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04-07-2010, 10:23 AM   #1
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Image size

I was just wondering should i always shoot in the highest image size possible.
If i am taking pictures that will not be printed poster size then is it worth shooting in 12mp size or should i just shoot in 6mp size.
Basically if i shoot a 12mp size picture and resize it using software to 6mp size would the resized one have more detail than the original 6mp picture that has not been resized.
Many thanks.

04-07-2010, 10:25 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jacos Quote
I was just wondering should i always shoot in the highest image size possible.
If i am taking pictures that will not be printed poster size then is it worth shooting in 12mp size or should i just shoot in 6mp size.
Basically if i shoot a 12mp size picture and resize it using software to 6mp size would the resized one have more detail than the original 6mp picture that has not been resized.
Many thanks.
No difference in the resolution/detail when resized down, and 6mp is fine for most people.

It only hurts when you shoot the most wonderful picture of your life and DO want to print it poster size.
04-07-2010, 11:45 AM   #3
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If you shoot raw only, the jpeg size unimportant because you will export a jpeg of whatever size you want from the raw file. If you shoot jpegs, it's best to shoot the hightest resolution your camera allows because you can always reduce it in post processing but not expand it.
04-07-2010, 12:12 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jacos Quote
I was just wondering should i always shoot in the highest image size possible.
If i am taking pictures that will not be printed poster size then is it worth shooting in 12mp size or should i just shoot in 6mp size.
Basically if i shoot a 12mp size picture and resize it using software to 6mp size would the resized one have more detail than the original 6mp picture that has not been resized.
Many thanks.
I am not sure how the resize in the camera works and what interpolation it uses, but resizing with a photo editor lets you pick a lot of different resampling and iterpolation methods. As a result of unknown process vs controlled process, I would resize during PP as opposed to in camera

04-07-2010, 12:14 PM   #5
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I have had a 10mp picture from my K10 blown up to 100cm x120cm and it looks superb. The advice about using Raw and converting it to a high quality Jpeg is spot on. That is exactly what I did. You will be amazed at the quality you can get that way. Megapixles are not everything, the quality of the lens is even more important when making a really big print. All the faults of your lens (and technique) will be emphasised the bigger the print gets.
04-07-2010, 02:05 PM   #6
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I shoot in JPEG 6 Mp [***] with my K-7. This is more than enough resolution for my usage. If I need more resolution (eg for an exceptional shot), I push the RAW button and work with RAW+JPEG.

Cheers
04-07-2010, 02:48 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by older not wiser Quote
Megapixles are not everything, the quality of the lens is even more important when making a really big print. All the faults of your lens (and technique) will be emphasised the bigger the print gets.
I couldn't disagree more--it's the exact opposite.

You obviously had enough megapixels to do what you needed to do via the printing method you used (inkjet? laser? digital printing? real offset printing?), but without sufficient resolution, forget it, regardless of the lens.

I still stand by if you're shooting jpeg only, 6 is usually more than enough for most people. But having a larger image/resolution is NEVER a bad thing.
04-07-2010, 06:22 PM   #8
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Ira, both are important. Although all dSLRs nowadays are above 12Mp, so we can print just about anything with full-size images from these cameras. The lens brings out the best from the scene, and simply cannot be downplayed in small or large prints.

04-07-2010, 06:26 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Ira, both are important. Although all dSLRs nowadays are above 12Mp, so we can print just about anything with full-size images from these cameras. The lens brings out the best from the scene, and simply cannot be downplayed in small or large prints.
You can print it on your desktop printer and other digitial printers...yes.

But if you ever want to be published in a magazine at full page size, where it's actually printed on an offset press or litho...no.

Do me a favor:

Take a 10-thousand dollar lens and create a 5 inch by 5 inch image at 72dpi--then try to print it and see what you get. On either your home printer or a printing press.

You'll get garbage.
04-07-2010, 06:33 PM   #10
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Look at the dimensions of a 6 meg image on a KX at the 72dpi it comes out of the camera.

Multiply the 72 by 4--a minimal quality standard to bring you close to 300 dpi--and divide the image size by 4, so you've resized it properly without resampling it at all.

What image size are you left with now?

Also, 300 will allow you to print at 133 screen, the "standard" offset screen for magazine, but if you were doing offset on art pieces, you would go to a much higher, much finer screen--requiring more resolution.

