Pixels -- what's better for landscapes?

Started Apr 28, 2012 | Discussions
jon404
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Pixels -- what's better for landscapes?
Apr 28, 2012

What's better for landscape photography -- where you want to have really sharp pictures of scenes that have lots of tiny details?

Given sensors of the same size, is a better to have lots of smaller pixels -- or less, but larger, pixels?

Would appreciate advice about this. I don't know how to evaluate cameras for landscape pictures, beyond trying to get a sharp lens.

Am also aware that technology is fast-moving, and hope that I'm asking the right question!

MaxIso
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Re: Pixels -- what's better for landscapes?
In reply to jon404, Apr 28, 2012

jon404 wrote:

What's better for landscape photography -- where you want to have really sharp pictures of scenes that have lots of tiny details?

Given sensors of the same size, is a better to have lots of smaller pixels -- or less, but larger, pixels?

Would appreciate advice about this. I don't know how to evaluate cameras for landscape pictures, beyond trying to get a sharp lens.

Am also aware that technology is fast-moving, and hope that I'm asking the right question!

okie. most r going to say they need more info, but ill keep it fairly simple and give some answers u can choose from okay? most websites rate IQ based on dynamic range, color depth, and ISO performance. ISO performance shouldnt b quite as big for u, as most landscaping is non motion shooting, which means u can just shoot low iso and take longer exposures. also frame stacking in PP can help reduce noise if need be. poor dynamic range can also b overcome by using bracketing, of course only with static subjects. so id recommend u make sure u get good color depth as its harder to make up for a lack in this area. something else that makes a difference is making sure u get good sharp focus, from a good lens. soft focus can ruin the best framed photo. as far as resolution on equal sensor sizes, huge pixel counts will help if u r going to b cropping, or printing huge. an 8mp can print an 8x10 sharp, so any 16 or 18mp will b way more than enough if u r just printing normal sizes. id say look into each camera to find what features they have that u may like. landscaping is a bit easier on the hardware bc of the tricks u can do with motionless photos. low light portraits or sports r much less forgiving and require more cash. also im leaning towards weather sealing for my next purchase, as i like to shoot outdoors, not sure how important that is for u. a couple decent cameras that r weather sealed, pentax k5, nikon D7000, canon 7D. K5 is one of the best value cameras u can buy, and its ranked the #1 apsc camera for IQ, although pentax doesnt offer as many zoom lenses as other brands. if u need more info just ask. this website is one of the best for just looking at specs, ive spent hours memorizing stuff here. http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Camera-Sensor-Ratings

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Leonard Migliore
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Gimme pixels
In reply to MaxIso, Apr 28, 2012

MaxIso wrote:

jon404 wrote:

What's better for landscape photography -- where you want to have really sharp pictures of scenes that have lots of tiny details?

Given sensors of the same size, is a better to have lots of smaller pixels -- or less, but larger, pixels?

Would appreciate advice about this. I don't know how to evaluate cameras for landscape pictures, beyond trying to get a sharp lens.

Am also aware that technology is fast-moving, and hope that I'm asking the right question!

okie. most r going to say they need more info, but ill keep it fairly simple and give some answers u can choose from okay? most websites rate IQ based on dynamic range, color depth, and ISO performance. ISO performance shouldnt b quite as big for u, as most landscaping is non motion shooting, which means u can just shoot low iso and take longer exposures. also frame stacking in PP can help reduce noise if need be. poor dynamic range can also b overcome by using bracketing, of course only with static subjects. so id recommend u make sure u get good color depth as its harder to make up for a lack in this area. something else that makes a difference is making sure u get good sharp focus, from a good lens. soft focus can ruin the best framed photo. as far as resolution on equal sensor sizes, huge pixel counts will help if u r going to b cropping, or printing huge. an 8mp can print an 8x10 sharp, so any 16 or 18mp will b way more than enough if u r just printing normal sizes. id say look into each camera to find what features they have that u may like. landscaping is a bit easier on the hardware bc of the tricks u can do with motionless photos. low light portraits or sports r much less forgiving and require more cash. also im leaning towards weather sealing for my next purchase, as i like to shoot outdoors, not sure how important that is for u. a couple decent cameras that r weather sealed, pentax k5, nikon D7000, canon 7D. K5 is one of the best value cameras u can buy, and its ranked the #1 apsc camera for IQ, although pentax doesnt offer as many zoom lenses as other brands. if u need more info just ask. this website is one of the best for just looking at specs, ive spent hours memorizing stuff here. http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Camera-Sensor-Ratings

Oh, Max, that stream of consciousness stuff is so hard to handle what with texting shortcuts and no paragraphs. Give us readers a break.

