« You Cannot Please.... | Main | Legions of 40mm Fans »

Wednesday, 11 February 2015


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

"... Sufficiency isn't an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.
Sufficiency resides inside of each of us, and we can call it forward. It is a consciousness, an attention, an intentional choosing of the way we think about our circumstances .... Sufficiency is an act of generating, distinguishing, making known to ourselves the power and presence of our existing resources, and our inner resources. Sufficiency is a context we bring forth from within that reminds us that if we look around us and within ourselves, we will find what we need. There is always enough.
When we live in the context of sufficiency, we find a natural freedom and integrity. We engage in life from a sense of our own wholeness rather than a desperate longing to be complete...."

- The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist, Chapter 4

Seems to me to apply here, as well. Why, then do I want an E-M5 Mark II? \;~)

Cameraphiles will squabble about anything - generally it goes brand X introduces feature Y and immediately the owners of brand Z will prove that Y isn't important. Until of course brand Z introduces their version of Y which of course is better than brand X.

What I find amusing is that the only way to show the superiority of these new super sensors is to post ridiculously small crops of the image - in the last week I've seen so many bits of images that the interweb is beginning to look like a jigsaw puzzle.

I'd rather look at a small inspired photograph that a huge piece of pornography.

I reached the point-of-sufficiency with Leica's choice of the same resolution across three different camera models of the S.
Sure, I would like bragging rights, but given that I have sold seven foot wide prints with that resolution, I apparently have enough to get the job done.

Well, I'm glad that's settled. It's sort of like the megaton-yield race the Russkies and the Yanks had with their nukes during the Cold War -- if one had gone off over your town, it wouldn't have made *that* much difference what the yield was. 50 kilotons was "good enough" for most purposes.

I don't care about megapickles once we get beyond ten or twelve. That's plenty for a 12 x 18 inch print. Frame rate, autofocus speed and accuracy, raw frame buffer, and a real good viewfinder - that's what I care about.

I'm pretty much there on sufficiency. I've got 16 megapickles, with only the faintest whiff of metaphysical doubt. The next generation of sensor that I'll buy will probably have 20-24, and that will be the end of it. I'm pretty sure. I think.

Every day I look at a 16x20 I bought to hang over my bed, and I ask myself, "do I really want to print that big?" I look at my grandfather's 11x14's in the hall, and I think, " that's probably about right."

More than megapickles, I hope for a day when a fast 35mm-e prime costs much less than $800-ish dollars for Fuji or Sony cameras. Really, the final frontier (for me) is bokeh, or at least the ability to decrease the local contrast in the background, when I'm focused on something people sized at the 5-8 foot range. (At a moderate-wide angle of view.)

Dear Mike,

I'm of the opinion that horsepower races are really a good thing so long as *we* don't take them seriously (see previous columns on obsession and fetishization).

Printers would be nowhere so good today as they are were it not for horsepower races. 20 years ago I projected that digital printers would have little problem reaching and exceeding the quality of an Ektacolor print, but I was doubtful over how fast they would progress beyond that. For the simple reason that 99.99% of the world's photographic needs were (and are) entirely satisfied by Ektacolor-quality prints. We had excellent real-world data on that.

Would it really be worth a printer manufacturer's while to develop an even better printer whose improvements would only truly matter to an insignificant fraction of the photographic world? That wasn't at all obvious to me.

Instead, printer quality blew past that benchmark and didn't slow down until we hit technical limits way, way beyond that. Now we're seeing improvements again that are starting to encroach upon dye transfer ranges and gamuts (not quite yet, but closing in on it). And color accuracy long ago passed anything that could ever be done in the darkroom.

That's entirely due to a horsepower race. We have all benefited from that.

Similarly, when affordable cameras reached the medium-format quality level, which was some years ago, was there really a need to push further? Oh yes, there's the miniscule fraction of photographers in the world who want view camera quality. That's why God invented Phase 1. But for the rest of us, were it not for these “pointless” horsepower races, we wouldn't be seeing the steady improvements in camera image quality that we have.

And, while it's not your particular style, most photographers liked the ability to be able to crop their negatives when they print, sometimes very substantially. Two or even three times the number of pixels that you actually “need” allow you to do that without visibly diminishing quality.


Dear Hasi,

Personally, I'll put in a strong vote for inspired pornography.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

Hey! A photography post!

I want pixels. Lots of them. 12 or so was enough but I'll take more. I've oodles of cores, ridiculous amounts of memory and big fast SSDs. I can take the beating of more pixels. Give them to me. I'll attach a loupe to every photo I print if need be.

