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36 Megapixels
#1
So, the megapixels standoff between manufacturers has dissolved, and one camp has laid down the gauntlet with 36 megapixels, leaving the other holding on to a respectable 22 megapixels.

Just wondering what everyone's thoughts are with that. The more pixels the better? Or will the larger files mean more storage, a more powerful computer and more external hard disks to buy?
#2
Having printed 6MP images at 30x20" that look as good as what I've seen from 35mm film in a comparable size, I really don't see the need - for myself. My new toy has 18MP which I think is just silly, but they didn't ask me. Wink Pixels were definitely NOT the reason I upgraded.

For a studio / medium-format shooter, it could be a viable option though. And it seems the price is reasonable!
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#3
I often crop my photos mercilessly to focus on a detail of the shot. More megapixels are good for that.
#4
I have to admit that I'm really looking forward to a high-resolution sensor. I've wanted one several times, for the usual reasons:

Large prints. I now own an Epson 3880 printer, and 12Mpx really isn't enough to do a 16x20" at the quality level that I want. Even 12x18" is pushing it for me. I want to be able to stand right up to a print regardless of its size – what's the point of printing it bigger if there's nothing more to see? And for evaluating my own work, I'll use the same 5x loupe that I'll use to look at medium format negatives. And, to complete the thought, making big prints is why I started using medium format in the first place.

Heavy cropping. I use a tilt-shift lens for a lot of the digital photos that I want to reproduce, which introduces heavy (and absolute) vignetting when it's shifted to its limits. The only way to remove this is to crop. I've had some of these photos printed beyond 20x30 for store displays, and six or seven megapixels isn't where I want to be. Rather than a 36Mpx 36x24mm sensor, a 24Mpx 1.5 crop would actually be better for this, but I'm not complaining.

And yes, I'm now queueing up for a D800, no matter how unhappy that makes my 2006 iMac.
matthewpiers.com • @matthewpiers | robertsonphoto.blogspot.com | @thewsreviews • thewsreviews.com
#5
Personally I think it's not for everyone. In theory, more megapixels gives you greater scope for cropping and also enlargements and in a perfect world no one would complain about bigger and better things.

A pessimist would say though that larger file sizes (especially if you shoot raw) means slightly longer to open your files, slightly longer to process your photos, your memory cards and hard disks fill up faster.

I suppose that's the nature of tech in general, I guess...
#6
For me I think I reached the right number at 10mp... not that I don't make use of the 15 available to me currently... 36mp just seems like a LOT of space to store.
#7
Well, for those who don't want 36Mpx, the D800 does have a couple of in-camera cropped modes. There's a 1.2x crop that converts it into a mere 25Mpx, and gives it an extra frame per second shooting speed, or the DX-compatible 1.5x crop that cuts it down to only 15Mpx. I don't really see much point in those aside from lens compatibility and the slight speed boost, but it's good to have options.

Of course, there's a difference between pixels and resolution, and we'll have to wait and see what gives the best results with the new camera, but I'm very excited. The prospect of doing a 16x20" print at a native 300dpi – even with a little cropping – has me not sleeping properly at night.
matthewpiers.com • @matthewpiers | robertsonphoto.blogspot.com | @thewsreviews • thewsreviews.com
#8
I don't think the crop options are real options, they're more to serve specific functions. If you are going to buy a 36 MP camera then you might as well shoot 36 MP images. Oooo err... what was my point again? Big Grin
#9
For me, it is the improved light sensitivity of D800 over D300 which is an important factor besides resolution. High resolution softens the blow of the transition to FX - size sensor. Some of my lenses I have are designed for the APS-C sensor and mounted on D800, they will still give me good resolution (about 15 Mpix) and I will gain with my Fx lenses. I am more concerned about the changes I will have to make to my photo style and picture taking activities.
1) My Fx lenses will be shorter than I am used to and I will have to adjust to a change perspective (and thus use)
2) Greater resolution will translate into more readily detectable movement artifacts
3) Greater resolution will show more readily optical limitation of my lenses and I will have to be more careful still about aperture settings.
4) The depth of field at a given aperture will be less than I am used to
5) Greater light sensitivity will allow use of higher ISO when needed if the dynamic range reduction will not be an issue.

