce higher image resolution from lenses with a given resolving power since the larger image itself can hold more detail. There are also some significant issues related to depth of field and diffraction blur that are affected by format size.
    Dan
     
  23. A 36MP full frame DSLR will not "blow away" a 22MP full frame DSLR. If you look at the actual change in print dimensions at the same ppi you may be surprised at how small the difference turns out to be.​
    In addition to that, Nikon tends to use more aggressive antialiasing filters, so that might actually negate the resolution advantage from the 28% higher pixel density (in pixels/mm). It's possible that the two have similar resolution, with the Canon being more prone to color moire issues.
     
  24. Eh? If a D800 with its 36mp will blow away a 22mp 5d3 which sounds even ludicrous by everyone except the most extreme Nikon fanboy, then the 21MP 5d2 must've been blowing away the 12mp D700 for years.
    I don't mind larger MP. But not at the detriment to IQ and ISO noise. I am glad Canon showed restrain and kept the MP where it's at. The 5d3 is shaping to be an outstanding well balanced FF camera.
     
  25. My interest in photography began when I saw 60cmx170cm prints from 6cmx17cm Velvia slides. Just blew me away.
    <p>


    Up unitl the D800, either it was not possible or simply too expensive.<p>


    So please, stop this nonsense that 36mp is not a big deal. It may not be to a lot of people, but to a lot it is.
    <p>

    And the best news? It's now affordable to many, many folks.
     
  26. My interest in photography began when I saw 60cmx170cm prints from 6cmx17cm Velvia slides. Just blew me away.
    Up unitl the D800, either it was not possible or simply too expensive.
    A moderate resolution scan of a 6x17cm transparency is about 150 MP. I wonder how one makes the deduction that a D800 image is similar in quality? I'm not saying it couldn't be possible but I think it's a bit of a stretch considering how much the lenses have to be sharper to be able to do that. A better, and affordable option might be to use a panoramic head and stitch the images from several frames. People who shoot panoramic images have been doing this for a long time now, and the results usually are much better than can be obtained from one small-format image. Of course stitching requires that the subject doesn't change too much between the frames, so it's not universally applicable. Nonetheless it's now a standard technique for this type of work.
    In addition to that, Nikon tends to use more aggressive antialiasing filters
    Well that depends on the specific camera. The D800E has a filter which apparently produces no blurring effect at all. The effectively discontinued D3X pixel level sharpness is also very high, but there is no moire that I can detect. So there are different options for different users.
    A 36MP full frame DSLR will not "blow away" a 22MP full frame DSLR.
    Precisely. It will be ever so slightly better in detail on some shots. Nothing like current medium format digital.
     
  27. Before the D800 I never heard anyone complain about 21MP's not being enough. Now all of a sudden it's insufficient.
    People are acting like the 5D iii is gonna produce Polaroid quality prints now. If you really think 22MP isn't enough,
    then go get a D800 and we won't miss you.
     
  28. "In addition to that, Nikon tends to use more aggressive antialiasing filters, so that might actually negate the resolution advantage from the 28% higher pixel density (in pixels/mm). "
    FYI, for $300 more Nikon offers D800E model without antialiasing filter.
    I'm surprised that no one talk is talking about any possible improvement of read noise at low ISO setting on the new Canon sensors.
    This is an area where Canon sensors are really lagging behind Sony sensors and it is manifested as almost 2 stops less DR at base ISO.
     
  29. Now all of a sudden it's insufficient. People are acting like the 5D iii is gonna produce Polaroid quality prints now.​
    Holga 5D III.
     
  30. I'm surprised that no one talk is talking about any possible improvement of read noise at low ISO setting on the new Canon sensors.
    This is an area where Canon sensors are really lagging behind Sony sensors and it is manifested as almost 2 stops less DR at base ISO.​
    Probably because most people are not as concerned about the Real World implications of this - implications which in truth are insignificant - as you are.
    This notion that Canon are "really lagging behind" is a predictable result of spending too much time looking at irrelevant DxO figures rather than - say - downloading Raws from the cameras in question, converting them and then realising that in reality the so-called benefits of this supposed 2 stop "advantage" are very small indeed (yes, I've done this at length), and - frankly - only really useful to photographers who can't get their exposures right.
    Let's not forget either that this "advantage" only exists at base ISO: I doubt that I'm alone in never having used 100 ISO in anger on any camera I've owned - I'm always at higher ISOs myself, because maintaining shutter speed matters infinitely more to me than the ability to recover 2 stops of shadow detail at 100 ISO.
     
  31. Alfonso said:
    Another point to keep in mind is that we are reaching phisical limits. Diffraction, at the pixel size of a full frame, 20-30 mpix, begans to be noticeable at f/10.
    You can work the maths (if you like ;-)), or use the calculator at
    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography-2.htm
    Exactly. For shooting fur and feathers wide open, the D800 is going to be wonderful, but I think that the 5D MkIII might be a superior camera for landscapes that go for maximum DOF by stopping down to f/16 or f/22.
    This is one reason I use two bodies. I use my 7D (with higher pixel-density than the D800, BTW) with my 500mm f/4 lens for shooting birds and other wildlife and use my 5D MkII for landscapes and just about everything else. I plan to upgrade to the MkIII and keep my 7D until the 7D MkII comes out, with the Digic 5 processor and then upgrade. I don't want my pixels any denser, just more efficient.
     
  32. Facebook. Let’s say you want to share a picture over the Internet. If you’re on Facebook, the largest possible image size is 720 pixel x 720 pixels. That’s 518,400 pixels… or a whopping 0.5 megapixels.​
    Nope. That changed to 960 px many months ago [early October 2011]. 960 px is a great size for Web display. But still, 960 px squared is still under 1 MP.
     
  33. I just want to play devils advocate here and point out that while 36MP may not be necessary it is cheaper than what canon is charging for the 5d3. That money can go to upgrade your computer or software or buy a sharp lens.
     
  34. Harumph! 36 MP is nothing. You might as well skip all that, and buy one of these with 40 MP:
    http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/27/nokia-announces-808-pureview-belle-os-4-inch-display-41-megap/
    Not only does it have more pixels, you can make a phone call with it. :)
    With a bit of luck, the D800 will give Canon a run for their money, and the price on the 5D3 will drop some by the time I'm ready to replace (or augment) my trusty 5D MKI. And even though it is now 6 years old, and I paid full Canadian price for it, I'm not regretting that purchase a bit!
     
  35. It seems like with the # of megaixels that we're talking about format size. Doubling the number of MPs (all else being equal, and it rarely is) buys us one print size bigger. If the talent/creativity was up to snuff, any of the cameras mentioned here could serve to make one the most famous photographer that ever lived. Except for those selling decorative landscape prints, I doubt this is of great importance in reality. It is weird to see people's reactions to the Nikon D800.
     
  36. Plus 1. To what Damian said. 36MP for special needs not for everyone.
    And those. Needs better addressed by medium format.
     

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