Will the megapixel wars ever end?


At PMA, I attended several presentations by Sony and was impressed with their alpha A900 digital SLR and its 24.6 megapixel resolution. The presenters were extremely effective in showing the possibilities created with a sensor of this size. I was shocked to find  myself wanting to try one of these $3000 cameras, given that I have long believed that the importance of megapixels was being vastly overstated by camera manufacturers.

What has caused this change? The images were extremely sharp and allowed even small details to be enlarged to full-size photos. In addition, with the possibility of two page spreads across 12×12 StoryBook pages, I have come to appreciate the advantages of larger file sizes.

Competing cameras with similar resolutions are significantly more expensive, with the Nikon D3X and the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III at nearly $8000. So at only $3000, the Sony A900 may actually be a bargain.


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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3 Responses to Will the megapixel wars ever end?

  1. Alan Hodgson says:

    All very well if you have enough light to share over all these pixels / dollars.
    And is the lens up to this sort of resolution?
    I feel a calculation coming on!

  2. Keith House says:

    I am not a huge fan of Sony cameras personally……but the Zeiss optics that Sony fits to their digital cameras are as capable as any others at attaining high image quality. I teach a digital photography class and I see all kinds of cameras and their output….I have only seen a few Sony cameras and their images…..and admittedly they weren’t any of the newest models……the images were OK.

    More megapixels are good…..but they are only part of the equation…..it takes optics……and it takes data format….I am a big believer in shooting RAW and processing the images.

    I have taken some senior portraits where I shot the student leaning against a tree….and I included the full height of the boy (he was a tall kid too) with some background above his head and at his feet. His mother chose this standing pose for an 11×14 print……but only from the waist up! I was pretty scared because at that scale the full frame print would have been almost 36″ tall! Man I was so happy when I got that 11×14 print and you could see individual eye lashes and eye brow hairs on that young man. This result was from a 12.3 megapixel camera…..but the key was the lens….I always shoot prime lenses (fixed focal length) and not zooms…..great strides have been made in zoom lens optical formulas but they still aren’t as sharp as prime lenses.

  3. Pingback: When all else fails, make up a word | All About Images Blog

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