I'm buying a digital camera for the first time. I don't know how many megapixels i will need in a camera, and I really don't know anything about megapixels at all. I have heard that it depends on what size prints i will be printing. Is that true? I will be printing 8 by 10 pictures at the most, and I want to be able to print good quality pictures. How many megapixels will I need?
Megapixels is simply the area size in pixels of a digital image. For instance if you want to make an 8x10 print image printed at a good resolution, which is about 240dpi, the pixels dimenions are 1920x2400 pixels which when multiplied for area size is 4.6 megapixels. So you can assume with a goal of printing good 8x10's you should choose a 5 megapixel camera, and for excellent print results a 6 megapixel camera.
David, I know you have much experience working with digital images from digital cameras. In your experience can you really get a well detailed 11+14 print from a 6 meg DSLR camera. I have read many of the discussions around this topic, but have no real experience with the results myself. My Fuji 602 is a 3.1 and I find good results at 8+10, but the detail in trees and landscape just are not there to my satisfaction. Is a 6 meg camera better at providing more detail in a larger print such as 11+14 or is it just not a subsiitute for using medium format film? I know you are not comparing apples to apples here, but the end result does matter to me. I shoot to print so I have been willing to suffer the hassel of working with slower lens limited depth of field to get more detail in my prints. My question is. Can you use a 6 meg DSLR and get satisfactory prints up to 11+14 or even 16+20 when comparing them to 645 film format prints if both prints are printing with the same digital printers. Thanks Monte Johnson.
I have had quite a few different DSLR's to work with in the 6MPX sensor size including several Canons, Epson RD-1, Minolta Maxxum 7D, Nikon D-70 and the Sigma SD-10. I always use these cameras in Raw output setting and increase the image size while still in high-bit mode to 12x about 16-18 inches at 300dpi. I make prints from the images with most recently the Epson R1800 and now an R-2400.
The images are as sharp and detailed as the same sized prints made from a scan of a 35mm slide, and I am currently scanning with a Minolta 5400 II. The most noticeable difference is most scanned images display some grain at a 12x18 inch print size, and the DSLR images do not, and have smoother tones in the subject areas they should like a sky in a landscape.
Given that 5 and 6 meg cameras are cheap now I would go for one. I think the optical zoom is important. The digital zoom means nothing as far as I am concerned. My camera is almost four years old and it is a 3.2 meg camera. Here is a picture I made into an 8+10 photo. It does ok up to that size.