How Much Resolution Do You Want or Need? Read OP before posting.

WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,318Member
edited August 2015 in General Discussions
There has been discussion in the “Your Move Nikon….50mp?” thread about how much resolution we actually need or want. Snakebunk suggested renaiming that thread to “Too Many Pixels”, which gave me the inspiration for this thread.

Want and need are different. I commented that nobody “needs” more than what is provided by an IPhone and that the rest is “want”. However, if you are a professional, “need” may take on a very real importance as clients may demand a certain resolution. Please try to distinguish between what you “want” and “what” you need in the discussions. For me, it is all about “want”, as I do not earn any significant revenue from photography.

Also, let’s assume that if you want or need a hundred megapixel camera, that you have a lens that provides this resolution, as most or even all FX lenses will not. Since reliable, cross-brand comparable and consistent resolution information is not available for lenses, let’s assume that if you say a 50MP lens, you mean that the lens resolution equals a 50MP camera. Of course, to really nail this point you will need to specify what apertures you are talking about as lens resolution varies by aperture. This paragraph is probably a good sub-topic in and of itself.
Post edited by WestEndFoto on
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Comments

  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,351Member
    edited August 2015
    Here are two questions.

    1. Keeping the body and lens the same can you increase your apparent resolution by shooting HDR? Lets say you set the camera on a tripod and shoot a 3 shot HDR with one shot a stop (or two) higher and one shot a stop (or two) lower to make one HDR image. Shoot another image as one shot with Active D-Lighing turned off and one with it turned on. Print all three images poster size. Does the increased dynamic range you captured with HDR or Active D-Lighting create any apparent increase in resolution?

    2. keeping the body and lens the same can you increase your apparent resolution by using the Brenizer method? You should be able to produce a file with much higher megapixels this way. When you print that file at 24 x 36 inches and print normal D800 shot covering the same area (you will have to back up) will the photo taken with the Brenizer method seem to be sharper? In other words what are you getting for all that work and the increased megapixels in addition to an apparent shallower depth of field, if anything? http://ryanbrenizer.com/category/brenizer-method/

    The point being that more megapixels may not be the only way to produce images with increased sharpness. We are all aware you can buy an Otus or Sigma Art lens to increase sharpness. There also may be some post processing techniques or software to increase apparent shapness. Anyone use Topez Adjust or Detail to increase sharpness?

    I am all for higher megapixel DSLRs and hope Nikon soon releases a 56 mp sensor body. something in me will always want to buy the highest mp sensor Nikon makes as long as it is not overpriced like the $8,000 D3x. I am just suggesting that some of the want may be achieved without buying a new body if you already own a D810.
    Post edited by donaldejose on
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    If you need more resolution than you have, you either 1) buy a more expensive camera and lens (there is always a more expensive one than the one you have) or 2) use gigapan techniques to stitch to whatever resolution you need
    There isn't much alternative. I agree with Donald that you have to consider the end use/consumption of the image(s) otherwise you will be throwing pearls before swine. A movie producer isn't going to film in Digital IMAX 3D if the final output will be only in standard movie theaters. I'm not going to use a $40K hasselblad, a $20K lens, and spend 36 hours photoshopping for a facebook photo headshot.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,135Member
    It's not a question of how many megapixels I need, it's a question of how much I can afford. :D

    My budget is limited, there really isn't a point to question how many pixels I need if I can't afford it, right? :D
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,351Member
    NSXTypeR: I am suggesting you can gain megapixels by stitching frames together in a pano or Brenizer method without buying new equipment. I do know that doing so does give you a larger image with more megapixels in that image so it will print clean at larger sizes but I don't know if either method actually gives you more apparent sharpness which you can obtain with a higher megapixel sensor and an Otus or Sigma Art lens. I also wonder if you can gain sharpness with software which claims to increase detail. If these techniques work you many not have to pay a penny more to gain additional "pixels" or you may have to pay a small amount for new Topaz software to gain additional sharpness. Let's hope Nikon soon introduces a D5 for $6,000, a D400 for $2,000 and a Dxxx with a 56mp sensor for $3,000.
  • SnowleopardSnowleopard Posts: 244Member
    edited August 2015
    My honest answer to this....

