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Tuesday, 28 May 2019


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I used a Nikon D70 for well over a decade. It made lovely pictures as long as you stayed down to 16x20 although I have some 20x30 prints that look fine at sane viewing distances.
I finally upgraded to a gently used D7100, not so much for extra pixels but for better low light chops and video.
Can’t imagine needing more than 24mp so I suppose I’m set for another decade.
Oh and I got the D7100 body for about the price of the Fuji viewfinder swivel attachment. Please understand that I am not immune to GAS, just too broke.

I hear you. It's another of many reasons new cameras don't sell as well, despite higher megapixels. People are starting to learn that the resolution gains don't matter much any more. I could probably be pretty happy with a $350 used K5IIs, which I think was the final iteration, and in fact I might pick one up. Or I could find one of those bargain XT-1's floating around....

Anybody else remember a treatise published (on luminous landscape?) when 6mp (canon D30/30D?, nikon D70) came out. Title was either '6mp is enough', or 'is 6mp enough?'? I can't remember the author, but it was written with a certain tone of authority, and *proved* with formulas and stuff that 6mp was enough.

My 6MP camera had a CCD sensor. I still get a bit nostalgic. Not for 6MP, but for CCD.

My end goal for my photography is a large print that can withstand close scrutiny without displaying visible image defects that distract from the perceptual illusion. Currently that means 24 x 36" inkjet prints made with a Canon Pro 2000 printer.
My first digital camera was Canon's Eos-1ds back in 2002, which I bought after Michael Reichmann's review indicated it yielded better files than scanned 35 mm film, without the tedium of scanning. The 11 megapixel files had plenty of noise above ISO 200, and you could see artifacts if you printed larger than about 20 x 30" depending on the image. Moving to 16 and then 22 megapixels, and finally to 50, improvements in the tonal smoothness and resolution of high frequency details have been evident at each step. Using a Canon Eos-5DSr, I find that 50 megapixels is enough, provided I use good lenses and meticulous technique with a solid tripod, cable release, and mirror lock-up. This is the point of sufficiency for me; stitching two captures together doesn't yield visible improvement. I might feel differently if I was printing larger, but 24 x 36" is a nice size for a wall print. Anything significantly bigger is much harder to handle and mount. I'm guessing that at (say) 30 x 40" or larger Fuji's GFX100 would yield visibly better results, but I'm not tempted at this point.

Ctein wrote an excellent article for Photo Techniques magazine back about 7 years ago that spelled out the perceptual gains from higher resolution digital capture, which are actually less than you would think. It takes more than twice as many pixels to look twice as good, so to speak. He pointed out that the tonal smoothness of digital capture (compared to the granularity of film) permitted it to look better than it should for a given resolution, provided you stayed below the threshold of enlargement for edge artifacts, and provided you don't overcook the processing.

For me, 16 to 24mp is the sweet spot. Currently shoot and print from the 24mp Fujis (X-100F, X-Pro2 and X-T2), the Olympus 16mp E-M1 v1 and Panasonic 20mp G9.
I plan on shooting and printing with these for a very long time - feeling as though I finally found cameras that leave me with no desire to upgrade.

Speaking only for myself, I can't ever think of a time when a photo of mine was ruined or fell short of my quality standards because of too few megapixels. The usual culprits are missed focus, camera shake, subject motion, blown highlights... you get the picture. OTOH, I've discovered that high-resolution RAW files can suck up hard drive space at an alarming rate. So no 100MP cameras for me, thanks. I'm not worthy.

This whole discussion also helps explain why the camera industry can't sell cameras. Most of us have long reached satisfaction in megapixel terms, and camera workflow hasn't improved much in two decades.

Video improvements may still be driving some sales, but even video quality will reach satisfaction shortly, if it hasn't already.

I own two digital cameras, both "older," a Canon S95 and a Pentax K10D. Both are 10MP. I've never, ever needed to display or print photos from them at max resolution. Largest I've ever done is some 8x10 prints. Online I need only 1024 px wide, as on my personal blog that's as big as the blog template allows. Both of these digital cameras are more than enough for that. The only thing that would get me to upgrade is that newer cameras have better low-light capability.

Is Puzzlers one of yours Mike?
I like it. It has a painterly look about it.

In 2013 during a trip to Iceland I fell, and while falling decided to use my arms to cushion my body. Unfortunately, that left my D700 to go "crunch" on all the great rocks that were surrounding me.

