How many MP is enough?

Started Apr 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,590
Re: How many MP is enough?

sacentre wrote:

Not directly related to Canon but what with all the talk about the magapixel count of current sensors and whether or not a large MP Canon body was on the cards, I thought I'd post my question here.

A while ago, there was talk of the "equivalence" of MP count to analogue film grain and seem to recall someone saying that 25MP would be roughly equivalent to ASA 64 or maye it was 25.

Is this sort of equivalence comparison still valid? How many MPs would be considered the equivalent of a Kodachrone ASA 25 slide today? I realise MP is only one factor in IQ and not the whole story but how many would be enough all else considered?

When I look at the MP race which seems to be taking place at the moment, I'm reminded of the over-sampling race that dominated the CD player market at one time and the marketing hype that made us all think higher oversampling meant better sound.

Just wondering.


I'm not sure if this particular equivalence factor is still accepted, but at the time digital cameras started to become interesting, various photo magazines considered that the then best resolving colour slide film for general use, Kodachrome 25, would be equivalent to about 18 million pixels and a good colour negative film would be around 10 million. I don't know who actually worked this out, or how it was calculated but it was generally accepted as a reasonable figure without too much questioning at the time. Perhaps these comparisons have been revised since but any comparison would be somewhat subjective in any case.

I can see where you are coming from with your reference to CDs and oversampling. I also think some manufacturers were concerned that the escalation of the MP race might produce a situation like that with Super Audio CDs which have a much higher sampling frequency (and greater dynamic range) but which outside of the audiophile community never caught on in the mainstream market.

After all the quality of MP3 files seem to be enough for most people but that's probably a case of where the convenience factor outweighs the sonic considerations.

However I think the D800 has shown that apart from possibly some storage and work flow issues (which may not even be issues for some) that there is not really a downside to a well designed sensor offering about 36MP. Whether you need that resolution or not is up to the user. After all few of us need or can fully use cars that can do 150 mph - but we like to buy them.

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