5 megapixels is "good enuf"

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rhmahoney

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David Pogue's current blog entry at the New York Times confirms my suspicions. He found that 5 megapixels is "good enuf".

With my Lumix FZ30, I tried RAW and the biggest JPG settings and decided for my snapshots 5 Mpixels is just fine.
 
rhmahoney said:
David Pogue's current blog entry at the New York Times confirms my suspicions. He found that 5 megapixels is "good enuf".

With my Lumix FZ30, I tried RAW and the biggest JPG settings and decided for my snapshots 5 Mpixels is just fine.
I agree in most cases.  sledom do I use more than the 5 megapixle setting.  But it is nice to have the option if the need arises.
 
My FZ30 5 megs is fine enough for me to Russ.  I might not get braggin' rights in certain circles, but dang if I can tell the difference.
 
rhmahoney said:
He found that 5 megapixels is "good enuf".

My Olympus 2500L at the time of purchase had 2.5mp res. It was the highest res non-pro camera on the market. I have used it for a number of years before purchase of a Canon Rebel XT with a much higher res. My largest prints with the Oly were 8x10's. The pics I sold were well received and the need for higher res was really not an issue. I "do" disagree with the premise of the article tho. Well, "good enuf" for him, maybe -- but not for me.

When I began semi-professionally shooting back in the 70's, I initially used a 35mm Minolta than a Nikon F2. I quickly learned that to get super sharp portfolio size pics -- I needed larger format film, and went to medium format photography. I also shot with a 4x5" view camera. Ansel Adams' best shot ever was done with an 8x10" view camera. Film has grain, digitals have pixels. Pretty much the same thing -- in that that is what makes up the image we ultimately see. If an image is painted on a balloon -- the larger we blow up the balloon, the more the image falls apart. Same with film or digital prints. The more pixels to begin with, the better the image as it gets larger.

Looking at the print in question that was examined. Suppose I want to crop so as do an 11x14 of just the baby's head. I no longer have 5mp -- more like .5. If I use the digital Zoom of a camera, that is exactly what is happening. I believe that was discussed in an earlier thread. So tho a good rule is to always try to fill the VF with what one wants as a final image -- cropping and digital zoom cropping is a reality of photography. And the more pixels available, the more pixels wind up compressed into the cropped image. If you were to take a pic at max digital zoom on your FZ30 -- then blow that image up to a 16x20 as in the article, you would no longer have 500mp -- and would be looking a pretty grainy pic.

Another factor is the ability of the printer used in the test (don't believe it was mentioned). If the maximum dpi of the printer is reached -- the image will look the same regardless of the pixel strength of the image file. The nature of the image is also important. At a pro shop in Sacramento, I witnessed two pros comparing prints done with an 8mp Nikon and a scanned 35mm print of the same subject. A scanned 35 will have a much higher res than most any digital. Anyway, it was hard to tell the difference until you looked at detail such as the eyes of the snakes that were used in the test. The higher res images were sharp down to the finest detail. The prints were 16x20's.
 
I'm with Bob B on this matter.

I would add one further point to what he said:  the more pixels you have, the more you can hammer it in post-processing without it posterizing.  In practical terms this means that if you badly exposed an image and then find you've just got to make a decent print from it, chances for success increase as the size of the file increases.

Once again, the right thing to do is capture the best image you can without depending on a rescue session in the digital lab.

Ciao,

Doug
 
Russ,

Two other things re 5MP on the FZ-30 are that your FULL zoom will become 556 mm as opposed to 420 mm with 8MP and you will NOT have to buy a BIGGER fixed disk as soon.

JerryF
 
Jerry: "your FULL zoom will become 556 mm as opposed to 420 mm with 8MP and you will NOT have to buy a BIGGER fixed disk as soon.
"
Yep. I am inordinately fond of the full zoom setting! I can get away with shooting that way sans tripod...draped over the landscape for steadyness.

The other reason 5 Mpixels is OK is that my cropping needs are modest.
 
With all due respects to Bob's comments, I am not a professional nor a semi-professional and from my point of view the FX-30 gives me more than I could ever possibly need.  I'd be simply wasting money if I tried for anything more.  I am very thankful to this forum for putting me on to the best camera I have ever owned.
 
You don't even need 5 megapixels to get at good photo that will blow up the a decent large print. The size of the pixel determines the amount of light it will gather. The more light you get, the more accurately the pixels can read differences in the light values of the subject.  All those glorious photos NASA sends back from the space craft are taken with a 1 megapixel camera, but the CCD is about 2"x2" in size.  They get the colors by taking 4 shots, each through a different filter, then recombining for the final result.  The real question here is --Is the final photo a 1 megapixel or 4 megapixel picture?

