Monday, February 25, 2013

Do you really need 24 megapixels and more? I would say yes.


Hi Photographer friends,

My first digital camera was a Sony Mavica with a whooping 1.2 Megapixels. I thought it was wonderful and the pictures were actually looking pretty good on my monitor screen. It wasn't quite as good as film cameras yet, but I imagined the possibilities.
My Second Digital Camera was a Nikon Coolpix 990. It had just a little over 3 Megapixels.  I was able to actually print good 5" x 7" and even ventured to 8" x 10". 
Then, the real revolution started. Every manufacturer was on board. Nikon and Canon took the lead, but I opted for Pentax, since I always used Pentax SLRs and film cameras. My first Pentax DSLR was a Pentax *ist-D with 6.1 Megapixels. I didn't think it could get any better. It looked like a modern 35mm film camera and even used the same lenses, although cropped because of the sensor APS-C size. Now I was printing up to 11" x 14". What else would anyone want or need?

I now shoot with a Pentax K-5 at 16.3 Megapixels, and suddenly I need more Megapixels.  What happened you say? For a while there was talks about the pixel war and it wasn't the number of pixels that was important anymore, it was the quality of the pixels or photosites.  Computers were not really designed to manipulate big files. Nikon recently announced the D-7100 @ 24 Megapixels.  Pentax's next DSLR will probably have 24 Megapixels as they usually use the same Sony sensors as Nikon does.  Yes, the files will be large and yes your computer might have a hard time to keep up. Note that you don't have to save all of the pictures your camera has on it's memory card, to the computer. Just download the good images and further select the very best images on the bigger screen.
The reason I want an ever expanding sensor size in terms of megapixels, is that you can crop the bigger image files and get a really good and printable images. It saves on buying expensive telephoto lenses, and lord knows how expensive they are. With a 24 Megapixels image, you can shoot a bird with a 50mm lens and crop it so that the bird will occupy most of the image, while still being crisp and clear.
Of course the trend is now more pixels but also full frame. That's even better. Bigger sensor and even more pixels. The cropping possibilities are endless. Your lens collection will be possibly reduced in number. Cropping is a good thing. It fixes badly composed pictures. It enables cropping to what a 500mm or 600mm lens would have taken. I know, you will bring the fact that the bokeh is not as good as if taken with a real big telephoto. That's true, but if you have that much invested in digital photography equipment, you already have Photoshop or similar software. I believe that almost everyone retouches their images one way or another. It easy to create the bokeh you want in post-processing.
I don't shoot birds, but I have one example shot with my K-5 with 16.3 Megapixels. Just imagine if the original image would have been from a 24 Megapixels camera.
There you have my opinion...and if you don't like that one, I have others. :)
As always, thanks for reading,
Yvon Bourque
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