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Old Sep 1, 2006, 4:06 AM   #11
TDN
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I think that wit this size of sensor, once you get to 12 to14 MP, there's not much to improve in that field. The difference with film becomes minimal then.

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Old Sep 1, 2006, 4:28 AM   #12
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when comparing two photos printed at 150ppi and 300ppi ther's not much difference, you have to look really carefully.

as for megapixels, most common mentioned reason for more is cropping. lots of people say you need more so you have space to crop out. but I honestly think that thinking about composition before taking photo not after should be done. I often catch myself cropping because of poor composition and I know it's my biggest problem which I try to get rid of (not a lot of succes in that field but I'm still trying). So for me 6MP is enough. it produces good quality A4 prints and I never print anything bigger anyway.

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Old Sep 1, 2006, 7:20 AM   #13
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Resolution is always a hot topic but much of what you read is marketing hype. Greg mentions a valid reason to want more MP, the ability to crop images.

As for how much is enough, for most prints up to 11" X 14" a 6MP camera will be hard to discern from 35mm film. The theoretical equivalent to the best quality 35mm film has sometimes beens stated to be a little over 20MP, but this is under ideal circumstances. The 16+MP Canon 1DS mkII has been shown to produce images that exceed most colour films. So now we have the same argument as the 35mm vs medium format debates of the past, at what point have we exhaused the capabilities of this level and need to move up. Medium format was typically far more expensive, as are the 12+MP cameras right now.

I think most 35mm users are quite happy with 6MP since 35mm really wasn't suitable for anything bigger than 11" X 14" anyway. A good resizing program that interpolates the image to higher resolution (such as Genuine Fractals) will help if even bigger prints are needed and, as Greg also pointed out, at normal viewing distances it is difficult to tell a 300ppi print from a 150ppi.

There will always be people who need more resolution (that is why huge view cameras are still in use), but for many of us 6-10MP is all we will really need.

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Old Sep 1, 2006, 9:25 AM   #14
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Despite my user name, I am not a high MP apologist although at times I like playing devil's advocate.
No question about it: 6MP is enough for most situations, especially with the noise improvement in K100D (I own one and love it).

Here are some reasons I find valid to do cropping:
1. Due to viewfinder limitation stuff you really do not want shows up in the frame

2. Shooting kids: I have some home and trust me there is no such thing as composition
I agree, that is an advanced P&S situation yet the other half needs to see why another lens is "needed":-)

In a number of years, higher MP count will be the norm and some will have really low noise.
This debate reminds me of so many in the past: manual vs. auto focus, film vs. digital etc (devil's side of me talking:evil.
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Old Sep 1, 2006, 11:54 AM   #15
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I think the cropping argument is a real one. I'm not good at it, but I try to do some nature photography. I've got an extreme telephoto lens (600 mm) and a 2Xteleconverter. Even with that there are occasions when I simply can't get close enough to make use of the entire frame. The lens resolution exceeds the limit of the 6 MP sensor, so I'd be happy if I could crop and enlarge even tougher than I already do. So if I can get the money, I'll definitely go for a K10D or maybe a K10D2.

Example:
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Old Sep 1, 2006, 11:55 AM   #16
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And cropped to about 1,5 MP.

Kjell
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Old Sep 1, 2006, 2:50 PM   #17
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When you're happy with what you've got at a price that you can afford!!
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Old Sep 1, 2006, 9:08 PM   #18
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I think Sarah's comments are on track - I read a lot of stuff before getting my new camera. Especially on the subject of what it takes to equal a 35mm. The concensous seems to be about 7MP to match a 35mm. And going much higher in MP with the 2/3 size sensors most consumer DSLRs have means smaller photo receptor sites. That means less photons per pixel. Since I work in the Semiconductor industry, I know that improvements to the background noise level will be made, but I doubt they will be great. Thus, much more than 10 MP will continue to require larger sensors - like are in Pro level DSLRs. In that range, it seems that 12 MP (or so) pretty well matches 6 x 6 large format camera. But that comes at a price (> $2000).

In addition, the lens becomes a limitor pretty quickly. I have tested my *ist DL's kit lens with a chart, and it seems to say that the lens and the 6MP sensor hit their limits at about the same time. Even using the F2.0 50mm fixed lens from my K1000 isn't much better. So I'll bet that even a $1000 lens will run out about the same as a 10MP sensor.

So I vote for 8MP as the point of diminishing returns. Any more and you give up more to noise than you gain in resolution, and the lens still limits you anyway.

Rick
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Old Sep 1, 2006, 9:18 PM   #19
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AZRick wrote:
Quote:
I think Sarah's comments are on track - I read a lot of stuff before getting my new camera. Especially on the subject of what it takes to equal a 35mm. The concensous seems to be about 7MP to match a 35mm. And going much higher in MP with the 2/3 size sensors most consumer DSLRs have means smaller photo receptor sites. That means less photons per pixel. Since I work in the Semiconductor industry, I know that improvements to the background noise level will be made, but I doubt they will be great. Thus, much more than 10 MP will continue to require larger sensors - like are in Pro level DSLRs. In that range, it seems that 12 MP (or so) pretty well matches 6 x 6 large format camera. But that comes at a price (> $2000).

In addition, the lens becomes a limitor pretty quickly. I have tested my *ist DL's kit lens with a chart, and it seems to say that the lens and the 6MP sensor hit their limits at about the same time. Even using the F2.0 50mm fixed lens from my K1000 isn't much better. So I'll bet that even a $1000 lens will run out about the same as a 10MP sensor.

So I vote for 8MP as the point of diminishing returns. Any more and you give up more to noise than you gain in resolution, and the lens still limits you anyway.

Rick
Interesting post, especially regarding the crossover point between lens resolution and sensor resolution.

Ira
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Old Sep 2, 2006, 4:56 PM   #20
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I think AZRick has hit it on the head. The crossover point between lens resolution and sensor resolution is not a hard line. At about 6MP starts to be the point for some lenses and probable for most lenses that most us can afford somewhere around 14MP is the top end. For most of us for most of the photos we take something like 10-12MP is the most we can get out of the lenses we use. We can't always take the photos we like to take with perfect lighting and the lens at its best aperture and focal length. So in the real world we can't get the max out of the lens. So as for just the MPs point of view we will be spending pennies on sensor and big bucks on lenses to get anywhere. This seems to be a diminishing point in chasing just more MPs. If the sensor makers were smart they would start spending more to increase well depth and decrease noise.

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