For landscapes, I would go with pixels and more pixels. And I'd go with lenses that put sharp images on those pixels. You don't need high ISO and, as Max noted somewhere in his stream, you can bracket if the camera's DR isn't enough.
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Deleted1929
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Forget the details
In reply to jon404, Apr 28, 2012

For reasons I've never understood "landscape" has become somehow has "detail" bolted on to it.

People, IMO, obsess about details and pixels when the best landscapes I've seen are exactly like all the other great images I've seen - great when viewed as a whole image, not as a bunch of pixels where I can make out individual blades of grass ( or whatever ).

You want great landscapes ? Concentrate on the composition and lighting and technical aspects of shooting and processing that enhance the image as a whole .

Hint : the first thing people do when they see a landscape shot is not rush over and start peaking at details with a magnifying glass. The thing that sticks in their minds is the overall image .

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Hugowolf
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Re: Gimme pixels
In reply to Leonard Migliore, Apr 28, 2012

Leonard Migliore wrote:

MaxIso wrote:

jon404 wrote:

What's better for landscape photography -- where you want to have really sharp pictures of scenes that have lots of tiny details?

Given sensors of the same size, is a better to have lots of smaller pixels -- or less, but larger, pixels?

Would appreciate advice about this. I don't know how to evaluate cameras for landscape pictures, beyond trying to get a sharp lens.

Am also aware that technology is fast-moving, and hope that I'm asking the right question!

okie. most r going to say they need more info, …

Oh, Max, that stream of consciousness stuff is so hard to handle what with texting shortcuts and no paragraphs. Give us readers a break.

For landscapes, I would go with pixels and more pixels. And I'd go with lenses that put sharp images on those pixels. You don't need high ISO and, as Max noted somewhere in his stream, you can bracket if the camera's DR isn't enough.

Not only for landscapes, but also for architecture and most studio situations, including fashion, products, art repro, and macro. Where fewer, ‘better’ pixels really come into play are for general photography, photo journalism, events (like concerts, weddings, and convention coverage), sports, and snaps.

Brian A

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JulesJ
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Re: Pixels -- what's better for landscapes?
In reply to MaxIso, Apr 28, 2012

MaxIso wrote:

jon404 wrote:

What's better for landscape photography -- where you want to have really sharp pictures of scenes that have lots of tiny details?

Given sensors of the same size, is a better to have lots of smaller pixels -- or less, but larger, pixels?

Would appreciate advice about this. I don't know how to evaluate cameras for landscape pictures, beyond trying to get a sharp lens.

Am also aware that technology is fast-moving, and hope that I'm asking the right question!

okie. most r going to say they need more info, but ill keep it fairly simple and give some answers u can choose from okay? most websites rate IQ based on dynamic range, color depth, and ISO performance. ISO performance shouldnt b quite as big for u, as most landscaping is non motion shooting, which means u can just shoot low iso and take longer exposures. also frame stacking in PP can help reduce noise if need be. poor dynamic range can also b overcome by using bracketing, of course only with static subjects. so id recommend u make sure u get good color depth as its harder to make up for a lack in this area. something else that makes a difference is making sure u get good sharp focus, from a good lens. soft focus can ruin the best framed photo. as far as resolution on equal sensor sizes, huge pixel counts will help if u r going to b cropping, or printing huge. an 8mp can print an 8x10 sharp, so any 16 or 18mp will b way more than enough if u r just printing normal sizes. id say look into each camera to find what features they have that u may like. landscaping is a bit easier on the hardware bc of the tricks u can do with motionless photos. low light portraits or sports r much less forgiving and require more cash. also im leaning towards weather sealing for my next purchase, as i like to shoot outdoors, not sure how important that is for u. a couple decent cameras that r weather sealed, pentax k5, nikon D7000, canon 7D. K5 is one of the best value cameras u can buy, and its ranked the #1 apsc camera for IQ, although pentax doesnt offer as many zoom lenses as other brands. if u need more info just ask. this website is one of the best for just looking at specs, ive spent hours memorizing stuff here. http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Camera-Sensor-Ratings

Agree, too difficult to read, don't you have are turn key? Caps key? They are there for a reason.
Jules

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MaxIso
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Re: Pixels -- what's better for landscapes?
In reply to JulesJ, Apr 28, 2012

Ahh the spelling Nazis are out. Well look at that, I didn't use improper punctuation for this post.

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jon404
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Re: Pixels -- what's better for landscapes?
In reply to MaxIso, Apr 28, 2012

Well, I don't mind a bit, Maxiso. Lots of good advice in your post.

Now, next thing. Following what you said, if I bought a new Nikon D3200, what lens do you think would be best for landscape photography? With all those pixels, I don't care so much about zoom... I can crop if need be. Is there an excellent prime lens that you would recommend? They say 43mm equiv is supposed to be the same as our normal field of view, but I think I'd prefer 35mm equiv. Any ideas?

