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Difference between 5MP and 8MP

Joshua SJ , Feb 01, 2006; 07:14 a.m.


I'm a relative beginner with photography which will soon be evident from my question.

I own a Sony DSC F828 which I understand is a good camera to learn with. My question is related to image size. If I am to print photos in smaller sizes f.e. 8*10" or less then is it sufficient if I take the photo in 5MP or will I get still better resolution in the printed image with 8MP?

Thanks in advance.


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Edward Ingold , Feb 01, 2006; 08:33 a.m.

In general, you want 300ppi at the final print size. With the F828, the 8MP size gives you a little more than 300ppi in an 8x10, and 5MP gives you a little less. On this basis, 8MP would be the better choice. You can always resample for larger prints.

You may save memory space by taking smaller images, but those pixels are lost forever if you want larger prints in the future.

The F828 sensor is relatively noisy above ISO 100 (even compared to the 5MP F717). This is due partly to the small cell size resulting from cramming 8MP into a 4/3 sensor. Reducing the capture size will have no effect on this noise.

You can find a full review at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydscf828/

Mr. Smith , Feb 01, 2006; 09:11 a.m.

Optimum image quality starts at 240PPI for a digicam, so yes you have sufficient resolution for an 8"x10" print from a 5mp image.

However, with an 8mp digicam, I would shoot everything I intend to print at full rez thus allowing plenty for crops and resizing.

Esther Howe , Feb 01, 2006; 09:24 a.m.

aaayy! how u doing ? i am a beginner too. By the ways id like to add that some people on here will be a bit harsh on you, like it has happened to me in the past. Es x

Joshua SJ , Feb 01, 2006; 10:01 a.m.

Edward and Mr. Smith, thank you very much for your quick and informative responses.

I have no professional knowledge about photography. All I know is from using the camera. Of course, I still have many very basic hurdles to clear. I look forward to getting more help from knowledgeable people like yourselves in future.

Esther, thanks for the warning :)

Best regards.

Bas Scheffers , Feb 01, 2006; 01:34 p.m.

It depends on the quality of the pixels and the lens much more than quantity. My 5MP Olympus E-1 has no trouble with a 16x12" print where as many 8MP digicams wouldn't hold up at that size.

Esther Howe , Feb 01, 2006; 02:48 p.m.

no problemo ! Es

Ken Papai , Feb 01, 2006; 04:59 p.m.

I've certainly seen nice large prints (e.g., 16 inches wide) from even 3MP cameras. For sure a well exposed, composed, sharp-lens-shot 6MP image will yield an excellent large print. More pixels are always better but you still have to work with what you have until you reach your own limitations and force yourself into upgrading your camera.

JC Uknz , Feb 01, 2006; 05:39 p.m.

For printing by an inkjet printer you need 300 or 360dpi depending on make of printer [HP or Epsom]. To get this for larger prints you have to interpolate which means the computer invents extra pixels to have 300dpi at the print size you want. Used at a reasonable rate this is successful in making prints 16x12 as mentioned.

I suspect that when your camera uses 5Mp it uses the same sized pixels as when you shoot at 8Mp so there is no advantage with working at 5Mp. If you want to squeeze more shots onto your storage card, as I have done a few times when far from home and computer to download and without another spare card, I maintain top resolution but increase compression. Changing from FINE to a lower setting/ increased compression. If you do not have an editing programme have a look at www.irfanview.com which is a basic but good programme capable of doing interpolating for you. They like a donation if you download.

Andrew Robertson , Feb 01, 2006; 08:31 p.m.

I don't think people on this board are unnecessarily harsh on photo.net. Some of us get fed up when people ask questions that have been answered 500 times already, or that are addressed in the photo.net/learn area.

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