Craving more megapixels?

Started Apr 10, 2021 | Discussions thread
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Henry Richardson Forum Pro • Posts: 21,529
Craving more megapixels?

There are recurring discussions about wanting more megapixels and more resolution, usually for large prints. I have seen them here for the last 22 years. Obviously, buying a camera with more megapixels is the way to go for someone who really craves 40mp, 50mp, 60mp, etc., but here are some things that can be done that may work out for some people who occasionally want many more megapixels:

1. Here's how to create a super resolution photo with any camera using handheld pixel shift:

2. Some cameras from various companies can do this pixel shift thing in-camera (some only on a tripod, some can do it handheld). Some Olympus, Panasonic, and Pentax models can do it and I am pretty sure that other companies can do it too.

3. One can also use software such as Gigapixel AI or Adobe Super Resolution to uprez a file and they can often do quite well -- of course, not the same thing as having more real pixels. Here is an excellent video comparing Gigapixel AI and Adobe Super Resolution:

And it is also worthwhile to think about whether you really need more than 16mp, 20mp, or 24mp to make big prints. See this thread from 2018 and remember that the photos were taken by older cameras. Cameras of the last several years can in most cases do as well or sometimes better than the cameras used to make the gallery photos from 10-20 years ago).

National Geographic photo gallery big prints

Yesterday I was at a National Geographic photo gallery. It is very similar to the Peter Lik galleries with dim lighting, black walls, and big, beautiful, glossy, very well lit photos. Of course, they are trying to sell them so the presentation is very nice. The info for each photo was a short caption, location, year, name of photographer, and the size in meters (longest dimension) of the print. The smallest prints were 1 meter and the largest prints were 3 meters, but most were 1.5 and 2 meters. Most of the photos were taken 2004-2015, but I saw one that was in 1999 and another in 2002. A few of the photos were landscapes, but mostly animals in Africa and elsewhere. A few photos included people, but not many. I guess it is harder to sell people photos. Of course, they all looked wonderful and I think the prices are pretty high.

No mention of the camera gear used, but I suspect most of them were taken with DSLRs since the bulk of the photos were 2004-2015 of animals, often in Africa. National Geographic galleries believe they have enough megapixels to print 2 and 3 meter prints from DSLRs made even 14-15 years ago.

I think all the worry by some about whether a 24mp or 20mp or 16mp file is sufficient for fairly large prints is rather ridiculous.

Actually, most of the worry I see sometimes here about print size is asking about making something like 24x30 or 30x40 inch prints -- that is 0.762 meter or 1.016 meter prints. Just a very small number of the National Geographic prints were 1 meter. Almost all were 1.5 and 2 meters, but several were 3 meters. So, above where I say 'fairly large' that is not really correct. Most people asking and worrying about print sizes here are talking about the smallest or even smaller prints than what they have at the National Geographic photo gallery.

If you don't remember what were the common, high end Nikon and Canon DSLRs back in 2003, 2004, 2005 era that were probably used for many of the photos from 2004, 2005, and 2006 then look back and see. Nikon was selling only APS-C models, but Canon had FF, APS-H, and APS-C. And the megapixel counts would seem modest compared to current m4/3.

Later I received an email advertisement from the National Geographic Fine Art Galleries. In it there was a mention that their prints start at $4600. This 2010 one is $4900:

This 2007 one is $6750:

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Henry Richardson

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