Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: David S on February 18, 2013, 12:54:51 PM

Title: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: David S on February 18, 2013, 12:54:51 PM
Another discussion on hyperfocal distance raised the question-
--
It makes sense only if one doesn't print large output. That would raise a question as to why use a camera with high resolution to begin with, but that's a different subject ...
--

So why does we shoot with high res. cameras?

How big is large print output?

Dave S
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 18, 2013, 01:02:40 PM
Hi,

My experience is that 12 MP APS-C works fine for A2 size prints. 24 MP is better but the difference in A2 prints is not obvious to my eye.

On one occasion I shot with 16MP APS-C and 24MP full frame and preferred the 16 MP APS-C image.

It is really a question about how large you print and how close and carefully you look.

Best regards
Erik


Another discussion on hyperfocal distance raised the question-
--
It makes sense only if one doesn't print large output. That would raise a question as to why use a camera with high resolution to begin with, but that's a different subject ...
--

So why does we shoot with high res. cameras?

How big is large print output?

Dave S
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: Dan Wells on February 18, 2013, 01:12:39 PM
I just posted on effectively the same question - I got very impressive files out of an X-e1 (24x36 inch prints), and am now wondering why I have a D800e...
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: Hulyss on February 18, 2013, 01:31:01 PM
High resolution is "needed" when shooting "fashion" and "beauty". You need resolution to pixel peep the skin of the models, default on fabrics or accessory and so on. In my world, I do not need high resolution because my school taught me to build correctly the photos before shooting. So i f you select models with perfect skin, if you know how to light a scene, if you take time to set the photo, High Res and PP are not that needed.

More a photographer is skilled, less he need informatics assistance. It is why shooting film, especially MF and GF, is absolutely cool and trainer. Many agencys and clients like it over "overealistics" bazillionpixeled camera.

High Res is not a way to make better pictures. Only skills, talent and relations do it.

I sold some expensive shoots done with a SIGMA SD15 (4.7mp) printed in A0 ...

If you take your time, all is possible.
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: BartvanderWolf on February 19, 2013, 10:33:14 AM
High Res is not a way to make better pictures. Only skills, talent and relations do it.

Hi,

I don't think it is an either High res / or skills situation. High res can augment an already good image by adding realism, if that helps the particular image.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: Ellis Vener on February 19, 2013, 11:26:37 AM
So why does we shoot with high res. cameras?

I don't know about others but I prefer shooting with high resolution, large bit depth/dynamic range, large sensor cameras as that way of working allows for more options when deciding what the finished photograph will look like.

 
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: lfeagan on February 19, 2013, 11:29:09 AM
I just posted on effectively the same question - I got very impressive files out of an X-e1 (24x36 inch prints), and am now wondering why I have a D800e...

;D I am absolutely there with you Dan. I have an X-Pro 1 and a D800e. The D800e rarely comes out from hibernation; the X-Pro 1 is at my side in my ThinkTank Retrospective 5 on a daily basis so it should come as no surprise which gets used heavily. For specialty tasks I still use the D800e (PC-E lenses in particular). I like that I can crop like crazy on a D800e shot and still come up with a large print. The dynamic range is also ridiculously capable at pulling shadows and highlights back in so that I can skip the exposure bracketing step I did with all previous digital cameras. Basically, if I am going somewhere with the express intent of taking great photos, the D800e will be coming along. But the Fuji gets a daily workout. Sigh, I have so many damned dollars in Nikon lenses.
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: Alan Smallbone on February 19, 2013, 11:40:12 AM
Resolution is nice and if you are doing it for sale then it can help, although like some of the posters here I am finding that between 16-21mp to be more than enough for what I do. I guess that is the caveat, each individual has different needs. I love the prints from X-Pro 1 and also from my Canon 5mii,  but since I got the X-Pro 1 I hardly use the Canon any more. I can get as good a print at the sizes I print with the Fuji. The Fuji is just so much nicer to carry with me all the time that I use it more..... I print mostly up to 17" wide although I have gotten some 24" prints done. The resolution needed depends on the size of the print and viewing distance, I did a shoot a long time ago using a Canon D60 the original 6mp dslr and that image was put on a banner that is used once a year on a road overpass, a picture of some roses, still looks great at those distances.  :)

Alan
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: TMARK on February 19, 2013, 04:03:06 PM
I shoot a D800 not for res but for the DR.  It is nice to crop to 3:4 with impunity, which is how I shoot.