Greater light sensitivity will allow me to photograph moving people and animals using available light in situations where this was very difficult and where the results were marginal. There is also an improvement in dynamic range over D300 - a very welcome for me, as I like to shoot in situations with high contrast.
Please see my photos at http://mullerpavel.smugmug.com (fewer, better image quality, not updated lately)
or at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pavel_photophile2008/ (all photos)
#10
Good analysis. I hadn't really thought about the fact that you would still get 15 MPx in FX mode.
#11
These are great points Pavel, thanks for sharing.

(Mar 19, 2012, 02:32)Pavel Wrote: 2) Greater resolution will translate into more readily detectable movement artifacts
3) Greater resolution will show more readily optical limitation of my lenses and I will have to be more careful still about aperture settings.

You know, you might be onto something there - I think that is one of the reasons why when I jumped from a Fuji 3 MP to a 6MP Nikon D50, and then subsequently to a 10MP Nikon D80, then to a 18 MP Canon 7D, I became increasingly dissatisfied with the picture output with each upgrade. Maybe each time I made the jump, things I could get away with previously were made more apparent with the increased detail and resolution.

With the Fuji S5000 at 3MP, I used to hand hold at 10x optical zoom without any stabilisation and be still happy with the pictures. Ha ha... Big Grin
#12
I really don't buy any argument suggesting that having greater rez is some kind of weighty responsibility that has such grave consequences on "lens limitations"...also, the showing of movement is in no way an "artefact". Greater resolution potentially reveals limitations of the photographer, is the real issue. Full-frame and most medium-format megapixellage still has a long way to go to be even close to film resolution(and I'm not even getting into things like acuity), lenses will always fall off(relatively) in Zone C. It's horses for courses: if one's ouputting as per Matthew's examples, then 6MP might just stretch, but having 36MP is a blessed case of "more is more"...but if one's output is,say, 60% web and 40% of 20x16 prints that are viewed from 2-3 feet away, it'll be like paying to leave most of an expensive meal on the plate: a fortunate and helpful option to have.
All my stuff is here: www.doverow.com
(Just click on the TOP RIGHT buttons to take you to my Image Galleries or Music Rooms!)
My band TRASHVILLE, in which I'm lead guitarist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6mU6qaNx08
#13
(Mar 22, 2012, 02:34)Zig Wrote: I really don't buy any argument suggesting that having greater rez is some kind of weighty responsibility that has such grave consequences on "lens limitations"...also, the showing of movement is in no way an "artefact". Greater resolution potentially reveals limitations of the photographer, is the real issue. Full-frame and most medium-format megapixellage still has a long way to go to be even close to film resolution(and I'm not even getting into things like acuity), lenses will always fall off(relatively) in Zone C. It's horses for courses: if one's ouputting as per Matthew's examples, then 6MP might just stretch, but having 36MP is a blessed case of "more is more"...but if one's output is,say, 60% web and 40% of 20x16 prints that are viewed from 2-3 feet away, it'll be like paying to leave most of an expensive meal on the plate: a fortunate and helpful option to have.

