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Megapixel limit?

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Showing 1-14 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Sep 2011, 12:58:48 BST
HP says:
Another HariharP question to wake everyone up!!! :D

I have been recently looking into megapixels and I was wondering if anyone knows what megapixel limit will match the resolution of the human eye.

And is there a point of going past it, cos you won't be able to tell the difference in theory??

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Sep 2011, 15:26:39 BST
Fishman says:
You can't tell the difference now. Compare a 150ppi print to a 300ppi print and you'll not see any difference without a magnifying glass.

Posted on 24 Sep 2011, 19:14:44 BST
Ron Grainger says:
on a slightly different note, I was wondering what the equivalent megapixel size is compared to a good analog film print?? Anyone know?? I'm guessing around 11 MP...

Posted on 24 Sep 2011, 19:30:56 BST
well so long as people want to crop photos (I do a fair bit) then there will always be a desire for more pixels. For sure there must come a point where the lens resolution is the stumbling block, but for me the high pixel count does have a role to play. On this basis alone I doubt that the human eye capabilities (of which I have no idea) will be the limiting factor. As for film, I have no idea, but I would imagine it is way more than 11 MP. I suspect above 20? Now we can all stand back and wait for lot's of discussions about noise and how never to go above ISO 100 and so on ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Sep 2011, 20:11:53 BST
Last edited by the author on 24 Sep 2011, 20:12:12 BST
Fishman says:
100? You mean 50!

Posted on 24 Sep 2011, 21:01:10 BST
Last edited by the author on 24 Sep 2011, 21:02:48 BST
Graham H says:
I'm with G Dickson and Fishman on this one.

The limiting factor with print film is noise (or grain, in film terms!). I believe I read somewhere that 35mm film is equivalent to about 24 megapixels. Although to conclusively beat a good digital SLR with a 35mm camera you'd need slide film instead of print (negative) film, and as low an ISO as you can get.

I believe the state of the art is Fuji Velvia at 50 ISO.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2011, 01:51:34 BST
BDR says:
The Human Eye contains approx 120 million black and white photoreceptor cells called rods, and 6-7 million colour sensitive photoreceptor cells called cones.

I would argue that 126 mega pixels would be the dSLR equivelent to the human eye.

Posted on 25 Sep 2011, 06:58:56 BST
What will be very interesting is how sensors develop with regard to sensitivity and dynamic range. I think I read somewhere that the Nikon D3s already is more light sensitive than the human eye and so in effect sees in the dark better than we do. This is I think more relevant to us than the mega pixel race which for me the big drawback is storage and processing.... It's frightening how quickly an 18MP camera can fill up space on a hard drive.

Posted on 25 Sep 2011, 07:55:29 BST
PDKA says:
Real life: IMHO there are way too many variables in this...Quality of the screen you're looking at the picture on/Quality of the printer you're printing the picture on/size of picture...I know consistently take better pictures with my "old" Nikon D60 10.2 MP than with all (6 of various makes) of the higher MP compacts that I've used in the last couple of years, with this in mind I've decided to replace my Olympus "Tough" 8000 HaHaHa!!! with a cheap compact for my wife and only invest in SLR photography in the future.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2011, 20:56:05 BST
Hi Paul,
I think that you are seeing the effects of sensor size and pixel density when comparing your Nikon with high Mp compacts. They have sensos of about 1/30th the area of an APC-s sensor.

Posted on 26 Sep 2011, 04:51:43 BST
Robert says:
So if you want a crystal clear detailed A1 portrait print what camera would you guys suggest?

Posted on 26 Sep 2011, 08:02:40 BST
Graham H says:
Not a digital. I'd say large format or medium format slide film. But an A1 portrait won't be viewed from three inches away, so ultimate resolution isn't that critical in my guesstimation...

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Sep 2011, 09:38:21 BST
Fishman says:
A1? Any current dSLR is up to that job.

Posted on 26 Sep 2011, 15:00:14 BST
X says:
A1 is more a question of the printer than the camera. Even with the printer question solved the quality of the focus would be more critical than the megapixels. Once you've solved the question of focus the density of the pixels...

Here's a page I bookmarked a long time ago:


Once your headache has waned...

There is a universal measure of sensor quality and pixel count: Enough. If everything you line up to produce your shots on the media you favour what you need is "enough" pixels, "enough" sensor quality... Paying for more than you need is a subjective decision, on which only you can advise yourself. I've just had a 12 x 12 inch print made of my wife's favourite ring. The ring is for a size R finger, on the print it is just under 10" wide. Table tripod, macro-appropriate lighting, manual focus, excellent lens, 10 megapixel sensor, expensive printer which the owner refuses to describe in greater detail than that, and the result is very satisfactory. Enough begets enough.
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Participants:  10
Total posts:  14
Initial post:  24 Sep 2011
Latest post:  26 Sep 2011

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