The (in)significance of resolution

Started Apr 15, 2013 | Discussions
Vera Cognome Regular Member • Posts: 362
Re: The (in)significance of resolution
1

DMillier wrote:

A lot of people are obsessed with resolution. And why not, surely the more detail, the better?

For at least half the people posting here, it's all about the gear rather than the resulting photo.  Why spoil their fun?

OP DMillier Forum Pro • Posts: 20,225
Re: Who cares
5

Actually, I thought I said this:

- 42MP image looks the same as 16MP image (from NEX 5n) when printed at A3 or smaller

- This means that unless you print larger than A3 or crop extensively, you won't see a resolution increase from upgrading the NEX 5n to (say) a D800 in your prints

- As lots of people have claimed for years that the 4.6MP Foveon was a match for detail for the 12MP generation of Bayers, then likewise if you upgrade to a Merrill you wont see any extra detail unless you print larger than A3.

- Therefore, if you have been desperate to get a Merrill but can't afford one or don't want to fork out the cash, you shouldn't feel so upset because as long as you print A3, your shots won't look any less detailed.

- I don't believe I said anything at all about my own state of happiness with my 5 year old camera (especially as the experiment wasn't done with a 5 yr old camera. I thought it was a comforting message to share with people without prospects of getting a Merrill. Of course the usual suspects want to pick a fight....

mrkr wrote

All you say is: I, DM, am perfectly happy with my 5 year old cam.

Good for you.

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SandyF Forum Pro • Posts: 14,941
Re: Who cares

DMillier wrote:

Actually, I thought I said this:

- 42MP image looks the same as 16MP image (from NEX 5n) when printed at A3 or smaller

- This means that unless you print larger than A3 or crop extensively, you won't see a resolution increase from upgrading the NEX 5n to (say) a D800 in your prints

- As lots of people have claimed for years that the 4.6MP Foveon was a match for detail for the 12MP generation of Bayers, then likewise if you upgrade to a Merrill you wont see any extra detail unless you print larger than A3.

- Therefore, if you have been desperate to get a Merrill but can't afford one or don't want to fork out the cash, you shouldn't feel so upset because as long as you print A3, your shots won't look any less detailed.

They may not look "any less detailed" due to RESOLUTON perhaps but there would be differences in appearance I think due to the sharpness and cleanness of the Merrill output as compared with other cameras.

Just look at my recent florals (I know you don't like florals ) and you see a difference between the SD15 and DP2Merrill. I think the difference would show in prints, even relatively small ones. Haven't tried printing comparisons directly myself though (yet). I can't get as sharp with even an excellent 70-200mmEX lens as compared with the DP2Merrill. That's going to show in prints, I think.

....

Best regards, Sandy
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Roland Karlsson Forum Pro • Posts: 27,607
Re: You haven't increased the resolution....

DMillier wrote:

Kind of interesting in the way google streetview is

Yes, and I also use google streetview a lot
Love to walk around in foreign cities.

But look at some of the images. They are MUCH MUCH MUCH better than google streetview.

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 13,144
Re: The (in)significance of resolution

DMillier wrote:

 

So there you go. Unless you are printing much larger than a 13" wide desktop printer or cropping like crazy, a 10MP class camera (4.6MP) is every bit at good detail wise as a D800/Merrill.

Not if you like cropping.  High resolution cameras give you insane cropping abilities.

If you're a typical amateur photographer casting envious eyes at the uberCams, but feeling a bit short of the ready cash, don't worry, your 5 year old camera will get the job done just as well.

Nope.  Not correct.

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DaSigmaGuy Forum Pro • Posts: 12,306
Re: The (in)significance of resolution

victorgv wrote:

rattymouse wrote:

I remember the first time i saw a medium format film negative printed.  Both a 6 x 9 negative as well as a 6 x 4.5 negative printed to only 5 x 7 absolutely CRUSHED a 35mn negative printed the same size.  It was so different, you could pick out the medium format print 100% of the time.

Clearly resolution mattered then.  Why would it not matter now??

1. In general photo paper will have much much better resolution than printer.

2. Lenses on medium format probably better .

3. Effect from grain would be much less on print from medium format.

In digital world it does not matter after certain point how good your camera is from point of view of dpi on paper.