Zig, I love a good argument and yours is very eloquent.
1) Film resolution may be what it is - it is not a competition. I switched because of the cost (My camera registered some 80 K clicks and I learned a great deal by taking photos several times a week). Learning is an important motivation for my taking photos and most photographers agree that photographing often speeds up learning. I am not interested in an argument about being selective in picture taking. I feel I am. Digital format offers more post-processing options without the need to digitize output. There are people who still love film. That is a personal call but nothing to do with my camera choice. I crossed that bridge long ago and I do not plan to go back.
2) In my club there are photographers producing modest size photos by stitching together multiple shots taken with a full frame digital camera or using digitized large format film camera. There is no doubt in my mind that the fine detail readily visible is a part of the success of the photos. Matthew presented a series of photos of bricks and other objects found in a landfill. Ultra high resolution was certainly a part of the charm and success of the series. Although resolution in itself does not make a bad photo great, in many circumstances higher resolution does contribute to the overall joy of viewing a photo. High resolution seems to add something to a photo even if the medium can not capture all of it and you eyes can not resolve it all.
3) I agree with you that "Greater resolution potentially reveals limitations of the photographer" and it is quite possible that I am not quite ready to fully exploit such fine equipment. It would be offensive as well as incorrect however to suggest that I will not achieve that over time. I have learned a great deal since you and I met at this forum and I continue to improve. My post describing the issues facing me is an attempt to improve my photography so that I do make use of the tools on offer.
4) Although I want to benefit from greater resolution, it was not the primary reason for switch. D300 is the only DSLR in Nikon line-up with 5 year old sensor. A lot has happened since and I am looking for better high ISO performance and better dynamic range. D800 is clearly much better in this respect than D300. In addition it offers a convenient ways of combining exposures to average out noise and to create an opportunity for greater dynamic range. High resolution is useful to reduce noise by downsampling and to allow me to use those of my lenses that have APS-C sensor at respectable 15 megapixels, making the transition to full frame less painful financially.

I do not believe that equipment makes photographers - indeed having fancy equipment without the skills to use it effectively may degrade rather than improve quality of one's photography. I also believe that creativity, vision, lots of opportunities and luck are more important than equipment. And yet a good equipment in the hands of those that know how to use it may give photo opportunities which may not be there with lesser equipment and better equipment can improve technical quality of the final product.
Please see my photos at http://mullerpavel.smugmug.com (fewer, better image quality, not updated lately)
or at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pavel_photophile2008/ (all photos)
#14
I'm interested in what Pavel said about being able to take 18 MPx photos using *smaller* DX lenses. I am assuming that this technique throws away the edges of the sensor and only uses the FX sized center area of the sensor. Yes?

That feature really intrigues me as the owner of 2 DX lenses.
#15
The D800 can indeed crop down to the DX-format sensor size, with the same 1.5x multiplier, with a touch over 15Mpx. That essentially turns it into a D7000, except with the metering and AF of the D4 – for three times the price. Still, having that kind of resolution does open up some interesting options for the upgrade path.

Like the Canon 5Dmk2 and 3, the D800 also has the ability to save lower resolution raw files, so there's no actual requirement to burn 30+MB of data for shots that don't need to be at full resolution. But this camera can also do that trick for different crops – it also has a 5:4 ratio for those of us who like 16x20" prints, and a 1.2x multiplier to automatically lose the edges of the frame.

The D800 can also crop to the 1.5x DX format for video, which remains at 1080P.

And, for bonus points, the crop can be set independently of the lens format: full-frame FX lenses can be told to only use the 1.5 DX sensor area, and DX lenses can still record across the entire full frame. It's surprising just how many lenses can cover more than the DX area, although the quality of the results aren't guaranteed. (The D700 can do this as well, but has a much less useful 5Mpx DX crop.)
matthewpiers.com • @matthewpiers | robertsonphoto.blogspot.com | @thewsreviews • thewsreviews.com
#16
Zounds...the wonders of technology...
#17
(Mar 22, 2012, 20:42)matthew Wrote: The D800 can indeed crop down to the DX-format sensor size, with the same 1.5x multiplier, with a touch over 15Mpx. That essentially turns it into a D7000, except with the metering and AF of the D4 –

for three times the price.

Still, having that kind of resolution does open up some interesting options for the upgrade path.

x DX crop.)

If you add the price of a D800 to the price of a D7000 that may be three times the price, but you are only paying for a D800.
Therefore it is a cheaper option, yes? Two (simulated) cameras for the price of one.