I decided to buy the d800e to replace it. However, I never could get to like the images from that camera. It seemed to me to be a poorly engineered attempt by Nikon to push pixels.

As a result, I decided to pony up and got Nikon to repair my D700 and sold the D800e. I still have it and I still love the look of the files it produces. I have had some really nice 3x5 foot canvases made with those 12mp files.

I've got some 20x30 prints made from...I think that's 10MP originals. They look excellent. When viewed from 1 foot away, you can see the sharpness isn't perfect (they look like medium-format prints that size, not large-format prints that size, in the fine detail), but even there they don't look bad in ways that put me off or somehow infect my impression when viewing them from a normal distance.

There are opportunities to print even larger than that now, but not that many except for a few specialists. (Two things the digital age has proven to my satisfaction is that there was a huge unfilled demand for larger prints than we could reasonably do in the film era, and that there was a huge unfilled demand for longer focal-length lenses than we could afford in the film era.)

So yeah, after about my first three or four digital cameras I have always wanted lower resolution (that is, I want bigger pixels) than what was available. Okay, maybe I also want a Nikon 850 to play with for those few times.

I’de make a case for the camera of the future. It’s not too big and not too small - just nice enough to hold. It has a fixed 35mm lens and 500 million pixels. It does everything. It tells you how far from your subject you should stand for a head and shoulders portrait, for example, and then you can crop to taste. It hooks into a monitor, and all conversion and tweaking is done in the camera. Multiple versions, multiple crops can be exported, and original files can be exported to a dedicated drive, and retrieved from the drive for further experiments in processing later. One camera will do it all.

I agree, 16MP is plenty for most people. Even when I upgraded from my Fuji X-E1 to an X-T2, the jump from 16 to 24 megapixels was very much an incidental bonus rather than a deciding factor. 16 is enough for the maximum 19x13" my printer can do, anyway.

I'm with you - a 16mp sensor made with current tech (e.g., BSI with on sensor phase-detection) - would be all I need. And think how much faster the processing could be with files that small!

Perfect for my needs: those of an amateur family snap shooter with delusions of above-averageness.

I've been a digital fotog for 13 years, have owned Canon dslr, Panasonic megazooms, and numerous Fujicams. I'm all Fuji now -- probably for the rest of my days. Out of all of them my favorite remains the Fujifilm 8MP S5 Pro. It produced the most satisfying images. I spent 5 years missing it after passing it on. My current 16MP Fuji images are no better than those from the S5 Pro

My Fuji X10 compact has the unusual EXR sensor which can operate in three different modes. I use it in DR400 mode whereupon it becomes a 6MP sensor with an extra 2 stops of dynamic range rather than a 12MP standard capture. Not a modern sensor but much more so than your Minolta.

To me, print large means a double-truck in a magazine. I've done that with Canon APSC 8MP 20D/30D cameras.

I've never made an inkjet print. All my 12x18 prints have been done with either Fuji or Norita laser-printers. Files came from Canon 20D to Canon 5D3. I haven't checked them with my Rodenstock loupe, but they all seem the same from arms-length viewing distance. Later this year I'll try getting some 24x18 LightJet prints, from iPhone Xs files.

I've always wanted to shoot with a multi-shot MFD back. The Hasselblad H6D-400c MS does 400MP files https://www.hasselblad.com/h6d-multishot/ But I never had the need.

It's something like car engine capacities.

Of course more engine power is nice but how much power do you really need? More power means more initial cost, more gas it guzzles, higher tax, perhaps higher maintenance costs.

I am satisfied with a 1598 cc 4-cylinder gasoline engine.

Similarly a 12 MP camera is just nice for me.

[Notoriously, tires for a Bugatti Veyron cost $40,000 per set, and last only 2,500 miles...less if you do high-speed runs.

My car has a nice 4-cylinder engine too! --Mike]

The thing is that because resolution is area based in order to double the resolution you have to have four times as many pixels. So to double the resolution of a 6mp sensor you have to have 24 mp! So that is why when I went from 16 to 24mp I could hardly see the difference and to double the resolution of 24mp you would need that GFX 100. Also the resolution of the optical system is defined by the combined resolution of the sensor and the lens, so it is not as straightforward as it seems.

