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Author Topic: High megapixels and the need for tripods.  (Read 5027 times)

David Eckels

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2017, 07:20:48 PM »

Some times the best way to photograph is to simply slow down and think before pushing the button.

Great, great advice.

NancyP

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2017, 02:28:18 PM »

The habit of using a tripod for "best" shots is one that I am glad to have learned. I might fiddle with handheld shots for initial "working the scene", but when I have decided what I want, out comes the tripod. When I can't get the tripod, I shoot "burst" mode, and one of 6 or 7 shots might be good.
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BobShaw

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2017, 04:48:55 PM »

I am surprised that a question on whether or not to use a tripod posted in a landscape forum got so many varied answers.
Even shooting in broad daylight I would use a tripod for serious shots.
You want the camera rock solid. Even many tripods move in the breeze.

You want to be shooting at the lowest ISO for noise (which is bad on high MP 35mm cameras)
You also want the smallest clean aperture like say f11 for depth of field. That probably only gives you a shutter of 1/100th second at best. At sunrise and sunset it is way slower.

You also want the mirror up a long time before the shot to stop the mirror shake. This definitely requires a tripod. One of the (many) great things about medium format is that you can lock the mirror up permanently with a button instead of menus. (Another is leaf shutters.)

You then want a cable release or time delay shutter to stop touching the camera at the moment of capture.

There are lots of other useful things, like a third hand to change lenses and filter, a place to put the camera while you wander around, as well as the reflection time already mentioned.
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luxborealis

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2017, 06:13:02 PM »

All the varied answers are the result of everyone putting in their 2 cents worth of advice, some of whom missed the point of the OPs question...

Of course you can shoot without a tripod. Iím sure even an 8x10 could be hand held. The question is fundamental, though: is there a relationship between the need for a tripod to maintain sharpness and increasing pixel density (or, perhaps more correctly, decreasing pixel size).

The answer is YES. With smaller pixels (higher map or pixel density or more pixels per unit area), use of a tripod is more helpful for maintaining sharpness. Is it necessary? Depends on your shooting style, your expectations, how much you pixel peep and print size.


I am surprised that a question on whether or not to use a tripod posted in a landscape forum got so many varied answers.
Even shooting in broad daylight I would use a tripod for serious shots.
You want the camera rock solid. Even many tripods move in the breeze.

You want to be shooting at the lowest ISO for noise (which is bad on high MP 35mm cameras)
You also want the smallest clean aperture like say f11 for depth of field. That probably only gives you a shutter of 1/100th second at best. At sunrise and sunset it is way slower.

You also want the mirror up a long time before the shot to stop the mirror shake. This definitely requires a tripod. One of the (many) great things about medium format is that you can lock the mirror up permanently with a button instead of menus. (Another is leaf shutters.)

You then want a cable release or time delay shutter to stop touching the camera at the moment of capture.

There are lots of other useful things, like a third hand to change lenses and filter, a place to put the camera while you wander around, as well as the reflection time already mentioned.
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Tony Jay

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2017, 11:55:45 PM »

All the varied answers are the result of everyone putting in their 2 cents worth of advice, some of whom missed the point of the OPs question...

Of course you can shoot without a tripod. Iím sure even an 8x10 could be hand held. The question is fundamental, though: is there a relationship between the need for a tripod to maintain sharpness and increasing pixel density (or, perhaps more correctly, decreasing pixel size).

The answer is YES. With smaller pixels (higher map or pixel density or more pixels per unit area), use of a tripod is more helpful for maintaining sharpness. Is it necessary? Depends on your shooting style, your expectations, how much you pixel peep and print size.
I agree with Terry - it all depends on one's expectations....

Me, I shoot with a high MP Sony (for landscapes anyway) AND I print big (A2+ minimum) and so IQ is of the utmost concern and priority - and so tripods, remote releases, heavy beanbags (draped over the camera), base ISO, and shutter speed (when possible) all get a workout to try and muscle IQ as much as is possible.

However, a lot of folks just want a nice low-res image to post on facebook or whatever - images that I bin would be just fine for this purpose, it just isn't my purpose...

Nonetheless, as Terry also points out, taking a slapdash approach to shooting with a high-megapixel camera is likely to disappoint - one simply cannot generally shoot with a 40 MP camera in the same way as one could with a 6 MP or 10 MP camera.
A Sony A7R series camera is smaller and lighter than any of the 6 MP or 10 MP cameras that I own from past days and by virtues of these facts lends itself to handholding - just not if IQ is the prime consideration...

Ultimately, a high megapixel camera demands careful attention to detail if one wants consistently high IQ - there is an envelope here which cannot be breached!
And, I think it is great - technique and craft still rule!!!

Tony Jay
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NancyP

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2018, 10:52:48 AM »

beanbag over camera? I thought only supertelephoto shooters did that. Interesting.
On the other hand, I am still holding at 20 MP...
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Peter McLennan

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2018, 11:58:10 AM »

Hehe... but of course, the real question is: what are the results? Acceptable for only web use, I'd venture.