1) Yes.

2) No.  Generally speaking, most MF lenses are not as sharp as FF lenses, although there are a few exceptions.

3) Basically, Daves problem is all down to the print resolution of his printer.  If that isn't high enough, a print from a lower res camera will look exactly the same as one from a higher res camera, when printed at the same size.

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DaSigmaGuy Forum Pro • Posts: 12,306
Re: You haven't increased the resolution....

Lin Evans wrote:

Hi David,

You really haven't increased resolution at all with what you have described below. You simply have increased the field of view composing the scene.

Nonsense...Take two DSLR's with identical size sensors, one with 20mp and one with 10mp.  If you use a 40mm lens on the 20mp camera it will capture exactly the same resolution as the 10mp camera if its fitted with an 80mm lens.  But if you use a 80mm lens on the 20mp camera it will capture twice the resolution as the 10mp camera.  In other words for a given focal length, resolution is entirely dependant on the sensor or film frame you use.  Stitching shots increases resolution in exactly the same way that increasing the sensor or film frame size does.

In Daves case, frame A + frame B + frame C = 3x the resolution of a single frame, minus the stitch area between frame A and frame B and between frame B and frame C, which is always required when you stitch several frames together in order to blend the shots seamlessly.  Say 3x res minus 10-20%...Its still a significant increase in resolution over using a single frame.

This is why so many people who only have low res cameras, take the trouble to stitch multiple shots into a multi row panoramas...Because it increases resolution!

The reason Dave didn't see any difference in his same size prints from various cameras is simply because his printer doesn't have a high enough print resolution to render the extra image resolution onto the print paper (Not enough DPI).  The solution is buy a higher res printer, but that would cost a lot of money.

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DaSigmaGuy Forum Pro • Posts: 12,306
Correction...Because the edit function isn't working!

DaSigmaGuy wrote:

Lin Evans wrote:

Hi David,

You really haven't increased resolution at all with what you have described below. You simply have increased the field of view composing the scene.

Nonsense...Take two DSLR's with identical size sensors, one with 20mp and one with 10mp.  If you use a 40mm lens on the 20mp camera it will capture exactly the same resolution as the 10mp camera if its fitted with an 80mm lens.  But if you use a 80mm lens on the 20mp camera it will capture twice the resolution as the 10mp camera.  In other words, for a given focal length lens, resolution of each frame you take is entirely dependant on the sensor or film you use, plus the optical quality of the lens.   Stitching shots increases resolution in exactly the same way that increasing the sensor or film frame size does.

In Daves case, frame A + frame B + frame C = 3x the resolution of a single frame, minus the stitch area between frame A and frame B and between frame B and frame C, which is always required when you stitch several frames together in order to blend the shots seamlessly.  Say 3x res minus 10-20%...Its still a significant increase in resolution over using a single frame.

This is why so many people who only have low res cameras, take the trouble to stitch multiple shots into a multi row panoramas...Because it increases resolution!

The reason Dave didn't see any difference in his same size prints from various cameras is simply because his printer doesn't have a high enough print resolution to render the extra image resolution onto the print paper (Not enough DPI).  The solution is buy a higher res printer, but that would cost a lot of money.

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Lin Evans
Lin Evans Forum Pro • Posts: 17,390
Re: You haven't increased the resolution....

DaSigmaGuy wrote:

Lin Evans wrote:

Hi David,

You really haven't increased resolution at all with what you have described below. You simply have increased the field of view composing the scene.

Nonsense...Take two DSLR's with identical size sensors, one with 20mp and one with 10mp.  If you use a 40mm lens on the 20mp camera it will capture exactly the same resolution as the 10mp camera if its fitted with an 80mm lens.  But if you use a 80mm lens on the 20mp camera it will capture twice the resolution as the 10mp camera.  In other words for a given focal length, resolution is entirely dependant on the sensor or film frame you use.  Stitching shots increases resolution in exactly the same way that increasing the sensor or film frame size does.

