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resolution question
Good Morning from Sunny Calgary,.

My question is about resolution. I'm in the market for a new Nikon dSLR, although I'll probably wait until the Spring to see what new models come out. I'd like to stay with Nikon because I already have an F80 with a couple of lenses. I also have a Panasonic FZ-18..

What matters to me most is the ability to blow up good photos to a large size, poster size on occasion. Photos will be almost all either close-up/macro or portrait. Don't care about fps, start-up speed, or some other things important to others. I'm not in a hurry. Inside photos will be appropriately lit..

I've always thought that the most important thing was the pixel count in the primary photo (and camera potential). But I'm learning that I will need good software to blow up images anyway. I always thought intuitively that a very fine-grained end result where you could stand up close to the final framed photo and not see any jaggies, came from the camera with the highest pixel count. But maybe I'm confused here. If good software can "smear" lesser pixel count photos or photos from a lesser pixel count camera to achieve beautiful fine-grained photos at the end then maybe I'm fixated on the wrong thing..

So if these are my goals, see above, what do I look for in my new Nikon? What is most important? And is it not how many pixels the camera offers? And I'm also open to suggestions from the Nikon line. Budget is maximum 2500$ for the body..

Thanks..

Comments (20)

This post will trigger a landslide of comments. .

Cgquilter wrote:.

Good Morning from Sunny Calgary,.

My question is about resolution....

...What matters to me most is the ability to blow up good photos to alarge size, poster size on occasion....

...I always thoughtintuitively that a very fine-grained end result where you could standup close to the final framed photo and not see any jaggies, came fromthe camera with the highest pixel count. But maybe I'm confusedhere..

Here are my rules (lots of people think I'm right)..

Here are the "rules" for buying a camera:.

1. Buy the biggest piece of Silicon (sensor) you can afford.2. Buy the FEWEST number of pixels you can put up with.3. Buy the best lens(es) that you can afford.4. Buy the cheapest body you can put up with.5. Buy a camera that fits your hands.6.

Read the @#$%ing manual anyway!8. Ignore your friends advice..

9. Find new friends who like you for something other than the brand of camera you use..

For your quest, stop reading after #4....

Note that after far too many years, dpr has FINALLY decided to address the problem of too many pixels...they recently started computing "Pixel Density", expressed as pixels per unit area. I have yet to find it in a review? This is a good step, but it would be better to just state what the photosite area is. The problem with Pixel Density is that it's an upside-down number (bigger numbers = smaller IQ). Marketing heads LOVE upside-down numbers...they put them on the outside of the box in big red letters: "14.7MP"! Sorry, got carried away....

High IQ is a result of excellent optics coupled to a sensor with size and pixels in balance. The solution is to educate customers to this fact! We can't expect manufacturers to throttle their Marketing Departments (as long as they are getting customers to buy the product). We can't expect review firms to play don Quixote and get the windmills to start giving customers the truth. We can't expect standards organizations (which are run by the manufacturers) to help with this issue. No, It's up to you to become more knowledgeable..

The number of pixels is only a part (small) of what's required for high IQ..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #1

First off I want to thank you for actually knowing what you want to do with the camera before you buy it. That is rare!!.

Based on what you have said I think sticking with Nikon makes a good deal of sense. Given your budget I would look at the D300. It is in my opinion the best bar none camera in the price range. It's sensor is large enough to give excellent IQ and also large enough to allow large blow ups or small crops and prints depending on you desires. High ISO performance is excellent..

You can easily get the body for around 1600 now from reputable dealers. That leaves you about 1000 for an additional lens and or accessories..

Good luck..

JimOlympus E-510 and a bunch of stuff to hang on it...

Comment #2

The marketing dept of a camera maker would love you to believe that the number of mps is THE important factor. that is how they sell more cameras every yr with the only dsifference being the pixel count. what is not being said, and is of major importance to the image, is the quality of the finished image the camera is generating. and pixel count is only 1 of the items responsible for the quality..

