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Stop the upgrade Madness

D&A

Active member
Why are we all messing around upgrading our digital cameras time and time again, basically for minimal increases of resolution. 6, 12, 18, 24, 37, 50...maybe even 100 or 150 MP and we always say that's more than enough. Yet we keep coming back for more and more. Why waste all that money, just go big all at once and get out of the rat race. Link below has the answer to our salvation :).

P.S. Storage of the camera may be a bit of an issue....backpacks need not apply.

Dave (D&A)

 
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MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
I know the thread title is humorous, but I DO wish for fewer pixels. I have the only MF system with IBIS (AFAIK...), and that's a feature I just can't give up - more for manual focus than for capture. We have ISO 50,000 for capture :cool: . Put IBIS in a Leica S(007) and I drop back to 37.5MP today.

And, of course, if we're talking LARGE digital cameras and not just MP (or GP, in this case), I think the Keck, for size, or Hale (Mt. Palomar) for weight would be contenders :cool:.
 
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pegelli

Well-known member
I agree Dave, but there are some attributes to modern cameras (apart from MP) that can make them more desirable vs older models. I'm thinking about things like silent shutter, better low light ability, better AF etc etc.

If they would bring out a camera with those attributes with let's say 8-12 MP for a reasonable price I would buy it. The only ones that come close are the Sony A7Sii or iii but since they have a lot of built in Video gizmo's they are much overpriced for my needs, which is still photography only.
 

D&A

Active member
I agree Matt & pegelli. If I look back, many of my best pictures "esthetically wise" they have often been with camera that had for a particular sensor size, number of pixels considered modest for that sensor's dimensions. Above that number, images often appeared to lack something. Not a hard or fast rule but a causal general observation over the years. This is aside from technical parameters such as high ISO performance, DR, etc that often improve with each generation of camera. With that said, a 3,200 MP camera will allow cropping to such an extent, that I could probably use a ultra wide angle lens and yet fill the entire frame with a razor sharp image of a distant planet. The camera may be a pain to carry around but only one lens needed for most applications. (and travels). Guess the lens can be consiered "carry on", but you'd have to check-in the camera. :)

Dave (D&A)
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Well, my path through this has led to my long-ago-desired standard of 24 Mpixels, which I achieved first with the Sony A7 (which I disliked intensely), then the Leica M-P 240, Leica SL, and Leica M-D 262 (all of which were excellent) and then landed on the Leica CL ... I'd have stopped there, really. I bought into the Light L16 long before I had even the SL, because it was a fascinating project and is different in every way from nearly anything else and works well, with outputs from 12 Mpixel to as much as 70 Mpixel in some circumstances. And then I bought the Hasselblad 907x in Summer 2019 (although it didn't arrive until March of this year) because its back brings my Hasselblad 500CM cameras up to the digital capture world and it happens to be 50 Mpixel. I happen to really like shooting with the Hasselblads; I'm quite content there.

I never say never ... something truly enticing might come along and I'll try it. I certainly don't need anything more, but opportunity is opportunity, even when it comes at a price.

G
 

D&A

Active member
Dave, I am still shooting my Pentax 645D...
I know...all 40 glorious MP's. Truth be told, considering simply output at low ISO, I still prefer the look it's CCD sensor output compared to its high MP brethren. Then again I also prefer the lower ISO CCD output of the 18MP Leica M9 than the higher MP CMOS M240 & M10. Maybe I don't need a 3,200 MP camera after all and this way I csan pocket the savings. :)

Dave (D&A)
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
I know...all 40 glorious MP's. Truth be told, considering simply output at low ISO, I still prefer the look it's CCD sensor output compared to its high MP brethren. Then again I also prefer the lower ISO CCD output of the 18MP Leica M9 than the higher MP CMOS M240 & M10. Maybe I don't need a 3,200 MP camera after all and this way I csan pocket the savings. :)

Dave (D&A)
Quite the opposite for me. I only liked the raw files out of the M9, mostly at base ISO, and was never particularly delighted with its weirdnesses. The M typ 240 and 262 I had are far, far better performers in my opinion, based on my use of them.

3,200 Mpixel camera? Utterly absurd. 24 remains the line that I'm happy with, the fact that two of my cameras now do 50 Mpixel with excellent quality is a little plus: not needed, but useful occasionally.
 

