Advantages of 5 mp over 4mp, particularly with 10-12 x optical zoom?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Dingo Kelly, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. Dingo Kelly

    Dingo Kelly Guest

    What are the advantages of 5 mp over 4mp, particularly with 10-12 x
    optical zoom? I will be using the zoom quite a bit and will also be
    doing a fair amount of landscape photography. I'd like to print
    8.5*11 inch color prints of my shots, both zoom and landscape. Any
    advice is greatly appreciated!
    Dingo Kelly, Mar 24, 2005
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  2. Dingo Kelly

    ASAAR Guest

    There's not much of an advantage. In fact some 4mp cameras can
    produce better pictures than some having 5mp.
    I assume you're not asking about a DSLR that can change lenses.
    Whatever camera you get, look for one that can accept a wide angle
    adapter lens, as most zooms aren't particularly wide at their widest
    setting. Mine is only equivalent to 37mm (on a 35mm camera) at its
    widest, which is not the best for landscapes. The available adapter
    brings it down to 29mm which helps a lot, but even that may not be
    enough for some people. When the lens can't be set wide enough it's
    kinda hard to back up sufficiently to fit all of the mountains and
    lakes into the picture. :)

    Towards the longer end of a 10x or 12x zoom lens you'll want to
    have either a camera with IS or at the very least a mini-tripod or
    some other way to provide stability.
    ASAAR, Mar 24, 2005
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  3. Dingo Kelly

    Steve Wolfe Guest

    What are the advantages of 5 mp over 4mp, particularly with 10-12 x
    The advantage is that you'll have a 25% greater pixel count, allowing you
    to print a picture roughly 10% larger (LINEARLY) at the same resolution -
    which isn't a very big difference.

    The downside is that all else being equal (sensor type, size, etc.), the
    5mp will have slightly more noise in the images. Of course, it's highly
    unlikely that all else WOULD be equal, so it's hard to say.
    If you're buying a new camera, going with the 5 megapixel model would be
    more desirable if *I* were in your shoes, as I can easily see the difference
    in sharpness between a 4mp, 6mp, and 8mp print at 8.5x11. If you already
    HAVE a 4mp camera, the expense of going to 5mp might not be worth it.

    That being said, for shots that don't have a lot of fine detail, even 3
    megapixels will make an acceptable 8x10. The more detail you want to
    capture and print, however, the more the megapixels come in handy.

    Now, on to my final suggestion: If you're taking landscape photography,
    then buy a tripod and learn to use some stitching software, even if it's
    just autostitch, and you'll easily be able to come up with images of enough
    resolution to print at 40" and larger. When I got my DR XT, I got on the
    roof and in about a minute, took photos covering a 180-degree view of my
    neighborhood. Stitched and cropped, the final image comes in at 20,600 x
    5668, which is enough to print over 4 feet long at 400 DPI. It's amazing
    how quickly you can generate an image of tremendous resolution that way.

    Steve Wolfe, Mar 25, 2005
  4. Dingo Kelly

    Jim Townsend Guest

    looking at Canon:

    The A95 is 5MP. The images are 2592 x 1944
    The A85 is 4MP. The images are 2272 x 1704

    The 5MP camera produces images that are
    320 pixels wider and 240 pixels taller.

    At 11 inches wide the 5MP camera will give you 235 DPI
    At 11 inches wide the 4MP camera will give you 206 DPI

    The extra megapixel gives you an extra 29 DPI if you're
    printing at 11 inches.
    Jim Townsend, Mar 25, 2005
  5. Dingo Kelly

    SteveB Guest

    I've compared a lot of 5mp x10-x12 images with my Olympus C750's 4mp, and a
    lot are worse, some are much the same and occasionally I see one that is
    very slightly better. By better I mean observed resolution and detail is
    better. So, my take on it is that the difference between 4 and 5mp is
    inconsequential, most differences are down to the camera's processing, eg
    sharpness, noise processing. Let your eyes be judge.
    SteveB, Mar 25, 2005
  6. What are the advantages of 5 mp over 4mp, particularly with 10-12 x
    At 8.5x11 you'll get approximately 230dpi from the 5MPix sensor, and
    206dpi from the 5MPix sensor. It will be hard to see a differnece,
    but assuming the lenses are the same, and the sensors are of the same
    quality, certainly the 5MPix image will look better.

    Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Mar 25, 2005
  7. At that size 4Mp will give you about 210 pixels per inch, 5Mp about 235.
    You'll have to look pretty hard to see the difference. It's just a small
    edge to be taken account of along with the other differences between
    whatever the cameras are that you're considering.
    Stephen Poley, Mar 25, 2005
  8. Dingo Kelly

    measekite Guest

    Many times people will say that they see no difference between a 4 and a
    5 MP camera and some will say they see no difference between a 4 and a
    6. After find out more information you determine that it may be true
    from some and not for others.

    If you print 4x6 or 5x7 full frame they are correct in perceiving little
    or no difference. However, if you print heavily cropped 8x10 you may
    find that every pixel counts and differences are readily apparent.
    measekite, Mar 25, 2005
  9. Dingo Kelly

    Ron Hunter Guest

    But the difference between 4 and 5 mp is only 25%, and the perceived
    difference will be rather slight. Given a choice, I would go for the
    one with the better lens system, and not worry too much about the mp.
    Ron Hunter, Mar 25, 2005
  10. Many times people will say that they see no difference between a 4 and a
    This is but one example of the very general phenomenon of incremental
    quality increase. Certainly 400dpi is much, much better than 200dpi,
    but if it's true that 5dpi more or less doesn't make make difference,
    then 200dpi is indistinguishable from 205dpi, which is
    indistinguishable from 210dpi, etc. If we assume, then, that 5dpi
    doesn't make any difference, we come to the conclusions that 200dpi
    doesn't either, and this _reductio ad absurdum_ shows that 5dpi *does*
    make a difference. Certainly 25dpi can make a difference. The
    pictures will look a little better.

    Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Mar 25, 2005
  11. Dingo Kelly

    DaveC Guest

    If both cameras have approx the same zoom (optical, *not* digital)
    capability, I'd go with whatever one has the better quality lens. If one of
    these cameras is a Panasonic with the Leica lens, get that one :) I've seen
    some *fabulous* images from those cameras.

    Regarding 4mp vs 5mp, on a practical scale, if you want to crop a 4mp photo,
    the resulting image printed at 8x10 will get a bit "grainier" (as will any
    image). Having 5mp's to start with gives you a bit more margin to crop the
    photo and not get grainy when printing 8x10.

    In other words, the more mp's, the greater your margin for cropping and
    editing the size of the image while retaining overall image quality.

    Please, no "Go Google this" replies. I wouldn't
    ask a question here if I hadn't done that already.


    This is an invalid return address
    Please reply in the news group
    DaveC, Mar 25, 2005
  12. Dingo Kelly

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Maybe, IF you are accustomed to examining every picture under
    magnification. Otherwise, I seriously doubt you could tell the difference.
    Ron Hunter, Mar 26, 2005
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