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

Started Apr 19, 2013 | Questions thread
OP mistermejia Veteran Member • Posts: 3,340
Re: The Cons of Big DX

MarkJH wrote:

mistermejia wrote:

MarkJH wrote:

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.)

Excellent explenation, thank you!  By the way, i am not replacing my S5, but just looking in complementing it with a second body with better low light performance.

I dunno, man: adding to the DX arsenal is not the direction I'd go for high ISO performance.  Marginal gains, there, at best.

The $550 you'd spend on any of these bodies + the $900-ish you'd get for a 17-55 f/2.8 DX on the used market today puts you in striking distance of a nice used D700.

The compelling reasons to shoot DX in 2013 are cost and size.  Good reasons, both--but they're the only reasons.  Which is why the 17-55 f/2.8 DX is a total boat anchor and/or historical artifact of simpler times.  It's as expensive, it's as big, and it's as heavy as FX lenses that now outperform it.  So picking 2003's lens as a centerpiece for a 2013 system might be a costly mistake.

Many lenses never age.  AI-S primes, "legends" like the 75-150 Series E--all totally relevant in 2013.  But DX lenses are a big exception to that rule.  Of the half-century that Nikon's been kicking out professional 35mm tools, DX was the "state of the art" for only five of those years, seven years ago!  As the F-mount goes, it's basically a Pronea / Advantix-sized blip on the radar.

So if I were you, I'd ditch your 17-55 while it's still worth something.   If that new Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 zoom comes to market with a price anywhere around or below the $1k mark, the 17-55 f/2.8 DX's resale value will fall off a cliff.


Very interesting point of view Mark.  I appreciate it.  You are right when you mentioned that i can get a D700 for around the same price of what i have, but honestly i just shoot for plain fun and enjoyment.  I didn't buy the S5 for high iso performance, i bought it for its unique colors and highlight dynamic range, that's all.

Regarding the expensive 17-55 lens, i doubt that Sigma will compete with this extreme solid and fast nikon pro lens, not to mention the great contrasty IQ.  Me personally i always asked myself why this damm 17-55 is so expensive, well, now i know.  But then again i know absolutely nothing about that sigma lens you are talking about, but you could be right.

BUT, having said all that, i have been thinking of re-selling my 17-55 for more than what i paid for, and only use the primes that i have, AND buy me something else, either a lens or a second camera OR both   Thank you for your input.

 mistermejia's gear list:mistermejia's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Fujifilm X-E1 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Tamron SP AF 70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +6 more
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