I do find the 20mpx range to be perfect, although I shot many editorials with a Leica M8 and Canon 5D, and shot commercially with a 1ds and a D2x.  The 5d2 has, to me, a perfect file size but then again I'm not shooting landscapes.
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: arlon on February 19, 2013, 05:06:14 PM
I have a D800E that replaced my D700 (didn't think it was possible to replace the D700). I like being able to crop down to a third of my shot if I want and and be about where I'd be starting with my D700...   Exactly how I felt when I went from a D50 to a D90 only better. I shoot a lot of macro and the cropability I have with 36mp is very helpful sometimes. I seldom print larger than 16x20 but it's nice to know I can take the best third out of a pic and still get a great print. I couldn't do that with the D700. I was the last guy to think pixels mattered but I still got the D800E. Well, I haven't picked up the D700 since I got it.

I'm also sometimes amazed at some little detail captured in the 36mp picture that I didn't even know was there when I took the shot. It has happened a number of times.
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on February 19, 2013, 06:48:13 PM
36mp is nice, 300 is even better. I tend to agree that the more the better, even in relatively small prints it adds something to the reality of the print, a somehow hard to describe sense of infinite depth, almost fractal in nature. But I am getting carried away.  ;D

Besides, we know super high res large screens are just a few years down the road, they will be our standard soon. If I shoot images today with the intend of making them Hifi, then I sure hope they will still look hifi in 10 years from now when 100mp will be common place and used in our everyday display media. Just like Ansel Adams prints still somehow work today because they were shot by very high standards back then, I see no reason not to go for 300 megapixels today considering how easy it is.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 20, 2013, 12:10:26 AM
Hi,

I also assume more to be better. I'm pretty sure returns will diminish but there are still advantages. With really good lenses the Nikon D800E seems to struggle with aliasing artifacts. Increasing resolution would avoid/reduce those artifacts or allow for OLP filtering at much finer detail.

I'd suggest that for each generation of cameras there is an ideal pixel size, and that is getting smaller with time. Let us not forget that all those pixels need to be handled by in camera processing before written to the card. Those processing chips need to get faster when pixel size is shrunk.

I am quite happy with the 24  MP I have now, but wouldn't mind more pixels.

Best regards
Erik


36mp is nice, 300 is even better. I tend to agree that the more the better, even in relatively small prints it adds something to the reality of the print, a somehow hard to describe sense of infinite depth, almost fractal in nature. But I am getting carried away.  ;D

Besides, we know super high res large screens are just a few years down the road, they will be our standard soon. If I shoot images today with the intend of making them Hifi, then I sure hope they will still look hifi in 10 years from now when 100mp will be common place and used in our everyday display media. Just like Ansel Adams prints still somehow work today because they were shot by very high standards back then, I see no reason not to go for 300 megapixels today considering how easy it is.

Cheers,
Bernard

Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: Dan Wells on February 20, 2013, 01:39:39 AM
REALLY good lenses seems to be the issue... I just did some 24x36" prints from my little X-e1 that were very, very nice, and a lot closer than they should have been to D800e prints (from a foot away, they're indistinguishable, from closer up, the D800e has a slight edge). I'm thinking that what's happening here is that the superb Fujinon lenses are really using the sensor fully, and most Nikkors don't quite take advantage of the D800e. I've used the 24-70, 16-35 and 105 micro, all very well respected lenses, on the D800e, and none of them are all that much better than the little Fuji. I actually prefer the Fuji 18-55 over the much larger Nikon system up to 16x24, because that lens has such lovely rendering.

What WILL take full advantage of ultra high-resolution full frame?
Probably most or all of the f1.4 Nikkor primes
Possibly some of the f1.8 Nikkor primes?
Almost certainly the exotic Nikkor telephotos (the big primes, maybe the 200-400)
Probably most of the Zeiss lenses
Probably the PC lenses
But really nothing else, including the pro zooms!

