Sunday, February 24, 2008

Megapixels

My Dad has been going on and on about get the new Nikon D3 (by all accounts an amazing 1.3 kg chunk of magnesium alloy).

So I thought I'd do a little looking around for a possible update to my own D40.

I love my D40, but it wouldn't hurt to see what else is out there, eh? (and also I am supposed to take pix of my pal's wedding in May -- I just hope they don't expect too much...)

The two updates to the D40 are the D40x and the D60. Seems that they just increased the megapixel count from 6 to 10.

Interestingly, I found this article on the megapixel myth. It basically confirms what I've thought all along, megapixels don't matter that much.

[Although I reckon David Pogue's tests are flawed, he's printing 5, 8 and 13 megapixels to 24x16 inch prints at 400 dpi. Basically all of his prints probably looked pretty dodgy, because by my calculations at that size you'd need a ~61MP (24*16*(400^2)) camera to get a good print]

When I email people photos or post them up on Flickr, I reduce them down, so at most they are 800 pixels wide or 600 pixels high (i.e. ~0.5MP max (800x600 pixels)). Mostly I view pictures on my monitor, which means I can only see full pictures at a resolution of ~1.3MP tops (1280x1024 pixels). *Sometimes* I print average size prints (4x6 or 5x7 inches) at about 300 dpi (magazine quality resolution) that translates to about 3MP at most.

That means I can crop out up to half of the image (maybe focus more on a face, or take out a garish lamp post at the side of the picture) and still come away with printable quality!

The only thing with the wedding is that it's be nice to be about to do a big print if I get a really good shot. At 300 dpi my camera can only do 10x6 2/3 inches max. Kind of a bummer, 10x12s would be nice!! (but that would require a 11MP+ camera - or I could knock down the dpi to 200 (colour newspaper quality) and see if anyone notices :):))

The main thing to understand is you shouldn't buy cameras based on megapixels. Number one thing you want from a camera is striking pictures. Flickr's camera finder can give u a good idea of picture quality (although generally you'll only see the cream of the crop there).

[Why are reliable photography review sites so few and far between?]

3 comments:

tere616 said...

Hm...new advice. My friend told me that megapixels will help me when I print my pict and that is the reason it's better to buy a camera with 10 megapixels.

How's your experience with Canon 40D ? Do yo have any comparison with Nikon ?

Mark Orford said...

......hmmm you might be updating.... i was thinking of getting a d40...... hmmmm.

johnorford said...

hey tere616, the way i see you can't go wrong with nikon or canon. megapixels are good for printing, but 5x7 inches @ 300dpi is the biggest pic most ppl would print to -- and u only need 3mp for that :)

hey orford the younger, d40 is a great camera, it's one of the lightest SLRs around, it's great value, and u get great pictures from it out of the box.

(prob won't end up updating, nothing good enough to update to atm.)