How Many Megapixels Should I Go?

The answer depends on what you’re going to do with your pictures. Let me explain what I mean by that. The first thing to understand is that a megapixel simply refers to a million pixels.

That naturally leads to the question — “What is a pixel?”

Pixels are very small dots of color that make up the images in your digital photographs. They’re the most basic (and smallest) elements of digital pictures.

“Pixel” stands for “picture element.” Using the abbreviation Pix for picture and El for element, the two are put together like this : Pix + Element = Pixel.

It takes a lot of pixels to make a picture. Remember, it takes a million pixels to make one megapixel.

Pixels also make up what is called the resolution. The more pixels in the image, the higher the resolution.

That simply means more information can be captured in a larger data file. It’s kind of like a big, fat file folder stuffed full of papers and documents vs. a skinny little file with only a few papers. Obviously the fat file contains more information and details.

It’s the same with resolution. You get more information and details in a higher resolution image than a lower resolution–and it results in better colors, more definition, clarity and smoother color gradations. That’s why higher resolution usually means a better-looking picture. Of course, the quality of the lens and sensor also influence the image quite a bit.

But generally, when you have more megapixels, not only can you get more details, but you can also print bigger pictures or make enlargements.

For example:

– 6 megapixels and up will look great from a thumbnail all the way up to a 16×20 poster.

– 5 megapixels will look great from a thumbnail all the
way up to 11×17 inches.

– 4 megapixels will print up nicely as an 8×10 and will still look pretty good up to 11×17 inches.

– 2 megapixels will just barely print an 8×10 – but will do a better job with smaller pictures like 5×7′s or 4×6′s.

– 1 megapixel – Don’t even try printing an 8×10 with 1
megapixel. Stick with a 4X6 or smaller or email the picture.

Putting up a picture online or sending it by email doesn’t require a lot of megapixels. In fact, you’re better off with less. If you have too many, you might crash your email or have a webpage that takes forever to load.

So, you see, the way you plan to use your pictures
determines how many megapixels you should get.

If all you want to do is email your pictures to friends and family, one MG (or even less) is enough. But that’s NOT enough if you want to print out 5×7 or 8×10 prints.

However… storing pictures with higher megapixels takes a lot more space. You have to have lots of storage in your hard drive and lots of RAM. Or you’ll need to put your pictures onto some sort of permanent storage like CDs to make sure you don’t use up all of your computer’s hard drive.

For most people (and most families) 3.2 megapixels is
perfect. It gives you nice detail without taking too much space on your computer. And you can print out nice looking 5x7s and 8x10s.

Written by Rufina James


Adobe Releases Lightroom 3.5 And Camera Raw 6.5 With More Cameras And Lenses Supported

Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw have just been updated, and can now handle more than 20 more cameras and lenses, including new ILCs

  • By Tim Barribeau on September 29, 2011

Today saw Adobe up Lightroom and Camera Raw with support for 23 new cameras, as well as 27 new lens profiles, mostly from Hasselblad. The update has also patched a number of bugs from both applications, but there is one major known issue in Lightroom 3: if you use Mac OS X 10.7, you will no longer have tethered support for the Canon 5D, 350D/Rebel XT, or 20D.

Many of the newly supported cameras are recently announced ILCs from a number of major manufacturers, including the Olympus E-P3, E-PL3, and E-PM1; the DMC-G3 and DMC-GF3; the Pentax Q; and Sony Alpha NEX-C3 and NEX-5N. You can download the updates from here.

There’s a full list of newly supported cameras after the jump.

  • Fuji FinePix F600EXR
  • Hasselblad H4D-60
  • Leaf Aptus II 12
  • Leaf Aptus II 12R
  • Nikon Coolpix P7100
  • Olympus E-P3
  • Olympus E-PL3
  • Olympus E-PM1
  • Panasonic DMC-FZ150
  • Panasonic DMC-G3
  • Panasonic DMC-GF3
  • Pentax Q
  • Phase One  IQ140
  • Phase One  IQ160
  • Phase One  IQ180
  • Phase One  P40+
  • Phase One  P65+
  • Ricoh GXR MOUNT A12
  • Sony Alpha NEX-C3
  • Sony Alpha NEX-5N
  • Sony SLT-A35
  • Sony SLT-A65
  • Sony SLT-A77
  • Hasselblad “FFF” files created by the Hasselblad Phocus software for currently supported models are also now supported. (FFF files created using the FlexColor software are not supported)