A bit like Mac being able to have (simulated) Windows. Two PCs for the price of one. Smile
Lumix LX5.
Canon 350 D.+ 18-55 Kit lens + Tamron 70-300 macro. + Canon 50mm f1.8 + Manfrotto tripod, in bag.
#18
Well, here the D7000 is about $1100, while the D800 – if you can find one, which you can't, unless you're an Nikon Professional Services member and preordered months and months ago – is $3000.

Incidentally, the D800 just took the top spot on DxO Mark's sensor rating, although the latest crop of Canons haven't been tested yet.
http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/News/Dx...core-of-95
matthewpiers.com • @matthewpiers | robertsonphoto.blogspot.com | @thewsreviews • thewsreviews.com
#19
Pavel, many thanks for your detailed reply: as ever, a complete gentleman.
I can see that my next "life purchase" in a couple of years, if not a Suhr strat, could so easily be a Nikon(er, mind you, as I say that, I've a soft spot for Sony too...) as a 1DX. However, if I'm really really honest with myself, I sometimes just wonder exactly how often nowadays I'm going to require razor-like definition at large copy size ( ..... ugh: as soon as I tapped that, I had an awful inner picture of me prowling touristy sites dressed in 50% polyester stay-press trousers and carrying a Minolta Dynax[Maxxum in the US??]). I'm a little surprised that the 2 incarnations of Nikon's D800 are so widely priced here, with a considerable premium for the non-AA filter one.
All my stuff is here: www.doverow.com
(Just click on the TOP RIGHT buttons to take you to my Image Galleries or Music Rooms!)
My band TRASHVILLE, in which I'm lead guitarist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6mU6qaNx08
#20
(Mar 23, 2012, 19:24)matthew Wrote: Incidentally, the D800 just took the top spot on DxO Mark's sensor rating, although the latest crop of Canons haven't been tested yet.
http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/News/Dx...core-of-95

That's really interesting - if their results are to be believed, then the D800 beats the D4 in terms of colour depth and dynamic range, and only losing out by a smidgen to High ISO.

What's more interesting is that when compared to Medium format cameras such as the Phase One IQ180 digital back and Hasselblad H3DII 50, it mostly blows them out of the water too. Of course, you're not comparing apples to apples there but interesting nonetheless.

http://thenewcamera.com/?p=9731
#21
Just back on the topic of 36 megapixels and potential for cropping... this article really puts it into perspective.

http://nikonrumors.com/2012/03/27/full-s...ages.aspx/

   

WOW!
#22
This may be a solution if you need a telephoto and do not have one with you or time to switch lenses. I have very limited need for cropping as I do most of my composition BEFORE I hit the shutter button. Some cropping is often unavoidable, but I can not think of a time when I attempted major crop. 12 mpixel camera was perfectly fine with me for that purpose
Please see my photos at http://mullerpavel.smugmug.com (fewer, better image quality, not updated lately)
or at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pavel_photophile2008/ (all photos)
#23
(Mar 30, 2012, 04:22)Pavel Wrote: ...I have very limited need for cropping as I do most of my composition BEFORE I hit the shutter button.

That's one way. Myself, I do most of my final image framing in Lightroom, and I have been known to crop severely if some detail of a shot catches my eye. A healthy crop from a really high resolution photo can result in a great image (as they show in the "This is Me" example). Different strokes, yes?

#24
I wonder how many cameras that 'this is me' example is going to sell…

I've spent some time squinting fairly hard at the D800 photos, and don't doubt that it would produce exceptional results even from a severe crop. It's an interesting world. (Perhaps this makes up for a certain lack of non-exotic telephoto lens options.)
matthewpiers.com • @matthewpiers | robertsonphoto.blogspot.com | @thewsreviews • thewsreviews.com
#25
Their new tagline should be: "36 megapixels... crop with confidence!" Big Grin
  


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