I have professional 4 megapixel and 10 megapixel cameras. Both will allow me to blow the final picture up to 16x20, --haven't tried larger-- with hardly any noticable differance. It is true I can crop the 10 megapixel photo more, but the colors and detail of the the 4 megapixel photos seem better to me. This is because the pixels of the 4 megapixel CCD are more that twice the size of the 10megapixel camera. The 4 megapixel camera does force me to concentrate more on composition, because I always keep in mind that if I want a good photo I should not crop it in post processing.

Then of course, there also the fact that the print is only 300 DPI. But that's a whole different discussion.

Chet18013
 
Chet,
They get the colors by taking 4 shots, each through a different filter, then recombining for the final result.  The real question here is --Is the final photo a 1 megapixel or 4 megapixel picture?
The final image must be 1Mp because each R/G/B pixel must overlay each other exactly to accurately reproduce the image. The fourth shot is merely taken to determine the dynamic range of the scene to insure that no pixel or group of pixels end up above or below the 0-256 grayscale range, which would result in loss of highlight or shadow detail and fidelity. Consumer cameras do this same thing internally; that's why it takes much longer to in-camera process a high resolution shot than it does a low res. shot.
 
Yes, I agree with you Karl. I just raised the question to provoke some thought. A camera CCD or CMOS chip has the pixels covered with RGB filters in a Bayer Array of 25% red, 25% blue and 50% green. While the area of the colors do not perfectly align, one on top of each other, they are small enough and close enough that they can be combined by the camera software.  Each pixel only sees the percentage of it's color for that area.

Here's  a simple illistration of what I'm talking about:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayer_filter

Chet18013
 
Chet,
As you well know, there are several different RGB filter/pixel layouts; some simple, others more complex in an attempt to preserve as much accuracy of detail as possible. I haven't a clue which one is best, but we're getting into some very fine distinctions which I'm not qualified to talk about. I do find it interesting that the colors are weighted 25%/25%/50% (RBG), 'cause the human eye is most sensitive to green (about 535nm) and least sensitive to blue (about 472nm). Obviously the CCD is nowhere near the same as the human eye in terms of color sensitivity.
 
My Black Friday excursion this morning was to Radio Shack to buy Sue a credit card camera to carry in her purse. She now has a Casio EX60 that is 6 mp. It has a simple 3x optical zoom as well as a 4x digital that works automaticlly when you reach the 3x limit. It takes amazingly good point and shoot shots even in the digital area. Makes it easier for her to get close ups without having to do cropping on the computer.

Camera makes 1.8 meg files; I'll probably need another external drive before long. ???
 
Jeff:

Those Seagate external drives are even cheaper and bigger than they were a few months ago.

I also just bought one of those USB/firewire cases that you put an internal drive into to convert it to an external drive.

I just purchased a professional karaoke system and over 22,000 songs ... 1KW stereo power mixer, CAVS computer system, 6 microphones, 15 inch speakers, and I need lots of hard drive backup for my song collection.

I'd bring the system to QZ except there was no interest last year in music on the desert.
 
5 Megapixels is enough if you are not serious about photography. However, if you are serious 5 mp is a joke. The reason is cropping. Here is the full frame version of a Condor.
 

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Here is the cropped version. It is an 8 mp camera. And with a 5 mp I could never crop this severely and come up with a usable picture. Think of it this way. Adding more megapixels is like buying a longer telephoto lens.
 

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seilerbird said:
5 Megapixels is enough if you are not serious about photography. However, if you are serious 5 mp is a joke. The reason is cropping.

An experienced PROFESSIONAL photographer with a NIKON D2H - which is a 4 megapixel camera and the right lens can take a photograph that can be blown up to 48" x 36" or larger with no problems, and yes you can get a decent crop too. Some have been made into billboards. Calling a 5 megapixel user "not serious and a joke" is a shoot from the hip statement and serves no useful purpose on this forum.

As a somewhat serious amateur photographer who has owned digital SLRs with 4 to 12 megapixels capabilites, I can dispute your statement with photos I have taken. The following links will take you to three photos, all taken with a 4 megapixel camera. Perhaps you might review your post processing and see if you could improve your techniques to get the results that the "jokingly serious" photographers obtain.

Here

Here

And here

I have taken a photo with a 4 mega pixel camera, done a 16% crop of it, blown the crop up to a 8 x 10, mounted and framed it with quite good results.

You, obviously have succumbed to ( as my son, who designs CCDs and CMOS sensors for one of the major camera companies says) the sales hype that "more pixels is better".

Chet18013
 
Really, the "megapixel wars" are largely marketing hype. A lot of other factors enter into final picture quality. Doesn't matter much for most of us.
 
On my 8MP camera I always shoot at 5MP.  Very seldom do I go go to it's max of 8MP and the photos are just fine.  The attached is a picture of "The Wave" a place where Chet got us to go hiking.

JerryF
 

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