In simple tems if all else remains a constant the following occurs- as the pixel count goes up so does the noise. in recent yrs the p&s cameras are going up in pixel count but the noise is rising just as fast. take a look at some of the reviews comparing 6,8,10,12 mp count p&s and look at the images in the higher isos, they are all but unusable. some are totally unusable..

For the dslrs it is not as bad, but in many cameras the high iso images are really not good for large enlargements without using a noise reduction software. in my dslr bought 4+ yrs ago, a 6mp dslr, the image at 800iso is just as good as 200iso, the base. even the 1600iso is only slightly degraded with noise. but cleans up very nicely with software. the pic below is a iso 1600 image..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

In very simple terms do not get to carried away with the mp race. in comparing dslrs think about other features abilities and lenses. the body you buy today you will not have in 5yrs. but the lenses you buy you will. and those lenses will have to work into the future..

As for features among dslrs, which do you really think you will use even in your wildest picture taking? the idea is do not pay many hundreds of dollars for a feature that you will use 2-3 times. there is probably a technique or getaround that will let you take the pic without paying the dollars up front. my dslr has a continous fps of 3, which is only far by todays standards. am I upset, no. I have used comtinous shooting exactly twice in about 50months. once when I got the camera and the other time about 2 1/2 yrs ago.

But for someone else it may be very important..

So buy the features and abiliities that are for you. not the reviewer or someone else. and do not get overenthused over mps, look instead for the overall quality of the images at all isos and shot under all shooting conditions..

ANY DSLR that has 10mps or more will make any enlargement that you or I will ever want to make. with my 6mp dslr, I have printed many very good or excellant 16x20 and 20x30 enlargements. and that is with 6mps...

Comment #3

I googled this for you..

Http://duggmirror.com/...ompared_Megapixel_Chart_explains_the_Megapixel_Myth/.

It depends on what size you plan on printing and what DPI you find acceptable for viewing..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #4

That website says that, "to make a true photo quality 16" x 20" print, you need between 24 and 30 megapixels. Don't be fooled by manufacturers' claims that say you can make 16" x 20" prints from an 8 megapixel camera. While you certainly can make a print that size, it will not be true photo quality.".

OK, but can't I up the file size with software? I mean, I don't need a 25 megapixel *camera* to make a decent 25 megapixel (16" X 20") final print, right?..

Comment #5

I wish BA B had not shown you that site. The author took a VERY simplistic approach to this issue. In addition to the quote you snipped (below), there was this:.

"If you are not publishing your images in a book or magazine, and you're just making prints for yourself or your friends, you can "cheat". Good quality inkjet printers can make a nice looking print at 250 or 200ppi.".

I'd say that most people are quite happy with 150 DPI for large prints!.

Have you ever wondered how many pixels are required to produce a big sign or "billboard"? These suckers measure about 14 by 48 feet! That's 168 x 576 inches. If you print one of these at 300 DPI, you'd require 172,800 pixels horizontally. At a 2:3 aspect ratio, that would be 115,200 pixels vertically in an image from a dSLR camera. Do the math: that's 19906560000 pixels...19,906 MP!.

In spite of this impossibility, we sometimes see rather nice images as we drive by..

The truth is that you don't really need many pixels in those billboard signs, because they are viewed from a far distance; they need only a few BIG pixels!.

I found by Googling "billboard dpi" that:.

"Did you know that the average size of a billboard is 14 feet in height by 48 feet in length and that the resolutions of a billboard print ranges between 2 to 20 dots per inch (DPI)?".

Http://www.signindustry.com/...tdoor/articles/2001-03-19-viewingDistance.php3.

So, taking this new knowledge, a 14' x 48' billboard only has 387,072 to 38,707,200 total pixels. This resolution is what common cameras produce! Gosh...whoda thunk?.

One lesson to be learned is that people who know 4th grade math but have no knowledge about the real world make silly mistakes. This error has been explored hundreds of times here on dpr. Still, people don't read old posts...they just ask "new" questions, not knowling or wondering whether others have asked the same question before or what the answer was. Please don't take this as harsh criticism...it's the way people are..