I had a K-M 7D. I know what you mean. I routinely made 12x16 prints from it. It gave beautiful colours and was a great camera to use and of course was the first dslr with IBIS, but it wasn't all good news. It was hopeless for long exposure night shots because the ccd suffered from something called amplifier glow, so when it heated up you would get a purple veiling over part of the frame. The battery door came loose so I had to use gaffer tape to stop the battery from falling out. They were notorious for a fault whereby the first few frames would be black. When mine developed that problem I gave up on it.

I have two 12x20 prints on my living room wall. One is raw from my 24 MP Sony, and the other is not only from a Lumix LX7 with a one inch sensor, but was taken in jpg at 180 PPI! Which is which?

Last week I purchased the (Craigslist) Nikon D700 I've been dreaming about for 10 years. The D700 body/user interface is a near-twin to the D300 I've been using for almost a decade (also purchased used), the files won't choke my old computer, which otherwise works fine for the tasks I ask it to do, and the price was (finally) right for a hobby photographer with an appreciation for "pro-ish" cameras. I am happy with the image quality of my D300, and the D700 should be an improvement, so for my personal needs and budget 12 mega-pickles is perfectly adequate.

Your friend, Kirk Tuck, has written several times in the last few months about older equipment and the issue of sufficiency. He has presented portraits taken with 4 and 6 megapixel cameras that are superb. This megapixel doo doo is a lot like the horsepower arms race. Every suburbanite claims his crossover "needs" 400 horsepower. Yeah, right....

I often look with some nostalgia at large (~22" long) prints made with files from the Nikon D2x, D300 and D700 cameras, all of which were 12mp and all of which I have owned at one time or another.
To my eye the best of these prints compete very well with prints from files from my current cameras - the D600 and 800. Everything had to be perfect - light, choice of subject, dynamic range, exposure, and image processing / editing - something we all strive for but rarely produce, including and especially myself. If one or two of these requirements are not met, the resulting print may still be pleasing but will not reach the heights of quality which these 12mp sensors are capable of.
These cameras do compete pretty well with their more recent 24 and 36mp siblings most of the time, but these too are capable of astonishing print-quality if all the requirements above are perfectly achieved.
I recently made a print of a street-portrait of a pretty girl. I cropped the image heavily, printing only the girl's head which was half the height of the landscape-format image - 12mm or 0.5" - and the print was 585mm (23") tall. I make no claims for the quality of the image, but the print-quality is astonishing and will stand any scrutiny. The print is a 48x enlargement and if the entire image was printed at this magnification, the print would be 6 feet (almost 2m) long. The camera was the D600.
Conclusions? The 12mp Nikon sensors were amazingly good, especially the full-frame D700, but at their very best the 24 and 36mp sensors are better. It is a close-run thing, however, and there isn't the great disparity in quality which might be expected.
When I was using the D700 I used to speculate that the ideal pixel-count for a 35mm-equivalent sensor would be 16 to 20 mega-pixels, and I think even now, that I wasn't too far out (eg, the Nikon D4?).

Wayne -

I believe it was Harold Merklinger who made the case for the sufficiency of 6 MP in the Luminous Landscape article. It was after that article that I purchased a Canon 10D (which I still have and use).

I don't know that the technical arguments are irrefutable, but I am satisfied that some of the most beautiful files I have are from the 10D.


I've been making aerial shots with my DJI Spark drone and panoramas with my iPhone XR. Both offer only 12 Megapixels, but I find that for prints up to 16x10 inches or so, they are both perfectly acceptable.

I was in a wow mode years ago when I purchased a D200. I have 2 photos hanging that are classics for me taken with that camera. Did I need more than 10MP?

For nostalgia reasons I picked up a used D300 for the price of a kit lens. My camera sales guy chuckled. Really a D300? Hey it works great despite the lower dynamic range. (which recovers beautifully in raw BTW) Do I really need more than 12MP? Not really. That camera can still make a fine 13x19. Big as I am ever going to print.

We all love the good stuff and in this game it is a never ending, expensive trip to the ballpark.

I make most of my images with a Fuji X-T1 but I have the most fun with my Nikon V1.

I bought my V1 at a close-out price and never looked back. The V1 has a 10MP sensor. It fits in my coat pocket and it is a light-weight traveling companion.

The colors are vibrant and the images look great on my 23" monitor.

The article referred to by Wayne was by the late Michael Reichmann. It addressed the question whether the output quality of 6 mpx sensor equalled or exceeded 35 mm film by reference to objectively measurable standards. The answer was, of course, Yes. But as all of us of the correct age to have been influenced by the late Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance know, quality is not objectively measurable.

