how much is enough?

  • psuedofy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

i would like to know how many megapixels are enough to satisfy an artistic photographer in training... ok i just like to take photos and i also like to post them on websites for people to see but i hate hate HATE when pictures come out small or low quality so how many megapixels are good enough for o say 15x15 printed photo?
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Post 3+ Months Ago

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Post 3+ Months Ago

The average user has a 3/4MegaPixel camera, top end photographers have 8Megapixels and above.

If your just a budding photographer in training like yourself, 5 MegaPixels will be more than sufficiant, 6 if you want uber quality.

The thing to watch out for it not just the MegaPixels, the lens that is used to capture the image in the first place is also very important and something most people overlook.

You are better off getting a 4 MegaPixel camera with a decent lens than a 7 MegaPixel camera with a crap lens because although it says 7 MegaPixels, if the lens is to rubbish to caputre the detail, there no point in having it.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

how would i know if a lens is good? which brands carry overall good lens's? ok im looking to spend from 300-450 usd dor a digital camera anysuggestions any1
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Olympus and Canon are usually your best bet. Fuji do some good cameras aswell.

Personally I feel Kodak have gone downhill with a few of their recent models, but you can still find a good camera for a fraction of the price of an Olympus/Canon.

Don't what ever you do get pulled in by the HP camera deals with 8MegaPixels. The lens on them are utter rubbish.

the best way to see a lens in action is to action someone in the camera shop to take a photo with two cameras, same MegaPixel same object and get it printed on the same printer whilst your there. You will be able to see a difference in the lens quality that way.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

for a 15"x15" print at 300DPI (the minimum you'll usually be printing at for good quality), you're looking at an image with a physical dimension of 4500x4500 pixels. This is approximately 20MP, but that would be a square image, and cameras aren't square, DSLRs have a 3:2 ratio, most point & shoots have a 4:3 ratio.

So, to get that 4500x4500 crop from an original photo, on a point & shoot, your camera would have to be 6000x4500 pixels (27MP), or 6750x4000 (30MP) to print with all the detail that was captured.

Now, that's not to say that you can't get a reasonable quality print from a smaller MP camera.

The Nikon D100, D70, D70s and D50 all shoot 6.1MP (as does the Fuji S2 Pro, the Minolta 7D) and the Nikon D2h only shoot 4.1MP.

The D100's 3008x2000 pixel image could easily blown up to print a 30"x20" poster if appropriate viewing distance were observed. Obviously, if you get too close, you can start to see the imperfections and real lack of detail, but from 10ft away, that 30"x20" print looks pretty impressive.

Basically, beyond around 6MP, the important things to look at are the QUALITY of the sensor (not all pixels are equal!), the quality and clarity of the lens throughout its full range of zoom (assuming it is a zoom) and at all apertures (if possible).

So, hit http://www.steves-digicams.com and look at the sample photos shot with MANY MANY different cameras, and also the reviews & sample photos on http://www.dpreview.com so you can actually see the quality differences between models.

Then hit your local camera stores and actually hold them in your hands, and see which one FEELS right (Yes, that can make a big difference to the quality of your images. If you're not comfortable with the camera, your photos won't look comfortable either).

Then after you've compared quality, and tried them out, pick one. :)
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks for the detailed answers does camera type matter on photo quality? say a regular point and shoot compared to a ultra-compact camera
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Yes, camera type definitely matters.

The "Ultra-compacts" I still see as point-n-shoots, because that's basically what you do with either style.

Personally, I'd be looking to spend at least $500-800 if I were buying a point-n-shoot camera to get the quality I'm used to, but then I'm used shooting a Nikon Digital SLR.

If you're wanting to do 8x10 prints or bigger, if you're just doing pics of the family at events (birthday parties, etc). You might want to look into the higher end "prosumer" point-n-shoots (like the high end Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Sony).

If you want to be a little more serious, I'd pick up a new Nikon D70s or D70, or a used Nikon D100 (possibly one of their new D200's if you've got $1700 spare). Again, that's just me, I prefer the feel of Nikon bodies. Some prefer the feel of Canon bodies and get better results with Canon, it's entirely up to the individual which they feel is "best". On the Canon side, a 10D or 20D for equivalent quality.

You're always going to get the best quality with a digital SLR with a good quality lens (generally any lens that costs $750 or more is considered quite good). Point and shoots can match the detail, but they're often limited in other factors (aperture & shutter speed control, ISO simulation, white balance issues, etc).

The D70 and 18-70DX kit lens is a very good combo. The 18-70DX lens can be bought separately for around $350, and for the money is one of the better lenses on the Nikon market. There are better lenses, but they generally cost 3x as much or more.

If you're wanting to be taking very high quality images, and have the freedom to go out and explore the world with your camera, and don't mind carrying a few pounds of extra equipment, DSLR is definitely the way to go, and they've gotten so cheap these days with the 300D and 350D from Canon, and the D50/D70/D70s/D100 from Nikon.

