I am getting tired with this megapixel race

Everything you read is about which camera packs the most. Ask yourself do you really need that many, can you have too many megapixels?

Having more pixels than you really need can actually hurt image quality. The reason for this is primarily the media on which you share your photos. We have all tried to post a picture on Facebook, and been disgusted about the outcome of how they treat pictures.

Much the same thing happens when you develop or print your photos. The media where we put our photo’s is of lower resolution, and a therefor the photos needs to be downsized automatically. In other words, the software or upload process will randomly delete pixels without the insight to understand what might be critical in the picture. This is often on the expense of that sparkle in your objects eyes, or the tack the razor-sharp edge your object. Some downscaling is smarter than others are, yet it is a still a compromise made, pixels thrown away, quality is lost.

Physical photos operate in about 300 pixel per inch (ppi) therefore; an 8 x 10 inch print would be 2,400 x 3,000 pixels, which equals 7.2 million pixels, divide this number by 1 million, and you have the number of megapixels you need to make a good print.


The bigger the better

I realize that cropping of pictures requires a larger photo to pick from; we can smartly choose the cut of the picture that we need, and still have the resolution needed for our target media. Beware of the drawbacks, they are hitting with increasingly strength. Bigger might be better, but more is not always merrier. The number of pixels in a camera does not say much about the quality of the image they can capture, Quality is a complex issue based upon a camera’s optics, image sensor design, firmware, engineering, and yes, its pixels — but not its megapixel count. At the heart of your camera is the image sensor, which contains the array of pixels. Image sensors come in different sizes. The larger the image sensor, the larger the pixels can be, and the more photons each can collect. The result is a picture that is cleaner, with less image graininess, and a finer differentiation and delineation of highlights and shadows. Personally am I using a Sony Alpha A99V, it features a full frame sensor, and delivers a nicely sized 24mega pixel raw image which suits my needs in a balanced way. The raw pictures take a lot of space up at my Synology, and they do take a long time to transfer with an eye-fi card, do I want a 50megapixel camera? The sensor size will be the same, so the manufacture will have to pack more pixels on the same place. Increasing the likelihood of light spilling over to adjacent pixels, causing noise, and ghosting, increasing to the transfer and storage size issue. I have yet to develop a photo larger than A3, what about you? Do you need these extra megapixels on the expense of the above?


Be careful what you wish for

I also enjoys having many mega pixels when cropping photos. Here is an example shoot by Claus Møller. Be careful what you wish for. Balance your Mega Pixel cravings with your actual needs. Increased amount of megapixels can create more problems than they solve.




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