Resolution And Digital Photography

How important is resolution to digital photography?
How many megapixels is enough?

An article on “The New Camera” website titled, Megapixel Monsters Coming in 2015 discusses the new Canon and Nikon 46 megapixel sensors that are expected this year.

Sigma first introduced its SD-1 flagship camera with a 46 megapixel image sensor in 2010. (4800 x 3200 pixels in three layers.

I’m not one that believes you need the latest and greatest of electronic gadgetry to create exceptional photos. Most marketing is designed to generate a desire for higher megapixels and auto everything. But does that serve you, or the manufacturer’s bottom line?

Ask yourself what you need. Will you use all the features of the higher priced systems? Or are your shots for emailing, putting on social networks and make the odd 4×6 inch print?

For the latter it takes very little resolution so a simple, low cost system may suit you best. If you regularly make large prints, a higher end Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera may be preferable.

I’ve made excellent digital images and prints to 8×10 inches with a 15-year-old, 3-megapixel pocket camera. See image below as an example.

Scene on the Haines Road by Norm Hamilton, Photographer

Damien Tremblay, a talented Yukon landscape photographer I know, used to work with an old, 10-megapixel camera and a 50mm lens as his main equipment. He regularly produced fine art quality 16×24 inch prints. He now uses a Sony NEX-5 that can easily print 20×30 pieces.

My current system, Sigma SD15, is inexpensive (comparatively speaking), a few years old, has 4.7 megapixels (effective 14.1), and prints to 20×30 inches beautifully. The bee photo in the header and the hummingbird photo below show the detail, colour and depth possible with the Sigma system.

Anna's Hummingbird by Norm Hamilton, Photographer

I also have a Sony NEX-6 for those times with low light or when I need a pocketable camera. See the puppies for an example from this 16.1MP mirrorless camera.

Puppies photo by Norm Hamilton, Photographer

Consider your needs before you choose your equipment, you don’t need to break the bank to make great images. Remember, a camera is of use only when it’s with you — so keep one within reach. (The reason I have the NEX-6)

Norm Hamilton
normhamilton.ca/photography
norm@normhamilton.ca

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