The MegaMyth of Megapixels

Though I traditionally despise the New York Times and it’s Crap-pile claims to be “All that’s fit to print,” here is something actually worth reading (I guess you can’t skew a tech review too much).

This was great for me to hear because I always wondered what the real advantage of extremely large megapixel resolutions. So – without further ado, David Pogue writes:

On the show, we did a test. We blew up a photograph to 16 x 24 inches at a professional photo lab. One print had 13-megapixel resolution; one had 8; the third had 5. Same exact photo, down-rezzed twice, all three printed at the same poster size. I wanted to hang them all on a wall in Times Square and challenge passersby to see if they could tell the difference.Even the technician at the photo lab told me that I was crazy, that there’d be a huge difference between 5 megapixels and 13.
I’m prepared to give away the punch line of this segment, because hey—the show doesn’t air till February, and you’ll have forgotten all about what you read here today, right?

Anyway, we ran the test for about 45 minutes. Dozens of people stopped to take the test; a little crowd gathered. About 95 percent of the volunteers gave up, announcing that there was no possible way to tell the difference, even when mashing their faces right up against the prints. A handful of them attempted guesses—but were wrong. Only one person correctly ranked the prints in megapixel order, although (a) she was a photography professor, and (b) I believe she just got lucky.

I’m telling you, there was NO DIFFERENCE.

Read the rest of the story.

So the moral of the story: a better camera does not only = more mega pixels. If you are looking for quality – think about things like the burst speed and how quickly it can write to it’s media drive. Also – seriously consider how “serious” you want to be as a photographer. Most people can do just fine with something moderate to bottom-high-end. Really – learning to take great pictures with a basic camera is a far cheaper and better investment.


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