There are ideas and technological advancements (the claimed modified printer which leaves some question marks) that seem to make use of the high resolutions:

http://blog.mingthein.com/2014/02/27/introducing-the-ultraprint/ and


At the same time, some guys at Lula forums are already discussing Hyperprints: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=87946.0 :-)

I've had enough megapixels for a while. But a friend who shoots professionally makes a lot of trade show displays -- like, 4x6 feet, and people can walk right up to them. He needs more megapixels (and has been working with a Sony a7r to augment his other gear lately; since he's a Canon shooter mostly, this new Canon may well find its way into his studio).

I have always been an advocate for sufficiency, but learned that some people just don't acknowledge the existence of this concept. What we call "a photographer" might consist of many personalities: artist, scientist, tech geek, collector, operator, business person, record maker etc. By definition some of those can never get enough.

I make textures and to keep them highres in close-up situations I need at least 4096 x 4096 textures. If I have halve a photo for the texture that gets difficult with a 16 Mp EM-5......now the EM-5 MkII could be a winner for me, just for making stills of wall's, roofs, rust, windowpains and the rest of the world (for examples of textures see CGTEXTURES.com).

Greets, Ed

Who still believes photography is dead.

I print big - always did, even with film.

If the 50DsR saves me from buying a medium format digital, it will be an absolute bargain.

Only need to sell a few 24"x36" prints to pay it back. They are possible with the 5D3, but technique has to be perfect.

Re your comment: "Ironic in that, pace Gordon's astute points, I tend to like small, "go-karty" cars with 4-cylinder engines and manual transmissions. I have no particular interest in muscle cars.".

Ironically the best version of the new Mustang might be the 4-cylinder!

Like others, 12 to 24 MPixels is the sweet spot for me. 12 is already more than adequate, 24 nets luxurious excess for cropping and highly detailed subjects.

Responsiveness is the thing I look for most now, in a modest-sized and reasonably lightweight package.

Many years ago, during the dawn of digital photography, I had a co-worker who thought the term was "mega-pencil". Oddly appropriate, no? Still cracks me up...

Twins of different mothers or an immortal? I'm just sayin':


An animal the size of a breadbox - Kirk's got me guessing now: a chicken? Could be, but for the head and neck - a headless chicken perhaps? Small dog? Perhaps not with legs. A rabbit? A cat? Again, the legs take it over the breadbox limit - maybe folded / sitting down. A carp? A large tortoise? Whatever it is, I like the breadbox comparison and from now on I'm going to use the analogy whenever someone asks how big of an animal it is that I am talking about - mostly happens with dogs of course, but YMMV.

Whoops - overlooked the feathers part. Scrap the others, my guess is chicken.

I have a simple question.

There exist a digital print technology for superhigh resolution prints? I mean, A4 (8x12 inches) size, 24MP into it.

Dear Elliott,

If I am a mystery, I am the most Googleable mystery on the planet!

Seriously, dude, The Big G is your friend.


Dear Ruben,

The simple answer: your typical good printer today can handle the resolution produced by a 50 megapixel camera in an 8" x 12" print. The best can double that (at least–– it's been a couple of years since I've tested printers, so they might even be better than that).

There is a complex answer, and I wrote many columns covering it. You don't need to know all that.

This is entirely different from the question of whether you, personally, NEED prints that sharp.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

I've been a Canon shooter since about 2005, most recently with the 5DII. I do a lot of landscape photography and I like having lots of megapickles at my disposal. Maybe I'm afflicted with megapicklemania. However, it is not just the number but the quality of pickles that matters. I experienced a bad case of sensor envy with the releases of the Nikon D800 series of cameras, largely due to the alleged superior dynamic range and high iso performance. Unfortunately, the available information suggests these characteristics may not be improved in this new high resolution sensor Canon. So, when I think about upgrading I also think about another 50 megapickle camera - the Pentax 645Z. Granted that would also mean laying down some money for new glass.

In reading the other comments I didn't see much concern about hardware needed to process the files from these high-res sensors. Seems that was an issue for some early adopters of Nikon's 800s. I don't know anyone who owns a 50 mp camera but I would think the files would require substantial computing horsepower.

Eliott responds to Ctein

Well, I admit I should have Googled you before asking. You're right. Plenty of info out there including on your site some of the most beautiful color prints I've ever seen. Remarkable work.

Dear Eliott,

Well, thank you kindly, sir!

Flattery *will* get you anywhere.

(and, for all you knew, "Ctein" was just a handle I used here on TOP, instead of it being my full and public legal name)

pax / Ctein

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007