New Use for Megapixels

I tend to look skeptically on claims of megapixels. As I think I’ve mentioned before here, I have a 20×30″ print hanging up, taken by my 6-megapixel EOS 10D. Now I shoot with a 10-megapixel XTi, but typically keep it down at “Medium” quality, which is a 5-ish megapixel image. The reason is that I can take many more pictures, and that there’s no good reason for me to exceed it.

One thing I lament, though, is how “short” 200mm can be, even with a 1.6x crop. (So it’s effectively a 320mm lens.) I think the 100-400mm zoom (loving that it has a Wikipedia page!) would do the trick, though it’s a $1,500 lens. (On sale at Amazon?)

At the RedSox game, I bumped the resolution to its full setting. In a, “that’s really not quite an accurate statement” way, I effectively had a 5-megapixel, 400mm setup. Because 5 megapixels is all I needed anyway, this “zoom by cropping” thing actually works pretty well.

The main problem I’m noticing is that at 10 megapixels, I’m seeing a lot of imperfections in images that I didn’t see at 5. It doesn’t ordinarily matter anyway, since no one views images at 100% in ordinary situations, but I really feel like all the extra resolution does is amplify imperfections inherent in the lens.

One thought on “New Use for Megapixels

  1. Now imagine a 1Ds III with a kit lens or something. 😉

    I think digital SLRs have basically reached a point very similar to film SLRs. You never really bought a film SLR for it’s image quality — that was determined by the film. All of the digital SLRs available these days provide excellent images, and with their high resolutions, the lenses you use can impact that quality more than anything else.

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