Realistically speaking, larger prints are best viewed from such a distance that you are less likely to detect pixels. That said pixels are more noticeable than the grain in extreme film enlargements. That's because our brains naturally seek patterns. Pixels are a clear grid pattern when they approach detectability while film grain is stochastic, random in size and position, which makes it harder to detect a pattern that the seeing part of our brains thirsts for. Unless you are making Edward Burtynsky sized prints you don't need anything more than 16-20 MP.

Foveon sensor "aficionados" (or masochists, if you will) can easily tell you the Merrill had the perfect amount of pixels at 15x3. None of this weird Quattro stuff, or heaven forbid, Bayer interpolation! Also, ISO 200 is as high as any needs to go, otherwise use a flash or just sit back and talk about layered sensors. ;)

I'm kidding, of course, since my K-5 (owned at the same time as an SD1 Merrill) was perfectly fine with that extra megapixel in the Sony "sweet sixteen" common to many cameras of that day. Now I have the K-3, and 24 is okay, but the colors and plasticity are just not the same...

I consider myself a pretty big gear nut, and yet I couldn't tell you how many MPs are in any of the three cameras I own (remember when some camera makers actually included the figure on the body?). What I do know is the files print beautifully at the sizes I choose - 16x24 is about as big as I go - and not much else matters.

The Puzzlers photo looks a lot like something that Gregory Crewdson would do. Very nice.

I still love the images from my old Nikon D70s. Six MPs of pure juiciness! I made many 11x14 prints from this camera and they still please me.

I have used the big Nikon DSLR's and all their many pixels but they just don't have any soul. Today I am using a Panasonic G85 and am more than pleased with it. I want to purchase a GH5 when they go on sale purely for the video extras it gives me. Beyond that I have taken myself out of the upgrade treadmill. Sixteen to twenty MP is just fine in my books.

One thing I have started doing again is shooting 4x5 and scanning the negs so I can work them in PS. Now if you want to talk about MPs lets see your Fuji's beat that!

But alas there is no IBIS or multiple baked in colour profiles. No zooms and no need for batteries or memory cards either. And no instant gratification. Such a loss

Last year I was at a National Geographic photo gallery in Waikiki many times over a period of months. It is very similar to the Peter Lik galleries with dim lighting, black walls, and big, beautiful, glossy, very well lit photos. Of course, they are trying to sell them so the presentation is very nice. The info for each photo was a short caption, location, year, name of photographer, and the size in meters (longest dimension) of the print. The smallest prints were 1 meter and the largest prints were 3 meters, but most were 1.5 and 2 meters. Most of the photos were taken 2004-2015, but I saw one that was in 1999 and another in 2002. A few of the photos were landscapes, but mostly animals in Africa and elsewhere. A few photos included people, but not many. I guess it is harder to sell people photos. Of course, they all looked wonderful and I think the prices are pretty high.

No mention of the camera gear used, but I suspect most of them were taken with DSLRs since the bulk of the photos were 2004-2015 of animals, often in Africa. National Geographic galleries believe they have enough megapixels to print 2 and 3 meter prints from DSLRs made even 14-15 years ago.


I think all the worry by some about whether a 20mp or 16mp (or even 12mp) m4/3 file is sufficient for fairly large prints is rather ridiculous.

Actually, most of the worry I see sometimes about print size is asking about making something like 24x30 or 30x40 inch prints -- that is 0.762 meter or 1.016 meter prints. Just a very small number of the National Geographic prints were 1 meter. Almost all were 1.5 and 2 meters, but several were 3 meters. So, above where I say 'fairly large' that is not really correct. Most people asking and worrying about print sizes here are talking about the smallest or even smaller prints than what they have at the National Geographic photo gallery.

If you don't remember what were the common, high end Nikon and Canon DSLRs back in 2003, 2004, 2005 era that were probably used for many of the photos from 2004, 2005, and 2006 then look back and see. Nikon was selling only APS-C models, but Canon had FF, APS-H, and APS-C. And the megapixel counts would seem modest compared to current m4/3.

I received an email advertisement from the National Geographic Fine Art Galleries last fall. In it there was a mention that their prints *start* at $4600.

