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Megapixel vs. glass, technique & PP

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Nexnut, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. Nexnut

    Nexnut TalkEmount Top Veteran

    I just stumbled over an interesting article:

    About Photography: An unfair comparison? -- the Fuji X-E2 vs the Sony A7r

    First let me add that this is not about Sony vs. Fuji or FF vs. APS-C or anything of that sort but simply a more or less meaningful comparison between 16 & 36 MP. The same could be done with Sony vs. Nikon or Ricoh or ... Sony vs. Sony.
    For some reason the author forgot to mention the native linear resolutions of those sensors (Bayer vs. X-Trans notwithstanding, both cameras lack an AA filter)
    (He didn't mention DR, color dynamics, tonality, hi-ISO performance and other factors like crop reserves either, this article deals primarily with linear resolution.)
    Here the A7r has ~23% (x-axis: 6000/4896=1.225) or slightly less than one fourth more pixels ~ theoretically higher resolution than the X-E2 (or any other 16MP 3:2 sensor).
    ~23% - no more - even with the best or theoretical glass.
    (Calculated the other way around: 4896/6000=0,816, the 16MP sensor has 81,6% or only ~18% less pixels on the X-axis, it's almost exactly the same relation on the vertical dimension. Only 18%, less than one fifth less.)
    It goes without saying that the native resolution of those sensors isn't matched by too many available lenses, especially wide open or in the corners, especially on FF. Now add less than perfect shooting technique (handheld vs. tripod), technical issues (shutter shock on the 7r or mirror slap on a DSLR) and OTOH the possibilites we have in PP and it gets clear what the author of that article is trying to point at.
    I could easily afford about any mass-produced Megapixel monster out there but so far haven't felt the need for anything beyond 24MP, but rather feel like maxing out the stuff I already have.

    How about you?
    I feel like playing another round of "What camera has this image been shot with?"
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
  2. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    This is incorrect, the A7R has exactly 50 % more linear resolution, being the square root of 36/16.
     
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  3. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    I am having a lot of fun shooting my a6000 on the 12MP setting in jpg. Aside from cropping, this MP resolution worked very well for me for years on the Canon 5D classic. More MP can be handy for cropping but to get 20+MP resolution, I would need to shoot differently, and as I'm not needing that resolution most of the time, I don't care to try!
     
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  4. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    How do you shoot differently with your A6000 when you shoot at 24MP, WT21?

    I'm not sure that I would ever choose to shoot with less resolution than I have. I guess there's the cost of storage, but that's largely a thing of the past. Not wanting to wait for the buffer to clear, maybe. But it never really occurred to me to take a shot with anything less than all that the camera can provide me.

    Am I misunderstanding what you wrote? :hmmm:
     
  5. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Those factors are so much more valuable to me than linear resolution. So while the author's point seems valid, linear resolution takes a back seat to things like DR and high-ISO capability when I'm looking at my next camera purchase.
     
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  6. Nexnut

    Nexnut TalkEmount Top Veteran

    I stand corrected, Ad, thanks!
    It's 7360 pixels instead of the 6000 I've used. I should have known better, lol, my NEX-7 shoots 6*4k. Either way, with the new pixel count I get your result: 7360/4896 > ~50% higher linear resolution of 36 vs. 16MP.
    Anyway, maybe this horse has been ridden to death already but everytime I get reminded of those relative differences I can't help it but think about how easily the advantages especially of a Hi-Res sensor can get lost due to above mentioned factors.
     
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  7. Nexnut

    Nexnut TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Same here. While I enjoy the 24MP of my NEX-7, I'm absolutely fine with 16MP for most of my stuff but can't have enough DR and detail retention up to ISO 3200 and not to forget - uncompressed RAW files.
     
  8. WT21

    WT21 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    610
    Aug 7, 2011
    I just meant in the context of the article. I don't take enough care to maximize 24MP+ of resolution. I don't usually have IS or IBIS, I don't use tripods, I use sometimes older or lesser lenses, etc.
     
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  9. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    I've noticed a few things in my travels.
    The 18MP of my "casual use" camera is already more than sufficient for the largest prints I intend to make. (The ego-maniac in me would savor the prospect of churning out 4x6' "ultraprints" to the delight of adoring masses - my photo printer maxxes out at 13x19" and even that size is kind of a logistical pain in the butt to store, display and sell. They do look sufficiently impressive from a distance, though... YMMV)
    Even if I were to produce the occasional photo mural, the intent would be for viewers to stand back. (I could care less if some photo nerd discovers some visible aliasing from 6" away with a magnifying glass.)
    To "wow" people with fine detail, for me the real issue is FOCUS. For that purpose I'd take a smartphone capture with the focus nailed over a medium format capture with the focus botched. That is to say, the finest optics and sensor are effectively wasted with a tiny bit of OOF. Looking to my next camera body purchase, my biggest concern is AF reliability in difficult conditions. In terms of IQ, I currently feel as though that is the biggest thorn in my side. That and definitely not the lack of available resolution. (When time permits, as with landscapes or still life, I still like to focus manually to make sure it's done right...)
     