To answer your question, a 10MP camera can print any size picture you want, if you and other observers are satisfied to stand at a reasonable distance to view it. A big print should be mounted and placed on a wall with a piece of furniture positioned to keep noses, fingers, and eyes away..

There are many techniques that "up-rez" pix so that the pixels are hidden, but they DON'T increase the resolution..

Making big prints is an ART. It takes a lot of knowledge and skill. For example, you should remove noise, then up-rez, then sharpen...no other sequence works as well. And it takes some experience to know how much sharpening is right for any specific size. If you don't know or have the time and $$ to experiment printing in large formats, you can hire professionals who DO know how to do that. Give them your digital negative and ask for the best X by Y size print they can produce.



Cgquilter wrote:.

That website says that, "to make a true photo quality 16" x 20"print, you need between 24 and 30 megapixels. Don't be fooled bymanufacturers' claims that say you can make 16" x 20" prints from an8 megapixel camera. While you certainly can make a print that size,it will not be true photo quality.".

OK, but can't I up the file size with software? I mean, I don't needa 25 megapixel *camera* to make a decent 25 megapixel (16" X 20")final print, right?.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #6

Bet you never thought you'ld see me put that in writing!!!. I have an OLY 510 which is a 4/3 camera of 10.1 MP. I have excellent quality prints hanging on my wall at 16x20 from this camera. And that is not simply my opinion I have entered the prints in competition at our Camera Club and won more then once..

I wouldn't try to do it with a 5MP camera but 10-12 you will not have any problem at all if you get them done at a quality print shop and you are not trying to do large crops before you do the poster..

Jim.

Olympus E-510 and a bunch of stuff to hang on it...

Comment #7

I tend to agree a 6 MP SLR with a good lens and technique is sufficient for printing in the consumer or enthusiast space..

Here's and example of a 6 MP Pentax K100d, a 43mm ltd lens, a tripod built for a heavier camera, mirror lockup, remote release, lens hood, no filter. Shot in raw. A slight amount of sharpening was applied in post processing..

A webshot at the size reproduced here is not sufficient data to judge. See the link below the inline image to view the original..

It's not a good photograph but it does make a point about rendering detail..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Link to full size:http://www.pbase.com/mrxdimension/image/100762350/original.

PS: To chuxter and maddog, you guys are right except when I am  I think we pretty much agree on this one...

Comment #8

Cgquilter wrote:.

What matters to me most is the ability to blow up good photos to alarge size, poster size on occasion. Photos will be almost alleither close-up/macro or portrait. Don't care about fps, start-up.

I've always thought that the most important thing was the pixel countin the primary photo (and camera potential). But I'm learning that I.

Starting with a good source upstream is always worthwhile. However pixel count is blurred by pixel density - see DPR new features on this statistic..

Actually, great enlargements depend on your established CoC - Circle of Confusion - that means you need good lenses - your Nikon lenses are fine but they will change angle of view if you mount them on anything less than a D3 or a D700..

Will need good software to blow up images anyway. I always thoughtintuitively that a very fine-grained end result where you could standup close to the final framed photo and not see any jaggies, came from.

You cannot stand up close to a full framed photo and enjoy quality..

1. You can't see the whole photo if you stand too close. You become a pixel peeper..

2. When you stand too up close, you see the dots, any dots..

The camera with the highest pixel count. But maybe I'm confusedhere. If good software can "smear" lesser pixel count photos orphotos from a lesser pixel count camera to achieve beautifulfine-grained photos at the end then maybe I'm fixated on the wrongthing..

It's a software world. Software can interpolate a bunch of dots to make more dots..

So if these are my goals, see above, what do I look for in my newNikon? What is most important? And is it not how many pixels thecamera offers? And I'm also open to suggestions from the Nikon line.Budget is maximum 2500$ for the body..

Make sure you have the right lenses.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Anandahttp://anandasim.blogspot.com/http://olympuse510.wikispaces.com/http://picasaweb.google.com/AnandaSim/http://www.flickr.com/photos/32554587@N00/..

