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Author Topic: Is 24MP the new 12MP?  (Read 2452 times)

BJL

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Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« on: February 18, 2019, 04:47:16 pm »

I remember the much misquoted and mocked statement from someone at Olympus along the lines that "12MP is all that most photographers need for most purposes ...". The mockery generally ignored the qualifications to "most" not "all", but reading what was actually said, I am still inclined to agree: if "most" includes so-called "normal" viewing, where one is looking at the whole image at once, so from a distance not less than the long dimension, then 4000 pixels ["4K"] in that long dimension is usually good enough (exceeding the angular resolution of most human eyes), and 12MP gives that.

But of course all formats have moved on, justified perhaps by things like a desire for cropping latitude and for zooming in, either on-screen or with one's feet when confronted by an invitingly large, sharp print. What I have just noticed though is something of a halt or long pause at 24MP, which BTW is 4K on the shorter edge (as is the current 20MP maximum in Four Thirds format, close enough.)  36x24mm format reached that way back in 2010-2011, and still the great majority of new cameras in that format (especially counting by unit sales, not models) are at 24MP or only marginally above. The APS-C formats like 24x16mm reached 24MP in late 2013, and are still there, with the exception of two recent Fujifilm models at an only slightly higher 26MP.

I am not ignoring or disparaging the existence of ever higher resolution options, up to 51MP in 36x24mm and to 150MP in larger formats; I am just wondering if we have truly reached a resolution plateau where a very large majority of ILC users get no significant benefit from higher pixel counts, and accordingly product improvements for most of the ILC market — even within the somewhat elite 36x24mm format — are shifting to other aspects of image quality and overall camera performance and usability.

I also recall that in the day of medium format backs with 22MP 48x36mm CCDs, a lot of working professional MF users in this forum were saying that they did not see a need for much or any more resolution; IIRC, bcooter suggested back then that around 30MP would be plenty, and he just said about the same today: https://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=128939.msg1096402#msg1096402
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faberryman

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2019, 05:25:12 pm »

A very large majority of ILC users rarely if ever print, so it doesn't much matter what the sensor resolution is. When you are down sampling to 1200x800 at 72dpi for the web almost anything will do.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2019, 10:23:26 am by faberryman »
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luxborealis

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2019, 05:59:26 pm »

"12MP is all that most photographers need for most purposes ..."

This is ABSOLUTELY true! I shoot FF Nikon and 20mp Sony, but my iPhone photos, at 12mp, are plenty big enough for web, small prints (8x10, 11x14) and photo books which probably covers 99% of photo uses for 99% of people (considering 98% are only ever seen on Facebook and Instagram!)

Right now I’m looking at a 42” canvas of Mt Kilimanjaro I shot out the window of a plane with a 5mp Olympus. I have 2 16x20s on the wall for close viewing shot with a 5mp Minolta.

Most ‘photographers’ have more equipment than they will ever need. Why? Because they can afford it. It’s their hobby. It looks good on the shoulder. It’s what the pros use.

BUT, the people reading these forum posts are more of the aficionado type who appreciate, make use of and can actually see the quality delivered by higher end equipment. More over, we make active use of it. In many ways (perhaps not financially, but most likely there, too), we’re the 1%.
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Terry McDonald - luxBorealis.com

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2019, 04:39:40 pm »

For me 20 (4:3) and 24mp (3:2) are sweetspots for sure. I can downsample for great looking 4K display or print as large as my printer can manage. That said…my "phone" cam (12mp), with its dual lenses, is plenty good enough for most uses too.

-Dave-
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BJL

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2019, 07:46:30 pm »

A very large majority of ILC users rarely if ever print, so it doesn't much matter what the sensor resolution is. When you are down sampling to 1200x1800 at 72dpi for the web almost anything will do.

Even many "non-printing" ILC users can have a use for more that 1200x1800:
- One case is those who view and show off pictures on large screen 4K TVs. And since those roughly 4000 pixels across are full three color pixels, they can arguably benefit from a Bayer CFA image that is more than 4000 pixels across.
- Another is those viewing images on a 4K or 5K monitor; again arguably benefiting from having more CFA sensor pixels than the screen has display pixels.
- Then there are people (like me, I confess) whose sometimes like to zoom in on details of an image on-screen, even all the way to 100%.
- And of course there is the desire for occasional heavy cropping, for cases when one just did not have a long enough focal length available.

