Wednesday, February 10, 2010


The MEGAPIXEL, Oh yes, the digital camera salesmen's best friend.

So I ask the question: Do we really have the need for more?

Go ahead and ask the average consumer about image to noise ratio...or what good glass really means.

So when will it stop I ask?

Is there really a need for 30 MP image files. In truth it depends on what your doing, but in most cases I am going out on a limb here and say NO F%^@$ WAY.

To add irony to it all, some of the same Photogs that are still pixel hungry and are itching to upgrade to larger Mega-pixel cameras still shoot Jpegs instead of RAW! Don't even get me started there.

Do we strive for quality? Absolutely, That is why we shoot nothing but RAW files for starters, but if I can barely see the difference I would bet my clients surely won't. Nine times out of ten they will end up picking the image that you are the LEAST passionate about anyway, right?

Might it be a possibility that we will see cameras that you can dial back a 30Mp image sensor to say a 15Mp image?. You know, something more deserving of a bunch of drunk people grinding it out on the dance floor at a wedding reception at 11:30PM at night.

The chips will and in some cases already have pushed the limits of detail that the lenses themselves are capable of capturing. So again, what's the point!

Don't get me wrong here, I am all for the progress and advancement of digital photography technology and I am looking to upgrade my camera bodies too, but I will upgrading more for the reason of better image to noise ratio at higher ISO's mainly.

I just think that my customers won't see or won't need a few million of those pixels that I am constantly chugging. To be honest, I don't think it has ever been an issue.

Now seriously...LOOK AT THIS!!!

This is an image file from a Nikon D300. A great camera, but pretty outdated at this point at 12 Megapixels. This crop would be the equivalent of a 20x30 and guess what? It would STILL be a sharp print.

How much more does my client need.

His hair follicles are so sharp guess what I end up doing...dulling it down!

Increasing image to noise ratios would get you just as far in most cases.

Personally, here is something that I would like to see be developed in the future and you heard it here first! A Digital chip that stores light data over time in a exposure thus allowing us to always over expose an image a bit and then, in post production, revert/dial back the recording history of the exposure itself in the blown out areas to get infoprmation back. A kind of super recovery tool.

OH YES, give that to me. I will gladly sacrifice some pixels for that capability.

Here are some other sites that gave me a little inspiration on this topic...


Monday Note


Comment 2/11/10:
John Flahrety - Diamond Photo Design

Hi George,

I really enjoyed reading your Pixel War blog post. I do understand your thought process. I am also totally on board with RAW processing of image files but I want MORE!!! I challenge you to think bigger, much bigger.

Personally, I L-O-V-E the ever increasing resolution of these cameras. I'm not much of a writer but here are my thoughts... Sure I have beautiful 24x36 images hanging in our studio from a 4 mega-pixel Canon 1D camera. Could it be better? Absolutely. You may not see a huge difference comparing an 4MP image to a 12MP image but you will see differences if you compare that 4MP image to Canon's 21MP file. I can see a difference in Canon's 21MP file when compared to Hasselblads 60MP file so I say let the war continue.

The number one reason for adding more mega-pixels to my wedding work is, I love to crop. More mega-pixel resolution means I can use more extreme crops in Lightroom with very little quality loss.

"Fashion and commercial" photographers shoot mostly for 8x10 rough off-set magazine print so why do they use the Hasselblad 40-60 megapixel cameras? They set themselves apart from us "Wedding & Portrait" shooters with super-clean-high-resolution images that look different than Canon and Nikon images. Hasselblad and the other medium format camera manufactures are showing their gear is worth the price and file sizes they claim. When these manufactures continue the "Mega-Pixel March" we will benefit with better technology in all areas not just more mega-pixels.

The Wedding and Portrait industry is already inundated with "amateurs". I would love to see Canon and Nikon keep the amateur cameras below 15mega-pixels and drive up our pro cameras to 40-60-80- even 100 mega-pixels. As a pro I expect my images, file sizes, computers, workflow, and finished work to far,far exceed what people get from Best Buy and Radio Shack and soccer moms.

I would love to see a clients face when they ask for the "Digital Negatives" and the photographer gives them 300MB files :) Another one of my theories is JPG killed the pro photographer. If we all just shoot professional RAW files then process to 16bit TIF files the digital negatives would need to be handled by pros only. We are our own worst enemy.

George your next blog post should be "Just say NO to JPGs".


1 comment:

  1. I always say. Megapixels, schmegga-pixels!

    Great post!