This is sobering, suggesting that only Fuji and Leica have lens lineups that relatively fully match their sensors (and Fuji has only done it with fairly expensive APS-C lenses, while Leica has frightfully expensive full-frame lenses). It also suggests that the standard APS-C DSLR kit (16-24 mp camera with $100 lens) is an extreme mismatch - not sure I trust DxO's numbers, but they're suggesting that those lenses may run out of gas at 6-8 mp...

Dan
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: hjulenissen on February 20, 2013, 02:15:51 AM
High resolution is "needed" when shooting "fashion" and "beauty". You need resolution to pixel peep the skin of the models, default on fabrics or accessory and so on.
Why do you need to pixel peep their skin?
Quote
In my world, I do not need high resolution because my school taught me to build correctly the photos before shooting. So i f you select models with perfect skin, if you know how to light a scene, if you take time to set the photo, High Res and PP are not that needed.
Ok. Was modesty part of your training?:-)

I'd suggest that if you are aiming for 1+ meter wide landscape panoramas, that high resolution is a good thing, especially for those that push their nose up against the print to investigate details.

-h
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: hjulenissen on February 20, 2013, 02:22:56 AM
It also suggests that the standard APS-C DSLR kit (16-24 mp camera with $100 lens) is an extreme mismatch - not sure I trust DxO's numbers, but they're suggesting that those lenses may run out of gas at 6-8 mp...
If what you need is 6-8 MP and a 24MP sensor is the most cost-effective way to get there (with really high DR, reduced artifacts etc), then I would say that the match is perfect.

-h
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: Hulyss on February 20, 2013, 04:56:23 AM
Why do you need to pixel peep their skin?Ok. Was modesty part of your training?:-)

I'd suggest that if you are aiming for 1+ meter wide landscape panoramas, that high resolution is a good thing, especially for those that push their nose up against the print to investigate details.

-h

mmmm yeah yeah .... You should ask a fashion/beauty photographers to ask why High Res is needed, and, you should print more to see some facts by your eyes. Pixels was a marketing plot as well as "DR" is one today and "pixels" have nothing to do with DR. Until the venue of the D600, the DR king was the fuji S5 pro, period. How much pixel have the fuji S5 Pro ??  ;)

Now, lets speak about pixel and printing :

(http://www.hulyssbowman.com/tempo/forumsall/big.jpg)

(http://www.hulyssbowman.com/tempo/forumsall/crop.jpg)

This print is out of my Roland printer (not even a real photo printer) on canvas, 120 cm by 80 cm. The photo is done with a simple SD15, 800ISO at 4.7 Million pixels. You can even see the bristles of the fur. You know what ?? when I got my D700 12 MP, he just come slightly over at the same size but with Zeiss lenses ... With the SIGMA DP merrill (15MP), you can only dream how far you can push the print without really loosing detail ...

The DP Merrill with 15 Million Pixel out-resolve the whole 24 MP range of cameras out there today.

A perfectly scanned 135 film (only) done with modern glass, can out-resolve the whole 24 MP range of cameras out there today. Dynamic range of film is awesome and film is far to be dead. Film do not need "PP" if photo is correctly done.

Do not think that we, on Lu-La or other forums, are the common mass of photographers. Common mass of photographers do not print. We are a niche and ppl who print bigger than A3 are a niche in the niche, in the real world of photography today. Photos today are stored on HDD Nas close to the router or carved on DVD or stacked in 10x15 prints or in the memory of the Iphone.

36mp is nice, 300 is even better. I tend to agree that the more the better, even in relatively small prints it adds something to the reality of the print, a somehow hard to describe sense of infinite depth, almost fractal in nature. But I am getting carried away.  ;D

Besides, we know super high res large screens are just a few years down the road, they will be our standard soon. If I shoot images today with the intend of making them Hifi, then I sure hope they will still look hifi in 10 years from now when 100mp will be common place and used in our everyday display media. Just like Ansel Adams prints still somehow work today because they were shot by very high standards back then, I see no reason not to go for 300 megapixels today considering how easy it is.

Cheers,
Bernard


Now we come to Bernard point of view. Bernard speak about the "reality" added to the shoot when using High Res. But, In my opinion I do not take photos to make it a perfect gimmick of reality, never ever !! It is why some software are so popular :D >> DXO film pack, Niksoftware color efex, Instagram .... MANY people do not like the reality out of there digital cameras !! this create a perfect tech market ;)

Shooting film have sooo much soul, bring sooo much to the mood of a photo !! Film is not dead.

