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What's Lost in Dialing Down Pixels
With ever an increasing megapixel count and complaints about trying to crowd too many pixels into a small sensor, is there any advantage in reducing the pixel setting?.

I have a Canon A650 IS with 12.1 megapixels. I do not need to make large prints, but on occasion do crop sections out of a photo..

What do I lose if I go from the L setting (4000 x 3000 pixels) to M2 (2592 x 1944 pixels) besides size?.

Do I gain anything in quality?..

Comments (9)

You will lose resolution and details. You will gain nothing save for a smaller file size. There is very little point in doing it..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #1

Chris Elliott wrote:.

You will lose resolution and details. You will gain nothing save fora smaller file size. There is very little point in doing it..

Chris Elliott.

I don't have a technical answer but most applications throw away excess 'pixels'. The computer culls the pixels when you view a slide show. Your printer software does the same thing when you print a 4X6 from a 12 meg sensor..

I cannot tell the difference between an image shot at screen resolution size or at 12 meg in a slide show. I also can't find a practical difference between small res and high res captures when printing 4X6 images..

After a point the mega-pixels are only for cropping. If you have the glass to frame your image then megapixels are more hassle than useful..

REd..

Comment #2

Red13 wrote:.

After a point the mega-pixels are only for cropping. If you have theglass to frame your image then megapixels are more hassle than useful..

Absolutely true, if you're interests revolve around web & email sized images and 4x6 prints. For these sizes, 3 megapixels are more than plenty..

If larger prints are a possiblity, or if you just want to "future proof" your photos for the day when monitor resolutions are much higher, etc. it can make good sense to just shoot at whatever resolution the camera is capable of, and then downsize as needed in post processing, but everyones needs are different which is why it's good to have a choice..

'Here, look at the monkey. Look at the silly monkey!'.

Tom Younghttp://www.pbase.com/tyoung/..

Comment #3

Red13 wrote:.

I don't have a technical answer but most applications throw away excess 'pixels'. The computer culls the pixels when you view a slide show. Your printer software does the same thing when you print a 4X6 from a 12 meg sensor..

Wrong. It interpolates to produce the screen or print size you want. The more information it has to start with the more accurate the interpolation and the final result..

...After a point the mega-pixels are only for cropping. If you have theglass to frame your image then megapixels are more hassle than useful..

So why buy the 12 Mpixel camera in the first place?!!.

If this is such an important function why is there not a single review anywhere that tests how cameras behave in such circumstances?.

The Bayer pattern interpolation and jpeg algorithms needed to achieve the best output are constantly the subject of refinement. Do you think that lower resolutions are subject to the same intensive improvement?.

Of course 12 Mpixel is unnecessary for a P & S camera but the final image is geared to the use of all those pixels with lots of bluring to reduce noise etc etc. Who knows what a lower resolution is geared towards?.

By all means reduce the resolution in post processing if you must but do at least preserve the original information..

P.S. What is proposed is a bit like buying a sports car with 5 manual gears but never using top gear! Of course I would argue you never needed 12 Mpixel on a CCD the size of a child's fingernail in the first place but now you have got them use them or sell the camera!Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #4

This discussion is going on in another thread....

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1002&message=26187374.

Best wishesMike..

Comment #5

Thanks so much everyone! Very helpful..

Continuing the sports car analogy.5 gears also has to do with optimum ratios for the other four. I especially appreciate your point about how the camera is geared to process those pixels and is optimized for 12.1. When I change my laptops LCD to a lower (or higher) setting than it's particular native resolution, clarity suffers disproportionately...

Comment #6

Mike703 wrote:.

This discussion is going on in another thread....

Only one other!!.

Whilst we agree in our conclusions Mike I notice that the link you give was last updated January 2005!.

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #7

Do yourself a favor for the holidays. Pick 3 of your best pictures. Either upload or take your chip to Costco. For under 10 bucks you can have 11x14 prints. I will bet you appreciate the 12 mpix...

Comment #8

Chris Elliott wrote:.

Red13 wrote:.

I don't have a technical answer but most applications throw away excess 'pixels'. The computer culls the pixels when you view a slide show. Your printer software does the same thing when you print a 4X6 from a 12 meg sensor..

Wrong. It interpolates to produce the screen or print size you want.The more information it has to start with the more accurate theinterpolation and the final result..

Thanks for the details. I don't understand how these things operate at a base level. To me much of what happens seems more like magic than science..

...After a point the mega-pixels are only for cropping. If you have theglass to frame your image then megapixels are more hassle than useful..

So why buy the 12 Mpixel camera in the first place?!!.

I asked myself that very question. I sold my DX2 after working with another photographer who always shoots sizes that match her expected output. In practical situations it was difficult to tell the difference in the output..

She proved low res images to me by capturing images at various resolutions and asking me to pick which 4X6 was high res and which was low res. I couldn't do it. As a practical as opposed to a theoretical photographer I didn't use a loupe to look at the photos..

Try it yourself, maybe things have changed in the last couple of years. Let me know if the people you ask can tell the difference..

The advantages of smaller files have diminished the last couple of years. Hard drives are cheaper and computers are faster making large files easier to process..

REd..

Comment #9

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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