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?
I often crop my photos mercilessly to focus on a detail of the shot. More megapixels are good for that.
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.
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...
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.
Mar 17, 2012, 07:50
(This post was last modified: Mar 17, 2012, 07:52 by matthew.)
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.
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.
Good analysis. I hadn't really thought about the fact that you would still get 15 MPx in FX mode.
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.
Mar 22, 2012, 18:48
(This post was last modified: Mar 22, 2012, 18:53 by Toad.)
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.
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.)
Zounds...the wonders of technology...
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.
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
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.)