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  10. Mus Aziz

    Mus Aziz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    560
    Sep 3, 2015
    Mus
    I couldn't agree more. These nerds can see the tiny imperfections but totally blind to the whole picture and/or idea.
     
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  11. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Normally, I don't anguish at all about this stuff. I loved shooting my 12MP Canon 5D and Panasonic G2 and my 16MP E-M5 continues to be used.

    Still, at the moment, I'm in the process of selling a print from E-M5 at a size of 36"x48", I'm a little anxious about how it's going to turn out. I've never been in this circumstance at this kind of size and it makes me more than a little nervous. I often wish the image had been taken on my A7's 24MP! It's worse than the stress of shooting a wedding!
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
  12. pbizarro

    pbizarro TalkEmount Veteran

    349
    Nov 24, 2014
    Portugal
    I can't remember where I saw a test the other day, where some people looked at prints. The photographers among them were the ones that immediately zoomed in on the details. So the idea that only the "nerds" pay attention to details is wrong. Any photographer worth his/her salt will pay sometimes obsessive attention to detail, they are perfectionists, just like in any other profession.

    Now, I have said this many times before, any 16mpx camera from, say 3 - 4 years ago to today, from m4/3 to FF sensor, is more than enough for the "masses", including many of us here.

    Also, more mpx is always better, as more resolution is able to resolve more detail. Today, we have 100 mpx MF cameras that are better than anything else (check Phase 1 new back). And yes, it's a jointly developed sensor with Sony:)
     
  13. Mus Aziz

    Mus Aziz TalkEmount Top Veteran

    560
    Sep 3, 2015
    Mus
    If you're referring to what I said about "those nerds," I was merely referring to what Jeff (Jefenator) was saying. And I didn't say only nerds pay attention to detail. I hope I haven't been misunderstood. I agree there are perfectionists in any profession. But it's also important not to miss seeing the whole picture.
     
  14. bmg123

    bmg123 TalkEmount Veteran

    310
    Jan 15, 2013
    England, UK
    Eh, we can argue all day about how much resolution you could one day need but from my personal experience I've halved my working resolution to 12mpx from the NEX-7 to the A7s, and I can say that the A7s takes fundamentally better photos. Resolution is great to have for prints but ignoring the other factors which make up a camera is always a bad road to go down. If it was all about resolution my A7s would be trumped by my Xperia Z5...
     
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  15. rbelyell

    rbelyell TalkEmount Regular

    76
    Jan 18, 2015
    heres how i feel about it: i had a 24mp rx1. the resolution was stunning. i sold it preferring the look + user experience of my 6mp epson rd1 + leica glass. i smile every time i pick up the camera and again every time i view its images.

    the only other camera i consider is the 12mp a7s, for auto focus + unmatched low light ability. i recently read techart is coming out with an autofocus adapter for M lenses on E mount. that would cinch the a7s for me, not mps!
     
  16. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Having thrown the term out there, I should confess that I would include myself in the photo "nerd" category. :rolleyes:
    I've done my share of pixel peeping. It's a good way to scrutinize equipment performance and technique but IMHO it's not the same thing as simply enjoying an image.
     
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  17. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    This.
     
  18. DailyPeaksCO

    DailyPeaksCO Guest

    My view from reading comments and the article; it is our intent in our own photography that is our own, no two alike, mine different from others. My tools, my settings, my glass, my pixels, my sensor, my camera.......all different from others and sometimes we share a few that are the same but we are independently proud of our own intent in our own art. IMHO (just learned what that meant today,-thank you WoodWorks), the author of this post (Nexnut) is not without his own intent as another artist. I appreciate the reading material offered from all posts in these open forums and I appreciate that I get to choose what I decide is Value. Some posts I find little value, some I find more, it all depends on my own intent in my own photography.
    Thank you for the dialogue shared by all of you, for we are a passionate group of the human kind. :drinks:
     
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  19. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    I sort of feel like the way people talk about megapixels today is parallel to the way people used to talk about different film formats and sizes. It used to be that 35mm was always just 35mm and if you wanted more resolution, you needed to upgrade to MF or LF. Now...every few years even though the sensor stays the same size, resolution continues to go up!
     
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  20. Andromeda143

    Andromeda143 TalkEmount Regular

    47
    Dec 19, 2015
    Melbourne, Australia
    Clive Dickinson
    The big advantage to the hi-res sensor for me is that I can use a lightweight prime lens with a decent resolution and then crop as much as I want to get the effect of the zoom.
     
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