The D50 is another option if you want the quality and control of SLR photography, but don't want to carry around as much bulk. The D50 is a pretty small body compared to the D70 (which is smaller than the D100). Personally, I like to be able to feel the camera in my hands (really helps when shooting those 300mm+ lenses), but the D50 could be a good alternative for those used to lighter point-n-shoots.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Axe - I cannot believe that you just jumped from point-and-click straight through to dSLR! And to suggest only Nikon cameras too! Jeesh.

There are a variety of for both compact and SLR (or SLR-like) digital camera styles; point-and-click and ultra-compact are the two most basic compact styles.

I do not know all of the styles nor models but here are some that I have looked into...

ULTRA-ZOOM

A good prosumer style is the ultra-zoom; these typically start at 5MP, 12X zoom, featuring image stabilisation, with very small but good quality sensors.

These cameras make the most of their small sensor size, to produce a massive zoom range with a much smaller (and lower quality) lens than you would need with a larger sized sensor. They compensate for the low light sensitivity of their small sensors with image stabilisation; the ability for your camera to be moved about without the photograph becoming blurry, allowing longer exposure times than would otherwise be possible.

The best of the ultra-zooms are all Panasonics; DMC-FZ7 is their most recent, however, the DMC-FZ5 is still a good shot, or if you are looking for a little bit extra the DMC-FZ30 is outstanding.


INTERMEDIATE PROSUMER COMPACTS

These cameras have many of the features found on professional cameras, allowing you to grow in ability without needing to change your camera straight away. The important things to look out for are Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority.

I recomment Canon's Powershot A series for this purpose; albeit not the A310-410 ones. Older models (e.g. Canon Powershot A70, A75, A85) and some newer models (e.g. Canon Powershot A510, A520) sport the same basic stats as a point-and-click; 4MP or higher, 3x zoom, very small sensor. It is what they do with those stats which is different! Many of the newer models (e.g. Canon Powershot A80, A95, A610, A620) are a bit nicer than point-and-clicks, and importantly their sensors are not as small.


ADVANCED PROSUMER COMPACTS

The higher end of the prosumer range include generally more advanced features again; autofocus assist beams for low-light conditions, exposure bracketing, branded high-quality lenses, and a better aperture range. They also tend to be built better and work quicker and more accurately - you get what you pay for in a camera.

Canon and Sony both have strong standing candidates in this field; the Sony's DSC-V3 (my favourite) and the Canon Powershot G6. Both sport 7.1MP, 4x zoom and not-so-small sensors. Fuji and Panasonic also have their own (more recent) models out; Fujifilm's Finepix E900 Zoom sports 9.1MP, Panasonic's DMC-LX1 sports 8.3MP with image stabilisation, both with 4x zoom and not-so-small sensors. However both have poor pixel quality compared to the Canon or Sony ones above.


PROSUMER ULTRA-COMPACTS

These are ultra-compact cameras that are NOT just point-and-clicks. They offer quality, and functionality. They include Sony's DSC-N1 with 8.0MP, 3x zoom; and the feature-packed Leica's D-LUX 2 with 8.3MP, 4x zoom. Both sport not-so-small sensors.


THE NEXT DIGITAL REVOLUTION

Now is a bad time to get a dSLR; with Sony's DSC-R1, the end is nigh. Sporting 10MP and a 5x zoom, the Sony-R1 is the first non-SLR to have a large-size sensor. It has its flaws; its digital viewfinder is lacking, and it weighs over a kilogram, but sooner or later dSLRs will be as uncommon as analog SLR cameras are now.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I can't comment on the latest compacts, but my Canon Powershot G5 was soo slow at releasing the shutter. I now have a digital SLR (Pentax *ist DL) and am much happier with it.

SLRs are just nicer to use generally as well (in my opinion). Depends on how and where you'll be using it though. Eg. consider portability.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Two_truths wrote:
Axe - I cannot believe that you just jumped from point-and-click straight through to dSLR!

Hey, he just asked "what's enough?" and the DSLRs are generally better at giving you an idea of "enough". MP alone doesn't matter. With point n' shoots, it might tke a 50MP camera to get the same quality as a 12MP DSLR. Even within DSLRs you see this. The Nikon D2h's 4.1MP was much crisper and clearer than 6.1MP from the D100, and that 4.1MP image from the D2h will still interpolate nicely for an 8x10 print. BUT, a D2x's 12.8MP is going to get even more detail.

Remember it's only going to be printed at around 300dpi. So a particular image size in print is only going to be relative to the number of pixels it has. Whether you shoot a 4MP image or a 20MP image, when you print a 6x4, you're printing an 1800x1200 image (give or take. Some printers are like 312dpi and other slight differences).

So generally, more MP in the original just allows you to put more information from the source into the final 1800x1200 image (assuming your'e printing a 6x4), and thus can make up for a lot of imperfection in the camera. But, even with a 4MP DSLR with a good quality lens, it's way bigger than 1800x1200 and has way more detail than the lower end 20MP camera had to begin with, and so you get a better quality 6x4 print from the 4MP camera.

