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Old Jun 29, 2005, 1:27 PM   #21
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I recently upgraded my pocket camera to a 7Mp. I did it mostly for size, LCD and controls. But my 13 X 19 prints are better than they were with 5Mp. I can still generate only around 160 PPI with the 7Mp – more would be better. I think the big prints look a lot better on the wall. The largest 11 X 14 crop you can get from your 5Mp is around 175 PPI if you don't do any cropping. They would look nicer with more pixels.

A few years from now 5 and 7Mp will be pitifully small. And people will be very happy with their new 16Mp low noise cameras and feel the world should stop there – just like they did when they got their 2Mp UZI or 5Mp FZ. I think they are doing very well with the MP race. Each series of cameras has better resolution and they are keeping the noise better than the detractors had predicted.

yeah, 175 ppi is the mosti can get at 11x14 without interpolation. but ya know what? you really can't see the difference. i suppose if you're one of those who plays Led Zeppelin records backwards looking for satanic messages, you could spend the time to visually dissect the image to the point that you'd find somefault with it that could be rectified with more pixels,but 99% of the people who would ever look at such a print would never know if you shot it with 5MP or 15. the difference just isn't that obvious to the human eye. remember that THD thing?folks were ecstatic if they could get an audio amp with .005% total distortion, even though not a one of them could hear the difference between that and one with .01% THD! they justthought it was "better",because the magazines and the salesmen told them so.not to say that people won't be happy with their 16MP cameras a few years down the road... just that they won't be able to tell the difference at most normal print sizes, because human visual acuity as a rule simply isn't up to resolving detailthat fine under normal viewing conditions. sure, they'll be happy, but it'll be more because they have the latest and greatest, not because they can actually tell the difference in the prints they get. like i said... it's all marketing, and convincing people that they just HAVE to have the newest whiz-bang, because if the marketers fail to do that, the manufacturer soon runs out of customers.

yes, having more pixels is handy for cropping... i will certainly agree with that. but for purposes other than VERY large prints, or unless you really need to crop a lot out of your images, i still maintain thatthe average consumer/hobbyist/enthusiastreally don't need anything over 5-6MP for a photo-quality print. those who do, professionals or photojournalists, are already using DSLRs, but it's more related to noise and dynamic range than to pixel count. BTW, i don't print my own pictures... i have them done on commercial equipment, by reputable processors, so i know that on good equipment, those 175 ppi will produce a very high-quality image.

i'm sure we could go round about this for days, but like i said from the beginning, this whole MP race thing just isn't worth getting excited about TO ME. for my personal purposes, 5 or 6MP is fine, and i don't need more. i'd much rather have the same pixel count with less noise and a higher usable ISO range, than to have the same noise and ISO limitations applied to 10MP. but that's just my own personal preference... if you want to pursue pixels just for the sake of having them, knock yourself out. it's just not worth while for me.


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Old Jun 29, 2005, 5:28 PM   #22
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One more point about higher resolution cameras, they will have bigger memory requirements, slower file transfers, and the need for more computer power to manipulate and edit the images. Once we get into double digit megapixels post processing may be a slower process unless you can afford to upgrade your computer with your camera.

Serious pros will always find need for higher resolution, and the ability to crop large files is a big plus but I think most of us would be quite happy in the 6 to 8MP range.

This is just an opinion and I have no doubt that technology will march on regardless of my opinion.

Ira
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Old Jul 2, 2005, 1:45 PM   #23
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What a great discussion. Now for a few hours for me to digest it!

In looking for a new pocket camera, I was wondering about judging the models as to resolution and sensor size. If packing more megapixels into a small sensor can degrade the picture, perhaps the Canon SD400 with a 1/2.5" CCD (~5.2 megapix) would produce more clarity than the SD500 with a 1/1.8" CCD (~7.4 megapixels).
Is the designation (1/2.1", 1/1.8") an actual measurement?

I had a difficult time telling the difference between the shots in the shootout between the SD400 and SD500.
http://www.dcresource.com/specials/...500/index.shtml

Would one or the other of these two cameras do a better job for a pocket point and shooter who is too antsy to frame carefully and doesn't mind processing with Photoshop?

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Old Jul 2, 2005, 2:25 PM   #24
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ramspot wrote:
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What a great discussion. Now for a few hours for me to digest it!

In looking for a new pocket camera, I was wondering about judging the models as to resolution and sensor size. If packing more megapixels into a small sensor can degrade the picture, perhaps the Canon SD400 with a 1/2.5" CCD (~5.2 megapix) would produce more clarity than the SD500 with a 1/1.8" CCD (~7.4 megapixels).
Is the designation (1/2.1", 1/1.8") an actual measurement?

I had a difficult time telling the difference between the shots in the shootout between the SD400 and SD500.
http://www.dcresource.com/specials/...500/index.shtml

Would one or the other of these two cameras do a better job for a pocket point and shooter who is too antsy to frame carefully and doesn't mind processing with Photoshop?
This has some examples of actual sensor sizes: http://www.outbackphoto.com/dp_essen..._01/essay.html

I don't find an actual size for the 1/2.5 sensor. My guess it that it is just about a wash between the two for density.

That 7Mp sensor on the SD500 seems to have pretty low noise for its density.