No, for a given focal length resolution is both dependent on the sensor and the distance to the subject. The closer to the subject the more pixels per unit area of geography. We "measure" comparative resolution of sensors by normalizing "both" the focal length "and" the distance to the standardized resolution chart. If I shoot the horizontal and vertical only section of a standardized resolution chart with a macro lens attached to a 10 megapixel sensor from a distance of six inches and shoot the same entire resolution chart from the normal distance with a Nikon D800E and the same lens, the 10 megapixel camera will measure higher resolution than the Nikon D800E. If you shoot a subject with a 20mm lens from 20 feet, then shoot it again from the same distance but take three overlapping frames and stitch them you will have increased the pixel count of the file and the field of view, but you will "not" have changed the resolution one iota.

In Daves case, frame A + frame B + frame C = 3x the resolution of a single frame, minus the stitch area between frame A and frame B and between frame B and frame C, which is always required when you stitch several frames together in order to blend the shots seamlessly.  Say 3x res minus 10-20%...Its still a significant increase in resolution over using a single frame.

It's not "always required" Dave just said he used a tilt/shift lens. There is only a resolution increase if you are "A" closer to the subject or "B" use a great focal length lens.

This is why so many people who only have low res cameras, take the trouble to stitch multiple shots into a multi row panoramas...Because it increases resolution!

The reason Dave didn't see any difference in his same size prints from various cameras is simply because his printer doesn't have a high enough print resolution to render the extra image resolution onto the print paper (Not enough DPI).  The solution is buy a higher res printer, but that would cost a lot of money.

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Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee
Gearóid Ó Laoi, Garry Lee Veteran Member • Posts: 6,160
Re: The (in)significance of resolution

rattymouse wrote:

DMillier wrote:

Don't know, there could be any number of reasons that had nothing to do with the intrinsic resolution of the media.

No, it was the resolution difference.  Have you ever seen a medium format print?  It is completely different from a 35mm print.  Not even close to the same.

Not only have I seen both, but I used to print both, in BW and Colour. The most impressive thing about a MF colour print was the fantastic colour. It's still better than digital in that respect, I think.

But, when it comes to digital...

I photographed one wedding with two cameras, an Olympus E-3 (10-mp) and a Canon 1DS2 (16mp).

I printed a lot in A3.

I could not tell which was which unless I looked up the Jpegs..

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OP DMillier Forum Pro • Posts: 20,225
Re: You haven't increased the resolution....

Are there any printers with higher resolution in practice than an R2400? I doubt it. The main problem is more likely the paper. Using plastic film might makes a tiny difference,

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OP DMillier Forum Pro • Posts: 20,225
Re: The (in)significance of resolution

I think I already made the caveat about cropping,

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digi2ap Contributing Member • Posts: 698
Re: The (in)significance of resolution

How did this seemingly (in)significant post, which I enjoyed reading (thanks DM), turn into such a war of words? Maybe some deeper history here I'm not aware of?

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OP DMillier Forum Pro • Posts: 20,225
Re: The (in)significance of resolution

There are a number of people who don't like me. That probably explains all you need to know.

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Laurence Matson
Laurence Matson Forum Pro • Posts: 11,969
Re: The (in)significance of resolution

DMillier wrote:

A lot of people are obsessed with resolution. And why not, surely the more detail, the better?

Well, yes... and no.

I've just completed a little experiment.  Using my 16MP Bayer Nex 5n, I fitted a PC/shift medium format lens.  I flat stitched (shift left - no shift- right shift) a 3 frame composite. Files were alligned using Photomerge.  Flat stitching means no warping of the files so effectively it's like 3 normal frames placed side by side.

I then printed my 48MP image on A4 paper (image area about 10.5 x 7 inches), pretty near a traditional print size and compared to a straight single frame image.

No difference.

I then cropped the frame in half and printed that on A4 (equivalent printed area 14 x 10.5 inches).

No difference.

The results mimiced the print comparisons I did D800 vs DP2M vs RX100. The extra resolution is invisible in prints below A2 and insignificant until A1 size (c. 30 x 20 inches).

So there you go. Unless you are printing much larger than a 13" wide desktop printer or cropping like crazy, a 10MP class camera (4.6MP) is every bit at good detail wise as a D800/Merrill.

If you're a typical amateur photographer casting envious eyes at the uberCams, but feeling a bit short of the ready cash, don't worry, your 5 year old camera will get the job done just as well.