What make Ansel Adams prints that good to the human eye ??? Large Format !! not resolution. Only the perspective captured by a very big sensitive plan. What you see on Ansel Adams prints, you can't see it by your eyes just because of the perspectives (and you can't reproduce it without a LF camera too).

Well... this is just my opinion after all :)


Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: hjulenissen on February 20, 2013, 05:06:21 AM
you should print more to see some facts by your eyes.
You know nothing about how much I print.
Quote
What make Ansel Adams prints that good to the human eye ??? Large Format !! not resolution. Only the perspective captured by a very big sensitive plan. What you see on Ansel Adams prints, you can't see it by your eyes just because of the perspectives (and you can't reproduce it without a LF camera too).
Sensor size does not change perspective. Photographer movement does.

-h
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: Hulyss on February 20, 2013, 05:20:18 AM
I do not really care about what or how much you print. You said something, I showed something. Slight difference - over and out.
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on February 20, 2013, 06:43:48 AM
Now we come to Bernard point of view. Bernard speak about the "reality" added to the shoot when using High Res. But, In my opinion I do not take photos to make it a perfect gimmick of reality, never ever !! It is why some software are so popular :D >> DXO film pack, Niksoftware color efex, Instagram .... MANY people do not like the reality out of there digital cameras !! this create a perfect tech market ;)

Shooting film have sooo much soul, bring sooo much to the mood of a photo !! Film is not dead.

What make Ansel Adams prints that good to the human eye ??? Large Format !! not resolution. Only the perspective captured by a very big sensitive plan. What you see on Ansel Adams prints, you can't see it by your eyes just because of the perspectives (and you can't reproduce it without a LF camera too).

I agree that a large capture surface matters, this is exactly why I stitch. I don't believe it is look alone though, the image quality also contributes significantly to making these images feel contemporary.

Now I have to acknowledge my inability to convey subtle nuances in the English language. Reality was probably not the right word because recent images I shot stitching have a very strong photographic feel to them thanks to limited DoF (they don't feel real), but at the same time the astonishing detail in the sharp areas creates a certain connivence with the subject and attracts the eye in an almost magic way.

Unfortunately I cannot post this series of images online at the moment, which is very frustrating because I find them to be some of the work I am happiest about.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: Hulyss on February 20, 2013, 07:11:40 AM
I agree that a large capture surface matters, this is exactly why I stitch. I don't believe it is look alone though, the image quality also contributes significantly to making these images feel contemporary.

Now I have to acknowledge my inability to convey subtle nuances in the English language. Reality was probably not the right word because recent images I shot stitching have a very strong photographic feel to them thanks to limited DoF (they don't feel real), but at the same time the astonishing detail in the sharp areas creates a certain connivance with the subject and attracts the eye in an almost magic way.

Unfortunately I cannot post this series of images online at the moment, which is very frustrating because I find them to be some of the work I am happiest about.
Cheers,

Bernard


Then, we agree a lot Bernard. I'm a stitcher too, like the so called "brenizer" method but ... I'm not rich  ;D So, all my pro body's do not work outside pro situations, to save them. When I started stitching with 24x36 (+ 85f1.4G) I was amazed by the output. Then, I started to look at my photo numbers and stopped. In two years with one of my D700 I did 8500 actuations and, probably, over 1000 actuations are waste. Now, if we look at what can output a M9 + a 50 cron, we fall exactly in what you say :
 
Quote
"the astonishing detail in the sharp areas creates a certain connivance with the subject and attracts the eye in an almost magic way ".

Only Leica do that in the 35mm world and this is almost all due to the lens.

Now, speaking about transition and bokeh, even with stitching, nothing come close to large sensitive surface such as MF film (on a good body). Hand-held with a fuji 645 pro and HP5+ you can have the leica feel and some awesome smooth transitions you can't get with a digital MF below IQ 160/180 (6x4.5). Of course, we can print it as big as we want, depending on our scanner (then again their is some tricks).