Comment #9

Chuck's was the "Posting of the Year" in my opinion.. Regards,Baz..

Comment #10

Barrie Davis wrote:.

Chuck's was the "Posting of the Year" in my opinion.. .

Thanks. Hmmm...I may have to go back and read what I wrote? .

BTW, I spell it "Chux" which IS posessive....

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #11

Cgquilter wrote:.

Good Morning from Sunny Calgary,.

My question is about resolution. I'm in the market for a new NikondSLR, although I'll probably wait until the Spring to see what newmodels come out. I'd like to stay with Nikon because I already havean F80 with a couple of lenses. I also have a Panasonic FZ-18..

What matters to me most is the ability to blow up good photos to alarge size, poster size on occasion. Photos will be almost alleither close-up/macro or portrait. Don't care about fps, start-upspeed, or some other things important to others. I'm not in a hurry.Inside photos will be appropriately lit..

I've always thought that the most important thing was the pixel countin the primary photo (and camera potential). But I'm learning that Iwill need good software to blow up images anyway. I always thoughtintuitively that a very fine-grained end result where you could standup close to the final framed photo and not see any jaggies, came fromthe camera with the highest pixel count. But maybe I'm confusedhere. If good software can "smear" lesser pixel count photos orphotos from a lesser pixel count camera to achieve beautifulfine-grained photos at the end then maybe I'm fixated on the wrongthing..

So if these are my goals, see above, what do I look for in my newNikon? What is most important? And is it not how many pixels thecamera offers? And I'm also open to suggestions from the Nikon line.Budget is maximum 2500$ for the body..

Thanks.

It is widely expected that the Nikon D80 will be replaced with something much like the D300 in a smaller body. I suspect you'll have two issues reusing the lenses you already have: First, they likely won't be sharp enough to fully utilize the resolution of a 10 or 12 MP camera. Second, they likely won't give you useful wide angle on a crop-sensor camera..

If you have $2500 for the body and your goal is very large prints, you might also consider the Canon 5D. It's only a little more than a Nikon D300, and while they're both 12 MP, the 5D has a full-frame sensor. Combined with an L lens, it offers the best IQ possible short of the way more expensive Canon 1DsMkIII or medium format..

So, while the D300 is, at the present, the ultimate crop-sensor camera, it can't offer the image quality at large magnifications that the 5D does. It is faster to use than a 5D, which is why it is very popular for sports and weddings...

Comment #12

Chuxter wrote:.

Barrie Davis wrote:.

Chuck's was the "Posting of the Year" in my opinion.. .

Thanks. Hmmm...I may have to go back and read what I wrote? .

BTW, I spell it "Chux" which IS posessive....

Yes. I suppose it is.. Regards,Baz..

Comment #13

I think you may be right about the lenses. However, moving to Canon from Nikon may feel like getting divorced, EEEeeeeekkkk. I'm going to ask a question about that in a new thread. In the meantime, is there any chance of Nikon coming out with a full-frame sensor camera in the 2K to 3K mark, anytime soon?.

I'm very grateful for all the kind responses. I've really learned a lot here..

CG..

Comment #14

GaryDeM wrote:.

Nikon already has. it is the d700..

$2999, but what a camera. Same sensor as the D3. D300 body...

Comment #15

Greg Nut wrote:.

It is widely expected that the Nikon D80 will be replaced withsomething much like the D300 in a smaller body. I suspect you'llhave two issues reusing the lenses you already have: First, theylikely won't be sharp enough to fully utilize the resolution of a 10or 12 MP camera. Second, they likely won't give you useful wideangle on a crop-sensor camera..

Well, Cynthia didn't tell us what 2 lenses she has, so it's hard to know if they will work well with a fuuture dSLR purchase. Cynthia?.

If you have $2500 for the body and your goal is very large prints,you might also consider the Canon 5D. It's only a little more than aNikon D300, and while they're both 12 MP, the 5D has a full-framesensor. Combined with an L lens, it offers the best IQ possibleshort of the way more expensive Canon 1DsMkIII or medium format..

