How many MPx do you want / need?

Started Aug 1, 2008 | Discussions thread
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jindrich
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How many MPx do you want / need?
Aug 1, 2008

Since SLRs became DSLRs there has been a point of turning tides regarding lifespan and obsolescence of all photo cameras. Where bodies would usually last a decade+ (depending on punishment), they are now obsolete in a year or two by the development of newer sensors, which funnily enough, only help in bringing IQs closer to what film already offered for so long.

But it looks like we're now reaching a point where DSLR's resolutions are already where we want them to be. After all, printing still revolves around the traditional lpi system, with numbers around 85lpi for newspapers and 150lpi for magazines. So, do we really need more pixels?

I'd make 3 groups of users to whom resolution matters in some degree. First, it's consumers and amateurs, for whom resolutions available even years ago are already enough. Second, it's professionals working either in PJ, Sports, Social/Weddings or lower-end Corporate and Editorial markets. To them, 12-16MPx are more than sufficient. Everything above that is not only overkill, but it also messes up the entire work-flow with such huge files, longer processing times and bigger storage requirements.

Third come those professionals working for the higher-end Editorial and Corporate markets as well as Fashion and Advertising. Here, 35mm DSLRs, regardless of how many MPx they sport, simply don't cut it (IQ, DR, lenses) and MFDBs or the traditional LF film cameras are always expected.

All the above means consumers might have enough with 8MPx, 35mm Pros can go with 12-16MPx, and from there, you'd jump to MFDBs, where you happen to find stuff like 22MPx cams from Mamiya or 31MPx ones from Hasselblad, that cost the same or just a bit more (in the EU at least) as higher-end DSLRs like the 1Ds. (50+MPx MFs are much more expensive though).

After all that, I ask myself, do we really need more pixels in DSLR, or is it rather time to ask manufacturers to implement advances in other areas?

In the particular case of Canon, a brand I've used exclusively for so many years, I wonder which future directions it may take, and whether it makes sense anymore, in the PRO camp, things like 1.3x crop cameras, stuffing even more pixels into a future 1Dsmk4, offering an imminent 5Dmk2 (FF) with cut-down features to reach a (consumer oriented) price point (hypothesis), and pushing the DSLR update path further and further.

Given the product philoshophies and offerings from all manufacturers in the last couple of years (bodies, lenses, flashes, features, customer service and PR fiasco denials), I now see Canon only caring for the shareholder, whereas it is Nikon and Hasselblad those brands currently listening to photographers.

For example Nikon's D3/D700 (along with all the new lenses) look like all the camera a 35mm professional would ever need for many years (remember lpi). Likewise happens with the Hassy H3DII, specially the one with 31MPx, when more resolution and DR is needed.

Anyway, Photokina is around the corner. I dont want more pixels (in the 135 format), but solid features and loaded bodies that last for many years.

And you?

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