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Old Dec 3, 2002, 7:36 AM   #1
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Default Is 4 Mega Pixels enough?

I really like the Canon G-3. I'm a little (maybe too much) hung up on the 4 vs 5 megapixel specification. There are several 5MP cameras in the same price range. I'm new to digital, but a long time photographer with a Canon EOS film system. I always have tried to use the finest grain films for the situation I am photographing. I use my slides frequently projected very large in lecture halls and auditoriums. I also enlarge and mount some of my better photos.

1. What is the theoretical size limit for an enlargement (print) of a 4MP camera 8x10, 11x14?

2. How much difference will there be on a projected image from a 4MP vs. 5MP camera in an auditorium where the images are typically 30 feet or even larger. Certainly the resolution of the projector and size of file will enter into the quality of the projected image as well.

If anyone could help me understand this better I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

Frank
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Old Dec 5, 2002, 4:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: Is 4 Mega Pixels enough?

Q: 1. What is the theoretical size limit for an enlargement (print) of a 4MP camera 8x10, 11x14?

2. How much difference will there be on a projected image from a 4MP vs. 5MP camera in an auditorium where the images are typically 30 feet or even larger. Certainly the resolution of the projector and size of file will enter into the quality of the projected image as well.

A: 1. This is very subjective. Some people are just fine with images I would consider to be way too mushy. Like film grain, digital pixels will begin to be visable to the naked eye at 4MP at different times depending on the ISO, fStop, and situation.

2. Like you said, it'll depend more on the shot and the projector more than the print size. Think of the difference between a 4MP v 5MP image as the difference between a 5x8 v. 5x10 print. If you're projecting those kind of images, you probably won't notice much loss of sharpness.

In either case it's important to remember that different cameras offer vastly different images. I think a 3MP Canon S230 has sharper images (even enlarged) than a 5MP Olympus D50, because the D50 introduces odd artifacts/noise at the edges of ojects (see the sample images in the review pages, look closely at the telephone poles, wires and palm trees in the brick building shots). And of course the quality of the lense plays a huge role.

In general as MegaPixel resolution increases you won't see as drastic an improvement owing to the jumps involved, it's just simple percentages. A 2MP is a 100% improvement over a 1MP, but a 5MP is only a 25% improvement over a 4MP image. The next big jump isn't a 6MP v 5MP but with the new DSLR's offering 11-14MP. And then there's the new SIGMA SD9, whose X3 imaging chips use new technology that makes it's 3MP images even as sharp or sharper than an 11MP camera using CCD technology (see examples in this months issue of DISCOVER magazine Vol. 23 No. 12 (December 2002)) http://www.foveon.com/X3_comparison.html
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