Pixels, schmixels, and aspect ratios

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by NadCixelsyd, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. NadCixelsyd

    NadCixelsyd Guest

    After years of point-and-shoot, I'm considering a Nikon D40 or a D90.

    I found one web site that appears pretty informative. His opinion is
    that six megapixels (The D40) is more than enough for all but the real
    super-professional. Opinions??

    My past cameras had an aspect ratio of 4:3. I don't know whether it's
    standard, but the new Nikons only have 3:2, the same as film cameras.
    Is 3:2 becoming a standard for digital photography?
    NadCixelsyd, Dec 7, 2008
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  2. What do you intend to do with your pictures? How will you display them?
    I have been satisfied with my D40.
    4:3 and 3:2 are popular, mainly with compacts and DSLRs respectively.

    16:9 is also becoming common because of HDTV.

    David J Taylor, Dec 7, 2008
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  3. Oh dear, there are SO MANY factors, it's impossible to give a
    comprehensive answer in 2 seconds.

    For any online/computer use 6MP are far more than enough.

    For 10x15 prints 6MP are certainly sufficient. That's the size of print
    most people are used to and normally they won't go larger. Even if you
    double the size to A4 you still get a decend print that will not suffer
    from pixelation unless you inspect it with a magnification glass.
    If you want to print even larger than that (A3, poster size, ...) then a
    higher pixel count becomes relevant.

    Another consideration is that higher pixel density (larger number of
    pixels in the same area) leads to higher noise at high ISO which may or
    may not be a problem for your typical photo application.

    On the other hand a higher pixel count allows for more cropping during
    post processing before pixelation becomes noticable.
    There are many film cameras with a different aspect ratio. It's just
    that 35mm film was so omnipesent that many people forgot about the other
    There are several formats and aspect ratios for digital cameras, just
    like there were for film cameras. 2:3 is common for SLRs, 3:4 for P&Ss,
    but there are also other formats around.

    Jürgen Exner, Dec 7, 2008
  4. It doesn't depend on whether you are earning money with your pictures
    (that's the definition of 'pro') but how large you want to blow up the
    resulting images.

    With 6MP, you will be able to achieve nice printouts of most subjects
    at about letter-size without too much hassle, and about twice that if
    you really put your heart into it, buy good lenses and conversion
    software, use a heavy tripod etc.

    Depending on the subject though, there is not much margin for cropping
    out details.

    The more resolution (and pixels), the bigger your reserve for later
    cropping - IF your glass, shooting technique, tripod etc deliver the
    necessary performance.
    It has always been the standard size of 35mm photography because that
    is the aspect ratio of 35mm slides and negatives (24x36mm).
    Radbert Grimmig, Dec 7, 2008
  5. NadCixelsyd

    NadCixelsyd Guest

    I disagree. It should be 1.6 (like newer computer monitors) or,
    ideally, the golden ratio: 1.618
    NadCixelsyd, Dec 7, 2008
  6. NadCixelsyd

    Me Guest

    10 x 15cm prints?
    IMO 6mp was good enough for truly great (essentially flawless -
    regardless of being slightly under theoretical 300dpi/ppi optimum) 30 x
    20 cm (12 x 8") prints for display, perhaps larger subject permitting
    (getting near A3 size, 6mp was IMO not good enough for detailed
    landscape). My experience was using D70 images with Epson R1800 prints.
    The D70 has a very weak AA filter, and with converted raw images
    aliasing could be an issue, but I think the D40 has a better compromise
    on AA filter intensity.
    Subsequent experience using a D300 and Canon 5d, 12mp can produce truly
    great 18x12, including detailed landscape. Full-bleed A3+ and larger,
    depending on subject.
    At print size of up to 15x10 inches or so, there is very very little
    visible difference between 6 and 12mp images, and if you can't get an
    exhibition quality print from 6mp or 12mp dslrs at that size (full-frame
    -excluding crops), then it's not extra pixels needed to improve the result.
    Me, Dec 8, 2008
  7. NadCixelsyd

    Bob G Guest

    Forget about megapixels.
    It's the actual physical size of the sensor, other things being equal,
    that'll have the greater impact.
    Your point-and-shooters have very small sensors.
    Your digital SLRs have sensors many times larger.
    And lately there are more and more full-frame (FF) DSLRs being offered
    (at ridiculously high prices), with 24mm x 36mm sensors.
    And there are so-called medium format cameras with even larger sensors
    and prices.
    A 10-megapixel DSLR will run circles round a 10-megapixel point-and-
    Bob G, Dec 8, 2008
  8. NadCixelsyd

    Lourens Smak Guest

    6x4.5 obviously is 3:4

    Lourens Smak, Dec 8, 2008
  9. So why isn't 'Bob G' trashed by that P&S Nazi from the other thread?
    Radbert Grimmig, Dec 8, 2008
  10. Except that's backwards....


    David J Taylor, Dec 9, 2008
  11. Even at 400ppi, 10x15 that's less than 4MPix.

    At a normal 300ppi, 6MPIx is 17x25cm;
    at 150ppi (typical for poster prints) 34x51cm.

    Only if the OP wants much larger prints or does much cropping,
    he'd be able to spot any difference.

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Dec 19, 2008
  12. *BZZZT*
    It should be the (image) circle.
    Unless your lenses have rectangular front elements ...

    The circle would allow you to
    - correct any image tilt without the need to crop.
    - choose any ratio at all and still use the largest possible area
    your lens offers, from square to thin panoramic views.
    - there's no difference between 'landscape' and 'portrait' during
    shooting, you can choose that during development.

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Dec 19, 2008
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