12MP, 16MP or 24MP for the 17-55 lens?

Started Apr 19, 2013 | Questions thread
(unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 650
Maybe a different question?

mistermejia wrote:

Hi guys,

okay, let me ask this in the simplest possible way.  For you actual  17-55 owners, have you used different MP bodies on the 17-55 2.8 lens?

I just want to get THE BEST possible IQ out of this lens, but i am not sure what body would work best, if a 12, 16 or 24 MP.  Do any of you here have experience in this matter.  I am thinking that 12MP might be too low for this lens, and i am thinking that a 24MP is too much, perhaphs right in the middle would be best ??

With a 24MP camera and this lens not having VR i am thinking i might encounter a problem with the "technique" issue because of the high resolution and stuff.  What are your thoughts? I mainly shoot portraits for kids/family/friends.

Basically i am looking into the 12MP D90, 16MP D5100 and 24MP D3200, and the reason is because all these are pretty much the same price in the $500 dollar range.  Note that i am NOT considering external controls or anything like that, only proper MATCH for best image quality



If you want to consider 1:1 views on your monitor a measure of "sharpness" or other kinds of image quality, then I suppose this question has an answer.  At some point moving up the megapixel count, those pixels will get smaller than the smallest circle of confusion the lens can project, and at that point a 1:1 view will look blurry.

I'm assuming you understand that as sensor resolution increases, the 1:1 view's magnification also increases, right?   So looking at 1:1 with a D3200, you're looking at an area of your photo 1/4 the size of a 1:1 view with the D90.

So, I have a hunch that a 24MP APS-C sensor may have pixels smaller than the 17-55's smallest circle of confusion.  Maybe the 16MP does, too.  Meaning that if you zoom 1:1 with 24 megapixels, it might not look as "sharp" as viewing 1:1 with 12 megapixels.

But so what?  I mean, what does "sharpness" at 1:1 reveal?   Unless you're working with a "retina" display, a 1:1 view is only at 72 - 96 dots-per-inch anyway; so it's kind of impossible for a 1:1 view to look "sharp" at a close viewing distance even if the lens is projecting a circle of confusion smaller than the sensor pixel pitch.

Basically, it boils down to this: if you choose a lens that can out-resolve your camera, then your camera limits the maximum size of your prints.  If you choose a camera that can out-resolve your lens, then your lens limits the maximum size of your prints.  But there's nothing intrinsically "better" about the IQ from one choice or the other at the same print size.

So, how big are you printing and what kinds of DPI / detail are you interested in showing at those sizes?

(My suggestion: if you're never printing larger than 16" x 20" or so, think long and hard about what you'll really get by replacing your S5 Pro.)

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