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04-10-2020, 02:39 AM - 1 Like   #1
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i'm trying to proof that 6 mpx is enough for portrait photography

i had a discussion about how much ...Mpx you need for a 2020 quality portrait.
i own a 16 Mpx dslr, i don't need or want more i am convinced that a amateur don't need more
unlike my friends they shoot full frame 24 Mpx or higher, i cannot convince them that 15 year ago you can shoot good enough quality like today.
so i made a challenge for my self, i'm trying to proof that 6 Mpx is enough for portrait photography, like 15 year ago

step 1. buy a 6 Mpx pentax k100d, DONE
step 2. buy the correct lens for portrait, (i'm thinking SMC Pentax 50 mm 1:1.7) DONE
step 3. get a model in and start shooting
step 4. share on pentaxforums.com
step 5. ask your opinion if i met the challenge

i will share my progression from time to time.

thanks for tips/comments

Leendert from Warsaw


Last edited by lenn11; 04-12-2020 at 11:17 PM.
04-10-2020, 03:12 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Welcome to the club ...

You might find some good examples of 6Mpix shots here:The Six-Megapixel Club - Page 80 - PentaxForums.com
04-10-2020, 03:33 AM - 1 Like   #3
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You don't "need" a high MP sensor for good portraits. With the right technique and most importantly, lighting you can produce excellent results with the camera and lens you have chosen. For posting on the web you should downsize your image anyway. I usually post at 2158x1440 pixels, that is a 3 MP image.

However your assumption that using a small MP older camera is the right approach overlooks some things. First, modern larger MP cameras will have better DR and noise characteristics. They will also have more features which may or may not be useful to you. But the biggest advantage of using a high MP camera will be if you want to print your portrait. Using 300 ppi as a basis, your 6MP camera can print at a maximum of 10" on the long side without upsampling the image. My K1 can print at 24" on the long side without upsampling. If I am going to print a portrait which I do a lot there is no contest, the more MP the better.

ps a K or M series 50mm 1.7 is an excellent choice for portrats on the aps-c format, and great value too.
04-10-2020, 04:29 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Quite easy to prove....
Buy some old mags (circa 2010) to show your friends, if the photos published there are good enough, it proves your point.

04-10-2020, 04:54 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lenn11 Quote
i'm trying to proof that 6 mpx is enough for portrait photography
You can downsize 24Mpixel to 6Mp. No need to get an old camera to prove that 6Mp is enough in some situations.
When photographing subjects will low details, like close-ups, 6Mp is enough. What matters is how many pixels are used to describe an image detail, large image features don't require lots of pixels.

---------- Post added 10-04-20 at 13:56 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
Buy some old mags (circa 2010) to show your friends, if the photos published there are good enough, it proves your point.
Final print size and image features define how much res. is needed.
04-10-2020, 05:25 AM - 3 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by lenn11 Quote
step 2. buy the correct lens for portrait, (i'm thinking SMC Pentax 50 mm 1:1.7) PLEASE ADVICE
I really like 40-43mm for portrait on APS-C, especially in tight spaces.

QuoteOriginally posted by lenn11 Quote
i cannot convince them that 15 year ago you can shoot the same quality as today.
Good enough quality? Sure. Same quality as today. I disagree.
04-10-2020, 05:48 AM - 3 Likes   #7
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The SMC Pentax M 50mm f/1.7 is an excellent choice. For tighter head and shoulders pictures and a more comfortable working distance, also consider an 85mm to supplement it. The thing is, 85mm lenses tend to be on the expensive side. If you are on a tight budget, look out for the SMC Pentax M100mm f/2.8.

These older classic lenses are a blessing in disguise on smaller sensors. Modern high resolution lenses tend to expose(!) flaws in lens design. That's why a new generation of lenses are now reaching the market. You actually need the latest, expensive lenses to get the best out of the latest, expensive sensors.

I salute you, sir! May you get good results in this endeavor.
04-10-2020, 06:55 AM   #8
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I think the issue is going to be how big the output "print" can be with reasonable image quality. Print being an actual print or size on a monitor. An 8.5x11 print seems like a stretch here; 5x7 should be doable. I know others will have stronger opinions than I do as I've not had that many prints made.


Further, my own opinions; a DA 50 1.8 is a perfectly fine optic for this project. Another option would be the DA 70. A Tamron 90mm f2.5, either Adaptall or native k-mount with AF would be something else I would consider, as I quite like my copy for portraits and general use. None of these are expensive, relatively speaking, on the used market (only way to get the Tamron). I think shopping right could get you both the plastic 50 and the DA 70 in SMC for $325 or $350 USD for the pair.

04-10-2020, 07:39 AM - 1 Like   #9
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More than an increasing number if megapixels has happened to sensors since they were 6mp. They went from CCD to CMOS to BSI-CMOS in some cases. Dynamic range has increased dramatically and so has high ISO performance. Full frame has become affordable. I can make a portrait at ISO 12.800 that will look like it was made on ISO 200 were it shot on a 6 megapixel aps-c sensor.
04-10-2020, 07:49 AM   #10
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I have a fantastic wildlife print shot on a 3 Mpx camera but the catch is, it's printed in a 8x10 format. If I tried printing that same print in a larger format, its shortcomings begin to appear quickly. The same thing used to happen with VHS video. When watched on small television screens, the video was fairly acceptable but try that on one of the large screens we have today (if you can find a VHS player and a tape).
04-10-2020, 07:58 AM   #11
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Welcome to the Pentax Forums!

The only issue would be maximum print size with conventional wisdom placing that at about 8"x10". As noted above, the DA 50/1.8 is a good option, but so might be any other fast 50mm to 58mm lens.


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04-10-2020, 08:12 AM   #12
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Sure, print size is limited, but how often are portraits printed large? I have a few and it looks wrong to me to print even an 11x14.
04-10-2020, 08:20 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Sure, print size is limited, but how often are portraits printed large? I have a few and it looks wrong to me to print even an 11x14.
Outside of group portraits like a family shot, I think you're correct; I thought it smart to share an idea of the general limits on print size so it's a known constraint for the project (should it actually happen; I could see this being a fun little exercise where you pit a K100D Super or similar era camera against a KP or K-3 II, etc and see how noticeable the differences are in printed output).
04-10-2020, 10:14 AM   #14
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Do you want to prove that 6MP is good enough, for you, for hobby, non-pro? Should we tell you that 24MP make more sense?
1MP wir und be enough as are 36MP. 6x6 format was developed to shoot 3:4 n portrait and landscape without rotating the camera. If 6MP make you have happy, 10-16MP make life easier. Now start cropping and 24MP becomes a minimum. Enlarge further and 36MP make sense, ...
04-10-2020, 10:15 AM - 1 Like   #15
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This looks to be about 100 meters, but unfortunately you can see some pixelation. Could have used more resolution or some up-sampling.
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