Reasons for wanting higher mega pixel count

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
Jacques Cornell
Jacques Cornell Forum Pro • Posts: 11,555
Re: Reasons for wanting higher mega pixel count

Steve W wrote:

Jacques Cornell wrote:

SilvanBromide wrote:

Jacques Cornell wrote:

SilvanBromide wrote:

Jacques Cornell wrote:

Cudacke Dees wrote:

There are people saying 12mp is enough 10 years ago.......... which is correct. It is enough. But we can have better and better is better.

But, if you're printing 12"x18" or smaller, "better" is invisible. ...

Not true. If you apply processing (to reduce noise, lift shadows, enhance detail etc.) prior to downscaling for print, the difference will be palpable, even at 12"x18" or smaller.

We are talking about resolution here, not dynamic range, color, or anything else. In a 12"x18" print, the naked human eye simply cannot resolve more than 12MP or so, even up-close.

Ergo "better" is not invisible.

In my experience, it is. I've been shooting digital since Canon's 6MP D60 and making prints up to 16"x24" for public exhibition and sale.

Maybe if you print the RAW files with absolutely no adjustment (although, TBH, even a RAW converter is applying some pre-processing during conversion), then the difference might be close to moot. But if that were all you planned to do, you might be as well off just using a phone camera...

Actually, applying appropriate output sharpening minimizes the visual differences between file sizes where even the smallest one is at least 200ppi on paper. This has been my experience over the past 15 years as a working pro. Have you compared 12MP and 24MP+ images at 12"x18", applying appropriate output sharpening to each? I've done the empirical testing. Have you?

Thanks for asking, Jacques. Yes, I have. Extensively.

For several years I owned and shot the a7Sii (12 MP sensor) and the a7Rii (42.4 MP sensor) side by side. I took pains to compare the results (including when scaled to the same resolution, with and without processing).

As a result, I eventually sold the a7Sii (and have since updated from the a7Rii to the a7Riii). Not only could I see the benefits of greater resolution in ≤18" prints, but I satisfied myself that others could see it also.

How did you prep the files for printing? Did you use something akin to Pixel Genius' PhotoKit Sharpener? It is essential to apply custom sharpening that takes into account the pixel count, the medium, and the output size. This makes a huge difference vs. one-size-fits-all sharpening. All the pixels in the world will still look unsharp if this is not done correctly, as I learned when I made an 8x10 print from a 21MP file and forgot to perform output sharpening - it looked awful.

Any chance you can provide a good reference on output sharpening for printing? Would like to learn more. Thank you.

Some day I'll write up an article, because this comes up a lot. I don't have much time right now, so I'll point you to two resources, one tutorial and one software.

Three-stage sharpening workflow

PhotoKit Sharpener

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