Tim

Active member
I wonder if we are we fear taking the most wonderful image ever made and it won't be made with enough MP and the opportunity lost.
Its all compromises still.

There is still room for development IMO.. Imagine the sensor from the Fujifilm GXR in an Olympus EM10 size body, ohh and the battery will only need charging once a month with all day use.
 

olafphoto

Administrator
Staff member
I thought the same until I saw files and prints from 100-150mp cameras. Having said that, it is true that the majority of us would be probably fine with much lower MP count. After all, for most people the final destination for their imagery is FB or social media in general. Take a look at Edward Burtynsky, Cooper and Gorfer or Clyde Butcher's (just started shooting with the GFX 100 and Leica Mono) prints, they are massive and so stunning.
 

D&A

Active member
Aside from other factors, I agree Olaf, there often a time and place for high MP cameras, depending on intended use. I shoot with the 645z and prior to that, the 645D (50 and 40 MP respectively)...due to the need at the time of higher MP count (and improved higher ISO performance of the "Z" over the "D") , for highly detailed large format prints. So intended use plays a key role but often times that higher MP count also comes with other features and attributes that one desires and thus the higher MP count comes along for the ride home, so to speak as it's part of being the flagship camera for that manufacturer. There are so many variables to all this to come up with just one or two identifiable reasons.

Ave (D&A)
 
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D&A

Active member
Quite the opposite for me. I only liked the raw files out of the M9, mostly at base ISO, and was never particularly delighted with its weirdnesses. The M typ 240 and 262 I had are far, far better performers in my opinion, based on my use of them.

3,200 Mpixel camera? Utterly absurd. 24 remains the line that I'm happy with, the fact that two of my cameras now do 50 Mpixel with excellent quality is a little plus: not needed, but useful occasionally.
Without wanting to get off topic regarding this thread, many find the "weirdness" or "quirkiness" of the LP and turntables, with all its limitations and inherent issues in use compared to other means of playing recorded music worth it due to its inherent superiority in musicality (as many believe). Although the M9 too has its limitations, to many it remains wildly popular for similar reasons, most notably it's highly desired visual output, even when compared to its more competent and certainly more capable successors. It's not always a question of convienience, or accuracy that guides our choices, especially when it comes to recording devices (audio, visual etc.), that interact with our senses.

Many find the Hasselblad system an enigma from another era, "quirky" or "weird" and far from convenient or possibly put large format photography in that category, yet some find either (or both) and their output and use or enjoyment derived from these systems, above and beyond far more competent and capable and integrated designed cameras. There is no right or wrong, just choices that make sense to each one personally.

Dave (D&A)
 
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MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
I thought the same until I saw files and prints from 100-150mp cameras. Having said that, it is true that the majority of us would be probably fine with much lower MP count. After all, for most people the final destination for their imagery is FB or social media in general. Take a look at Edward Burtynsky, Cooper and Gorfer or Clyde Butcher's (just started shooting with the GFX 100 and Leica Mono) prints, they are massive and so stunning.
A great photographer will get the best out of their equipment. Sadly, it doesn't work in the other direction.

But I was surprised by one difficulty with "too many pixels". To make the best use of them, there has to be something in the image that benefits from that level of detail. I can only "see" at 30-40 MP. When I have more than that, the image is full of unintended elements. It's as if you took a painting and placed many tiny photographs on it randomly. I was about to delete a dust speck that turned out to be an airplane of astonishing clarity. Of course, one can remove such distractions anyway.

I'm sure that, with practice, I will learn which subjects benefit from the added detail, and what does and does not show up in prints. Perhaps I just don't print large enough.

--Matt
 

D&A

Active member
A great photographer will get the best out of their equipment. Sadly, it doesn't work in the other direction.

But I was surprised by one difficulty with "too many pixels". To make the best use of them, there has to be something in the image that benefits from that level of detail. I can only "see" at 30-40 MP. When I have more than that, the image is full of unintended elements. It's as if you took a painting and placed many tiny photographs on it randomly. I was about to delete a dust speck that turned out to be an airplane of astonishing clarity. Of course, one can remove such distractions anyway.

I'm sure that, with practice, I will learn which subjects benefit from the added detail, and what does and does not show up in prints. Perhaps I just don't print large enough.