(http://www.hulyssbowman.com/tempo/forumsall/two.jpg)

(http://www.hulyssbowman.com/tempo/forumsall/one.jpg)
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: KevinA on February 20, 2013, 07:48:15 AM
Not just why shoot high res, why bother with the latest and greatest. I seriously think I could shoot 90% of my jobs with the Sony RX100 and would never hear a complaint. I'm working on pimping it out with a eye level screen viewer and a bellows lens shade.
I'm going to mix it in jobs with all the Canon X shots and see if I get any feedback.
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: arlon on February 20, 2013, 10:08:15 AM
I am a rank amateur and need all the help I can get. With more pixels I find I can make more mistakes that are more easily fixed in PP. If I were a pro and shot perfectly composed photos of perfect subjects with perfect lenses under perfect light conditions and could wait all day to get the shot, I could probably get away with a "brownie camera". I'm not, I have to shoot what I can when I can and 36mp is a nice crutch.
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: PhotoEcosse on February 20, 2013, 10:20:34 AM
As the owner of both a D800 and a D800E, I am staggered that so much of the above discussion relates image resolution to print size.

Sure - good resolution is handy if you want to make massive prints (although do not over-state this as, the bigger the print, the farther the distance at which it should be viewed).

But, of infinitely greater importance in my opinion is the fact that high-res sensors, such as those in the D800 or modern MF digitals, give you the huge advantage of much larger Raw files. The D800 lossless-compressed files are 45Mb. As modern photo-processing is, in fact, data processing pure and simple, the more data you have available, the greater are your processing options.

The Raw files from my Nikon D3s were only about 16Mb. With the D800 I have three times as much data to play with. That is an immense advantage.
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: jonathanlung on February 20, 2013, 12:19:47 PM
PhotoEcosse brings up an interesting point: even without bringing up humungous prints or cropping, low-level manipulations are far more forgiving with more resolution. I once worked on a publication that used a lot of masking of photos to do cut-outs. We generally had a 1MP rectangle containing a person that we'd have to mask. Masking was laborious because of the precision required at our (very modest) print sizes. With more resolution, despite the computer being less responsive, the workflow would have certainly been much faster. Oh, how output from a Canon 10D would have been welcomed!
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: Josh-H on February 21, 2013, 03:53:39 AM
Quote
36mp is nice, 300 is even better. I tend to agree that the more the better, even in relatively small prints it adds something to the reality of the print, a somehow hard to describe sense of infinite depth, almost fractal in nature. But I am getting carried away.

Bernard you are in danger of sounding like one of the MFDB pundits you have so often bemoaned for claiming their images have a 'quality' not found in lesser pixel devices.... Just sayin... ;D
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on February 21, 2013, 04:15:14 AM
Bernard you are in danger of sounding like one of the MFDB pundits you have so often bemoaned for claiming their images have a 'quality' not found in lesser pixel devices.... Just sayin... ;D

Yes, I know I am on a very dangerous slope here.  ;)

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: hjulenissen on February 21, 2013, 04:35:27 AM
Sure - good resolution is handy if you want to make massive prints ...But, of infinitely greater importance in my opinion is the fact that high-res sensors, such as those in the D800 or modern MF digitals, give you the huge advantage of much larger Raw files. ...
(I edited out a couple of sentences).

If it is not the resolution, then what is the advantage of bigger files? If you re-save the (partially developed) raw file as a full-resolution 16-bit tiff, you will have many times as much data to work with. Does it make the end-result any better?

-h
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 21, 2013, 05:06:57 AM
Hi,

There is nothing wrong having a bit more resolution. On the other hand I don't know if all the pixels are needed.

Very clearly, an 80 MP back with the best lenses can produce better detail than Bernard's D800 (without stitching). Bernard's D800 will produce better detail than my Sony Alpha 99 and that camera gives much more detail then my Sony Alpha 700. Some of my best images were done using that Alpha 700 (12 MP) and they make perfect prints in A2 size.

Same goes for DR, my Sony Alpha 99 is purported to have very good DR (almost like D800) but I took me long until I found a situation that really indicated the DR advantage over lesser Alphas.

A compelling image is compelling whatever MP the camera has and a boring image is a boring image whatever the resolution of the sensor or lens.