Perhaps the bottom line is that we now routinely view images on screens that are far larger than the prints we used to make, and bigger than most  ILC camera users make even now—though also typically viewed from further away. So as screen resolution improves it is not so clear how the resolution needs of "screen only" viewers will compare to those of "printers". AFAIK, a traditional color print has about 200PPI of resolution (let us not confuse PPI with the far higher DPI needed by an ink-jet printer!) so "5K" displays show about as much detail as a film-era print 25" or 60cm wide; roughly A2 size.

And I suppose that big 8K screens will be coming to at least a few man-caves, potentially displaying about as much detail as a print 40" or one metre wide.

P. S. Recent 4K and 5K displays (and the rumored forthcoming Apple 6K, 31.5" display) are a bit over 200PPI, so about matching traditional color print resolution; we are well past the era of 72DPI displays and screens with resolution far lower than prints.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 07:58:58 pm by BJL »
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Alan Klein

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2019, 09:46:35 pm »

Even many "non-printing" ILC users can have a use for more that 1200x1800:
- One case is those who view and show off pictures on large screen 4K TVs. And since those roughly 4000 pixels across are full three color pixels, they can arguably benefit from a Bayer CFA image that is more than 4000 pixels across.
- Another is those viewing images on a 4K or 5K monitor; again arguably benefiting from having more CFA sensor pixels than the screen has display pixels.
- Then there are people (like me, I confess) whose sometimes like to zoom in on details of an image on-screen, even all the way to 100%.
- And of course there is the desire for occasional heavy cropping, for cases when one just did not have a long enough focal length available.

Perhaps the bottom line is that we now routinely view images on screens that are far larger than the prints we used to make, and bigger than most  ILC camera users make even now—though also typically viewed from further away. So as screen resolution improves it is not so clear how the resolution needs of "screen only" viewers will compare to those of "printers". AFAIK, a traditional color print has about 200PPI of resolution (let us not confuse PPI with the far higher DPI needed by an ink-jet printer!) so "5K" displays show about as much detail as a film-era print 25" or 60cm wide; roughly A2 size.

And I suppose that big 8K screens will be coming to at least a few man-caves, potentially displaying about as much detail as a print 40" or one metre wide.

P. S. Recent 4K and 5K displays (and the rumored forthcoming Apple 6K, 31.5" display) are a bit over 200PPI, so about matching traditional color print resolution; we are well past the era of 72DPI displays and screens with resolution far lower than prints.
I regularly make slide and video clip vacation and travel shows for display on my 4K UHDTV.  (3840 x 2160 -  8mb) Shooting with 20mb camera, that gives me a lot of crop room for the stills as you only need 8mb per image.  Of course, once you get into 8k displays, then you'll need 32mb per image.  On the other hand, even with my 4K TV, I can up-rez 1920 x 1080 HDTV (2mb) shots to 4K to show on my 4K TV.  If I didn't tell you, you probably wouldn't notice the difference.  Your eye can hardly resolve that many pixels.  I can't imagine why anyone would need 8K TV's other than bragging rights.

Robert Roaldi

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2019, 10:15:15 am »

I remember the much misquoted and mocked statement from someone at Olympus along the lines that "12MP is all that most photographers need for most purposes ...". The mockery generally ignored the qualifications to "most" not "all", but reading what was actually said, I am still inclined to agree: if "most" includes so-called "normal" viewing, where one is looking at the whole image at once, so from a distance not less than the long dimension, then 4000 pixels ["4K"] in that long dimension is usually good enough (exceeding the angular resolution of most human eyes), and 12MP gives that.

But of course all formats have moved on, justified perhaps by things like a desire for cropping latitude and for zooming in, either on-screen or with one's feet when confronted by an invitingly large, sharp print. What I have just noticed though is something of a halt or long pause at 24MP, which BTW is 4K on the shorter edge (as is the current 20MP maximum in Four Thirds format, close enough.)  36x24mm format reached that way back in 2010-2011, and still the great majority of new cameras in that format (especially counting by unit sales, not models) are at 24MP or only marginally above. The APS-C formats like 24x16mm reached 24MP in late 2013, and are still there, with the exception of two recent Fujifilm models at an only slightly higher 26MP.