So, it's never a really a question of when how many MP's is enough.. we already have enough.

12.8MP @ 300DPI is 14.3"x9.5"

That's more than plenty of detail. If you're blowing up to larger than that size, the images will still be superb for major enlargement at appropriate viewing distance. So we're already there.

The question is when the sensors are going to mature to the point that they can best process the light their sensors are acquiring (or how to collect it better) to improve their capturing abilities.

The question is also when good quality glass is going to get down to prices the majority can afford. There are a few point n' shoots with some nice glass out there, but then you get problems with other areas (sensor quality, technical capabilities, etc).

Two_truths wrote:
And to suggest only Nikon cameras too! Jeesh.

That's just because it's the only brand DSLRs I've owned. I have used a 20D, and it's pretty nice, but I'm still sticking with the dark side ;)
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The G5 was released in 2003, whereas the Pentax camera you mention was released mid 2005! Please bear in mind that the Digital Camera industry only really hit the 1MP in 2000 (except for a few very expensive cameras before that), so that two-year difference can count a lot.

One of the problems Canon has generally is speed; if you are looking for speed then the Sony DSC V3 is a very fast camera, one of the reasons I like it. Canon have since overcome much of that problem, however, they have also shifted from CompactFlash to SecureDigital (memory types).
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Why not just suggest Hasselblad's H2D-39 - at a massive 39 Megapixel, you cannot get more "enough" than that!

Pity we do not all have $31k spare.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

(p.s. the Pentax *ist DSL is a VERY nice dSLR. Nice & light too, competing with Canon's EOS 350D Digital Rebel for lightness.)
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I was, of course, referring to button to shooting lag, not data writing, but I'm sure they have got faster since then. Even so, it's SLR for me from now on.

The *istDL has some issues, but due to previous Pentax lens purchases it was the obvious choice for myself.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

What I know of it (the Pentax *ist DL) is that it is a very good starter / family SLR, however, I don't know very much more than that (not found any reviews) - except for its stats - which are impressive, for a family-orientated camera.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

*ist DS review and *ist DL preview.

They're potentially family-oriented in that they're easy to use, but image processing for straight to jpegs is not the best (which, ironically, is what most families would use). I'm pleased with it though, and use RAW for any semi-serious pictures.

Incidentally, I can wholeheartedly recommend CameraWorld for buying in the UK. I slipped on a wet rock with my *ist DL round my neck - it subsequently reported the batteries as being empty long before they were. CameraWorld sent it off to Pentax for a checkup and it was returned to me via the shop in Chelmsford as good as new (apart from the paint chip).
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Just to fill this thread up even more with my babble...

As a direct answer to the original question; do not just look at the mega-pixels, also look for the sensor size. Pixel quality is also important but you cannot see that from tech specs.

If you do go for a compact camera buy one that has a minimum of a good 1/1.8" sensor (e.g. Sony or Canon) or otherwise a 2/3" or larger sensor (I called these "not-so-small sensors" before. These are good for 6-7 Megapixels, or 8-9 Megapixels in good conditions.

However; if your sensor is 1/2.5" or 1/2.7" (I called these "very small sensors" before) then it is only really good for 3-4 Megapixels, or 5-6 Megapixels in good conditions.

I would recommend that you need a large-size sensor (e.g. the Sony DSC-R1 or else a dSLR) for 10 Megapixels or higher.

A decent photographic printer (http://www.photobox.co.uk) offers 300dpi for smaller print sizes only, and 254dpi for poster print sizes. That means, you need 1 Megapixel per 11 square inches (small print sizes), or per 15.5 square inches (poster print sizes).

4MP => 7.5"x5" @300dpi
7MP => 10"x8" @300dpi
10MP => 12"x8" @300dpi or 14"x11" @254dpi

However! Please note that there is a BIG difference between DPI (dots per inch; e.g. printing resolution) and PPI (pixels per inch; e.g. image resolution). Each pixel contains a very exact combination of hue / saturation / lightness which has to be replicated by several dots (the exact ratio depends on your printing method).

Therefore, for poster prints at least, you can quite comfortably double up your image in both dimensions, using a smoothed (or "smart") resize, with very little difference in the end output's quality.

4MP => 16"12" @ 254 dpi (only 127ppi)
7MP => 20"x16" @ 254 dpi (only 127ppi)
10MP => 30"x20" @ 254 dpi (only 127ppi)

I tried this, and have produced some wonderful posters from a 4MP camera.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Two_truths wrote:
As a direct answer to the original question; do not just look at the mega-pixels, also look for the sensor size.

For anybody that missed it, that was my point too. We've already got enough MP for some tasks, we just gotta let the rest of the technology catch up. Until then, all "more MP" is doing is better allowing us to compensate in post-process. But we've already got "enough", now we just have to tweak 'em for the mass market.

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