Best regards
Erik

Bernard you are in danger of sounding like one of the MFDB pundits you have so often bemoaned for claiming their images have a 'quality' not found in lesser pixel devices.... Just sayin... ;D
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: BartvanderWolf on February 21, 2013, 06:16:07 AM
If it is not the resolution, then what is the advantage of bigger files?

Hi,

Microcontrast, and the ability to manipulate that accurately without introducing visibly distracting artifacts.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: BartvanderWolf on February 21, 2013, 06:16:35 AM
Bernard you are in danger of sounding like one of the MFDB pundits you have so often bemoaned for claiming their images have a 'quality' not found in lesser pixel devices.... Just sayin... ;D

I agree with Josh, but I understand Benhard's point of having subject surface/material structure becoming almost tangible. One can e.g. see the difference between cardboard and leather. However, there is not much (some still helps, but not much) to be gained by having more pixels than the output modality needs. Enough is enough. When we have enough pixels to satisfy a 720 PPI output without upsampling, there is not much to be gained by having more (other than room to go larger and some postprocessing benefits).

Since microcontrast is lost at the verge of limiting resolution, it helps (some types of photography) to stay away a bit from that absolute black hole which has no life in it anymore. The question then becomes, how far do we have to keep away from that dead-end by having some excess resolution?

In theory, in a perfect world, we could quantify that need as follows:

If we can accept those criteria, then a bit of math (you'll have to trust me on the validity of the derived formula) will tell us the following:
MTF10 is achieved at cycles/mm = 1.072983 / (pi x senselpitch x sigma),
thus 14.17 = 1.072983 / (pi x senselpitch x 0.7), or senselpitch = 0.0344 millimetre without magnification. When we want to magnify our sensor size 10x for output (e.g. 36mm to 360mm), we then divide the 0.0344 mm, or 34.4 micron, sensel pitch by 10 (so a D800 with a 4.88 micron sensel pitch would not suffice). Or if we have a given sensel pitch, e.g. 4.88 micron, then we know we can magnify 99.98 / 14.17 = 7.06x (36mm to 254mm) without compromise.

When we need larger output with the same reading distance quality, we need more pixels (larger sensor, or by stitching). Of course we can reduce our pixel peeping requirement for more distant viewing conditions, unless we want to allow uncompromised close inspection.

This of course also assumes that one requires the MTF10 at this maximum resolution, which is not required for many subjects, but it is nice to know where to draw the line before being accused of obsessing too much ...

Cheers,
Bart


P.S. OOPS, I had made an error in simplifying the formula (a Log() vs Ln() conversion), I have corrected the relevant bits above.
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: xpatUSA on February 21, 2013, 07:57:29 AM
Interesting discussion. There's similar ones raging elsewhere, specifically re: the D800 - which many people are declaring to be the best thing since sliced bread:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3385756

Also a more general discussion here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3386452

However, many posters over there have a tendency to ignore the laws of physics, unlike this learned forum. So it is quite refreshing to read posts with actual formulae and solid technical facts. Keep up the good work, Bart!

For the adventurous, I've put a spreadsheet here:

http://kronometric.org/phot/mtf/lens%20MTF%20vs%20Pitch.xls

You can put in light wavelength, aperture, sensor pixel pitch, and lens "quality" to get final MTF (as a fraction, not %) at the image plane. Totally un-commented, the yellow cells are inputs. Hopefully it will amuse somebody ;-)

Ted

Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: hjulenissen on February 21, 2013, 08:16:29 AM
Hi,

Microcontrast, and the ability to manipulate that accurately without introducing visibly distracting artifacts.

Cheers,
Bart
If it is the filesize in itself that is an advantage, resaving the file as PSD should give the same advantage?

If it is not the filesize in itself (lets hope not), then what is it if not the spatial density with which the sensor plane have been sampled?

-h
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: BartvanderWolf on February 21, 2013, 10:37:38 AM
If it is the filesize in itself that is an advantage, resaving the file as PSD should give the same advantage?

Obviously, that's why it's not about file size, although it's easier for making small scale edits.

Quote
If it is not the filesize in itself (lets hope not), then what is it if not the spatial density with which the sensor plane have been sampled?

