'Megapixel Myth' - good article

zitro_joeFebruary 8, 2007

Here is a good read. Since most of us here take pictures for the joy of it, not a proffesion.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/08/technology/08pogue.html?_r=1&8dpc&oref=slogin

I have been met with much debate, here, and with friends about this issue. What do ya'll think

Here is a link that might be useful: Megapixel Myth

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rcnaylor

A very good read Joe. Thanks for sharing it.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 9:04PM
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joanmn

My first digital was a 1.6 MP Sony mavica FD90. I got beautiful pictures and prints from it.
JoanMN/FL

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 11:52PM
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debby_ab

Try blowing that 1.6 megapixel picture into a nice sized 8x10.........

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 1:48AM
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joanmn

That's what I'm saying...they were beautiful.
JoanMN/FL

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 6:57AM
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debby_ab

How did you manage to get that printed? When I try to print an 8 megapixel picture that I took in LOW resolution and compressin (my mistake!), Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart nor Superstores website said I could not get a decent 8x10 picture. Two of the websites wouldn't let me get past the page to allow me to try anyways.

Here is a link that might be useful: megapixel rating for printing ideal pictures.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 9:12PM
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joanmn

I printed it at home.
JoanMN/FL

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 9:26PM
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zitro_joe

debby,
If you changed the resolution to low, I dont think you were at 8 MP any more. The "low" resolution on my camera puts the MP at about .5MP. Email size. That might be the reason.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 10:31PM
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rcnaylor

A double post, but here is a an issue this thread raises in my mind.

Since we are just talking about dots here, you would think a computer program could take a three or four MB pic and up convert it to 8 or 12 fairly decently to print off larger prints. But, I've never seen one. Of course, I've never really looked for one. And, I'm sure for enough money there has to be one. But, if it was economical or very effective, you'd think some of the picture printing places would have it. Most consumer photo prints aren't exactly looking to add crucial details to spy photos.

I can't quite see why a computer can't extrapolate and "fill in the dots" to blow up low res picture fairly accurately. The outlines and colors are already there. I've got some nice 3 meg shots I'd like to print off in larger sizes, but, get the same from the printers, 'they won't blow up well from that size'. Just venting a little.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 9:25AM
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firewire800

I can't quite see why a computer can't extrapolate and "fill in the dots" to blow up low res picture fairly accurately.

You can fill in the dots and enlarge a photo as long as you have enough original information to begin with.

When we view a photo we hold it or stand back a distance that is relative to the photo's size. As the photo gets bigger we keep backing up. As we back up the requirement for fine detail in the photo goes down (our eye sight doesn't improve as we back up). Therefore there should be a "content threshold" for photos so that we can expect to enlarge them to whatever size and they'll still look good.

For digital cameras that content threshold is between 5 and 6 megapixels. 3 and 4 megapixel photos will eventaully collapse but they're close enough to the threshold that they will hang in there for a long time. I've made 16x20 inch prints from 3 meagpixel photos that looked great.

Someone with "photographer's disease" could walk up to a 16x20 print from a 3 megapixel file, stick their nose in it, and claim, "it's not sharp." They need help.

There are two high end competing algorithms used to interpolate up the content of a digital image. Photoshop uses the bicubic interpolation algorithm and Genuine Fractals uses a fractal interpolation algorithm. The photos below are big, but necessary so you can see. I took an image from an 8 meagpixel camera and reduced it's content to 1.6 megapixel and .5 megapixel equivalents. Then I used Photoshop (PS) and Genuine Fractals to interpolate those photos back to the resolution of the original.

The 1.6 megapixel file was enlarged over 200% to get back to the 8 megapixel original res. GF did an amazing job and there's no way you'd see a differenece in an 8x10 print between the original and the 1.6 megapixel file -- a little sharpening applied to the interpolated 1.6 megapixel file and it's going to look great. .5 megapixels is just too little information to work with.

Joe has made this point a few times as I recall and he's right: Given average amateur usage (4x6 prints with occasional enlargements to 8x10), a quality 3 megapixel camera and good software will do the job. At 6 megapixel you've reached content threshold so that with the right software your photo can be enlarged to highway billboard size and look good.

Why an 8 to 10 megapixel camera? -- the freedom to crop the image down and still have content threshold.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 2:01PM
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