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Doug J
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Re: Pixels -- what's better for landscapes?
In reply to MaxIso, Apr 28, 2012

MaxIso wrote:

Ahh the spelling Nazis are out. Well look at that, I didn't use improper punctuation for this post.

Spelling Nazis? Try a bit of punctuation, structure & grammar so we common folk can read what was posted.

Cheers,
Doug
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Doug J
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Re: Pixels -- what's better for landscapes?
In reply to jon404, Apr 28, 2012

jon404 wrote:

What's better for landscape photography -- where you want to have really sharp pictures of scenes that have lots of tiny details?

Given sensors of the same size, is a better to have lots of smaller pixels -- or less, but larger, pixels?

Would appreciate advice about this. I don't know how to evaluate cameras for landscape pictures, beyond trying to get a sharp lens.

Am also aware that technology is fast-moving, and hope that I'm asking the right question!

The intended output determines the amount of detail you need and the pixels to produce the detail. How large will you print?

Cheers,
Doug
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Jack Hogan
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Gimme glass
In reply to Leonard Migliore, Apr 28, 2012

Leonard Migliore wrote:

For landscapes, I would go with pixels and more pixels. And I'd go with lenses that put sharp images on those pixels. You don't need high ISO and, as Max noted somewhere in his stream, you can bracket if the camera's DR isn't enough.

+1 but I will add that you can also bracket for improved resolution, noise and DOF - as in stitching together or stacking several lower resolution images. If you follow that train of thought to its logical conclusion you eventually realize that, if tripods and bracketing are not an issue for you, all that really matters is a good lens - the camera body, whether FF, APS-C or whatever, is just a nice to have as long as it has a manual mode and it shoots raw.

Otherwise, if you are like the rest of us and/or you can afford it, the goto DSLR for landscapes today is a D800.

Cheers
Jack

PS On resolution, you may find this interesting: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1021&message=41345901

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jon404
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Re: Pixels -- what's better for landscapes?
In reply to Doug J, Apr 28, 2012

11 x14 max, I think... and I want the print to look very sharp when viewed from 1' away.

Thinking about the new D3200 Nikon with a 24mm f2.8D AF Wide-Angle Nikkor ...same degree of coverage as a 35mm lens on a film camera ...would this be a good lens for landscape photography? I don't want to lug a zoom lens around.

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sherwoodpete
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Re: Pixels -- what's better for landscapes?
In reply to Doug J, Apr 28, 2012

Doug J wrote:

MaxIso wrote:

Ahh the spelling Nazis are out. Well look at that, I didn't use improper punctuation for this post.

Spelling Nazis? Try a bit of punctuation, structure & grammar so we common folk can read what was posted.

Cheers,
Doug

Just hitting the 'return' key to start a new line occasionally would help.

Sometimes I copy the text of a difficult-to-read post into a text editor and insert the 'newlines' myself, before I attempt to read it. But frankly, that means I'm doing the work that someone else was too lazy or inconsiderate to do.

It's also duplicated effort, as the struggles that I have in making sense out of a jumble of letters is repeated one way or another by everyone else who attempts to read it. So the time and energy saved by the original author is expended not just once but many times over by everyone who tries to read it.

Regards,
Peter

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Jack Hogan
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24mm not enough
In reply to jon404, Apr 28, 2012

jon404 wrote:

11 x14 max, I think... and I want the print to look very sharp when viewed from 1' away.

Ok, so a person with 20/20 vision would be able to make out at most a circle of confusion of diameter approximately 104 micrometers on the 11x16.5" print, which corresponds to about 6 micrometers on an APS-C sensor, assuming no cropping. Any APS-C camera with sensel pitch smaller than that would be capable of producing a sharpest such print as viewed from 1 foot away. That pretty well includes most APS-C DSLRs with 12MPixel sensors and up.

Thinking about the new D3200 Nikon with a 24mm f2.8D AF Wide-Angle Nikkor ...same degree of coverage as a 35mm lens on a film camera ...would this be a good lens for landscape photography? I don't want to lug a zoom lens around.

I do amateurish landscapes, often on a tripod (a must for sharpness imho) and almost always at the aperture at which the mounted lens is sharpest (for DSLRs typically f/4 to f/8 with a sweet spot around f/5.6), so if f/2.8 came for free fine, otherwise not a must have.

Depending on your scene, imho 24mm is not wide enough on a crop sensor like the D3200. I would aim for 16 or 18mm as a minimum. And don't discount zooms for landscapes: sometimes you just do not have the physical room to move back or forward to get the composition you want. So I would consider the 18-55 or 18-105 kits (which at 18mm and f/5.6 are extremely sharp) - or, if you are willing to spend more money for a tiny bit of an advantage in IQ, the 16-85mm.