It is the spatial sampling density which will allow a better MTF response than is possible nearer to the Nyquist frequency limit. That means that even low contrast input signals will be preserved for (micro-)contrast manipulation (e.g. Capture sharpening). When we shoot and aim for the lowest significant difference we tend to perceive, a 1% contrast difference would be needed to remain after shooting the original scene. When we aim for an MTF10, that means that original subject contrast at a certain spatial frequency cannot drop below 10%. At higher spatial frequencies we will get lower MTF modulation, and we'll still be able to use some of that.

However, while more subtle original subject contrast may be salvageable with processing, it becomes harder and harder as we lower our MTF response cut-off. When the original scene contrast is down to 1% (thus on the verge of being significant for human vision in real life), the MTF10 will reduce that to 0.1% response, which is only just encodeable in an 8-bit output value. Seems like a good target to aim for to me.

On the other hand, we gain little by going the other direction. If we already have a 10% modulation transfer, we will not improve the image quality very much (some, but not very much) by having a larger modulation for that level of detail, because we can do that with postprocessing, without needing to push very much (which could lead to artifacts).

That's why I suggest that the practical upper limit of significant image quality is reached by the three criteria I mentioned earlier (MTF10, 0.7 sigma PSF, 720 PPI output). We can always lower the bar for image quality for convenience, or file size, or storage capacity, or when the subject doesn't need it, etc., but raising the bar doesn't add significant quality (AKA diminishing returns). IMHO, of course.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: arlon on February 21, 2013, 11:16:37 AM
 Forget the graphs and charts and just do some heads up comparing with the kind of pictures you like to take. Take your oldest camera body with fewer pixels and do some comparison shooting with your newest camera (assuming you've upgraded at some point).

You already know the answer or you'd still be using that old camera with less pixels. More pixels density is better or you'd still be using your Sony Mavica.
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: hjulenissen on February 21, 2013, 12:32:41 PM
Obviously, that's why it's not about file size, although it's easier for making small scale edits.
Well, the quote that I responded to said quite clearly: "the huge advantage of much larger Raw files".
Quote
It is the spatial sampling density which will allow a better MTF response than is possible nearer to the Nyquist frequency limit.
There is no evidence to suggest that e.g. my 18MP 7D has a better response close to its Nyquist frequency than my old 350D had at its Nyquist frequency. On the contrary, the system probably has worse response since the Nyquist frequency has been shifted upwards, while some other bandwidth-limiting factors have stayed more or less constant.
Quote
That means that even low contrast input signals will be preserved for (micro-)contrast manipulation (e.g. Capture sharpening). When we shoot and aim for the lowest significant difference we tend to perceive, a 1% contrast difference would be needed to remain after shooting the original scene. When we aim for an MTF10, that means that original subject contrast at a certain spatial frequency cannot drop below 10%. At higher spatial frequencies we will get lower MTF modulation, and we'll still be able to use some of that.
I dont get this line of reasoning. It is what it is. We can use umpteen parameters to describe what is fundamentally a frequency response, but what you (best case) get when sampling at a higher rate is more of everything. The 1% contrast would be shifted upwards, so would the 10% contrast and the 50% contrast. So the question is (in my simple mind) do we need to shift the spatial frequency response upwards, do we need more resolution?

-h
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: Hulyss on February 21, 2013, 12:51:49 PM
Meanwhile, with a Voightlander Bessa 667 on a 5mm mark at 8 meters :

Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: KevinA on February 21, 2013, 01:13:24 PM
Forget the graphs and charts and just do some heads up comparing with the kind of pictures you like to take. Take your oldest camera body with fewer pixels and do some comparison shooting with your newest camera (assuming you've upgraded at some point).

You already know the answer or you'd still be using that old camera with less pixels. More pixels density is better or you'd still be using your Sony Mavica.
Well I've dropped the amount of pixels I shoot, gone from 21mp to 18mp, not much I know. But honestly all this talk about more or less pixels making this or that difference, it's the sort of thing that could disappear yourself up your backside. No doubt if I'd gone for a D4 my photography would of suffered even more.
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: BartvanderWolf on February 21, 2013, 01:56:49 PM
I dont get this line of reasoning. It is what it is. We can use umpteen parameters to describe what is fundamentally a frequency response, but what you (best case) get when sampling at a higher rate is more of everything.