--Matt
Precisely Matt! I resisted going over to medium format (40 MP at the time when most DSLR's were below this resolution) initially because the camera could not shoot at a fast enough rate to capture fleeting moments in production numbers, especially under extremely low light and yet some of the shots captured required large format printing and the subject matter was in the genre of whole stage shots at a distance with many well known/recognizable/notable performers. It was expected and required that the identity of these performers and associated details would easily been seen by the viewer in these prints. On previous occasions I used extremely capable but lower resolution DSLR's and regardless of the uprezing schemes employed, the files fell short. In my case, it wasn't about the use of high MP files in order to have the convivence of cropping, but simply having enough MP's to capture the detail required for the end product output.

With that said, I'll be the first to admit that I often succumb to the lure of simply the look and/or detail provided by medium format files for personal use and that's where I fall prey to more MP's is better (although I also realize that's not always true).

Dave (D&A)
 
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Shashin

Well-known member
On a 44" printer, 60" prints are about as big as you can print. I have made 60" prints from 24MP files. They hold up very well, even to close viewing distances. A 40-50MP is pretty easy to make that size. And if you have ever used a 44" printer, you are making really big prints and how often do you make anything larger? (my biggest print was 168" x 168", so there are times, but I was also printing for a museum.)

But this is the thing about printing, it is not a linear resolution problem. It is an angular resolution problem involving a complex visual system that is not only limited it is ability to resolve detail, but its ability to see passed imperfection. Because of that, print size is not actually limited by image resolution--I have also made 60" prints from 35mm TriX negs, 40" prints from iPhone images, and a 60" print from a 1000px tall web image of Darwin for a poster (obviously, I am uprezing here and not suggesting you buy old 1mp cameras, but the perception of quality by the viewer is very elastic). While individual photographers might want a certain "look" or "quality," it is simply personal preference--which is fine, but has little value beyond a preference.

Your equipment is not really a limiting factor anymore for making high-quality images, regardless of output size. (But you don't have to tell that to your wife if you are angling for another camera ;) )
 

olafphoto

Administrator
Staff member
On a 44" printer, 60" prints are about as big as you can print. I have made 60" prints from 24MP files. They hold up very well, even to close viewing distances. A 40-50MP is pretty easy to make that size. And if you have ever used a 44" printer, you are making really big prints and how often do you make anything larger? (my biggest print was 168" x 168", so there are times, but I was also printing for a museum.)

But this is the thing about printing, it is not a linear resolution problem. It is an angular resolution problem involving a complex visual system that is not only limited it is ability to resolve detail, but its ability to see passed imperfection. Because of that, print size is not actually limited by image resolution--I have also made 60" prints from 35mm TriX negs, 40" prints from iPhone images, and a 60" print from a 1000px tall web image of Darwin for a poster (obviously, I am uprezing here and not suggesting you buy old 1mp cameras, but the perception of quality by the viewer is very elastic). While individual photographers might want a certain "look" or "quality," it is simply personal preference--which is fine, but has little value beyond a preference.

Your equipment is not really a limiting factor anymore for making high-quality images, regardless of output size. (But you don't have to tell that to your wife if you are angling for another camera ;) )
Interesting perspective! I wonder then why many successful photographers such as Edward Burtynsky (who recently switched to Phase One), Steven Friedman, Cooper & Gorfer or even Clyde Butcher (who recently started shooting with the GFX 100 and Leica Monochrome) who print and display large, would bother spending their money on the latest 50-150mp cameras from Fujifilm, Hasselblad or Phase One?! They already achieved a great commercial and artistic success and they don't need to impress anyone with their gear. I saw their prints and they are absolutely stunning. I haven't see anything even close to this quality from 35mm, let along iPhone. In fact, I asked some of them why they need 100-150mp, the answer is always the same - for printing! Just sharing what I hear ;)
 

glaiben

New member
As Fred Picker once wrote, "Sneaking up at wasteful cost to the equipment we should have bought in the first place."
 