I am not ignoring or disparaging the existence of ever higher resolution options, up to 51MP in 36x24mm and to 150MP in larger formats; I am just wondering if we have truly reached a resolution plateau where a very large majority of ILC users get no significant benefit from higher pixel counts, and accordingly product improvements for most of the ILC market — even within the somewhat elite 36x24mm format — are shifting to other aspects of image quality and overall camera performance and usability.

I also recall that in the day of medium format backs with 22MP 48x36mm CCDs, a lot of working professional MF users in this forum were saying that they did not see a need for much or any more resolution; IIRC, bcooter suggested back then that around 30MP would be plenty, and he just said about the same today: https://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=128939.msg1096402#msg1096402

I'm not sure that the 12 mpix statement from Olympus was very far off the mark. There are a lot of people who need more, but there are a lot for whom it would be just fine. Neither here nor there though, hardly anyone would buy one these days, the number of pixels seems to be an important metric when buying.
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Paul Roark

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2019, 12:49:34 pm »

Most people may not need a high MP count, but thank you Sony for making the a7rii and iii for those of us who like large, sharp images and don't like lugging around heavy equipment.  I'd even like smaller and higher MP count sensors, but I suspect we're at a point in the technology that the shot noise (random flux of photons?) that is inevitable is a major limiting factor in the pixel dimensions. 

Paul
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kers

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2019, 01:22:38 pm »

My printer does 112cm wide and i need all the pixels of my d850 to print a clean image that wide.
I like the format. I am sure i am not the only one...
Having said that 12mp is enough for billboards- for large uncomplicated images to get the advertising message across.
( of topic)  i don't mind heavy lenses as long as they are worth it- just bought the new Sigma 40mm- 1200gram- but it is the widest lens i know that can do 46MP at f1.4 sharp corner to corner.

« Last Edit: February 20, 2019, 01:32:21 pm by kers »
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BJL

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2019, 09:56:34 am »

I'd even like smaller and higher MP count sensors, but I suspect we're at a point in the technology that the shot noise (random flux of photons?) that is inevitable is a major limiting factor in the pixel dimensions. 

Paul
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For many needs (no extremes of subject brightness range etc), I would say that the photosites of 20 MP 1” format sensors can very often get the job done—note that they are still far bigger than phone-camera photosites. That scales to about 35 MP in 4/3” format and 60MP in APSC.

I suspect that lenses (rather than photosite size) will increasingly set the limits on attainable high resolution image quality—along with the ever more limited DOF that comes with increased pixel counts. So maybe the cost and bulk of a lens collection “worthy” of well over 24MP is one factor in _most_ ILC users having little motivation to stay in the MP race.
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Paul Roark

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2019, 12:11:45 pm »


...

I suspect that lenses (rather than photosite size) will increasingly set the limits on attainable high resolution image quality—along with the ever more limited DOF that comes with increased pixel counts. So maybe the cost and bulk of a lens collection “worthy” of well over 24MP is one factor in _most_ ILC users having little motivation to stay in the MP race.

I agree, but to get the most out of the Sony 42 mp sensor, I use Leica M lenses.  This requires that the Sony be modified with the KoloriVision Ultra Thin sensor cover glass.  Regarding  DOF, I use more than one shot per scene and stack the frames in PS.  Usually two shots is sufficient, and it's easy to do that hand held. (True, it takes a bit of work to clean up some edges sometimes.)

Paul
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smthopr

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2019, 12:36:49 pm »

I remember the much misquoted and mocked statement from someone at Olympus along the lines that "12MP is all that most photographers need for most purposes ...". The mockery generally ignored the qualifications to "most" not "all", but reading what was actually said, I am still inclined to agree: if "most" includes so-called "normal" viewing, where one is looking at the whole image at once, so from a distance not less than the long dimension, then 4000 pixels ["4K"] in that long dimension is usually good enough (exceeding the angular resolution of most human eyes), and 12MP gives that.

But of course all formats have moved on, justified perhaps by things like a desire for cropping latitude and for zooming in, either on-screen or with one's feet when confronted by an invitingly large, sharp print. What I have just noticed though is something of a halt or long pause at 24MP, which BTW is 4K on the shorter edge (as is the current 20MP maximum in Four Thirds format, close enough.)  36x24mm format reached that way back in 2010-2011, and still the great majority of new cameras in that format (especially counting by unit sales, not models) are at 24MP or only marginally above. The APS-C formats like 24x16mm reached 24MP in late 2013, and are still there, with the exception of two recent Fujifilm models at an only slightly higher 26MP.