Hi,

Well, when it's more modulation, the local detail contrast gets better. When a given subject detail is sampled with a higher sampling density, it's contrast is retained more accurately, because it is relatively lower on the scale towards Nyquist. That can make a difference (see attachment) when the original contrast was low to begin with (e.g. <=1% original subject contrast), such as in subtle material surface structure.

What you are comparing is not the same level of detail, but coarser (near lower Nyquist frequency) with finer detail (near higher Nyquist frequency). That's a bonus, but will possibly be of too low contrast to make a difference in final output, because some of that the contrast will be lost. It will help in processing some of the other data but it is in the excess detail category where one eventually lands without significant benefits (like using a D800 for web publishing, unless one crops a lot).

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on February 21, 2013, 02:06:16 PM
Hi,

A long time ago C'tein published an article on the issue, it may be worth reading:

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2009/02/why-80-megapixels-just-wont-be-enough.html

Best regards
Erik


Another discussion on hyperfocal distance raised the question-
--
It makes sense only if one doesn't print large output. That would raise a question as to why use a camera with high resolution to begin with, but that's a different subject ...
--

So why does we shoot with high res. cameras?

How big is large print output?

Dave S
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: David S on February 21, 2013, 02:47:30 PM
Hi,

A long time ago C'tein published an article on the issue, it may be worth reading:

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2009/02/why-80-megapixels-just-wont-be-enough.html

Best regards
Erik



Thanks for the reference. Helps me have better thoughts to think about the whole issue even if I cannot afford the bigger pixel cameras.

Dave S
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: xpatUSA on February 21, 2013, 03:37:54 PM
Forget the graphs and charts and just do some heads up comparing with the kind of pictures you like to take. Take your oldest camera body with fewer pixels and do some comparison shooting with your newest camera (assuming you've upgraded at some point).

Always willing to oblige ;-)

I don't have a "newest camera" unless you count my second Sigma SD10, but it can take pixel-binned shots, 9.12um pitch or 18.24um pitch, a ratio similar to D800 vs D700, right?:

(http://kronometric.org/phot/iq/LOvsHI/bkLO756.jpg)

(http://kronometric.org/phot/iq/LOvsHI/bkHI756.jpg)

Each image down-sampled by Lanczos to 756px wide with no other post-processing.

LO res first.

Ted
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on February 21, 2013, 05:20:58 PM
Well I've dropped the amount of pixels I shoot, gone from 21mp to 18mp, not much I know. But honestly all this talk about more or less pixels making this or that difference, it's the sort of thing that could disappear yourself up your backside. No doubt if I'd gone for a D4 my photography would of suffered even more.

Most of us were happy with 12mp DSLRs, 14 inch color TVs, wired irons and laptops weighting 1.5 kg.

Now progress marches ahead and redefines what can be done. We can of course decide that the value of progress is not worth the cost for one's own needs, but most of the time there is some objective value even when we decide to pass.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Why shoot with a high resolution camera?
Post by: Ray on February 21, 2013, 10:16:09 PM
I'll offer 3 very simple reasons for having more megapixels.

(1) Useful for very large prints. You will see more detail close up.

(2) Effectively improves the resolution of all one's lenses by at least some degree, depending on the inherent quality of the lenses, of course. The higher the quality of the lens, the more pronounced the improvement will be.

(3) Provides the flexibility to create one's own cropped format, thus effectively getting a longer reach with any lens.

One of the advantages of the D800E that appeals to me, is that it performs like a cropped-format D7000 when used in DX mode, and also provides a faster frame rate because of the smaller file sizes used. I thus get the sense that I have two cameras for the price of one.

It's interesting that Nikon have now done something similar with their recently announced 24mp D7100. They've introduced another 1.3x cropped format within the wider DX viewfinder which allows one to see what's outside the smaller format, as in a rangefinder camera.

The additional cropped format provides a 15.4mp image with an effective focal length of 2x the 35mm equivalent, and again a faster frame rate as a result of the reduced file size.

Looks like I'll be carrying two cameras again. The D7100 seems a worthy upgrade to the D7000, and its lack of an AA filter seems very sensible.  ;D