    Back in 2006 I was looking at 48 inch Epson printers to print poster sized prints regularly. The sales person said "How many mega pixels do you think this 24 x 36 inch print is?" ( It was a portrait of a lovely woman).

    My response to the sales person was, While the photo is exposed right, the pose and composition works, When I look at the woman's eyes, all I see is sold black. I expect to see a reflection, catch lights, windows, the photographer, or something reflected back in the eyes of the model.

    Especially on a 24x36 inch print that I am 3 feet away from. Then I told him the camera didn't have enough pixels to produce a detailed enough image and it was basically junk.

    He got mad at me and told me the image was 2.1mp and laughed at me when I told him I wanted a D700 with 12mp.

    Now I shoot a D810 at 36mp and there is that much more detail (whether the optics support it or not, there is more detail there).

    I also shoot Mamiya's regularly and have been looking at the Phase One XF with an 80mp back.

    If a D900 or D5 or D6 came out with 50,60, 80, 100, 150, or more MP I would not think twice about upgrading.

    I don't want the extra MP for cropping capabilities, I want it for Detail. I want to count every hair on the cat portraits I shoot, I want to count the nose hairs in the reflection of the people in the cat's eyes.

    If you go for high MP just for cropping ability, then you don't know how to frame or compose a photo.

    On a side bar, this is like the whole telephone industry...

    I am old enough to remember rotary telephones, then came touch tone phones.... then your first bag cell phones, then Motorola had that really cool "Startech" phone that looked like a Startreck flip phone), then the first color cell phone came out..... then the Iphone, now we have 5 inch cell phones with 4k displays.....

    Who needs a smart phone with a 4k display right? :-D. Where did the basic push button phone go.....
    Post edited by Snowleopard on
    ||COOLPIX 5000|●|D70|●|D700|●|D810|●|AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED|●|AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D|●|AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D|●|AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G|●|AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D|●|AF-S Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED|●|AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED (Silver)|●|AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III|●|PB-6 Bellows|●|EL-NIKKOR 50mm f/2.8||
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,351Member
    edited August 2015
    "I want to count every hair on the cat portraits I shoot, I want to count the nose hairs in the reflection of the people in the cat's eyes." Agreed, I too want as much detail as I can bet but "nose hairs in the reflection of the people in the cat's eyes" is too much. Let's make a practical test. We can print at 300dpi. Anyone know any place that prints at more dpi? Let's print one dot for each pixel. At 300 dpi a 36 mp image (7360 x 4912 pixels) gives us a 24.5 x 16.4 inch print. That is not even poster size. So to print poster size from a 36mp sensor you have to print at less than 300dpi; i.e. less dpi than a desktop inkjet printer can print. Why reduce the resolution you have captured when you print larger than 24x16 inches? One can make a reasonable argument that anyone printing poster size (36x24 inches) for display NEEDS more than a 36mp sensor. Canon's 51 megapixel sensor is 8688 x 5792 pixels which at 300 dpi yields a print 29 inches by 19.3 inches; still not enough to give you a 300 dpi poster size 36 x 24 inch print! If we want to print 36 inches by 24 inches at 300 dpi we need a sensor with 10,800 pixels by 7,200 pixels which is 72 megapixels and lenses capable of resolving to that level.
    Post edited by donaldejose on
  • starralaznstarralazn Posts: 201Member
    I have a dedicated photo a printer... a Canon one XD but i 've never printed larger than A3 lol. I should test it out to see how many MP i really need..
  • NikonMickNikonMick Posts: 41Member
    "Read OP before posting."

    WTF does OP mean? is it an acronym?

    Mick
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,221Member
    edited August 2015
    @NikonMick Yes it is an acronym. OP = Original Post

    A quick Google search would have help you out, skipping the need for swearing.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • safyresafyre Posts: 113Member
    Semi-pro photog and full time photo editor at a major e-commerce company:

    I still use a D700 for all non-studio shoots, I am perfectly fine with 12 megapixels as I do not crop these shots, and 12mp is more than enough for almost anything, print or web.

