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07-14-2014, 04:19 PM   #1
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Why do high end cameras have such low megapixel counts?

Im considering upgrading to the D4s when i start working but the one thing that really stuck out was that it only has 16 megapixels, only a mere 2 more than the k20d that i used to use. One of the many things i love about my d600 is the 24 megapixels which really gives me a ton of freedom for cropping. It's allowed me to get shots likethis, Everything else about the D4s looks amazing. Fantastic af, good shots up to iso 40,000, 11 fps burst mod, and even over 100 continuous shots in RAW.. Plus, i don't know if the 54 mbps video patch that i use for my d600 is gonna be available for the d4 s

I notice the same thing on the canon side of things. The 5dmk3, a pretty high end camera only offers 20 megapixels. I dont understand why they wouldn't give people a little more megapixels.

07-14-2014, 04:28 PM - 3 Likes   #2
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Really ?
07-14-2014, 04:28 PM   #3
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Speed? To get 11fps the megapixels need to be less so the camera can keep up.
07-14-2014, 04:37 PM   #4
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Speed and high ISO capability.

07-14-2014, 04:51 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by dane.dawg Quote
Speed and high ISO capability.
Exactly - these machines are typically thought of as sports cameras.
07-14-2014, 05:05 PM   #6
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But feel free to buy the 645Z, with its 51MP sensor.
07-14-2014, 05:29 PM   #7
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It just seems like you might also have to buy pretty expensive glass to go along with the bodies (the D4s will already run you around $6000) to compensate for the relative lack of the cropping ability. The shot that I linked to was done with a 70-300 that only cost me a couple hundred. Because of the high megapixel count, i was able to crop in. To get the same thing on the d4s, you will prob need a much larger, more expensive lens. It's also a mobility thing the way i look at it. One of the pros of DSLRs is being able walk around with it and when you see something cool get the shot as fast as you can bring the camera up to your eye (i kind of like to think of myself as the wyatt urban of photographers Medium format systems are more aimed at studio users from what i can tell. They dont have the same portability of a full frame system such as mine.

I cant imagine increasing the megapixel count by a mere ~60% would have that much of a dramatic impact on the noise performance but hey..

07-14-2014, 05:49 PM   #8
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Think of it this way Neo. Imagine 1000 pixels on a chip. How much light could that absorb? Now imagine 10000 pixels. Simple logic would say they would absorb 1/10 of the light. And all that would be assuming that as make things smaller, they still obtain the same properties they do when they are made larger, and usually that is not the case. Here is a good read for you.... Megapixels And ISO: Have We Reached The Limit? | DigitalPhotoPro.com
07-14-2014, 06:25 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by neostyles Quote
It just seems like you might also have to buy pretty expensive glass to go along with the bodies (the D4s will already run you around $6000) to compensate for the relative lack of the cropping ability. The shot that I linked to was done with a 70-300 that only cost me a couple hundred. Because of the high megapixel count, i was able to crop in. To get the same thing on the d4s, you will prob need a much larger, more expensive lens. It's also a mobility thing the way i look at it. One of the pros of DSLRs is being able walk around with it and when you see something cool get the shot as fast as you can bring the camera up to your eye (i kind of like to think of myself as the wyatt urban of photographers Medium format systems are more aimed at studio users from what i can tell. They dont have the same portability of a full frame system such as mine.

I cant imagine increasing the megapixel count by a mere ~60% would have that much of a dramatic impact on the noise performance but hey..
Presumably, if you are buying a D4s, you would have the expensive glass already.

The question you should probably ask yourself before you consider moving up to that body is what is the motivation for upgrading? Are you doing it for a sharper image, less noise, etc.

I only mention that question because your initial question leads me to think you might be a better candidate for spending the money on a fantastic lens than another body. For instance, if the 70-300 is your only lens at the 300 end, you're likely to see a huge improvement buying a prime 300 mm lens, or even one of the Sigma super zoom type lenses.

And, generally speaking a great lens can improve an image on almost any body, but a camera body will not necessarily improve the image if there is a mediocre lens on the front of it.
07-14-2014, 07:04 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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Because high-end photographers know that megapixels aren't everything...
07-14-2014, 07:08 PM   #11
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I think if you are getting a D4s, you might as well pair it with a high pixel density APS-C camera. That will give you more reach than a D800. I've seen better moon photos with a K3 and 300mm lens.

Low megapixel full frame sensors are primarily for sports and low light shooters who need great high iso, fast frame rates and do minimal cropping after the fact. Every camera is a compromise, even the D800. But maybe you should go for a D800 instead and save your shekels for some expensive glass.
07-14-2014, 07:29 PM   #12
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Maybe because once you get to that point, your target audience has changed from suckers who walk into a camera store and are fooled into thinking more megapixels are better into people who actually want higher quality.

12 megapixels is more than enough for the front cover of a magazine. It's also enough for a billboard -- those are only printed at about 10 DPI. It's probably not enough for a 30 by 40 photo that you plan to hang at eye level and stand close to, but I have one hanging in my sitting room, with the bottom about a foot above eye level, and typically viewed from around 5-6 feet away and it looks very good (actually, it looked really good even up close while I was framing it).
07-14-2014, 07:44 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by neostyles Quote
Im considering upgrading to the D4s when i start working but the one thing that really stuck out was that it only has 16 megapixels, only a mere 2 more than the k20d that i used to use. One of the many things i love about my d600 is the 24 megapixels which really gives me a ton of freedom for cropping. It's allowed me to get shots likethis, Everything else about the D4s looks amazing. Fantastic af, good shots up to iso 40,000, 11 fps burst mod, and even over 100 continuous shots in RAW.. Plus, i don't know if the 54 mbps video patch that i use for my d600 is gonna be available for the d4 s

I notice the same thing on the canon side of things. The 5dmk3, a pretty high end camera only offers 20 megapixels. I dont understand why they wouldn't give people a little more megapixels.
Physics Clarkvision: Does Pixel Size Matter
07-14-2014, 08:00 PM   #14
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The D4s is a very nice camera, but you really should not buy it until you know the answer for yourself. Nikon is not about to increase the pixel count, so you have to be comfortable with it.

Also, look into the meaning behind the brand new Sony a7s, also with 12 megapixels.
07-14-2014, 08:51 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tanzer Quote
The D4s is a very nice camera, but you really should not buy it until you know the answer for yourself. Nikon is not about to increase the pixel count, so you have to be comfortable with it.

Also, look into the meaning behind the brand new Sony a7s, also with 12 megapixels.
Good advice. If you don't understand why their top of the line camera has fewer megapixels, you shouldn't buy it. There is more to a camera than the number of megapixels.
If a Corvette and a Peterbilt both have engines that are rated at 400 horsepower, how come you can't pull a 40,000 pound trailer with the Corvette? How come the Peterbilt can't do a 12 second quarter mile?
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