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dSLR Practical Megapixel Limits?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by realeyz, Mar 5, 2005.

  1. Now that the D2x is out and flourishing in the hands of so many happy owners I have to wonder now that the 2 big guns of dSLRs are 12 and 16 megapixels where the practical limit is?

    I can say for myself that I don't want nor need more resolution as its just not needed unless you are printing huge murals, bus billboards etc etc. Even those I think would be fine from a D2x image as they are usually viewed from such a distance that the details of higher megapixels would get lost. I think we are at the threshold of dimishing returns now with these big resolutions.

    Certainly computers will get faster and memory will get cheaper so that's not necessarily too much of an issue.

    The things I want to see in new dSLRs at this point are not bigger megapixels - I think 16 mp is the practical limit myself - maybe 22 at the outside of the envelope. Of course with larger megapixels we will have more cropping options and our longer lenses will be less and less necessary for the reach (but we'lll still need them for the good shallower DOF)

    Some things I want in future cameras:

    1) better and lower noise for higher sensitivities
    2) more dynamic range
    3) bigger and faster buffers
    4) built in hard drives or flash memory
    5) higher flash sync
    6) full frame sensors
    7) different size NEF options
    8) 10 fps at full sensor size

    What do you guys think?

  2. Todd... MPs are no longer the issue... nor PCs power... I think what we should expect from our manufacturers are BETTER lens. Lens that will exploit the new standards of CCDs CMOSs... Lens that will be able to really take advantage of the new ratios and provide better detail, sharpness and chroma.

    I guess 22MPs will be the final frontier, so we may have a few more to see regarding camera bodies, but the lens -if not improved- will show weak and impotent...
  3. I'd say you're right about the dynamic range and noise/sensitivity being the next fronteir. While there is probably one more giant leap that needs to be made re: resolution, the file sizes are starting to get a little unwieldy -- it's likely that 20-24MP will be the outside envelope, and frankly 12 is fine for almost anything as long as the shot is acquired well.

    Good glass is required when the density goes up. We're now at the point where you'd better have higher-grade glass or you won't be happy with the results. Even with the better glass, you need a very solid hold and a high shutter speed, or a tripod due to the very high resolution. It's a lot easier to shoot with the smaller imagers.

  4. Yes definitely Ron, any time increases are made to the detail of an imager and resolving power of a capture you increase the visibility of flaws in the lens to show as well as small mistakes in camera movement or slight mis-focuses.

    I'm also wondering what percentage of D2x owners will be printing large enough to really use all that resolution. I think certainly the D2x is overkill for many professional applications and as the MP count goes up the more specialized the applications for it become.

    digital photography is definitely at a sort of threshold now with this issue and the next 5 years will be very interesting in seeing what the companies turn out.
  5. Think cropping...

    There are plenty of situations where having the extra MP would be handy, but when you think about it, in situations like that you can invoke the HSC mode and save a lot of space. When I'm doing wildlife at a distance, you KNOW that is what I'll be doing. Why waste card space unless you're filling the frame or have a good scene around the subject?

  6. Yes thats why I said in my first message we will have more cropping options with more megapixels. Certainly a benefit. I also remember a thread from another board where I mentioned that theoretically megapixels could get so high you would only need a single wide angle lens and could crop down to any FOV you want and still print huge - of course I realize this isn't terribly realistic given todays limitations, but it brings up interesting questions about the future of photographic technology. In a regular 35mm camera in order to go from 50mm to 100mm FOV you had to change lenses - now we have a camera where you can do an increase in FOV without changing lenses at all.

    This may be just the first step.
  7. bpetterson

    bpetterson Guest

    My feeling is that massive improvements will be made in the firmware.
    Nikon has certainly shown a good start.
    Yes it took them some extra time while we cried waiting.

    The D2X will be an example to beat.

    I am proud of my D2X and Nikon gear.

    Nikon showed the way with the D1, and I never flinched since Nov 1999
    when the D1 showed up in the Brown Truck on a Sunday.

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