Do pixels matter? What 20" x 30" prints reveal.

Started Jun 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
Rick Knepper
Rick Knepper Forum Pro • Posts: 17,870
This summary would look radically different

in a forum populated by users of higher resolution cameras than what Canon currently has - 35mm format or medium format. When Canon releases its high resolution camera, a summary such as this will look radically different just on fanboiism alone.

My intention in posting to this thread is not to convince entrenched fanbois with financial incentive to deny the obvious and/or to defend their equipment choice but to offer newbies an alternative opinion and suggest a surf over to the Nikon D800 forum or to a medium format forum for a balanced view  on the other side of the matter.

LaszloBencze wrote:

It looks like this thread has played out. Having read every post, I'll summarize as follows:

1. Almost everyone agrees that it is near impossible to tell the difference between large prints made from cameras with widely divergent megapixels ranging from 5 to 36.

Among all DSLR users or even Canon users or even 5D3 users, there is a statistically unmeasurable number of respondees to this thread therefore indicative of nothing.

2. A few people argue that certain types of subject matter do reveal these differences. I agree with them but suggest that such subject matter provides a minority of picture situations.

Nearly 100% of folks participating in landscape photography and who understand digital imaging would at least see the value in capturing more detail (detail is what we are really talking about here right?). Please explain what types of photography would not benefit from the capture of more detail.

3. Even when there are clear differences between cameras, the differences are not profound but difficult to discern, requiring close comparison.

I am finding that many photographers have a blind spot in their sight for resolution and seem to require more training in their viewing skills

4. The strength of a picture as a work of art far overrides the importance of megapixels. An artistically satisfying picture will be forgiven many technical faults. An artistically mediocre picture will provide a field day for nit picking.

Why are you willing to be "forgiven"? Demand a higher resolution solution from Canon and when you don't need it, de-resolve your images.

And these lead to an interesting corollary: should Canon come out with a 40 megapixel camera tomorrow, the odds are high that it will not be twice as good as the current Canon line-up but more like 10% better based on subjective evaluation.

By the way, if you can put a true percentage on something, it is an objective evaluation which you will not be able to do with such a comparison. To me, being able to differentiate the limbs and leaves of a dense thicket in the middle ground of a landscape scene when downsized to the dimensions I commonly use will seem like 20x better than a 5D2.

At least that would be case if the improvement were strictly in pixel count. If dynamic range were also extended and every vestige of banding eliminated, it would be a different story.

I certainly can't argue with part of this but you are going to be left behind in the stampede if Canon prices the camera correctly. Though resolution plus some features that now seem commonplace in this genration of DSLR alone would be enough for me to upgrade from the 5D2, isn't it a truly a sad thing for some of us that Canon sensors have such poor shadow recovery? My understanding of DR is that for a given sensor and its dynamic range, it can be adjusted to favor the highlight end or shadow end depending on the manufacturer's target market. IOW, if the range is moved toward the shadow end, the highlights suffer and vice versa I think. Wouldn't it be nice to end the expose to the right technique and get back our color and contrast?

Thanks to all who contributed their thoughts—often very well expressed— to this thread.

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Rick Knepper, photographer, non-professional, shooting for pleasure, check my profile for gear list and philosophy. TJ said, "Every generation needs a new revolution".

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