    For studio, I have a D750, only because clients need me to crop specific detail shots and the 24mp helps in that regard. If not cropping, I'm still fine with the the 12mp from a D700.

    Imo, I already think 36mp is pretty overkill and 50mp is just crazy unless you have very specific needs for what you're shooting/actually need extreme cropping vs being just lazy.

    The file sizes from the Canon 50mp 5DS range from 65-90mb a photo. That means, you take 10-15 photos and it's already 1GB of space. Where I work, 50mp is the least desirable since it slows down workflow, takes up more computer resources, and frankly just is overkill for our uses. 99.9% of photographers do not need a 50mp camera. This is merely just another chapter in these silly megapixel wars, in which we've already gone way past diminishing returns.
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 921Member
    I want enough pixels to capture all information from the best lenses, I also want to be able to select the number of pixels in the raw file.

    I need maybe 5 pixels when I get close to the birds and have time to compose. On the other end I sometimes crop beyond reasonable image quality just to see what bird flew by way above me. In between are the not so good shots where the bird is too far away but I can still get a usable image.

    With my current setup I rather have more fps than mp. But I think the number of pixels in the sensors will increase until it is more than the best lenses can resolve. And, if you can select the resolution of the raw file this shouldn't be a problem for anyone. I think..
  • esquiloesquilo Posts: 71Member
    I have 24 Mpix and I'm very satisfied with that.
    If I could which for something it would be a dual-pitch sensor; A 24 Mpix full frame sensor with a 24 Mpix 4/3 sensor in the middle. When shooting full-frame the sensor would use binning for the center area.
    Nikon D7100 with Sigma 10-20 mm, Nikon 16-85 mm, Nikon 70-300 mm, Sigma 150-500 mm, Nikon 28 mm f/1.8G and Nikon 50 mm f/1.8G.
    Nikon1 J3 with 10-30 mm and 10 mm f/2.8
  • snakebunksnakebunk Posts: 921Member
    @esquilo: I think that is a good example of what can be achieved with super high mp sensors.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,290Moderator
    @donaldejose: Why have you stopped at 100%/300DPI? I can't see pixels at 3.333 thousandths of an inch even with my nose touching the image!

    @snowleopard: Those phones were just phones, the modern phones are more capable than the desk-top PC's of a few years ago whereas cameras are still just cameras.

    @safyre: I agree.

    I have all the mp I need right now BUT I do need a backlit sensor right now - far more than any mere number increase.
    Always learning.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,100Member
    edited August 2015
    Well I always have a different view....I shoot weddings and very very few have albums or prints its all on a USB,
    I shoot large basic at 24MP sharp +9. Now my wife who also shoots the same camera model edits all the shots and she is a big cropper ..says she sees the picture after on the MAC....I guess most of her edits would be to 12-18 MP but a few at 6MP . All the above with a 28mm max wide zoom.
    Now if we go the the 14mm Samyang we need 4x the MP for the same resolution as the 28 so for this we use the D800 so yes for this lens 56 MP please.

    Note a 14mm takes in 4x the subject area comp to a 28mm if shot at the same location.
    I had a boat called W.T.F when I went to register it (Australia) she said you cannot call it that ..Why I said ...you cannot use full stops...so WTF it was ..Great fun when stopped by the river police......
    Post edited by Pistnbroke on
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,135Member
    NSXTypeR: I am suggesting you can gain megapixels by stitching frames together in a pano or Brenizer method without buying new equipment. I do know that doing so does give you a larger image with more megapixels in that image so it will print clean at larger sizes but I don't know if either method actually gives you more apparent sharpness which you can obtain with a higher megapixel sensor and an Otus or Sigma Art lens. I also wonder if you can gain sharpness with software which claims to increase detail. If these techniques work you many not have to pay a penny more to gain additional "pixels" or you may have to pay a small amount for new Topaz software to gain additional sharpness. Let's hope Nikon soon introduces a D5 for $6,000, a D400 for $2,000 and a Dxxx with a 56mp sensor for $3,000.
    That's definitely an option for anyone to get extra MP.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    Wishful Thinking NSXTypreR

    Lets not forget diffraction, a common mistake by photographers trying to get too high a DOF from their lenses can effect sharpness.
    The Zeiss Otus range of lenses was specifically designed for 35 mm high resolution pixel cameras.
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • ThomasHortonThomasHorton Posts: 323Member
    This issue is also applicable to non-photography?