Nope. 

I regularly print big and I regularly shoot hand held - especially when air travelling. Two criteria that probably apply to many of us here.

This image, referenced in another thread, is hand-held and printed nearly two metres wide.  Looks great, sold several times.

It is a two image stitch and it is shot under optimal conditions; full sun, so probably 1/350th and F8. 70-200mm Nikkor. @200mm.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2018, 01:09:11 PM by Peter McLennan »
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armand

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2018, 10:30:12 AM »

For high megapixel cameras, you might need to go 3-4 times the reciprocal.

Something that is probably true but I still have difficulty accepting it. Particularly with VR when even 1/FL on my D750 seem to have frequent issues.
Now it's not related just to the megapixel count, a mirrorless will have an advantage if you can hold it properly as will have no mirror slap; it's easier for me to get sharp shots on a X-T2 with 24MP than on a D750 with 24MP despite higher pixel density on the Fuji and so far mirror slap is the only explanation I could come up with. Mirrorless will in theory have more shutter shock though unless EFCS.


The bean bag advice sounds good, I was thinking more of placing a camera on a bean bag on a rock/ground as in the high winds I recently encountered I needed a much bigger tripod to make a difference but on the camera will be helpful too.
With what do you fill them? You might not have sand available and to carry them already filled sounds kind of heavy.

The habit of using a tripod for "best" shots is one that I am glad to have learned. I might fiddle with handheld shots for initial "working the scene", but when I have decided what I want, out comes the tripod. When I can't get the tripod, I shoot "burst" mode, and one of 6 or 7 shots might be good.
I used this and it works at some extent. Not always to get a 24MP sharp image but more like 12MP. Then again, many times it's enough.

Also if it's too windy and not very long shutter speeds I leave the VR activated while on the tripod.


At the end of the day you don't need all those megapixels for every shot. It would be nice but people have been producing great shots with "only" 6-12MP.

NancyP

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2018, 04:02:06 PM »

Also remember that good image stabilization (in-camera or in-lens) helps.

Depending on your degree of fussiness, a sharp 12 to 18 MP image looks just fine at usual viewing distance (nose not on image) in a 24" x 36" print for home use. Depending on the image, noise may not be a huge problem. Remember film days - image with impact need not be technically perfect, if you are the one using the image. Non-photojournalist pros don't have the luxury of putting an otherwise stunning image with suboptimal technical quality in their portfolios.

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nirpat89

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2018, 10:41:09 AM »

Can someone enlighten me why by simply increasing the no. of pixel on the same size sensor, the camera becomes less hand-holdable? 
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #30 on: February 17, 2018, 01:19:17 PM »

Can someone enlighten me why by simply increasing the no. of pixel on the same size sensor, the camera becomes less hand-holdable? 

I am not an expert, nor I googled the answer, just trying to figure it out for myself:

Let's assume we double the number of pixels that now covers the same subject size and the same amount of subject details. Let's further assume that our camera shake produces a one-pixel smear in the direction of the shake. Well, that detail smear will be now represented by two pixels with the larger sensor (or, to be precise, 1.41x for a perfectly unidirectional smear). Up to a certain print/web size, this wouldn't even be noticeable. However, as mentioned before, the very purpose of large sensors is to print large, thus the difference will be visible during pixel peeping or in large prints.

BartvanderWolf

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #31 on: February 17, 2018, 08:08:44 PM »

Can someone enlighten me why by simply increasing the no. of pixel on the same size sensor, the camera becomes less hand-holdable?


Hi,

If a given amount of shake is spread over a larger number of pixels, not much will change if you output to the same output size at a proportionally higher PPI (besides the ability to do better output sharpening). But assuming you use the additional pixels to create larger output at the same PPI, the individual pixels can be more blurry unless camera shake is controlled better.

Cheers,
Bart
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nirpat89

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #32 on: February 17, 2018, 10:10:56 PM »

Thanks Bart and Slobodan.

I think I get it.  It's not that the shake error is different in spatial terms.  But if you were to take advantage of the higher pixel density by printing bigger at the same ppi, you have to start worrying about the how steady your hand was. 

So at the pixel density of several years ago, the resolution was sensor-limited.  Then as the sensors got better, it was lens-limited.  Now it is hand-limited.  Just when I was beginning to think my hands are not as steady as they used to be... :)

:Niranjan.
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BJL

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #33 on: February 17, 2018, 11:02:11 PM »

I tend to agree with her. My recent trip, where I was shooting handheld all the time (from a ship, moving cars, walking), just proved that.

