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More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

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  • #16
    Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

    I have two different requirements from my sensors:

    For landscape and similar photography the current 12.3m is as much as I need, as minimal cropping is required. So for this type of image better dynamic range and high ISO ability are the deciding factors.

    For my wildlife and macro work which sometimes involves huge crops then a higher number of pixels would be an advantage.

    All my lenses are Pro or Top Pro so I am totally confident in their ability to deliver the goods and I would not think of changing them in the foreseeable future. Sensor development may see me changing one of my cameras for wildlife work one day, but the E5 for landscape will see me out I think!

    David
    E-M1, Tamron 14-150mm, ED 75-300mm, ED 60mm, FL50R,
    Canon 7DII, Canon 400mm f5.6L, Sigma 150-600mm Sport, EF 55-250mm, EF 18-55mm, National Geographic Expedition Carbon.

    "It is better to light a single candle than curse the darkness" - Confucius (551–479 BC)

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    • #17
      Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

      Originally posted by davidmorison View Post
      I have two different requirements from my sensors:

      For landscape and similar photography the current 12.3m is as much as I need, as minimal cropping is required. So for this type of image better dynamic range and high ISO ability are the deciding factors.

      For my wildlife and macro work which sometimes involves huge crops then a higher number of pixels would be an advantage.

      All my lenses are Pro or Top Pro so I am totally confident in their ability to deliver the goods and I would not think of changing them in the foreseeable future. Sensor development may see me changing one of my cameras for wildlife work one day, but the E5 for landscape will see me out I think!

      David
      Theoretically, as macro work (unless you are image stacking) works with apertures well beyond the diffraction softening threshold, I wouldn't have thought more pixels would be beneficial.

      Ian
      Founder/editor
      Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
      Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
      Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
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      • #18
        Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

        Originally posted by Ian View Post
        I think he might mean pixel 'binning' or 'combining', where a group of sensor photosites represents a single image pixel at the expense of overall resolution.

        Ian
        Ah, I think I understand. On, say, a 16mp sensor 2 adjacent pixels would combine to double the light gathering capability in low light, giving an effective resolution of 8mp but with much greater sensitivity towards light without amplifying the signal. Have I got that right? If it would work it would be a great idea.
        View my ebook, The Light Fantastic, at: http://store.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/3026...ight-fantastic

        John

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        • #19
          Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

          Looking at the numbers 16mp seems a massive improvement over "just" 12mp. However, in real life it means a 15 inch print at 300ppi instead of a 13 inch print, which really isn't much to get excited about. In fact on a print that large 250ppi is more than adequate (I suspect even less on an E-5) and that gives a 16x12 print from 12mp. Bearing in mind that the frame size for that print when mounted is most likely to be 20x16 I can't see many people wanting to hang anything much bigger on their wall. And that's before we even start to upsize or interpolate the 12mp file!

          So, apart from a marketing ploy to people who probably don't print larger than 6x4 or 7x5, the extra pixels are of little consequence, whereas higher ISO capability and increased dynamic range would be a real benefit to us all.

          As an exemption from that I do accept that more pixels are beneficial to wildlife togs who often need to crop quite severely. However, bear in mind that due to sensor size 12mp on Four Thirds is already the equivalent of 48mp on full frame at any given focal length!
          View my ebook, The Light Fantastic, at: http://store.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/3026...ight-fantastic

          John

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          • #20
            Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

            Originally posted by John Perriment View Post
            Looking at the numbers 16mp seems a massive improvement over "just" 12mp. However, in real life it means a 15 inch print at 300ppi instead of a 13 inch print, which really isn't much to get excited about. In fact on a print that large 250ppi is more than adequate (I suspect even less on an E-5) and that gives a 16x12 print from 12mp. Bearing in mind that the frame size for that print when mounted is most likely to be 20x16 I can't see many people wanting to hang anything much bigger on their wall. And that's before we even start to upsize or interpolate the 12mp file!

            So, apart from a marketing ploy to people who probably don't print larger than 6x4 or 7x5, the extra pixels are of little consequence, whereas higher ISO capability and increased dynamic range would be a real benefit to us all.