I am not ignoring or disparaging the existence of ever higher resolution options, up to 51MP in 36x24mm and to 150MP in larger formats; I am just wondering if we have truly reached a resolution plateau where a very large majority of ILC users get no significant benefit from higher pixel counts, and accordingly product improvements for most of the ILC market — even within the somewhat elite 36x24mm format — are shifting to other aspects of image quality and overall camera performance and usability.

I also recall that in the day of medium format backs with 22MP 48x36mm CCDs, a lot of working professional MF users in this forum were saying that they did not see a need for much or any more resolution; IIRC, bcooter suggested back then that around 30MP would be plenty, and he just said about the same today: https://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=128939.msg1096402#msg1096402
Last year I finally "upgraded" from 12mpx to 50 mpx.  24mpx is only 50% more resolution than 12mpx :)  For me, it was the right decision, but, of course, many of my images probably don't take advantage of 50 mpx, but some really do.  If I were primarily a "classical" landscape photographer, I think I would find that 24mpx is not quite enough.  For 35mm format cameras, 50mpx is probably as much as I will ever need for this style of shooting.  So, I think the plateau, at this size sensor is probably 50 mpx :)
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JeanMichel

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2019, 03:23:53 pm »

Well, the more MP's the better of course. However, I find it amusing to see myself editing 24MP files on a 27-inch iMac Retina (5K) to make 4 by 6 inch prints (yes, I also make 20 by 30 prints…). The amusing part is remembering my summer job in a pro photo lab in the the late 60's early 70's setting colour filtration using a Kodak Video Color Negative Analyser. The analyzer's screen might have been an 8-inch one, 10-inch at the very most and definitely not hi-res! The negs were then either machine-printed up to 10 by 10 or hand-printed at larger sizes.



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niteart

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2019, 04:18:08 pm »

Both 12k and 24k will "look" silly on your shiny new 8k TVs. Just saying :)
Pretty much any modern camera has enough resolution for most of the things normal people want unless you have a habit of zooming by cropping.
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BJL

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2019, 03:14:36 pm »

Both 12k and 24k will "look" silly on your shiny new 8k TVs. Just saying :)
Pretty much any modern camera has enough resolution for most of the things normal people want unless you have a habit of zooming by cropping.
I think they’d look fine great once scaled up to fill the full height of the screen. Because I’d be viewing from a distance comparable to screen width or greater, so a 24MP file has over 7000 pixels per viewing distance, way beyond the angular resolution of my eyes, and even a 4000x3000 file gives almost 6000, still out-resolving my eyes. (By the way, this limit on human eyes’ resolution is set in part by diffraction, due to the iris opening being only about 2-4mm, no matter how good the fovea is.)

P. S. What’s going to look silly is old guys with too much money buying 8K screens when their eyes can’t tell the difference from DVD resolution! (Like some old dudes with >$100,000 audio systems.)
« Last Edit: February 27, 2019, 03:28:49 pm by BJL »
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Rob C

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2019, 04:09:50 pm »

I think they’d look fine great once scaled up to fill the full height of the screen. Because I’d be viewing from a distance comparable to screen width or greater, so a 24MP file has over 7000 pixels per viewing distance, way beyond the angular resolution of my eyes, and even a 4000x3000 file gives almost 6000, still out-resolving my eyes. (By the way, this limit on human eyes’ resolution is set in part by diffraction, due to the iris opening being only about 2-4mm, no matter how good the fovea is.)

P. S. What’s going to look silly is old guys with too much money buying 8K screens when their eyes can’t tell the difference from DVD resolution! (Like some old dudes with >$100,000 audio systems.)


This old dude hardly ever plays his salon hifi anymore. He hardly plays his office mini Sony that's connected to the computer; most of the time now it's the iPad and a pair of Bose ears, both units courtesy his offspring.

The greatest pleasure is using that combo whilst standing in front of the kitchen sink, listening to oldie goldies coming his way out of the Internet. What a magical way to evade that present tense, that utterly, utterly soul-destroying job!

The little drive that holds dozens of radio rock'n'roll programmes still sits in the car's USB but as the trips are rarely more than ten minutes, he leaves it off because Ford's direction indicators often refuse to cancel out when the steering wheel hits the straight ahead position. The warning clicks are so quiet...