Now, tripod is not the only solution. Increasing the shutter speed is the other. It used to be in the film days that it would be enough to use a reciprocal of the lens focal length (e.g., 1/125s for 100 mm to 135mm lenses). If you wanted to be on the safe side, you'd double that. For high megapixel cameras, you might need to go 3-4 times the reciprocal. Obviously, image stabilization might help and let you get away with less than that, but only for really stationary subjects.
Current high resolution 35mm format cameras have about two to three times the _linear_ resolution of film, so add between one and two stops to the shutter speed needed to control hand-shake. On the other hand, IS can given you about four or five stops (maybe less so for systems like Canon that lack IBIS). So overall, hand-holding works with about two or three stops less light (and I am ruling out using the higher ISO speeds allowed by modern sensors).

For me, IS has made my tripod and monopod far less necessary than with film, though I am only at 16MP.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2018, 07:28:09 PM by BJL »
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BJL

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #34 on: February 18, 2018, 07:17:06 PM »

Obviously, image stabilization might help and let you get away with less than that, but only for really stationary subjects.
Somewhat ironically, the argument for higher resolution increasing the need for a tripod is less with fast moving subjects; only higher shutter speeds can help. This because only higher shutter speeds can control subject motion blur (about three times higher needed with the 5DS than with film) and that factor of increase in shutter speed is the same as what you need to control blurring from camera motion when hand-holding.

This could just mean that when new sensors raise your sharpness goals for fast moving subjects, "three legged image stabilization" (a tripod, aka "TLIS") is as necessary as it as with film; neither more nor less. On the other hand, with stationary subjects, TLIS is clearly more beneficial when there is not adequate in-camera IS, but less important when the best modern IS (four or five stops) is usable.
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armand

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2018, 07:34:18 PM »



Hi,

If a given amount of shake is spread over a larger number of pixels, not much will change if you output to the same output size at a proportionally higher PPI (besides the ability to do better output sharpening). But assuming you use the additional pixels to create larger output at the same PPI, the individual pixels can be more blurry unless camera shake is controlled better.

Cheers,
Bart

So to summarize, for a fixed output the visible shake is mostly proportional to the sensor size and not to the pixel count? Assuming the same amount of shake each time.

BartvanderWolf

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #36 on: February 28, 2018, 08:57:05 AM »

So to summarize, for a fixed output the visible shake is mostly proportional to the sensor size and not to the pixel count?

I'd say that a larger physical sensor size, with longer focal length for the same FoV, requires less output magnification for the same size output. So that should more or less cancel out.

Cheers,
Bart
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donbga

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #37 on: February 28, 2018, 11:40:00 AM »

I met a photographer recently who uses a Canon 5ds for landscapes. She says that the camera can not be used without a tripod because its super resolution reveals even the slightest hand movement.

Given her comment, one might ask about the high megapixel SONY and Nikon cameras. At over 40 megapixels would they not also demand a tripod?
Do their new image stabilizations and autofocus technologies make it possible to hand hold these cameras without blur?

High megapixel or not, when ever possible I shoot with a tripod. Obviously this doesn't apply to all subjects. For studio portraits I prefer a tripod even with electronic flash but thats for a formalized look.

But tripod work if done properly will always produce the sharpest images if that is important to you.
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BAB

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #38 on: February 28, 2018, 05:53:37 PM »

I regularly shoot 100mp 15x ND images hand-held 3-4 min exposures, but I have yet to find one that I want to print J/K. They do make interesting backgrounds. I think you should try some shots off tripod and the same shots on tripod and compare for yourself, then you will remember which style is for what. 99.9% of my landscapes are on legs....period!
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EricV

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Re: High megapixels and the need for tripods.
« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2018, 02:07:39 PM »

So to summarize, for a fixed output the visible shake is mostly proportional to the sensor size and not to the pixel count? Assuming the same amount of shake each time.
 
No.  Camera shake means the angle of the camera changed during the exposure.  This results in blurring of the object imaged on the sensor.  If you characterize the blurring in terms of angle, it is completely independent of sensor size (physical size or pixel count), and also completely independent of lens.  The lens and sensor enter only if you want to convert angular blur to pixel blur, or to linear blur on a final print of some size. 

For example, if your camera rotates about a vertical axis by 1 mrad (0.057 degree) during the exposure, a tree at distance of 100 meters will be blurred horizontally by 100 millimeters, about the size of a large leaf.  If the lens and sensor are good enough to resolve the leaves on the tree, and you print the image large enough, and view it from close enough, you will see this blur in the print.  The blur will be about the size of a leaf on the print, independent of the lens and sensor used to record the image, and independent of the print size.

If you want to convert the blur (leaf) to pixels, then you need to know lens and sensor details.  Continuing the example, suppose you capture the image with a 100mm lens.  For an object at a distance of 100m, the lens will have magnification 1/1000, so the blur (leaf) will have a size of 100 microns on the sensor. (You can alternatively calculate that a rotation angle of 1mrad times a focal length of 100mm gives a linear size of 100um.)  If the sensor has 5um pixels, the blur (leaf) will span 20 pixels.
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