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How many Pixels do you need?

Leif 16 777
27 Aug 2005 11:13AM
Since this thread is about pixel-peeping, here's a good site that compares 35mm Velvia, scanned with both top end and desktop scanners, and also printed traditionally, against a small sensor 6MP DSLR, the D100:

I think that the tests are nicely done, and the results are presented in a clear manner.

Basically the D100 does remarkably well, but the desktop scanner loses a lot of information from the film.

strawman 17 22.2k 16 United Kingdom
27 Aug 2005 12:25PM
An interesting test and a not unexpected conclusion.
shed 17 586 England
28 Aug 2005 5:32AM
This test was reasonably fair and the results whilst in favor of film did list the advantages of digital. Most people cannot afford the drum scanner or to have them scanned professionally by that scanner, and so digital wins. It is also worth noting that the test was conducted using a D100 DSLR, a good camera, but in digital terms an old one.

In the years since the test was conducted, the quality of 6mp images has improved as the internal processing of the files has improved. Ergo, in theory a new 6mp DSLR will produce a better result than the D100.

They also didn't state whether or not the file was a RAW file. The D100 jpegs are supposedly quite soft and RAW yields a better D100 image. The comparison was also made on an unsharped digital image, so the quality isn't going to be as high as if it was sharpened.

Still an interesting read.

blindingphil 16 25 United Kingdom
28 Aug 2005 5:53AM
Hey! Just found this thanks to the newsletter, which for some reason I have never received before!

I use a 6MP camera, and have a 5MP as a backup. From these cameras I've printed up to 26 inches on the long side with no loss of image quality or pixellation (except in one shot, which wasn't taken in Fine mode)! I'll admit to playing in photoshop with the majority, but what's wrong with that? If re-sizing and then adding effects to improve the usability and quality of your image is possible, why all this fuss about Megapixels anyway? I've also helped a friend print a crop from a 4MP camera to 12x8, and you only noticed problems with the image if you looked closely.

When buying my new camera, size was an issue, and I almost went for an 8MP one instead, but the noise was too much of an issue, so I dropped the sensor size for a better image quality. Interestingly, my 5MP Olympus has an 'enlarge size' setting which gives me a larger image than the 6MP Nikon, but at a lower res (72 instead of 300). Changing the resolution in Photoshop for printing seems to have no bad effects on the final printed image, so I'm stumped as to why stock libraries won't accept an image lower than 6MP.


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