I thought about suggesting the 5D, but I really think the D300 is a better choice for her. At $1600 vs $2000, plus starting over with lenses makes the 5D a tough sell..

So, while the D300 is, at the present, the ultimate crop-sensorcamera, it can't offer the image quality at large magnifications thatthe 5D does. It is faster to use than a 5D, which is why it is verypopular for sports and weddings..

The 5D is a pretty stripped down model...lacks a lot of the modern features that other cameras have. It's what, a 10D that has been hot-rodded with a bigger motor?.

If I understand Cynthia's primary concern, it's resolution. The 5D doesn't excel at high rez...no, it excels at low noise. I don't see that as one of her issues. She takes pix of kids, dogs, flowers and plants (she said in a private e-mail). None of these need extreme low noise capabilities..

I believe that in good light, the D300, 5D, and D3 all have comparable IQ. Since they are all 12 MP models, their ability to produce B I G prints is essentially the same..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #16

Chuxter wrote:.

Well, Cynthia didn't tell us what 2 lenses she has, so it's hard toknow if they will work well with a fuuture dSLR purchase. Cynthia?.

Hi you'all. The lens on it (excuse me while I blow off the cobwebs) is AF NIKKOR 28-105mm 1:3.5-4.5D. The other lens, sorry, it's in storage. I think it's a slightly longer focal length, small zoom, up to about 200mm..

If I understand Cynthia's primary concern, it's resolution. The 5Ddoesn't excel at high rez...no, it excels at low noise. I don't seethat as one of her issues. She takes pix of kids, dogs, flowers andplants (she said in a private e-mail). None of these need extreme lownoise capabilities..

Chux is right it's resolution. I'm not worried about noise. IQ of still life...

Comment #17

Cgquilter wrote:.

Chuxter wrote:.

Well, Cynthia didn't tell us what 2 lenses she has, so it's hard toknow if they will work well with a fuuture dSLR purchase. Cynthia?.

Hi you'all. The lens on it (excuse me while I blow off the cobwebs)is AF NIKKOR 28-105mm 1:3.5-4.5D. The other lens, sorry, it's instorage. I think it's a slightly longer focal length, small zoom, upto about 200mm..

If I understand Cynthia's primary concern, it's resolution. The 5Ddoesn't excel at high rez...no, it excels at low noise. I don't seethat as one of her issues. She takes pix of kids, dogs, flowers andplants (she said in a private e-mail). None of these need extreme lownoise capabilities..

Chux is right it's resolution. I'm not worried about noise. IQ ofstill life..

The 5D has the same resolution as the D300 or, for that matter, the XSi. Buuuuut, the sensor makes lenses 60% sharper. It does expose edge flaws, making the use of primes and/or L lenses essential..

It also has incredibly low noise, and narrower DOF. The latter could be good or bad, depending on the situation..

I know Ken Rockwell isn't universally loved here, but he is a Nikon fan, and here's his take:http://www.kenrockwell.com/canon/5d.htm..

Comment #18

Barrie Davis wrote:.

Chuxter wrote:.

Barrie Davis wrote:.

Chuck's was the "Posting of the Year" in my opinion.. .

Thanks. Hmmm...I may have to go back and read what I wrote? .

BTW, I spell it "Chux" which IS posessive....

Yes. I suppose it is.. Regards,Baz.

Huh? "Chux'" is possessive. "Chux" is not (Hard to see the single quote next to the double quote). Oh well, this is a photo forum, not an English forum, and Baz gets an A to go with Chuxter's A+.Leonard Migliore..

Comment #19

Leonard Migliore wrote:.

Huh? "Chux'" is possessive. "Chux" is not (Hard to see the singlequote next to the double quote). Oh well, this is a photo forum, notan English forum, and Baz gets an A to go with Chuxter's A+..

Thanks Lenoard!.

Chucks => Chuck's => Chux [they all sound the same].

You've heard of "new math"? Well, this is new English... .

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #20

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