miniblog: megapixels, shmegapixels

Sunday, November 19, 2006

megapixels, shmegapixels

I had hoped this article about the myth of megapixels would be more complete, but it only just scrapes the surface.

If you are in the market for a new digital camera, completely disregard megapixel count. Seriously. It's a total marketing ploy (akin to cosmetics' claims). Like the article says, look at the lens and shutter speed. I've been using a Sony DSC F707 for the last five years, and only once have I taken a photo at its full 5.4 megapixel count. I stay at about 3.2.

1. A 5.4 megapixel photo is about 30-40MB. Imagine what size a 10 megapixel photo would be like!!! 10 of those would probably equal a GIG! So, to free yourself from constantly uploading those huge photos to your computer, expect to spend an extra $500-1000 on memory sticks, and to change them out every 3-10 photos, and don't lose them, either. Also expect to spend either a lot of time burning them to CDs (maybe 10 to a CD at that size!) or a lot of money buying yourself an extra hard drive for storage.

2. A 5.4 mp photo prints out at about 11 feet by 17 feet. !!!! Do you have that size of a printer laying around the house? Imagine a 10 mp photo! So you reduce the photo size, using either a sophisticated or unsophisticated image editing program. Compressing all those pixels (and in both 5.4 and 10 there are a lot of pixels to squeeze down from 11x17 to 4x5) will generally make your photo look like pixellated, blurry crap. In fact, my 3.2 sometimes causes me headaches when I try to place a photo into Adobe Illustrator, and I have to scale the image down so it's not 80 billion times the size of my canvas. Invariably, I lose a lot of quality.

3. If you like to play with/edit the images later, then higher megapixels would be preferrable, but, again, unless you're professional, you don't need anything over 4. When you edit, save over, etc, you do lose some pixels, which might affect quality, so it's nice to have a larger base amount with which to play. But I'm talking like 40 save-overs or something, not the typical one that you do after a Quick (or long) edit.


Post a Comment

<< Home