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11-29-2013, 09:32 AM   #1
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How important are MP when you don't shoot RAW?

I know (I think) that, for the same size sensor, more MP will yield more detail and more color depth. But is this only relevant if one is shooting RAW? In other words, if I compress my photographic information by shooting as jpegs, am I losing any advantage of a larger MP sensor? The relevance here is whether it is worthwhile for me to upgrade from a 6MP K100D to a later model 14MP camera, like a used K20D or K7, given that I do not shoot RAW - will I see a difference?

Bob K.

11-29-2013, 10:02 AM   #2
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If you are printing very large, or cropping a lot, then the increased resolution is important--whatever the file type/pp. Otherwise the increased resolution likely not--a good 8x10 print will look the same from your camera or one with double the resolution (which means 24 MP). Frankly going to raw (when you do it) will make a big difference--except not in the area you asked about.
11-29-2013, 10:20 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
Frankly going to raw (when you do it) will make a big difference--except not in the area you asked about.
Thanks for the quick response. However, I'm not getting this part of your reply. When you say "except not in the area you asked about," do you mean detail and color depth, or do you mean physical area, eg that the jump from 6MP to 14MP is trivial?
11-29-2013, 10:56 AM   #4
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How do you want to use your images? If printing at what size do you print?

11-29-2013, 10:59 AM   #5
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Megapixels have more to do with size that you can print at, or the amount you can crop, not your ability to post process. So shooting jpeg won't really change that. What RAW shooting allows you to do is to bring out more detail/dynamic range after the fact than is present in the jpeg file. This can be pretty helpful in higher dynamic range scenes.
11-29-2013, 11:12 AM   #6
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The jump to 14MP from 6 MP is about double or about 50% increased resolution (49% to be precise) . As I said that only counts if you want to print larger/crop a lot.

What I had in mind (not in the area you asked about) is the newer camera larger dynamic range--it is my understanding there is quite a bit more DR at the lowest iso--not so much at higher iso's. Look at DXOMark tests--at the iso you normally use. But one (1) or 2 stops increase may not be very meaningful. Only you know from your pictures. Nevertheless (if your exposure technique is good) usually the jump is small--you still cannot capture a sunlit scene/sky/and someone in the shade.

Also (for me) the potential difference of raw and processing using camera raw vs jpeg is significant. But in a sense I rely on the things I can do in camera Raw--if I couldn't I would adjust my shooting style/take more care on the WB I choose/etc.

I cannot say how much better the jpg's are right out of the camera--comparing your camera to a newer model. I only use raw--someone else may say. I do think the physical layout/handling of the camera is a potentially huge difference--in my case my keeper rate w/ k-x is terrible vs. my k20d--but that depends on what your shooting. Scenery isn't usually going anywhere fast.

Frankly I think almost any camera can gives good results if the photo technique and artistry is there. But whether an upgrade will make a significant difference to you? Likely not. But myself and everyone else has there own prejudices (i.e., experiences)!
11-29-2013, 11:24 AM   #7
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I looked at some tests of the K100D and K-7. I think the best general answer is that the JPEG conversion engine starts with more, better data and therefore can produce a better result. The resolution difference is large - when they get to test charts it's a 50% increase. That is going to really help overall, and the sharpening engine will be able to do a better job. I think some of the difference in color depth will be lost but again, the conversion has better data to start with.

I went from a *ist DS (same 6Mp sensor as K100D) to a K-7 and did some comparisons (RAW) to see the difference. I can tell you that if you're not looking close or shooting a more challenging subject, initially you won't be impressed. It is deceptive to look at two shots on the screen because both cameras produce more pixels than typical monitors. When you look at them at 100% (1 camera pixel=1 monitor pixel), the K-7 looks noisier because you're magnifying its noise. When you compare them on an equal basis (like in prints) the K-7 does look better.

The basic processing in-camera is better too, mostly in noise reduction for high ISOs. The K20D and K-7 don't have any scene modes but they do have a lot of choices for processing, more than the K100D.

You're also getting improvements in everything else. I think the autofocus is roughly twice as fast. The rear screen is better, especially on the K-7. It's a pretty long list.

The K-7 is now pretty cheap, and I really like mine. But I would definitely consider a K-5 unless the price is totally out of reach.
11-29-2013, 11:31 AM   #8
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It depends on how small your jpegs are. 16MP jpegs will still have much more detail (higher resolution) than 6MP jpegs. But if you set both cameras to make 2MP jpegs, then the difference will be minimal.
Shooting raw allows you to do a lot more editing and keeping all the original information (so you can always "reset" back to natural), unlike jpegs where every time you edit and save it, you lose quality and file size increases. But raw files need to be worked on before they look good, unlike jpegs which are made to look good by the camera.

11-29-2013, 12:51 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
the JPEG conversion engine starts with more, better data
The difference between JPEG and RAW is similar to the difference between using a fully automated lab to develop your film or doing it yourself. And JPEGs use lossy compression of the sensor data, whereas RAW files use lossless compression. Everything else being equal (resolution, display size, etc.) the data you lose with JPEGs created with a high quality setting aren't visible to the naked eye, but if you modify a JPEG file, the copy will have less information than the original. If you crop or enlarge the photo, lost information can become noticeable.
QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
so you can always "reset" back to natural
True, whereas with JPEGs lost information is lost forever, and increasing the file size after the original file is created doesn't add detail.
11-29-2013, 02:21 PM   #10
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Other factors might influence the upgrade, such as frames per second, intervalometer, a much quieter shutter, or battery grip, etc. I have a k-20 w/grip I have not quite decided to sell if you are interested :-)
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