The resolution matters a LOT more than the lens used.
04-07-2010, 06:35 PM   #11
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I forgot to mention cropping, which is another important reason that higher resolutions matter so much.
04-10-2010, 11:16 PM   #12
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I got lost in the technology!
Having an *ist DS I'm stuck with 6mp with which I am well pleased (for now) but then I have never tried to get a poster size print from my photos.
Ira, are you saying that I would be better to upgrade to a K7 with either a kit lens or my existing (inexpensive) lenses than buy better glass?
04-11-2010, 03:23 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by rod_grant Quote
I got lost in the technology!
Having an *ist DS I'm stuck with 6mp with which I am well pleased (for now) but then I have never tried to get a poster size print from my photos.
Ira, are you saying that I would be better to upgrade to a K7 with either a kit lens or my existing (inexpensive) lenses than buy better glass?
I'll jump in here. (Who, me?!?) You can blow up 6mp (or even 1mp) shots to poster size. They just won't look like photos; they'll look like posters.

The point Ira was making is that sensor resolution limits the maximum size of a PHOTO-REALISTIC enlargement with any print technology, and that the screens used for mass-printing place even smaller limits than does inkjet printing. The sensor is the bottleneck. Megapixels per cm2 sensor resolution is much more limiting than the lines-per-mm resolution of lenses, and dots-per-inch print density.

Some old lenses can't match the resolution of larger sensors, but that's only apparent with close examination. Even using the much-maligned kit lens (which PopPhoto rated as EXCELLENT!) you can print a much larger image from a 14.6mpx K20D or K7 than from your 6mpx *ist DS. You could even use a rather cruddier lens in front of a 14.6mpx sensor, print larger, and still have a better-looking image than that produced by a superb lens on a 6mpx sensor blown up to the same size, all else being equal.

So yes, if you want to print larger, you need a camera with a larger sensor. Look at it this way: With film, if you want to change the image characteristics (resolution, speed, spectral response, etc), you loaded a different roll or sheet of film. With digital, the camera IS the film; upping the resolution requires buying a new camera. Oy. If I want a large print from film, I shoot some grainless low-ISO stock. But we don't have any grainless low-ISO sensors. Bother.

That's why the 645D is a hot item -- LOTS more resolution to work with. I saw one website reporting on the 645D roll-out that seemed to show prints on a scale of about 6x9 FEET being closely viewed. It probably wasn't printed thru a screen, of course. But a 6mpx image printed at that scale would look a bit, ah, rough...

All this is a long way of saying: yes, upgrade the camera, not the glass.
04-11-2010, 05:06 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jacos Quote
I was just wondering should i always shoot in the highest image size possible.
If i am taking pictures that will not be printed poster size then is it worth shooting in 12mp size or should i just shoot in 6mp size.
Be sure you are not confusing two things.

On a given camera you are always shooting with the same number of pixels, since that is fixed by the camera. (Actually, it would be nice if we could choose fewer pixels, but that is not a feature Pentax offers at this time.) So, the only way to go from 6MP to 12MP is to change cameras from, say the K100DS to the K-x.

Once you have a given camera, you can change the quality from RAW to JPG in different degrees. The less the JPG quality the more compression an artefacts which, personally, I would never go for. I always shoot RAW so I have full control over converting.

Want to save disk space? Shoot less and delete more.
04-11-2010, 02:28 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rod_grant Quote
I got lost in the technology!
Having an *ist DS I'm stuck with 6mp with which I am well pleased (for now) but then I have never tried to get a poster size print from my photos.
Ira, are you saying that I would be better to upgrade to a K7 with either a kit lens or my existing (inexpensive) lenses than buy better glass?
For output on home printers, photo printers, etc., it really doesn't matter, The resolution of most digital cameras (point and shoots too) provide enough resolution to give you great results for one-off "in-home" use.

But when you're going to use it for conventional printing--newspaper (web press) or magazine (offset press)--the process is totally different:

Take a loop/magnifying glass and look at an image in the newspaper, or just look at it with the blind eye. You will see a bunch of "dots" there that you won't see from your home inkjet or laser printer. These dots are the screen that are required to print the pub on a real printing press.

So, unless you have enough resolution in your image to "fight this break-up of the dots," and I don't know a better way to explain it, the image looks like garbage.

Maybe this will help:

If Ansel Adams submitted the identical photo to National Geographic and the New York Times, at 5 inches square, he could give it to the Times at an effective resolution at 5 by 5 with 200 dpi to present the best quality the Times is printing at, based on there 85 or 100 screen.

But that same file presented to National Geographic, with a 166 line screen, would render that image horribly--it would look all pixelated, little blocks.
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