    How many consumer products do we buy with capabilities that exceed our actual needs?

    It is good to be a capitalist in a consumer based economy. :)
    Gear: Camera obscura with an optical device which transmits and refracts light.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited August 2015
    The discussion on how many pixels, how much resolution, is, IMO, one of thoughts and opinions based upon guessing, not facts, primarily.

    I have a 20" x 30" print on aluminum by Image Wizards, and as I lost the original file I had to download my own 2000 pixel file from Flickr to have it printed. It is considered razor sharp by all who view it. And, aluminum is not forgiving if an image is not sharp. Yet the content of the JPEG file is only 2.4 MB.

    And, we know that out of our 36MP D8xx bodies we get huge files. How then, can an image be sharp if so many more pixels are "needed"?

    Must be that the issue of pixels falls more in the "wanted" category. However, it is again, IMO, that more pixels lead to more usable information for post editing, better color rendition, and more ability to crop.

    What I would like to see is the software in camera which would be so fast as to allow 50 MP files to be processed into the card at a rate like a "D5", that is, 15 FPS, 200 continuous frames. Oh, yes!
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • rmprmp Posts: 546Member
    More! (was that message too simple? :-))
    Robert M. Poston: D4, D810, V3, 14-24 F2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, 80-400, 105 macro.
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,351Member
    "I have a 20" x 30" print on aluminum by Image Wizards, and as I lost the original file I had to download my own 2000 pixel file from Flickr to have it printed. It is considered razor sharp by all who view it. And, aluminum is not forgiving if an image is not sharp. Yet the content of the JPEG file is only 2.4 MB." This is an example of why Ken Rockwell has long said no one needs more than 6 megapixels. I have never printed such a small file so large but I certainly don't doubt what Msmoto says.

    spraynpray: I chose the example of one pixel per dot in 300 dpi simply because that is the limit of pixels a printer could use. If a printer cannot print more than 300 dpi and your file contains more than 300 pixels per inch for the size print you are going to make your software has to "throw out" some of those precious pixels you paid big money to get. If you are printing at 8x10 you can only print a 7.2 megapixel image. You simply cannot print more megapixels because there are no more dots for them. If you have a 12 megapixel sensor you can consider about 2.8 of those megapixels "wasted" or you can consider them available for some cropping. If you have a 36 or 56 megapixel sensor but are only publishing on line or printing 8x10 you are simply creating a lot of extra work for your computer as it has to downsize your images before they can be posted or printed. It is simply not possible to print any "sharper" than the dpi allow or to pose an image on line with more megapixes than allowed by 72 dpi monitors. My example of that was PAD. I think this is safyre's practical experience.

    Yet, I welcome and want (not need) the "megapixel wars" and lenses like the Sigma Art series just like I welcome (and want) clean high ISO ability. I am so old that when I started with landscape photography I used Kodachrome 25 with its ISO of 25. Imagine having to work with that limitation today!
  • rmprmp Posts: 546Member
    I am so old that ... "when I was a kid, they did not have plastic." try that as a limitation.
    Robert M. Poston: D4, D810, V3, 14-24 F2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, 80-400, 105 macro.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Hmmm... Mesoamericans were using natural plastics in 1600 BC so you must be quite old :-)
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,290Moderator
    LOL! Smarty pants Ironheart! :))
    Always learning.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,100Member
    edited August 2015
    Bakelite ....but we called it Polyoxybenzyllmethylenglgcolanhydride ..bit like lan fair gooly goch

    and ISO was ASA
    Post edited by Pistnbroke on
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