Quit Dissing My Megapixels – I love all 36 million of them!


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Cropping? Nah, I've got zoom lenses for that. As for future-proofing, is the human retina going to change much anytime soon?

Now, one thing I do like about the continuing camera "arms race" is the increasing sensitivity. As somebody said, "ISO 6400 is the new f/3.0" Compared to a couple of $5,000 lenses, a $2,000 camera body is practically a bargain. Now I can actually get focused, unshaken light onto all those useless pixels.
You don't know from cropping until you've seen what 36 million megapixels can handle. My wife uses a Nikon D800 for insect photography, occasional bird photography and other purposes. I am flat-out astonished at the quality she retains with extreme cropping. And believe me, there's a stable full of zoom lenses here ...
Uh, thirty-six million megapixels? Your wife has a camera with 36 000 000 000 000 pixels (36 terapixels)? That *would* be impressive!

36 MP would actually make a difference too, compared to, say, 8MP on my aging Digital Rebel: double the linear resolution. (Remember, pixel count goes as the *square* of linear resolution.) But more often than not, I stop cropping long before pixellation becomes an issue, because cropping reveals motion blur, imperfect focus over the depth of the subject, or noise in the pixels I have. If you only take photos in Florida sunlight, you may not care, but if you're shooting wildlife at dusk, or an athletic competition in a poorly lit gym, higher ISO settings are the real breakthrough.
"Basically, there are two reasons why I believe megapixel count should not be discounted: (1) Megapixels future-proof your images, and (2) Megapixels allow photographers to crop significantly."

Yeah, what he (Jim Harmer) said:

Quit Dissing My Megapixels – I love all 36 million of them!
Pretty shallow article--there are other factors which limit the resolution. More pixels beyond a certain point don't buy you anything depending on these other factors. And a camera body is more than just a bunch of pixels. Choosing a body is also choosing an entire system including lens lines and accessories.

OK, he likes the Nikon D800. But if he were serious about resolution, he would get the D800e... (No antialiasing filter.) And if he really wanted MP, he would be looking at things like the Phase One 80MP medium format backs. http://www.phaseone.com/en/Camera-Systems/IQ2-Series.aspx

Both the Canon 5D3 (22.3MP) and the Nikon D800/D800e came out at about the same time and are aimed at similar markets. The general consensus seems to be:
* The Canon 5D3 has better color reproduction, better low light performance, and better ergonomics.
* The Nikon D800 has more MP and better dynamic range at low ISO (but not at high ISO).
To get the best out of either body, one has to use the finest lenses and a very sturdy tripod.

FWIW, the D800 vs 5D3 issue has been debated to death on camera websites with rabid fans on both sides. One bottom line is that there are plenty of pros and amateurs producing high quality images with either system.

Future proofing by having more MP? I consider storing the image in a format and on media that will be readable in 10+ years to be far more important for future proofing. More MP may (or may not) allow tighter cropping but that has nothing to do with time.

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Re Phase One 80MP medium format backs:
Does that come with whipped cream and a cherry? That thing looks so Yummy I could eat it.:rolleyes:;):)
Check the prices--according to one source, the IQ180 back is only US$44K...
And only US$48K with a body and lens.

They look like fantastic tools and demand good technique (ie sturdy tripods, remote releases, etc) to realize their potential. I have seen comparison photos--the same scene taken with an MF digital back and a 35mm digital camera--the difference is striking at certain amounts of enlargement.