*Popular Photography

Light Room 3.5 Bugs Fixed

  • Using the arrow keys to modify image adjustment settings lacked responsiveness
  • A Publish Collection targeting a hard drive on Windows would not behave properly if the designated folder was deleted from hard drive
  • After editing the capture time in Lightroom, “Date Time Digitized” was incorrectly changed. (Only “Date Time Original” should be modified)
  • On Windows computers, Lightroom would interpret the wrong time zone per the following customer report:
  • Changing Lightroom’s date created field to a date prior to 1933 resulted in unexpected values
  • Lightroom 3.2 introduced preview cache inefficiencies
  • GPS Altitude metadata was incorrectly excluded from files converted to DNG or exported as DNG files from Lightroom 3.4.1
  • For non-English language operating systems, folder names in the import dialog may not have been translating properly
  • When exporting images with the “Write Keywords as Lightroom Hierarchy” enabled, keywords with “Include on Export” deselected would still have been included on export
  • Saving metadata to a JPEG file in Lightroom 3.4 could have caused Lightroom to quit unexpectedly
  • A Publish Collection in Lightroom 3.4 set to publish original files would fail to include XMP files for proprietary raw formats.
  • RECONYX images did not open properly in Lightroom 3.4
  • When applying automatic lens profile correction, Lightroom 3.4 did not automatically recognize the following lens:  “Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED”
  • Using the plus or minus key to increment Develop Module parameters did not work properly on the Mac
  • The Limit File Size export option was incorrectly including EXIF metadata on export when the Minimize Embedded Metadata option was selected
  • On Mac OS X 10.7, the Lightroom import dialog did not properly display network volumes
  • On Windows computers, using Shift + Scroll wheel to adjust the Adjustment Brush feather size, the expected result of the scroll wheel movement was reversed per the following feedback post
  • Lightroom would not provide the correct error message when attempting to delete photos published to Facebook
  • Lightroom would experience tether capture failures on computers utilizing OS X 10.6.8 and 10.7
  • Develop load time performance was inconsistent

Camera Raw 6.5 Release Notes These Items Have Been Fixed In Camera Raw 6.5

  • Camera Raw did not allow write-back capability for the EXIF GPS properties.
  • The DNG File format did not support XMP Media Management.
  • A JPEG file with a specific characteristic was found to have a pink cast.
  • The undo command (Command+z) was failing to undo crop adjustments.
  • Single images marked for deletion were not moved to the trash.
  • A magenta color cast could have appeared on Nikon D7000 or Pentax K-5 images if the multi-exposure feature was used with raw capture.
  • Applying Sigma 10-20mm Lens Profile to Nikon D7000 raw files could have produced dark or black corners
  • Some EXIF fields of Panasonic raw files appeared to be blank in Bridge Metadata panel
  • Applying the exposure adjustment brush to a high ISO image could have caused excessive noise reduction correction to the entire image

Known Issues

Customers on the Mac platform utilizing OS X 10.7 will no longer have tethered support in Lightroom 3 for the following Canon cameras: (Please note that this issue is not specific to Lightroom 3.5 but is an OS X 10.7 limitation that was identified during this update)

  • EOS 5D
  • EOS 350D (Rebel XT/EOS Kiss Digital N)
  • EOS 20D
*Please note Camera Raw and Lightroom now have Camera Standard profiles for all Hasselblad digital backs (from 16 MP to 60 MP) [Updated 9:40AM PT, 9/29]

Great Photographers: Diane Arbus

Arbus, Diane
American, 1923-1971

A pivotal figure in contemporary documentary photography, Diane Arbus produced a substantial body of work before her suicide in 1971. Her unrelentingly direct photographs of people who live on the edge of societal acceptance, as well as those photographs depicting supposedly “normal” people in a way that sharply outlines the cracks in their public masks, were controversial at the time of their creation and remain so today.

Arbus was born Diane Nemerox, to a wealthy family in New York City. Her father owned a fashionable Fifth Avenue department store. She was educated at the Ethical Culture School, a progressive institution. At age 18 she married Allan Arbus and began to express an interest in photography. Her father asked Diane and her husband to make advertising photographs for his store. The couple collaborated as photographers from then on, eventually producing fashion pictures for Harper’s Bazaar.

Between 1955 and 1957 Arbus studied under Lisette Model. Model encouraged Arbus to concentrate on personal pictures and to further develop what Model recognized as a uniquely incisive documentary eye. Soon after Arbus began her studies with Lisette Model, she began to devote herself fully to documenting transvestites, twins, midgets, people on the streets and in their homes, and asylum inmates. Arbus’s pictures are almost invariably confrontational: the subjects look directly at the camera and are sharply rendered, lit by direct flash or other frontal lighting. Her subjects appear to be perfectly willing, if not eager, to reveal themselves and their flaws to her lens.

She said of her pictures, “What I’m trying to describe is that it’s impossible to get out of your skin into somebody else’s…. That somebody else’s tragedy is not the same as your own.” And of her subjects who were physically unusual, she said, “Most people go through life dreading they’ll have a traumatic experience. [These people] were born with their trauma. They’ve already passed their test in life. They’re aristocrats.”

Arbus’s photographs drew immediate attention from the artistic community. She was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships in 1963 and 1966 to continue her work. In 1967 her work was mounted in the New Documents show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, along with the work of two other influential, new photographers: Gary Winogrand and Lee Friedlander. For the most part, the exhibition received extremely good reviews.

In 1970 Arbus made a limited portfolio containing 10 photographs; by then she had established an international reputation as one of the pioneers of the “new” documentary style. Her work was often compared with that of August Sander, whose Men Without Masks expressed similar concerns, although in a seemingly less ruthless manner. In July 1971 Diane Arbus took her own life in Greenwich Village, New York. Her death brought even more attention to her name and photographs. In the following year Arbus became the first American photographer to be represented at the Venice Biennale. A major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1972, which traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada, was viewed by over 7.25 million people. The next year, a Japanese retrospective traveled through Western Europe and the Western Pacific. The 1972 Aperture monograph Diane Arbus, now in its twelfth edition, has sold more than 100,000 copies.