Help me understand and explain to others??

Started Jun 30, 2012 | Discussions thread
mrwilkins Forum Member • Posts: 70
Re: Help me understand and explain to others??

Remember that when you're looking at megapixel numbers, linear spatial resolution of your images goes with the square root of the number. So, the 16 MP D4 has about 2/3 of the linear resolution of my 36 MP D800.

At 400ppi, which is the highest resolution my print vendor can print, a D4 is able to make a 12-inch-wide print with no scaling, and my D800 can make an 18-inch-wide print without scaling. However, images still look excellent at 200ppi, which would be a 24" or 36" print respectively. And, once you get that large, viewing distance tends to increase a LOT, so you can go a lot lower in resolution and still get something that looks great on the wall.

Most professional photography outside of photojournalism or sports reporting never sees anything larger than a 12" wide print, and in photojournalism or sports, the images are almost always either viewed on the web or printed at 4 or 5 inches wide.

Resolution is only one small part of the picture, too. I find that having that high resolution on the D800 adds significantly to the disk space cost of storing my images, adds slightly to processing time, and shows up other problems in my imaging system like lens imperfections and problems with my technique.

If I needed a camera that had the robust build of a D4 and could tolerate a professional's heavy-duty use, the resolution wouldn't be much of a factor in my purchasing decision. The only reason I'd go for a D800 anyway would be if I were trying to create extremely high resolution images without going to the much more costly (but much better-performing) medium format systems.

However, as a serious amateur who works in a related field and only rarely would use the camera for work, the D800's combination of price, features, size, and resolution were a perfect fit for me. I'm sure the D800 can hold up to light professional use as well, but it's no D4. (And, it's not priced like one either.)

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