            As an exemption from that I do accept that more pixels are beneficial to wildlife togs who often need to crop quite severely. However, bear in mind that due to sensor size 12mp on Four Thirds is already the equivalent of 48mp on full frame at any given focal length!
            200ppi is normally fine for prints. And the larger the print, the lower the ppi is required as the viewing distance increases.

            Ian
            Founder/editor
            Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
            Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
            Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
            Olympus camera, lens, and accessory hire (http://e-group.uk.net/hire)
            Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
            Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
            Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

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            • #21
              Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

              The one thing I would like above all else is more dynamic range. Current pixel count is adequate for me, I normally get by on a mere 10.3 Mpx and manage the occasional acceptable A3 print from it. I even have one 8 ft wide as a poster for a forthcoming exhibition but I must admit it needs viewing from a distance!

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              • #22
                Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                Originally posted by mike_j View Post
                The one thing I would like above all else is more dynamic range. Current pixel count is adequate for me, I normally get by on a mere 10.3 Mpx and manage the occasional acceptable A3 print from it. I even have one 8 ft wide as a poster for a forthcoming exhibition but I must admit it needs viewing from a distance!
                8 feet wide?! It would also need viewing from a distance if it was taken on 24mp full frame!
                View my ebook, The Light Fantastic, at: http://store.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/3026...ight-fantastic

                John

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                • #23
                  Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                  Originally posted by Ian View Post
                  200ppi is normally fine for prints. And the larger the print, the lower the ppi is required as the viewing distance increases.

                  Ian
                  I believe Robert Watcher (on FTU) prints professionally at 180ppi. Based on 200ppi and 50% upsizing 12mp would print at 30 inches, whereas 16mp would print at 34˝ inches. That's hardly a difference, is it?
                  View my ebook, The Light Fantastic, at: http://store.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/3026...ight-fantastic

                  John

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                  • #24
                    Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                    No need for more pixels.
                    12mp can give you large quality prints without problems.
                    Largest print I have made was 60x45cm (24x18") using a photo taken with an E600
                    Most of my photos are seen on a screen so 12mp would cover my needs anyhow.
                    I'll prefer improved quality anyday
                    René

                    Cameras : Olympus E-M5, E-520, E-600
                    Lenses : mZD12, mZD45, mZD12-50, ZD35, ZD14-42, ZD40-150, Sigma 70-200

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                    • #25
                      Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                      Originally posted by John Perriment View Post
                      8 feet wide?! It would also need viewing from a distance if it was taken on 24mp full frame!
                      You are right of course and you can't compare posters with fine prints, I was only kidding.

                      But it is interesting that projected images (RPS, club competitions etc) are normally projected 6 or 8 feet wide from 1024 pixels wide x 768 (? for 4/3) and are deemed wholly acceptable until someone puts up a Kodachrome slide on a good 35mm projector.

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                      • #26
                        Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                        All of these discussions of resolution miss the point that the AA filter strength + sensor gives the real resolution of the camera body. This will only be realised by a sufficiently sharp lens that can make use of the camera body. My partner's 21MP 5Dmk2 and my E-5 have virtually the same vertical resolution - taking into account the effect of the AA filter. Talk of 180ppi or some other figure for printing misses this point. In practice, the 21MP 5Dmk2 and the E-5 can produce equally large prints.

                        Andy
                        Olympus E-M1 ZD 7-14 f4, 300 f2.8, PL 25 f1.4D
                        mZuiko 12-40 f2.8 Pro, 60 f2.8, 40-150 f2.8 Pro
                        EC-14, EC-20, HLD-7
                        Metz 58 AF-1&2 , Manfrotto 441, Gimbal Head, Velbon Neopod 74


                        Gallery: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/elliott.aje.andy

                        Website: 361photography.com 361wild.com

                        "Oly_OM" @ e_group

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                        • #27
                          Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                          Originally posted by AndyElliott View Post
                          All of these discussions of resolution miss the point that the AA filter strength + sensor gives the real resolution of the camera body. This will only be realised by a sufficiently sharp lens that can make use of the camera body. My partner's 21MP 5Dmk2 and my E-5 have virtually the same vertical resolution - taking into account the effect of the AA filter. Talk of 180ppi or some other figure for printing misses this point. In practice, the 21MP 5Dmk2 and the E-5 can produce equally large prints.