Hi David,

I thought you had some details of which printer and paper you used somewhere in this thread. I could not find it. Before tearing your argument to shreds (haha), could you give me those please?

How's the rug rat other than groan (sic)?

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DaSigmaGuy Forum Pro • Posts: 12,306
Re: You haven't increased the resolution....

Lin Evans wrote:

DaSigmaGuy wrote:

Lin Evans wrote:

Hi David,

You really haven't increased resolution at all with what you have described below. You simply have increased the field of view composing the scene.

Nonsense...Take two DSLR's with identical size sensors, one with 20mp and one with 10mp.  If you use a 40mm lens on the 20mp camera it will capture exactly the same resolution as the 10mp camera if its fitted with an 80mm lens.  But if you use a 80mm lens on the 20mp camera it will capture twice the resolution as the 10mp camera.  In other words for a given focal length, resolution is entirely dependant on the sensor or film frame you use.  Stitching shots increases resolution in exactly the same way that increasing the sensor or film frame size does.

No, for a given focal length resolution is both dependent on the sensor and the distance to the subject. The closer to the subject the more pixels per unit area of geography. We "measure" comparative resolution of sensors by normalizing "both" the focal length "and" the distance to the standardized resolution chart. If I shoot the horizontal and vertical only section of a standardized resolution chart with a macro lens attached to a 10 megapixel sensor from a distance of six inches and shoot the same entire resolution chart from the normal distance with a Nikon D800E and the same lens, the 10 megapixel camera will measure higher resolution than the Nikon D800E. If you shoot a subject with a 20mm lens from 20 feet, then shoot it again from the same distance but take three overlapping frames and stitch them you will have increased the pixel count of the file and the field of view, but you will "not" have changed the resolution one iota.

If by that you mean, a shot captured with a wide angle lens has less resolution than a several shot panorama of the same subject taken with a longer focal length lens and which when stitched has the same FOV as the wide angle shot, as long as the subject distance is the same and the sensors are the same?...If so, then we agree.

In Daves case, frame A + frame B + frame C = 3x the resolution of a single frame, minus the stitch area between frame A and frame B and between frame B and frame C, which is always required when you stitch several frames together in order to blend the shots seamlessly.  Say 3x res minus 10-20%...Its still a significant increase in resolution over using a single frame.

It's not "always required" Dave just said he used a tilt/shift lens. There is only a resolution increase if you are "A" closer to the subject or "B" use a great focal length lens.

Dave said: "So there you go. Unless you are printing much larger than a 13" wide desktop printer or cropping like crazy, a 10MP class camera (4.6MP) is every bit at good detail wise as a D800/Merrill."

No mention of the focal lens used or the distance to subject...

This is why so many people who only have low res cameras, take the trouble to stitch multiple shots into a multi row panoramas...Because it increases resolution!

The reason Dave didn't see any difference in his same size prints from various cameras is simply because his printer doesn't have a high enough print resolution to render the extra image resolution onto the print paper (Not enough DPI).  The solution is buy a higher res printer, but that would cost a lot of money.

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OP DMillier Forum Pro • Posts: 20,225
Re: You haven't increased the resolution....

Hi Alf

What I did is shot a portrait orientation picture of my back garden (exciting subject!) with the NEX5n and a 24mm lens (so 36mm equivalent).

I then replaced the lens with a 65mm medium format lens (100mm equivalent) mounted on an Arax shift adaptor.

I took one frame unshifted, then two more shifted left and right.  These three frames were then flat stiched (effectively placed next to each other, although I think there is a bit of overlap)  to create a 3 frame composite.

Normally when you do this you end up with a 3:1 pano, which was not what I wanted.  So I rotated the shift adpator 90 degrees and got 3 landscape orientation shots which were then stacked into a tower which made them into a composite portrait orientation shot (if you follow what I mean).

The composite ends up something like a combined 33mm Field of view with 3x the pixels of the single shot.  I then cropped this (roughly, who cares about a MP or 2 here and there) to match the single shot.  The match was no where near accurate but the pixel count was so hugely different that any minor inaccuracy in field of view made no practical difference to the conclusion.