Six years ago I bought a 6D with a 20MP sensor that provides enough resolution (5472 x 3648) for me to print an uncropped 12x18 picture at 304 PPI on my Canon desktop printer. It’s nice to know that on the rare occasion when I get everything right I don’t need to uprez to make a nice print. I haven’t felt the need for more resolution since then and as an enthusiast I can’t imagine needing anything more than a desktop printer. Six years is a long time for me to stick with a camera but I love the 6D and Canon hasn’t done much to temp me in my price range. I’ll be interested to hear what you think about the RP.

I will agree on 16mp as being ideal. Though I seem to have never had issues printing from my 10mp camera, either, as long as I crop only lightly.
I will however say that I basically have an upper limit. I don't ever see myself buying a camera with more than 24mp as I think itwould only slow down my processing without adding any visible benefit.
Does that make me a luddite? :)

The image quality from my 12mp Sony A7sII & Zeiss 'Loxia' lenses (35mm,50mm,&85mm) is simply exquisite.

for current iMacPro display spec:
"5120‑by‑2880 resolution with support for one billion colors"

so much for maths...

Oh man. I'm stuck on 16 too. The last camera that I bought was a d7000, that was in 2012. The cameras are really on the edge of their lifespan as far as the physical condition goes and the camera I'm really eyeing (and has seen a bit of resurgence in popularity) is.... a Df.

What about the cropping argument? You lose a lot of pixels if you crop all sides of an image. I find myself cropping a lot, so for me 24 MP is about the sweet spot, but I do like the 30 MP from a 5DIV.

Why do I crop so much? - well, I think I see in telephoto, or at least I perceive, 'zero in on', the tiny details. I've never got on with wide-angle lenses.

It took me a while after shooting early on with several brands of lower to medium resolution cameras to realize that it’s the combination of several things that make the exposure well done. It’s an old adage that just rating the pixels doesn’t tell the whole story. I have shot and printed some very satisfying and adequate photos with seemingly ridiculously low pixel/small sensor cameras. Each manufacturer/model’s in-camera algorithms (especially), along with user exposures, post-processing and final printing all present innumerable possibilities for generating a good image. You just find the one you’re happy with and stay (or go back to) it...

Gehry AGO

8 MP images from Canon 1D II, up-ressed to 12 MP
At Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario, 2006

Sculpture Magazine, October 2006

10 MP image from Leica M8

How many megapixels do I need? To paraphrase St. Ansel, as many as I can carry. The irony is that with the latest generation of digital cameras (I'm thinking Ricoh GRiii, Fuji X-T30, Leica Q2) you can travel very light indeed. However, If I was shooting landscapes I'd want 50 or 100 megapixels. Phrases like "good enough" or "all you need" are tell-tale signs of the condition noted a few posts back about the fox and those out-of-reach grapes.

To keep a long story short, I think the most recent spate of digital cameras are finally reaching the potential of the medium.

I would offer a bit different view. If you know what you will do with the image, then it is easy to decide how many pixels you need. I use 12, 16 and 24Mp regularly, and sometimes 46 if you can count Sigma Merrill as that. But sometimes you don't know. The largest print I have sold was 4 meters wide. (That is a bit more than 4 yards for you Americans). It was a scan from medium format transparency. I wouldn't have sold it at all if the original had not been up to my standards. I would have preferred large format but I didn't have that.

In 2003 when I had my D70 I had a couple of birthday party pictures that I wanted to get printed. These were ISO 640 under non-ideal indoor conditions on that old 6mp sensor...

At the Costco I accidentally ordered 6 12x18 prints instead of 8x12 ... and they looked ... great. Better than any 11x14 I ever managed to print from 35mm.

So 6mp from 2003 is probably all I'd ever need. But 20mp from my m4/3rds E-M1 Mark II is certainly a bit nicer.

I think almost any general purpose carry around camera these days will approach what most normal humans could do with 120 film back in the day. Especially if you want ISO 800 or above.

What makes my photographs better today are advancements in LightRoom processing and workflow more than advances in cameras or megapixels.

In the end, a great photo is a great photo. There are some output needs that may require higher pixel counts, or larger format film. But we view and enjoy large prints from 35mm in museums and galleries around the world. In my opinion, 12mp was the point where we surpassed 35mm film.

Make a great image at any pixel size, it's still a great photograph. Some of my favorite images are from a Cuba trip in 2001 with a Nikon D1 - 2.7mp. 300 dpi at 4x6. Do I wish I shot those on a 47mp camera? yes. But the photographs that were good, are still good.