                          Andy
                          Hi Andy,

                          That's certainly true, it's not the number of pixels that count, it's the quality of those pixels. That's why the jump in quality between the E-3 and E-5 is much more than a mere 2mp would suggest and why I feel increasing the pixels from 12mp to 16mp or whatever is irrelevant. Far better to squeeze even more quality out of the pixels we already have and Olympus seem confident they can do that.
                          View my ebook, The Light Fantastic, at: http://store.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/3026...ight-fantastic

                          John

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                          • #28
                            Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                            Originally posted by Ian View Post
                            Theoretically, as macro work (unless you are image stacking) works with apertures well beyond the diffraction softening threshold, I wouldn't have thought more pixels would be beneficial.

                            Ian
                            Yes Ian I agree, although I try to go no higher than f8, for the more extreme macro objects I often have to go to f11 0r f16 to get the DoF. However with most other wildlife subjects f8 is my max and crops of 50% or more where more pixels could help.

                            David
                            E-M1, Tamron 14-150mm, ED 75-300mm, ED 60mm, FL50R,
                            Canon 7DII, Canon 400mm f5.6L, Sigma 150-600mm Sport, EF 55-250mm, EF 18-55mm, National Geographic Expedition Carbon.

                            "It is better to light a single candle than curse the darkness" - Confucius (551–479 BC)

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                            • #29
                              Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                              I believe Robert Watcher (on FTU) prints professionally at 180ppi.
                              That's true John - - - but not for any other reason than that was the number that gave me the point of diminished returns for smaller sized prints when I was first getting into digital and printing - and so I have stuck with it for print quality that suits me. For larger print sizes the resolution can easily be dropped down to 150 dpi or lower depending on the content.


                              ------------


                              As to the original discussion - - - an E-5 12MP sensor image dimensions are 4032 x 3024 pixels. The Panasonic DMC-GH2 16 MP sensor image dimensions are 4608 x 3456 pixels. On a linear level the 16MP sensor is about 14% larger (in terms of pixel count) as mentioned and will allow a modestly larger print to be made without interpolation - but not that much difference that I'd change cameras expecting to notice a real difference based on maximum print size.

                              Something that few people take into consideration too - when it comes to comparing the Olympus camera smaller and squarer format 4/3 sensor with the larger and wider format APS sensors - - - is that the vertical dimension of say the 16MP GH2, is about the same height as the 18MP 60D, both at 3456 pixels. The 16MP Nikon D7000 dimensions are 4928 x 3264 and so offer fewer vertical pixels than the GH2 does.

                              Now it is subjective as to whether the extra horizontal pixels of the APS will be thrown away or not - - - but if printing standard sized prints or cropping, the 12MP 4/3 sensor with 3024 pixel height - on a pixel to pixel basis is more pixels than Nikon's 12MP D700 at 2,832 pixels high and so the Olympus E-5 technically can produce slightly larger prints without interpolation. In fact just about the same difference as between the 12 MP E-5 and 16 MP D7000. Oh by the way, based on a printing resolution of 300 dpi, the largest non-interpolated print size that can be made with the 25MP Nikon D3x which contains about 25 % more vertical pixels than the 12MP E-5 - is about 13 1/2 x 20 inches - - - and based on numbers alone, it will still need both lower dpi settings and interpolation to get to larger 30 inch print sizes. Just cuz I like math - that is the way I see it.

                              Obviously numbers aren't all there is to the equation as has been mentioned by others. Mind you if a higher MP camera comes along from Olympus while maintaining or improving on the DR and high ISO performance - I'll accept it. But then there is also a down side in that it will also obviously mean larger file sizes to deal with when processing and storing. And so I'm content with what I have or what will be available when this camera breaks down or requires an upgrade.
                              Last edited by Robert Watcher; 29th June 2011, 01:01 PM.
                              INSTAGRAM - @rswpix

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                              • #30
                                Re: More megapixels or stay at 12MP but improve the quality?

                                Originally posted by hschnee View Post
                                And physics dictates that more pixels means a lower diffraction limit--diffraction will limit sharpness at larger apertures than with fewer pixels, thus making one choose between sharpness and depth-of-field.
                                - Hal -
                                That's a very relevant point and one that does need to be kept in mind.

                                Paul
                                GH-3, OM-D, 7-14, 12-35, 35-100, 100-300, 25, 60 macro, 40-150 Pro.

                                RX100

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