With my Epson R2400 K3 ink printer, printing on Permaject Matte Plus paper, printing a 42MP file produces no visible increase in detail over the vanilla 16MP single frame.  In fact it makes no visible difference in an A3 print either.

I could go all scientific and match the fields of view precisely, record the relative file sizes precisely and print a whole series of prints at different sizes to find out the minimum print size where a discernable detail difference appears but I already did that a while back using Mr Blissfly's Rx100/D800/DP2M comparison shots.

The bottom line for me remains unchanged: Somewhere betweem 10MP and 16MP completely maxes out the detail in an A3 print.  You could use a Gigapixel camera and it would look no different in an A3 print, those extra pixels are just wasted. High resolution cameras are needed to print huge prints but not for desktop printer sizes.

Lin disagrees on the print size this happens at and I'm not going to argue with his opinion, all I can do is report what happens on my setup.

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Lin Evans
Lin Evans Forum Pro • Posts: 17,390
Re: You haven't increased the resolution....

DMillier wrote:

Hi Alf

What I did is shot a portrait orientation picture of my back garden (exciting subject!) with the NEX5n and a 24mm lens (so 36mm equivalent).

I then replaced the lens with a 65mm medium format lens (100mm equivalent) mounted on an Arax shift adaptor.

I took one frame unshifted, then two more shifted left and right.  These three frames were then flat stiched (effectively placed next to each other, although I think there is a bit of overlap)  to create a 3 frame composite.

Normally when you do this you end up with a 3:1 pano, which was not what I wanted.  So I rotated the shift adpator 90 degrees and got 3 landscape orientation shots which were then stacked into a tower which made them into a composite portrait orientation shot (if you follow what I mean).

The composite ends up something like a combined 33mm Field of view with 3x the pixels of the single shot.  I then cropped this (roughly, who cares about a MP or 2 here and there) to match the single shot.  The match was no where near accurate but the pixel count was so hugely different that any minor inaccuracy in field of view made no practical difference to the conclusion.

With my Epson R2400 K3 ink printer, printing on Permaject Matte Plus paper, printing a 42MP file produces no visible increase in detail over the vanilla 16MP single frame.  In fact it makes no visible difference in an A3 print either.

I could go all scientific and match the fields of view precisely, record the relative file sizes precisely and print a whole series of prints at different sizes to find out the minimum print size where a discernable detail difference appears but I already did that a while back using Mr Blissfly's Rx100/D800/DP2M comparison shots.

The bottom line for me remains unchanged: Somewhere betweem 10MP and 16MP completely maxes out the detail in an A3 print.  You could use a Gigapixel camera and it would look no different in an A3 print, those extra pixels are just wasted. High resolution cameras are needed to print huge prints but not for desktop printer sizes.

Lin disagrees on the print size this happens at and I'm not going to argue with his opinion, all I can do is report what happens on my setup.

Hi Dave,

I suspect that the "mat" paper might be the culprit here. Inkjet droplets "spread" on media. They spread more on some types than on others. Gloss paper generally produces better acutance than mat paper. I've not used plastic, but I would assume that the spread on that would be similar to that on gloss paper. The spread of droplets might be responsible for seeing no difference because you may have reached the limits imposed by the media - just a guess.

Best regards,

Lin

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OP DMillier Forum Pro • Posts: 20,225
Re: The (in)significance of resolution

Hi Laurence

Epson R2400 + Lyson Photochrome R24 + Permajet Matte Plus 240 paper

She's doing very well, big now, could sit on the counter!

Hope you are well, don't see you much around here these days.

D

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Petroglyph
Petroglyph Veteran Member • Posts: 6,054
Re: The (in)significance of resolution

DMillier wrote:


No difference.

The results mimiced the print comparisons I did D800 vs DP2M vs RX100. The extra resolution is invisible in prints below A2 and insignificant until A1 size (c. 30 x 20 inches).

So there you go. Unless you are printing much larger than a 13" wide desktop printer or cropping like crazy, a 10MP class camera (4.6MP) is every bit at good

?  Which is the 10mp in this comparison?  An Rx100 has a 20MP sensor, D800 a 36MP and DP2M non-interpolated 15MP.  So 10 comes from... help

detail wise as a D800/Merrill.

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