Shashin

Well-known member
Interesting perspective! I wonder then why many successful photographers such as Edward Burtynsky (who recently switched to Phase One), Steven Friedman, Cooper & Gorfer or even Clyde Butcher (who recently started shooting with the GFX 100 and Leica Monochrome) who print and display large, would bother spending their money on the latest 50-150mp cameras from Fujifilm, Hasselblad or Phase One?! They already achieved a great commercial and artistic success and they don't need to impress anyone with their gear. I saw their prints and they are absolutely stunning. I haven't see anything even close to this quality from 35mm, let along iPhone. In fact, I asked some of them why they need 100-150mp, the answer is always the same - for printing! Just sharing what I hear ;)
That can easily explained by confirmation bias. If you buy high-resolution cameras, you are going to have a bias toward the results. And 100% monitor view will reinforce that bias, even though 100% monitor view will not represent any real-world print viewing condition. I am sure people will say can can see the difference, and some cases, the difference is perceptible, but if I hung a gallery with random prints of differing resolution in a blind test, the results would simply show random chance--the subject along with its contrast would most likely determine the perception of resolution, not the file. And there is more than resolution that determines print quality, part to due to gear, part due to the skill of the photographer, and part due to the viewer. And you can test this, has the quality of Clyde's work increased because of his new camera? Can you spot the difference between his images from his Sony 35mm and Fuji in a blind test?

When I was a printer, the artists I worked with came to me with a particular image and would say it could only be printed to a certain size. I would ask them if I could print it bigger and if it didn't work I would make a smaller print. I never had anyone say the the quality did not hold up--they were simply impressed how good the prints were. The only reason we went back to the smaller size was the glazing and framing costs.

I also find photographers don't understand the relationship between linear resolution and viewing distance. The oft cited 300dpi number is a very specific condition: 300dpi for an 8x10 print viewed at 12". A 16x20 print at 150dpi viewed at 24" will appear identical. Note, the number of pixels do not change in those conditions and the ratio for print size to viewing distance is maintained. But viewing distance is robust where even at half or quarter viewing distance photo-quality is maintained for the viewer. This is why the perception of an image is an angular problem, not a linear one--in both cases, the angular relationship is maintained.
 

olafphoto

Administrator
Staff member
That can easily explained by confirmation bias. If you buy high-resolution cameras, you are going to have a bias toward the results. And 100% monitor view will reinforce that bias, even though 100% monitor view will not represent any real-world print viewing condition. I am sure people will say can can see the difference, and some cases, the difference is perceptible, but if I hung a gallery with random prints of differing resolution in a blind test, the results would simply show random chance--the subject along with its contrast would most likely determine the perception of resolution, not the file. And there is more than resolution that determines print quality, part to due to gear, part due to the skill of the photographer, and part due to the viewer. And you can test this, has the quality of Clyde's work increased because of his new camera? Can you spot the difference between his images from his Sony 35mm and Fuji in a blind test?

When I was a printer, the artists I worked with came to me with a particular image and would say it could only be printed to a certain size. I would ask them if I could print it bigger and if it didn't work I would make a smaller print. I never had anyone say the the quality did not hold up--they were simply impressed how good the prints were. The only reason we went back to the smaller size was the glazing and framing costs.

I also find photographers don't understand the relationship between linear resolution and viewing distance. The oft cited 300dpi number is a very specific condition: 300dpi for an 8x10 print viewed at 12". A 16x20 print at 150dpi viewed at 24" will appear identical. Note, the number of pixels do not change in those conditions and the ratio for print size to viewing distance is maintained. But viewing distance is robust where even at half or quarter viewing distance photo-quality is maintained for the viewer. This is why the perception of an image is an angular problem, not a linear one--in both cases, the angular relationship is maintained.
I hear you but why these successful photographers would spend so much money on their gear? There is no bias BEFORE they purchased the gear. We often ask about it in our Magazine and their answer is always the same: to make great prints! These are people who make their decisions based on highly rational and business-like considerations. And if what you said was true it wouldn't make any sense for them to spend this money. They are already well-known, successful and the gear itself doesn't excite them as much as it excites us. It would be nice to hear from some of them. It just doesn't make any sense to me that such people would buy expensive gear to have "confirmation bias." I guess the idea of "great looking print" could also mean different things to different people. Great conversation!

P.S. In regards to Clyde. He got the GFX 100 because his large format cameras are very heavy and he needed a break. Why would he spend this much money on the GFX 100 if he could get just an iPhone? We both have to agree, he is a master printmaker.
 
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