Understanding Megapixels | Transcription

Okay. What’s the deal with megapixels again? Photographers say it doesn’t matter. Manufacturers do, of course, that’s the one thing they have on boxes. We’re stuck in between these 2 things. Really, we’re somewhere in between them. Manufacturers, you’d think that that’s the only thing that matters, is the megapixels. From a photographer’s stand point, you think that it doesn’t matter at all. That’s not true either, because the megapixel resolution, it determines the overall detail that’s going to be captured by your camera. Here, we have a couple different cameras. We have a Nikon. This is a 24-megapixel camera. We have the Sony A7. This is a 24-megapixel camera. The A7R is like 36, something. It’s lots. Then, we also have the Canon. This is an 18-megapixel camera.

In reality, megapixels do matter. They’re a piece of the quality puzzle. Well, it defines how much potential detail a sensor could possibly capture. I say potential detail. Why do you think I say potential detail? Because other things affect it. The amount of light, if you didn’t have enough light, or if you had too much light, then you’d probably lose detail anyway, too.

Yes. What about other stuff? What about these guys? Lenses, very important. If you’ve got good, fast lenses, you might pick up more detail, sharpness, right? Yeah. Also, we talked about how it’s more important to upgrade your lenses before your bodies. The reason why is because I could have, let’s say, a 40-megapixel camera body that I spent all this money on. I put $100 lens on it. There’s no way that that lens can resolve the detail. It wouldn’t matter. You’d get a cruddy quality image anyway because the lens is not high enough quality. But hey, if you had a really good lens and then you didn’t focus right, you’d still have a cruddy quality. Absolutely right. That’s exactly what we mean by potential detail that can be captured. It covers potential resolution. Really, when it comes to megapixels, it really doesn’t matter until we go to print. Like, let’s say for example we’re just showing them on the screen, or showing them on the web, why do megapixels not really matter?

Well, it’s all about the DPI, or dots per inch. If I were to render an image for a screen, what do we need these days, 72 would be like older resolution. 96 would be a like a newer resolution, or even if we have, say, these crazy retina displays and super high-resolution displays, that would be 120. If we were printing, you’re probably looking at 240, 300 maybe on average. What does that mean? All we’re talking about is the amount of dots per inch. Now, for example, a camera like this, anyone of these cameras, let’s say 18 megapixels at a minimum. If we’re displaying images by 800 pixels on a screen, we could be capturing 2 megapixel images. It wouldn’t make a single difference because we shrink them down to display on the web. The resolution isn’t there on your screen or on the web to be able to see and to really make it worth while. What matters is when it goes to print.

Let’s talk about printing. When you go to print, like you mentioned a second ago. Michelle just said we can print at say 240 DPI, at 300 DPI. There’s even some museum quality printing and labs that go up to say 400, 450 DPI. These are the dots per inch when it’s printing. Basically, let’s say for example that we want to print a 12×18 image. We’re going to do a little bit of math. For a 12×18, I want 300 pixels, or 300 dots per inch, okay, on my print. All I’ll have to do is multiply 12 by 300 which is 3,600 pixels. That’s the height. If we wanted 12 inches tall, we would need 3,600 pixels if we were printing 300 dots per inch. Okay. Let’s go 18 inches wide. 18 times 300 is 5,400. 18 inches in length times 300 is 5,400. Now, 3,600 times 5,400 is 19,440,000. Well, a megapixel is one million pixels so 19.4 megapixels. To print a 12 by 18 image directly from the camera without enlarging, we would need a 19.4-megapixel camera. Here’s the thing, we have 18-megapixel in this one. If we wanted to print 12×18, what do we do? I can actually just take it into Photoshop and blow it up to cover my whole house if I wanted to.

Her ambition is actually absolutely correct. With a smaller megapixel camera, you can take it and you could blow it up. Photoshop can actually enhance and enlarge images so that you can, well, blow it up to really whatever size you want to. So long as you’re viewing them at an appropriate viewing distance, it’s not really going to make one bit of difference. We can take a 10-megapixel image, blow it up to be 40-megapixels in size, print it off as a 40×60. As long as we’re viewing it from a normal distance, it won’t look any different from a 30 or 40-megapixel camera. This is the thing is that if you did have a higher resolution camera, well, those megapixels do make a difference when you get larger in print size. As you get larger, there is more detail there resolved.

If I were to shoot a landscape, for example. I wanted to see every little leaf on that tree then, megapixels could help you out there. There’s a lot of amazing super high-end, fine art landscape photographers out there that use 40, 60, 80-megapixel medium format cameras because of that reason. When you blow them up, they create amazing detailed images. You can zoom in and see a bird. Then, on the bird, you see the worm that’s like on the back. Then, on the back of the worm, you can see a little ant …That’s a huge file. That brings up another great point. Let’s say, as a wedding photographer, or a portrait photographer, you take a 40-megapixel camera, and you shoot 3000 images. What do you think happens? You’re going to blow up your computer. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but if we take 3,000 images at 40 megapixels, you’re talking like probably 100 megs per file. You’re talking serious computing power to be able to process those images and that’s a lot of memory too. It’s a lot of storage. It’s a lot of processing power. It creates a whole other issue when you’re coming to work flow. Obviously, tons of megapixels can definitely be overkill in a lot of situations.

If, I were a fashion or commercial photographer, and I wanted to take let’s say a full body shot. I wanted to zoom in on the necklace, just crop it down to that, I would need the megapixels. Well, that’s what’s awesome is that you could take a 40-megapixel camera, take a full-length shot. If they’re using it for, say, catalogs, they can zoom into the bag, the dress, the necklace, the face, and you’d have printable images with every single crop because you have so much resolution there to, basically, crop away. Okay. Yes, if you are a fashion, commercial, fine art landscape photographer, you might be able to come up with those uses for having that many megapixels.

I’m a regular person. Actually, most of us are. We probably don’t need that full range. Again, we’re back to understand what you need, how much you need, whether or not you really need it all, and make use of what you’ve got. Do you need tons of megapixels to create great images? It’s need vs. want.

Here’s my favorite thing, someone that gets a 40-megapixel camera takes 1000 images and then applies vintage filters to make it look like film. Because, what happens if you apply those vintage filters, it reduces all the detail. Anyway, it wouldn’t make a single bit of difference. Really, for most situations, it’s not going to make a huge difference. There are cases, there are situations where you might want more, maybe for cropping, maybe for ultimate detail and resolution where that comes in handy. Bottom line is it comes down to understanding what kind of photography you do, just like you’ve mentioned, what are your needs, and is it something that matters? Because if it’s not, well, going to that high end megapixel route can really just end up killing your work flow, and make it really challenging.

CHAPTER 1: BASIC PHOTOGRAPHY CONCEPTS

CHAPTER 2: UNDERSTANDING EXPOSURE

CHAPTER 3: FROM AUTO MODES TO MANUAL

CHAPTER 4: SHARP IMAGES AND FOCUSING TECHNIQUES

Chapter 5: COMPOSITION, ARTISTRY, AND CREATING GREAT IMAGES

Chapter 6: LEARNING MORE ABOUT YOUR CAMERA

Chapter 7: BONUS

Total Course Run Time: 6H 30M 21S