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Old Mar 2, 2010, 2:19 PM   #1
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Default Choosing a resolution

Deciding a new camera involves choosing a resolution. Of course it is dynamic and is always changing.

Most good cameras in the 600-800 dollars range provides 12MP, that seems to be considered a good level today.

But I'm worried about how updated these cameras will be. All 2008 generation 10Mp is out of date. The same will happen soon with this 12 MP generation.

In the same price range it seems that Canon os one step ahead, offering T1i at 15 MP and T2i at 18 MP for very rasonable prices. Also Sony has options around 14 MP (A380 and A550), and Pentax K-7.

How can I compare these higher resolution cameras with some of the best ones in the 12 MP category? (like Nikon D90)

Should we consider the resolution a significant point to consider a T2i instead a D90, as an example? (thi price is almost the same)

A point that I always considered is that resolution is not everything. I had very good photos with my Olympus C3000 3MP camera. Then with my Olympus C5060WZ I got very better 5 MP photos than many 8 or 10 MP compact cameras...

An there is the problem related to the sensor sizes - they are putting more pixels in the same area - so each time we have lower pixels, that can lead to bad results about light sensitivity and noise - as 1/2.33" continues to be 1/2.33" and APS-C will always be APS-C - intependent of the increasing resolution...

Example: Canon has a sensor smaller than Nikon, and put 18 MP in this sensor. Should I expect a better image than 12 MP from the bit larger sensor of the D90 or D5000?

Also, we see cameras with higher resolution and higher ISO (12800 ISO) - can we expect good results, even considering that parallel to this growth the tecnology is also evoluting?
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 6:58 PM   #2
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Resolution isn't the only thing that makes todays cameras better than those of only a few years ago. And resolution won't be the only thing that makes tomorrow's cameras better than today's. Resolution isn't the only reason to get a newer camera, and if it were the only reason, it wouldn't be a very good one.

Several years ago, I took a photo of my wife competing on her horse. I used a 3MP Nikon CoolPix 880. I cropped it to about 2/3, and printed it out at 8x10. It's hanging on a wall along with a photo that a professional took of her, on film, at another competition. You need an eye loupe to tell which is which.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 11:29 PM   #4
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Not really, as most of the deference are so impossible to see with the naked eye even if you print really large. Some of the values are subjective. So each person can think one camera is more vivid in color then another. I find the canon with the bit more noise actually have a more vivid color then the nikon when I look at test samples. JMHO

It is like saying a apek regulator breaths better then an Atomic. It takes super calibrated machines to tell the difference impossible for a person to notice. Same with these test in my opinion.
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Old Mar 3, 2010, 7:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarceloRSC View Post
A intersting comparison: ...
Interesting? Yes.

Pertinent? No.

The difference in the measures of performance may or may not have anything to do with the greater resolution.
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Old Mar 3, 2010, 7:58 AM   #6
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Don't sweat the resolution thing. The PREMIER, top of the line camera used by professional sports and photojournalists over the last 2 years was "only" 12mp. The number of megapixels a camera has is the single most over-rated feature. That's not to say there are not aspects of photography that benefit from more resolution but it really is a very minor thing. I'd take that paltry 12mp Nikon D3s over any camera on the market today. Look at other features but the number of megapixels shouldn't be high on the list (the exception being if you were considering full frame - and there it isn't so much the number of pixels as it is the size of the sensor).
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Old Mar 3, 2010, 8:16 AM   #7
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I agree in general that the number of pixels is not terribly important.

The only exception to this rule is if you plan on doing a lot of low-ISO (probably on a tripod) shooting and making very large prints.

If you plan on frequently printing larger than 12x18 or A3-ish then you should look for as high a resolution as you can.

When it comes to image quality on DSLR sensors there is no penalty observed for going to higher resolutions, it does mean your computer needs to be more powerful however. But if you are not going to print very large then in general there is not much benefit either.
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Old Mar 3, 2010, 8:31 AM   #8
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The resolution of the photo has a lot more importance than the resolution of the sensor. A bigger number of megapixels, if you aren't actually capturing more detail, just means you have a bigger file to deal with.

In general, the sensor size is more important than the megapixels. And even that is only one factor. Image quality has to do with a lot more than just sensor resolution. The quality of the lens you use to capture the image is another, likely even bigger factor. And the image processing is another big factor.

So I wouldn't read too much into small differences in sensor size or resolution. Even doubling the number of megapixels, or sensor size, tends to have a fairly small effect. DSLR sized sensors, for example, are 5 to 10 times as large as those in compact cameras. Differences of 10% to 20% (like 14 megapixels vs. 12) aren't really that meaningful. You are better off comparing actual sample photos than comparing numbers.
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Old Mar 3, 2010, 3:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenbalbari View Post
The resolution of the photo has a lot more importance than the resolution of the sensor.
Eh?

Quote:
A bigger number of megapixels, if you aren't actually capturing more detail, just means you have a bigger file to deal with. ...
True, but this can only happen where your limiting factors are a poor lens, or diffraction.

Having a higher resolution sensor captures more detail, certainly down to the 3 micron pixel size. A lot of P&S cameras have pushed significantly beyond that and the lenses are diffraction limited even wide open and the sensors are struggling with noise.

However up at the 5-7 micron pixel size of DSLR cameras there is no penalty for adding pixels. Most DSLR lenses are of sufficient resolution to out-resolve the sensor, at least at some apertures.

But I repeat the real benefits will only be apparent if you are printing larger than A3-ish size on a regular basis.

Quote:
You are better off comparing actual sample photos than comparing numbers.
Not so. If the numbers are reliable and the methodology is sound they are far better. Human eyes and brains are very inaccurate and prone to all sorts of errors and illusions. If the engineers at Canon and Nikon etc. didn't use instruments and computers to test and design their equipment we'd all be using cameras not much better than was available 100 years ago.

In case you haven't seen Ctein's article on TOP it's well worth reading:

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad...be-enough.html

From my own experience the move from an 8Mp 20D to a 12Mp 5D and a 22Mp 5DMkII makes a very substantial difference in the quality of the print. But my eyes are no more trustworthy than anyone else's. Your mileage WILL vary.
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