There are then images that are ABOUT the detail; about the resolution. Well then, you need the resolution. I don't love that type of work.


A full frame sensor of about 16mp designed to maximize dynamic range would strum up some GAS I think. [Have you tried the D4/Df? --MJ] Seems like mp's are heading the other direction though. (12mp doing the same thing for APS-C would be a pipe dream at this point).

My first DSLR was a 6mp Nikon D40, and I never even thought about the mp's, and was a happy hobbyist.

I'm still a hobbyist and currently use a 20mp D7500, and it seems fine too. I chose the D7500 for other reasons than mp's though, mostly ergonomics and handling and a few features that I can't get in the consumer DSLR's.

Probably 16mp for APS-C and 24mp for FF would be a sweet spot in my estimation for most things. But I'm not a heavy cropper either. For those who crop (or print really large) I think the large mp's cameras must be a delight.

I usually only crop a small bit to change aspect ratio from 2:3 to 5:7, but that's minor. I suppose once in a blue moon I put on a 70-300mm and will crop more, but I never seem to have any issues. Although, I typically don't print larger than 11x14, and like others have mentioned 99% of my pics are collected in web albums (Google Photos) and viewed on electronic devices (iPad).

I don't really care much about sensor sizes above 24 MP these days, but I think I will always crave for the look of the medium format sensors. I'm not thecnically proficient enough to know it that look is mainly because the differences in DOF or the characteristics of the lenses.

¿Couldn't anybody make a cheap 18-20 MP medium format sensor? That would be great.

Commenting on the Fuji GFX 100 I said: "It may be embraced by jack-of-all-trades pros and AdAm [advanced amateur —Ed.] photographers. But I see few/none ...

Mike tells us why: They wanted "the best" and were willing to pay for it.

The Sinar eXact multi-shot back produces files from 24 MP to 192MP. When used with a Sinar camera the flash sync is 1/250 with their eShutter, or 1/500 with a Copal mechanical shutter. As a back on MF cameras the camera/lens provides the sync speed.

The Hasselblad H6D-400c MS shoots from 100MP to 400MP. The maximum flash sync is 1/2000.

Impressive resolution, but the color fidelity is even better—the Hasselblad is six-shot, the Sinar is four or sixteen shot. Woo Hoo!

I've never felt the need for anymore than a Canon 5D3. If the client wanted the very best I would be more than happy to rent a Hasselblad H6X with a Sinar eXact back. Double Woo Hoo!!

I agree in a way. But I disagree in a way, too.

As Ctein and others have shown, a print made at 360 ppi looks better than the same print at 180 ppi. In fact, the improvement continues far beyond 360 ppi. This is with current technology. For instance, existing Epson pro printers. At 360 ppi, a 42 MP file at 360 ppi maxes out at about 13 x 19 inches. Not huge, at least for some of us. Never mind that we might want to crop, do perspective control, etc. To get the full goodness of 720 ppi and above, print size decreases radically. At 720 ppi, my 42 MP files produce a print that is about 7 x 10.5 inches.

Sure, some subjects look great at smaller resolutions, even printed large. And some people are content with looking at prints from a distance. Most people have no use for huge files. I get that.

But larger--or even heavily oversampled--files can result in visible print quality gains. Are they worth it? Only individual photographers can say.

I don’t drag out the “normal viewing distance” argument anymore. Unless you put up a barrier in front of your pictures, people will view them from whatever distance they want. Watch yourself and others next time you view some high quality work in a setting where you can come up close. There’s pleasure in the whole picture, and (for some) there’s pleasure in the fine details. If those fine details are worth looking at, I like having the resolution to show them in the best way possible. Of course, if all my picture has is lots of fine details, then it’s probably not worth looking at in the first place!

Where this all gets quite interesting is in the context of digitizing larger film sizes: you can choose your resolution. With my current setup, I can easily digitize 4x5 film at resolutions ranging from 1,500 ppi to 3,000 ppi (which translates to 45 MP to 180 MP). My first instinct was to digitize at higher resolutions… simply because I could. However, I’ve observed two things in playing around with different resolutions on prints. First, 1,500 ppi is already all I need to print the full 4x5 picture on the largest paper my Epson 3880 can handle, at 360 ppi. Second, in most cases I have to look very, very closely to reliably distinguish the 1,500 ppi resolution image from higher. Depending on the equipment used, higher resolutions might be providing more data, but not necessarily more information.

