The (in)significance of resolution

Started Apr 15, 2013 | Discussions thread
Lin Evans
Lin Evans Forum Pro • Posts: 17,391
You haven't increased the resolution....

Hi David,

You really haven't increased resolution at all with what you have described below. You simply have increased the field of view composing the scene.

Unless you use a telephoto lens, stitching multiple images taken by such a procedure only increases the field of view. Shoot a landscape and note the boundaries in the frame. Now place a medium telephoto lens on your camera and shoot multiple overlapping horizontal and vertical images until you have essentially the same field of view. Stitch these images into a single frame having the same field of view as your original. Now you have increased the resolution.

No matter how many images you stitch with the same lens that you take the original and no matter what the pixel dimensions of the final image are, the resolution does not change at all.

Best regards,


DMillier wrote:

A lot of people are obsessed with resolution. And why not, surely the more detail, the better?

Well, yes... and no.

I've just completed a little experiment.  Using my 16MP Bayer Nex 5n, I fitted a PC/shift medium format lens.  I flat stitched (shift left - no shift- right shift) a 3 frame composite. Files were alligned using Photomerge.  Flat stitching means no warping of the files so effectively it's like 3 normal frames placed side by side.

I then printed my 48MP image on A4 paper (image area about 10.5 x 7 inches), pretty near a traditional print size and compared to a straight single frame image.

No difference.

I then cropped the frame in half and printed that on A4 (equivalent printed area 14 x 10.5 inches).

No difference.

The results mimiced the print comparisons I did D800 vs DP2M vs RX100. The extra resolution is invisible in prints below A2 and insignificant until A1 size (c. 30 x 20 inches).

So there you go. Unless you are printing much larger than a 13" wide desktop printer or cropping like crazy, a 10MP class camera (4.6MP) is every bit at good detail wise as a D800/Merrill.

If you're a typical amateur photographer casting envious eyes at the uberCams, but feeling a bit short of the ready cash, don't worry, your 5 year old camera will get the job done just as well.

You can thank me for the money I've saved you with a small donation

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