Cheers,
Jack

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RedFox88
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totally agree!
In reply to Deleted1929, Apr 28, 2012

sjgcit wrote:

For reasons I've never understood "landscape" has become somehow has "detail" bolted on to it.

People, IMO, obsess about details and pixels when the best landscapes I've seen are exactly like all the other great images I've seen - great when viewed as a whole image, not as a bunch of pixels where I can make out individual blades of grass ( or whatever ).

You want great landscapes ? Concentrate on the composition and lighting and technical aspects of shooting and processing that enhance the image as a whole .

Hint : the first thing people do when they see a landscape shot is not rush over and start peaking at details with a magnifying glass. The thing that sticks in their minds is the overall image .

I so much agree with everything here. Those that want more and more pixels for "landscape" photography are probably amateurs thinking lots of pixels will make them better or for a status symbol. Good landscape photographers were able to produce great prints and images with 6 MP dSLRs. Landscape photography is all about the scene/subject, lighting, and capturing special moments and situations.

Does a painter that uses tiny brushes be viewed as being better than a painter that uses large brushes? The tiny brushes can paint more detail, so that must produce a better image, right?

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RedFox88
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Re: Pixels -- what's better for landscapes?
In reply to Doug J, Apr 28, 2012

Doug J wrote:

The intended output determines the amount of detail you need and the pixels to produce the detail. How large will you print?

That is so wrong. Photography has always been about enlarging the original photograph. Remember a viewer will appreciate the entire image. You may see someone move in to see something closer but artwork is appreciated as a whole not 8 inches from the piece.

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RedFox88
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Re: Pixels -- what's better for landscapes?
In reply to jon404, Apr 28, 2012

jon404 wrote:

11 x14 max, I think... and I want the print to look very sharp when viewed from 1' away.

Sharpness should be about the last consideration for a good landscape image. Even 12 MP dSLRs will be able to produce good 11"x14" prints. Proper technique, and photographic knowledge are more important than how many pixels your camera has.

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Andreas Stuebs
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Re: totally agree!
In reply to RedFox88, Apr 28, 2012

RedFox88 wrote:

I so much agree with everything here. Those that want more and more pixels for "landscape" photography are probably amateurs thinking lots of pixels will make them better or for a status symbol. Good landscape photographers were able to produce great prints and images with 6 MP dSLRs. Landscape photography is all about the scene/subject, lighting, and capturing special moments and situations.

Does a painter that uses tiny brushes be viewed as being better than a painter that uses large brushes? The tiny brushes can paint more detail, so that must produce a better image, right?

But on the other hand, if I were out to buy a new camera system and my main object was landscape, what would I be looking for (bold here, because it is my subjective opinion and I in no way intend to lay down the law)

First: Dynamic Range - landscapes can have a lot more contrast then one thinks
Second: No of Pixels (within reason 16Mp to 18Mp are enough for me at present)
Third: a good selection of prime lenses

I still find that primes have better image quality. Distortion may not be so much of an issue (unless you count in archtecture) but primes are more contrasty and show less incling to colour aberration and flare. And quickly changing the focal length is not much of an issue with landscapes IMHO.
Fourth: low noise at low ISO

Also:
Easy use of manual settings both exposure and focussing
flexible bracketing setting

Not important:
High frame rate
Video
High ISO performance

That is my opinion in a nutshell. I am certain there are quite a few who disagree. But as I have written, it is subjective

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Leonard Migliore
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Not my favorite lens
In reply to jon404, Apr 28, 2012

jon404 wrote:

11 x14 max, I think... and I want the print to look very sharp when viewed from 1' away.

Thinking about the new D3200 Nikon with a 24mm f2.8D AF Wide-Angle Nikkor ...same degree of coverage as a 35mm lens on a film camera ...would this be a good lens for landscape photography? I don't want to lug a zoom lens around.

I have a 24mm f/2.8. It's a terrible lens whose only asset is that it's small. It's not sharp and has poor contrast. I know Galen Rowell did great work with it but that's because he was Galen Rowell and I'm not.

I strongly prefer zooms for landscapes because I go to a spot that I like and frame it how I want; this generally doesn't fit into a 12mm view or a 24mm view or a 35mm view. I generally carry a 16-85 and a 10-24 for landscape shooting.

If you value compactness, get something like a Canon S100. That's probably a better landscape camera than a D3200 with a 24mm f/2.8 and it's far lighter.
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Oly Canikon
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Re: Pixels -- what's better for landscapes? Unreadable
In reply to MaxIso, Apr 28, 2012

Maxiso

That's unreadable. It's not worth the trouble to try and figure out what you said

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