If only photography today brought him as much pleasure as does his music!

See the pleasures to which you can look forward?

Rob

langier

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2019, 10:15:16 am »

Look what made us happy at the start of the 21st century, 1-3 MP captures and with great craft the wonderful prints we made! Then the pixel race was on... Even the original Kodak PhotoCD in the early 1990s was blazing at 6mp for regular scans and 24mp to Professional!

For me today, especially since much is web-posted, an iPhone would do if I was any good with it.

Though I have higher-res cameras and love the image quality, much of my commercial work is still on lower res cameras, lower light with magical 12mp chips, now a decade old and travel work on m43 and 16mp which also double for my motion work.

Much of my large-print work, 20x30 to 30x40 printing in the last ten years has been created from image captures under 12 mp, some from 6 mp and lower and with cameras that would be shunned by most today. But in all reality, mot mp would not have mattered in the overall scheme, it's the vision, technique, craft and came together to make the image, more pixels would have only added marginally.

During this time, I've even worked some with my iPhone and for some subjects, it's been the proper choice for the image and the camera in my device is at least five years behind the curve.

Sometimes in my own work, even before digital, I can see that having the highest-res or latest lens would not have made much difference and sometime newer/better amounts to not much more than splitting hairs to get a little-better iq, especially today.

IMO, 95% of most viewers most likely could not tell the difference between a large print, say 30x40 printed from 12 mp vs. 24mp vs. double that. In social media or on the web, it almost doesn't matter since most images are going to be mangled anyway both before uploading and by the server anyway let alone how it will be viewed on the other end anyway, from the cheapest hand-held to the most common bundled and uncalibrated display anyway.

That said, rather than worry about more pixels in our cameras, worry more about honing and caressing the pixels we have until we ware them out!
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Larry Angier
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Alan Klein

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2019, 12:02:47 pm »

Larry, It's true.  Most of my digital color shots https://www.flickr.com/photos/alanklein2000/albums/72157627614472967 posted in Flickr were originally 2 or 3mp up to maybe 7 or 8mp for a few of them.  Fun to carry the camera, mostly Canon Powershot Elphs, in your short pocket.  OK, I didn't print too big, but great for small 8x10's or smaller prints or on the web. 

Although I'm now shooting 19mp stills with 4K video too, the camera is still a P&S so I can still keep it in my pocket. (Sony RX100iv).  Here's from my last vacation https://www.flickr.com/photos/alanklein2000/albums/72157694819890421/with/40152994900/  I'm going on vacation again soon and will be taking it again.  Since I now make slide shows for my 4K TV, I don;t need more than 8mb to fill up the 4K TV screen.  So with 19mb, I have plenty of spare room to crop if need be. 


I do have a m43.  But since it doesn;t fit in my pocket, I stopped using it and switched to the Sony. 


The camera manufacturers have basically shot their load on pixels.   Also on DR. So now they've finally switched to mirrorless so they can start a new reason for GAS that everyone will start chasing.

faberryman

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP?
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2019, 01:47:22 pm »

Larry, It's true.  Most of my digital color shots https://www.flickr.com/photos/alanklein2000/albums/72157627614472967 posted in Flickr were originally 2 or 3mp up to maybe 7 or 8mp.
This is like saying back in the film days that 110 is good enough. For some people it was.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2019, 07:25:13 pm by faberryman »
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BJL

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Re: Is 24MP the new 12MP? Note well the word "most"!
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2019, 07:19:17 pm »

This is ... Like saying back in the film days that 110 is good enough. For some people it was.
Exactly. The question (as usual) is about what fraction of photographers are highly satisfied by a certain level of performance and what fraction require more and desire it enough to bear any related extra cost, weight, etc.
I am not interested in the nonsense we so often get that boils down roughly to:
"my chosen format is ideal for legitimate photography;
larger format users are misguided or snobs or are clinging to out-dated size needs from the film era;
smaller format users are not serious enough about IQ."


The question underlying my OP could be paraphrased as
"Is 24MP all that most interchangeable lens camera users need for most purposes?"
along with followup questions like:
- what fraction is "most", both fraction of photographers and maybe also fractions of related revenues and profits?
- what fraction instead have a good use for more detail, requiring higher pixel counts?
- how will the interchangeable lens camera market respond, in terms of the split between sensors of up to about 24MP vs sensors that can record significantly more detail than that?
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