Camera resolution: less is more

There’s a school of thought, to which I mildly subscribe, that six megapixels is easily enough for most needs. (Google "6 megapixels" and have a look at some of the articles.) The truth is, a well-taken photo out of a six megapixel camera can be printed to just about any size, for just about any purpose. In the early days of digital, pros had 3MP cameras, and printed billboards from them.

If you really nail your composition, lighting, focus, etc, you can produce a masterpiece from a 6MP camera. On the flip side, if you mess up a shot, all the pixels in the world won’t save you – it’s still a messed-up shot. It’s simply a messed up shot that’s wasting more space on your card.

Of course, you can’t find 6MP DSLRs any more. There’s nothing below 20MP. And I think this is an appalling state of affairs.

Can you imagine, for a moment, what would have happened if camera manufacturers hadn’t devoted so much R&D to putting more pixels on their cameras’ sensors; but instead concentrated on making the quality output of the pixels better? Modern cameras have way more megapixels than anyone needs. What we really need is camera technology that gives really clean photos at high ISO.

To be fair, these improvements are being made, but too slowly in my opinion. Camera technology seems to be guided by marketing departments - bigger megapixel numbers sell more cameras to cashed-up enthusiasts. And this is a shame.


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