I don't think you can go that much by theory. Get some sample photos and blow up the shadows. Even with standard sample photos like Steve's it is hard to know the lighting was exactly the same, which will skew the results. The samples you linked seemed to be taken at the same time with the same lighting. But they are taken at ISO 50 which isn't always a good indicator. Remember that the 7Mp shot is effectively blown up compared to the 5Mp. You have to reduce the 7Mp to the same size to make a fair comparison assuming you would use the images the same way.

Steve doesn't seem to get quite as heavily into noise as DCRP and especially dpreview does in their reviews. There are usually comparisons with similar cameras at dpreview with comments about the in-camera noise reduction. This is an example – note the comments about the relative noise quality of the 7Mp sensor compared to the 5Mp it replaced: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canonsd500/page7.asp

The SD400 is smaller than the SD500. I prefer having the pixels, but others have made good points about not paying for them if you don't need them.


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Old Jul 2, 2005, 2:47 PM   #25
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Thanks for the good info, Slipe. I will get to work on it.
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Old Jul 3, 2005, 10:27 AM   #26
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Old Jul 3, 2005, 1:31 PM   #27
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Monza76 wrote:
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One more point about higher resolution cameras,* they will have bigger memory requirements, slower file transfers,* and the need for more computer power to manipulate and edit the images.* Once we get into double digit megapixels post processing may be a slower process unless you can afford to upgrade your computer with your camera.
Good point. I have a couple of examples.

First a business associate who has been using 35mm equipment for years went out and bought a point and shoot, maybe 4 or 5 MP. Turns out that their computer is six or seven years old and buying the digital camera has moved buying a new computer way up on their to do list.

I started working with some 35MM scans that contain 22 megapixels of information.. My computer is less than a year old and handles 2, 4, and 7 MP images with ease. But It definitely has to work harder and is noticeably slower with the scans as Photoshop runs out of memory and starts hitting the hard disk. I know more RAM would help but again that's one more expense for upgrading to a theoretical 22MP camera.
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Old Jul 5, 2005, 8:59 PM   #28
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I think the 22MP mark is probably the point at which digital surpasses ALL 35mm film in terms of resolution (at least that was the last estimate I read comparing film resolution to pixel resolution of digital images), but resolution is only part of the picture. The smooth low-noise images of many 6MP cameras result in images that already surpass film in other aspects of image quality.

As for print size, any unmanipulated 35mm negative will start to show problems by the time you reach 16" X 20" (about 125dpi from a 6MP file, low but not unreasonable considering the usual viewing distance of such a large print), yes, high resolution scans of 35mm negatives will help but the practical limit for 35mm and 6MP is not that far apart.

I am not arguing that we do not need more resolution, I am instead pointing out that it is only one aspect of image quality. The new high MP cameras, even those with the tiny sensors, are much better than the 2/3" 8MP sensors that made such a stir a couple of years ago. Technology is advancing rapidly but there is a theoretical limit beyond which the laws of physics take over, when pixels become so small that they do not receive enough light to give a clean signal. My Fuji produces a, albiet interpolated and somewhat noisy, 12MP file, this allows 4048X3040 images (13.5" X 10" at 300dpi or 27" X 20" at an acceptable 150dpi) but does slow down workflow on my computer. Since I rarely enlarge beyond 8" X 10" I usually shoot at 6.3MP and I have printed 13" X 17" on an HP printer with very acceptable results.

What I would like to see are more cameras like the Konica Minolta A200 and the Sony F-828 that have manually operated zoom lenses, better handling is becoming a bigger issue with me then resolution. My Fuji at least has a zoom/focus-by=wire ring which does not offer the precision of pure mechanical control but at least is easier to use than the buttons of other cameras. Give me a Leica/Panasonic Digilux 2 type camera, with one of the new 7MP sensors,at a realistic price (they must have been joking)and I would be in that line.

Ira


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Old Jul 5, 2005, 10:37 PM   #29
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Good points TD, and well written. I'd just quibble with the last bit - it is the guy who says, "12megapixels and 12X zoom" that I will stay far away from. I at least know what 12Mp means, but I have no idea what photographically usefull information is supposed to be in 12X zoom.
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... if you everhear some guy boast, "This bad boy has12 megapixels and a 400mm zoom!" youwould be wise to thinks of an excuse not to have to look at his product.
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Old Jul 6, 2005, 11:52 AM   #30
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Very true, TD, and well put. We are almost getting into the photography vs art discussion. Or is it the right brain vs the left brain discussion? It is festinating how the cameras achieve their product, but the bottom line is me being able to reproduce something that I see to other people. This may require manipulation or more than one picture. That's ok. But the more information the recording device enables me to carry away in my pocket to combine with Photoshop and my "creativity", the more latitude I have.

Truthfully, when an image presents itself, I invariably point and shoot and hurry off to the next one. Not fair to the camera! But with this life long habit, I am without one of my senses if I don't have my camera along. And then, back at my desk, I relive and rearrange with my own "selective perception" to my heart's content. This is the process of a mediocre photographer, but a pretty good artist.

So I need an intuitive omniscient pocket point-and-shoot recording device. I am having fun and going slightly nuts trying to choose the best now to last a few (not enough) years!

Enjoying your discussion!.........Nancy



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