To follow my previous article which stirred a healthy discussion about sharpness and whether that it's vital or not, it inspired to me to ask my fellow peers another question. Are the amount of megapixels on your camera crucial, or do other factors and features hold more value when purchasing a camera? Here are my thoughts.
Before I really dive in, I would like to make it clear that I do not consider myself a 'gear guy.' If you're looking to pick an argument on how this camera's ISO performance is better, or the dynamic range of this body outperforms the other, blah blah blah...I'm the wrong photographer for that. I'm a strong advocate that great light is paramount compared to quality of the gear; it does not matter if it's a smartphone or a Sony A7rii, it's all about the quality of light and the photographer behind that lens.
That being said, last year after a little back and forth I decided to upgrade to a camera with 36.3 megapixels (Nikon D810) from a camera with 24.3 megapixels. While 24.3 megapixels is a good amount, the upgraded body was still a considerable step up in that category. Even though my files eat up more memory, I am glad I made the decision, and here's an example why.
When More Megapixels Come In Handy
Referring back to the same shoot from my sharpness article, the flexibility of having more megapixels has definitely paid off. I had my model, Hannah, take a seat on a stairway. Now if you don't already know, stairs behind a subject can lead to issues if you're not perfectly level with the stairs. If your photo comes out crooked, sometimes it can not be fixed with a simple rotation adjustment in post. And you're like me, your OCD just cannot handle it!
Here's a shot that made the cut in RAW format at 25%:
As you can see while I love her expression, the photo is crooked, and the stairs are just distracting to any viewer. Let's fix using the rotate tool, shall we?
When rotating, I was more focused on the symmetry of her face opposed to the level of the stairs. This image is still not usable, so I needed to get more creative with the crop. This is where the advantage of having 36 million pixels came in handy and I'm glad I had the flexibility of using them.
Above is the final image. This photo is at about 50% view compared to the original file. As you can see, the image displays great detail even at a very close crop.
Let's take a quick look below at 100% just for kicks.
My overall take on when it comes to megapixels is simply it depends on what you're using your imagery for. Are you using it for print? Billboards? Web? It simply makes little sense to but a 50 megapixel camera if you're exclusively shooting for your Instagram account. For my situation, I'd say the amount megapixels is important since my images will be on print, catalogs, and various marketing mediums.
I also have the ability to crop my images to my liking in a multitude of ways, like the example below.
I'm able to deliver multiple crops, portrait or landscape, to clients which is very advantageous.
What Do You Think?
But I'll pass this question onto you. Does the amount of megapixels on your camera matter to you? Or are there other factors and features that you put ahead of megapixels when purchasing a camera? Share your thoughts below!