How Much Resolution Do You Really Need?

Lightroom Library Filter ISO

Each year camera manufacturers are pushing the limits of sensor technology and the latest trend has been to increase sensor resolution to numbers that were considered unfathomable before. With full-frame cameras reaching 50 megapixels (MP) and medium format cameras pushing beyond 80 MP, we now know that the megapixel race won’t stop there and we will most likely be seeing cameras with even more resolution in the future. But the big question remains – how much resolution does one truly need today? Is 12 MP too little? Is 50 MP too much? While it is a subject that can be open to endless debates, I have been working on a methodology to determine the ideal megapixel range for one’s needs. In this article, I will share what I came up with and it will hopefully serve as a good guide for our readers in deciding how to address the megapixel quench. I highly recommend to read my camera resolution explained article as a pre-requisite to understand the relationship of resolution to printing, cropping, display size and to understand such terms as down-sampling in more detail.

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Camera Resolution Explained

Image Resolution Comparison

Although the megapixel race has been going on since digital cameras had been invented, the last few years in particular have seen a huge increase in resolution – we have seen everything from 41 megapixel camera phones to now 50.6 megapixel full-frame DSLR cameras. It seems like we have already reached the theoretical maximum for handling noise at high ISOs with the current generation sensor technology, so the manufacturers are now focusing their efforts in packing more resolution, while keeping sensor sizes the same in order to lure more customers to upgrade to the latest and greatest. In this article, I will try to explain some basic terminology in regards to resolution and hopefully help our readers in understanding camera resolution better.

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How to Properly Resize Images in Lightroom

Nikon 1 V1 Image Sample (5)

If you like sharing your photographs online, whether on Facebook or on your own blog, you should learn how to properly resize your images. While your camera can take very high resolution photographs, it is always a good idea to down-size or “down-sample” those images, not only because most websites won’t accept large images, but also because making those images smaller will actually make them look better, if done correctly. In this quick tutorial, I will show you the proper way to resize images in Lightroom. A separate article on how to do this in Photoshop can be found in my “how to properly resize images in Photoshop” article. I use the below method when exporting images out of Lightroom. You can employ this technique to any photograph – whether it is a portrait or a sweeping landscape.

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How to Properly Resize Images in Photoshop

Puerto Rico

If you like sharing your photographs online, whether on Facebook or on your own blog, you should learn how to properly resize your images. While your camera can take very high resolution photographs, it is always a good idea to down-size or “down-sample” those images, not only because most websites won’t accept large images, but also because making those images smaller will actually make them look better, if done correctly. In this quick tutorial, I will show you the proper way to resize images in Photoshop. I have seen people employ all kinds of different techniques when it comes to resizing images in Photoshop. The below method is how I personally do it and it has been working great for me, at least based on your feedback. You can employ this technique to any photograph – whether it is a portrait or a sweeping landscape.

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Benefits of a High Resolution Sensor

Nikon D4 Sensor

As camera manufacturers are continuing the megapixel race, with Sony releasing a bunch of 24 MP APS-C (1.5 crop-factor) cameras like Sony A77, A65 and NEX-7, and Nikon releasing a high resolution 36 MP Nikon D800, many of us photographers question the need for such a high resolution sensor. Some of us are happy while others are angry about these latest trends. Just when we thought companies like Nikon abandoned the megapixel race, instead of seeing other companies do the same, we now see Nikon back in the game with a new breed of product with a boatload of pixels. Why did Nikon all of a sudden decide to flip the game? Why does everyone seem to be going for more pixels rather than better low-light / high ISO performance? Does a high resolution sensor make sense? What are the true benefits of a high resolution sensor? In this article, I will provide my thoughts on what I think has happened with Nikon’s camera strategy, along with a few points on benefits of a high resolution sensor.

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