Digitizing film is a pain and hard drives are cheap, so I tend to default to 2,000 ppi -- but in the cold light of day, “only” having 45 MP files from 4x5 negatives is just fine.

B-b-but isn't the whole point of digital photography all about the joy of pixel-peeping?

Related note: godspeed re your eye procedure. Hope your vision returns/improves to a level which demands 100MP.

I am getting old, gettin lazy and getting stiff. .... so portability is the thing for me.
The 16mp on the Panasonic G85 meant that having no filter it performed as well as the 20 mp on the GX8 .... according to cameralabs.
If i want a little more then fuji provides with the wonderful 24mp X100f and for inter changeable lenses with the x-t100. This with the naked 24mp Bayer sensor gives images reminiscent of the original 12mp X100 ....

My feeling is that Panasonic bring the very best of technology to innovative camera design .... and Fuji have the photographer at the heart of their thinking.

I celebrate what Fuji are doing at the high end but these simpler cameras do all I require for medium sized printing.

I sometimes wonder who needs all the extra megapixels, and by that, I'm not passive-aggressively implying, "Nobody does." Thinking of practical or industrial applications here, rather than artistic ones. (Not to knock art photographers, by any means.)

Scientific imaging and forensics, maybe? Medical applications? Do people still do aerial surveying from aircraft in this age of satellites and drones?

I won't have enough megapixels until this Red Dwarf sketch becomes a reality


I chose my last camera (Pentax K3) on its AF performance, better than on the K5. That meant I got 24mp instead of 16. I would have been happy with the 16mp of the K5, and it is a little better at high ISOs than the K3 is.

What I wouldn't mind is a 6 or 8mp camera optimised for low light use. Great big pixels, less noise. If it was a full frame camera, then the pixels would be even bigger.

As the ISO increases into the thousands, the resolution drops like a stone on cameras with 24 or so mp, so a 6 or 8mp camera wouldn't really be at a disadvantage.

As the old adage goes, it’s not the size of your sensor but how you use it.

I'm quite sure I classify as a luddite, but for me 16Mpixels is more than enough. And I still like the files produced by my old (?) Nikon D80: that CCD sensor has an exquisite balance of colour saturation I find very nice - sure, the 'shop brigade will claim that is no problem to achieve with their editing, but I prefer to take photos instead of editing!
Currently both cameras I use most of the time are 16MP and I reckon it will stay that way for a loooong time!

I've said repeatedly, having been in on the start of digital, and being marketed to by big photo companies to buy into their systems for the retail advertising studio I ran back in the 90's; the experimental stuff I was looking at that was done in 24 bit color looked more like transparency than almost anything I see today. You can keep it at 24 megapixel, increase the color depth to 24 bit, and write to software to support 24 bit .tiffs.


The A7RIII has enough to print about 15x22 at 360ppi, which is what Epson printers like. That makes a decently large print that's sharp when examined up close. I usually crop a bit squarer so expect to throw away some of that length, so figure a bit less than 15x20 for a nice 4x3 aspect ratio print on 17x22" paper.

At 240ppi it prints larger, but these are prints I expect to look at from a bit farther away, though you can walk up to them and inspect details without feeling they are low res.

So I consider the 42MP to be a decent floor for my work, which is mostly landscapes. I do wish I had more for cropping or larger prints at time. Given that doubling the resolution will only yield a 1.4x increase in linear size going to 100MP doesn't seem like overkill to me.

The point you made about sensor "quality" is key. I'm happy with what I can do with my Fuji X-Pro 1, but I bet it would be a lot better if the newest technology made up those 16MP.

Sometimes there are articles that I have an immediate reaction to and go to write a comment. As I'm fleshing out my thoughts, though, I find that it's a lot more complex than I originally thought.

I've owned cameras at 6Mp (Canon D60, Pentax K100D), 12Mp (Canon 5D, Pentax K-x), 14Mp (Pentax K20D), 16Mp (Nikon D7000, Pentax K-5, Nikon Coolpix A), 24Mp (Nikon D600) and 36Mp (Nikon D800). I've also used a wide variety of other sensors, from 2Mp point and shoots to an 80Mp Phase One medium format back.

