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Old Apr 20, 2004, 9:43 PM   #1
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Default megapixels question

I am currently evaluating all of the endless options for a digital camera and have a question about mp. I have read information stating I should go for more mp, but then I read reveiws about the Canon S1 IS. It is reportedly a wonderful camera, but it is not "following the group" by moving the mp higer and higher. One sales rep told me it wasn't really needed since I wouldn't need to do as much cropping; I would be able to get closer to the action in the original shot. That may be true, but I don't know how I will want to play with the picture in the future. Maybe in a couple of weeks I will want to crop a picture of my son and blowup a shot of his adorable little hand. Maybe I have just answered my own question (I should go for more mp), but I am curious what other users opinions are.

Thanks,

Tim

B.T.W. - There is an overwhelming amount of information out there on all of these cameras and most of it is great. How does anyone possibly ever make a decision? I went to the store today to play with a few, and now I am more confused than before. I am sure I will have many more questions. Thank you.
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Old Apr 21, 2004, 4:48 PM   #2
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The question is what size picture do you plan on for your standard output.

If it is for viewing on the PC/email then 3MP will give you more than you need in the area of cropping.

If it is 4x6 3MP can be cropped down pretty agressively and you won't have a problem.

If it is 5x7 3MP is good and can give you a decent crop space.

If it is 8x10 3MP is right on the edge and you won't want to crop very much of it. The printing will start to show problems really fast for anything over minimal cropping. You can of course fake things with cloning tricks or stitching but at 3MP I would consider cropping to be minimal at best.

If you want to print larger well. Plan on a lot of tricks without cropping.

There are plenty of scaling tools that can help the above but none are as good as getting the picture right the first time. None of the tools are going to show the stitches on a baseball if they were not captured in the first place.
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Old Apr 21, 2004, 6:05 PM   #3
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Thank you. That gives me something to add to the mix.

Tim
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Old Apr 21, 2004, 7:46 PM   #4
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Megapixels are over-rated. More megapixels are important, only if everything else is equal... never is.

I regularly print 13 X 19 pictures taken with my 2.6 MP Canon Pro90. I don't crop much on those shots, but do use Genuine Fractals to "rez up" some shots.

There are a lot of factors that camera manufacturers don't want to talk about. Stuffing 8 MPs on the same old 3 MP sensor doesn't really doesn't do much but add to noise.

My next upgrade will be a DSLR... Six MP on a bigger sensor will do better than eight on a smaller one.
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Old Apr 21, 2004, 8:39 PM   #5
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More megapixels are good to have, but so are a large number of other things. As Bob said, things are never equal. Noise and ISO seem to be related to sensor size - bigger sensors are more expensive and have less noiseamd higher ISO. Large lenses (small f/number) are usefull for low light. An external flash is worth having if you are going to shoot much flash. Then there are things like manual settings, image stabilization, ....

Right now, high pixel count in a consumer digicam reflects quality mostly in the sense that the highest count comes in the newest cameras. The newest cameras are likely to have features that are atractive beyond the pixel count.

Also keep in mind that the print size mentioned by CastleDude only increase by the square root of the ratio of pixel count (all else equal - it never is), e.g., going from 3 MP to 8 MP will increase the print size by 63%, from 5 MP to 8 MP by 26% - only slightly more than going from 4x6" to 5x7".
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