Ok, we have had a lovely bunch of posts on fashion and modeling, it is about time we had a short discussion on a matter in photography! Until this past year the medium format camera companies, Hasselblad, Pentax, etc. have enjoyed owning the distinction of having the most pixels in their cameras and their digital backs. The reason for this was obvious, the size of the sensor allowed more pixels to be placed on them. With the creation of Full Frame sensors for 35mm format cameras we have been watching and waiting as the pixel density grew each year. For a while, it seemed, the resolution had stalled around 20 mega pixels with a few exceptions like the Nikon D800 / D810 with 36MP, or the Canon 5DS R with 50MP.
This year Nikon has updated the D800 to the D850 with an increase in pixel density to 46MP. Canon has been showing off a sensor in a 5D body that boasts an amazing 120MP. The detail that only a high end digital back could have achieved before finally available in a 35mm format! The price for full frame sensors were at one time thought to be a premium. Over time the price for full frame and cropped sensor cameras has drawn closer together. While full frame cameras with higher resolutions are still a little more costly than their cropped cousins, the price has come down significantly and are still magnatudes lower than the Medium Format systems offered at this time, though with time, these may drop in price a little.
With the increase in mega pixels, we have had talk, as we have had every time there is a jump in resolution. This talk covers all kinds of different opinions about resolution, from if lenses will be able to keep up, or if they are even needed. Some talk about the quality limiting pieces of the camera system such as the limited size of the sensors.
There are some things that are true and should be thought about when you move to a much higher resolution from a cropped sensor or lower resolution full frame sensor. The higher resolution will show off more detail, and with it will be less forgiving with shake, whether by wind or by hand. The leses that you use will make more of a difference as well. The lower cost lenses are of a lesser quality and will show distortion or won’t resolve the full capabilities of the higher resolution cameras. But, these are things that can be taken care of, buy better glass, or be more cognizant of the settings and environment when you are hand holding the camera. Spend more time trying to get the shutter speed up, or controlling your breath to steady your hand a little more. It just takes a little getting used to when you start shooting with more resolution. You won’t be disapointed with the outcome if you take care and practice.
Some discussions say that there is no reason to have more than 24MP or whatever they choose to limit themselves at. More resolution is always a good thing if you can get the full detail from it and are not limited by anything mechanical or scientific. I certainly believe that you don’t need 50MP if you are only working online in social media, but there is still a reason to have it! If you have 50MP and take an image, you will have more opportunity to crop that image before hitting the size of the social media post. Most of the time you will be reducing your images down to a lower resolution, but it gives you more options in the end. For commercial photographers and fashion photographers it is always better to have more resolution to allow for cropping and printing in magazines at full page sizes or even double page spreads without having to increase the resolution of the image after taking it.
With all of this in mind, there is no reason other than price, that you shouldn’t move up to a higher resolution system if it is in your price range. Also though, remember that you should not switch your system from one manufacturer to another, just because they have the latest or most megapixels! The most you are going to spend when you are selecting a system will be in your lenses, and this is rightfully so, as with the best glass, you will get the best images. They will pay for themselves over time. If you are not having issue at all with your system, there is no reason to upgrade. The photographer can always learn new techniques and styles with any camera. No camera will be a limiting factor in creativity, only in resolution for the end use of the images. It would be quite difficult to take an image with a 6MP camera for printing full page in a magazine.
So, with all of the options available to the photographer today, make sure you are shooting with the best system that suits your needs and continue to learn every day! Practice, learn, practice again and then try something completely new! There is always something you haven’t tried before and there is always something to learn! Enjoy it!