While the numbers do impact my opinions somewhat, I generally don't care about that as much as the overall look of the images that I get from them. When I made that list, a few of the cameras popped out as favorites immediately. The Canon 5D, for instance, had some of the prettiest files straight out of the camera. While all of the technical specs on the D800 put the original 5D sensor to shame, I find that it takes a lot more work to make them look nice. Open a nice 5D file in Lightroom and it needs very little work to look the way I like it to. And the 5D files print wonderfully to my standard size of 12x18.

It's also interesting to note that in the case of the 16Mp cameras I've used, the basic sensor design was the same but I have definite preferences about which one I prefer for general look. Nominally, the D7000 and Coolpix A should have very similar sensors in them. In practice, I never cared for the images from the D7000 and am crazy about the files from my Coolpix A. The K-5 falls in the middle but closer to the Coolpix A. I don't know if it's a case of the removal of the AA filter and the addition of a really lovely little lens on the Coolpix A that makes me so crazy about it but I find that I just really enjoy making, editing and printing images from that camera. I'm also finding that I like my B&W work the best from that camera over any other digital that I've used.

When I really sit and think about the number portion, I will say that I like having more even though I probably reached sufficiency ages ago (anything other than the 6 Mp images, if I'm being honest). But I'm more interested in what the overall images look like when I'm done.

Several comments ask for "fewer but better pixels", and I agree. In one of your inserted comments you mention the Nikon D4/Df, which seems to do that. There was also the Sony A7s series. On the whole though, camera and sensor manufacturers seem to use the ever improving noise performance for making ever smaller pixels that yield overall slightly better noise characteristics than the previous generation, foregoing the option of bigger pixels of the same type that have massively better noise and dynamic range. Pity, but presumably that is how the interplay of technology and product strategy works out best for them. As a user of a 24MB sensor who needs only 8 or 12 for output --- is there a magical way of turning these 24 good pixels into 8 excellent ones? Please excuse the naivety of the question, I know less than nothing about "post".

I'm currently shooting a lot of 46 MP Nikon Z7... It looks a lot better than 24 MP Fuji at 24x36", which is the largest size I print frequently. The difference is much less noticeable in a 16x24" print (you can see it if you look carefully at the smaller size) - and it's a mix of the resolution and the Nikon's low-ISO capability. The sensors are probably not that different in per-pixel noise at the same ISO, but the Nikon goes 1 2/3 stops lower, all the way to ISO 64.

The Z7 files look very similar to GFX 50 files (never used the GFX, but examined many prints before buying the Z). The newer sensor in the Z7 and the low ISO capability just about counteract the GFX's pixel size advantage.

I'm thinking my Z7 is pushing my 24" Canon Pro-2000 pretty hard - I've made REALLY nice prints up to 24x48" by cropping the shorter dimension of the Z files. I don't own a 44" printer, so I don't know how well it'll do at 40x60" - but I suspect that any camera with more real resolution than the current generation of 42-50 MP pixel monsters will require a 44" printer to use its full capabilities.

In 2011 I shot a photo of an elephant on safari in Kenya with a first generation OLY m4/3 12MP camera and the inexpensive 40-150mm telephoto zoom. When I got home and examined the image, it was sharp, well exposed and beautiful. I sent it out to a professional lab for printing and had it printed and mounted at 40" wide by 30" high. That's about 100ppi. The photo was spectacular. You could go right up to it and see detail like the bug on the elephant's ear. There was no pixelization, just minor noise, as though the photo was taken with a medium format camera on fine-grain film. I was never able to get them to tell me how they did it, but I know enough about image processing to know it involves multiple upsize steps, adding some noise to get rid of pixelization and careful image sharpening. From that point on, I never worried about more pixels.

I love my Lumix cameras and the 20 mp G9 and GX8 exceed all my needs. My only GAS currently is for one of the new telephoto zoom lenses. However, if Panasonic were to make one of the more photo centric cameras like the G9 with the 12 mp sensor that is in GH5s, GAS would rear its ugly head big time. With the ability to shoot at such high ISO it would make a great camera for macro work!

I agree that it is amazing what can be done with just 6mp. One of my favorite prints I took of a beach sunrise from a 17th floor balcony in Myrtle Beach. There was a couple walking below and they are in silhouette and about 1/2 inch tall, if that, in a 12 x 18 inch print. You can see their footprints in the sand in this print taken with an original Digital Rebel and the 18-55 kit lens. I can concur with one of the other commenters that more MPs has not improved my photography. However, carrying a light weight high quality system has allowed me to get out and photograph more and the practice has definitely helped.

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