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How many MP do I need for my images?

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WAQT    219

Hi,

I been confused on this question for days now. My typical use of pictures I take is;

1) Share Online

2) Store Online (not on local HD, i use SkyDrive)

3) Occasional prints (4x6 up till 6x8 I think, this is the standard print size right? for the average joe)

4) Watch them on my 38inch LCD

I have had a digital camera from Sony (DSC-W5) 5MP (2592x1944, 72dpi) since 5 years and have collected hundreds of pictures from it. I have a local backup of the pictures that is of 4GB+, I recently felt the need to downsize my pictures.

so on SkyDrive I re-uploaded my entire collection in 1,600pixels (SkyDrive gives that option, 2MP right? 1600x1200 72dpi). and that resulted in the same pictures getting down in size from 4GB+ to just 870MB. I was shocked and confused so I downloaded a dozen pictures(2MP) from SkyDrive compared them with the local backup (5MP) and I could not tell any difference, just only that I could zoom less in the 2MP pic. I copied both the 2MP & 5MP pics onto USB and watched them on my 38-inch LCD and both looked the same.

Now I am confused, if both the 2MP and 5MP pic look the same on LCD and most probably on the print size I want, then why save pics in 5mp? whats the point in saving 5MP pic when you only need the pics for the above mentioned 3 reasons? So I should get my local backup on the 2MP also and save disk space?

Duh..... Why do we need 12MP camera's then? people buy the like crazy, before seeing my test results i also thought the higher the MP the better image for my type.

Also i read somewhere that dpi makes difference, currently I have pics in 72dpi is that ok? or I need more dpi like 300dpi?

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ArKeYa    12

For one, so you can print to larger sizes.

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WAQT    219

For one, so you can print to larger sizes.

But as in my post i have had this camera for 5years and have never felt the need to print above the standard size. From the pictures I have taken in the last 5years I have gotten prints of like 0.5% of them.

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MikeChipshop    3,458

print resolution needs to be a lot higher than screen resolution. Also retouching (photoshoping) is a lot easier/more successful on a higher resolution image.

Duh..... Why do we need 12MP camera's then?
i have had this camera for 5years

We buy these cameras because we want to print to higher sizes, you obviously don't.

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WAQT    219

print resolution needs to be a lot higher than screen resolution. Also retouching (photoshoping) is a lot easier/more successful on a higher resolution image.

We buy these cameras because we want to print to higher sizes, you obviously don't.

I understand that people who want to Photoshop or take pro pictures need a high mp camera.I was talking about an average joe like me with the above mentioned needs.

Also my question remains unanswered, Will i be at any loss if I get all my pics converted to 2mp? when I have the above mentioned requirements?

*

1) Share Online

2) Store Online (not on local HD, i use SkyDrive)

3) Occasional prints (4x6 up till 6x8 I think, this is the standard print size right? for the average joe)

4) Watch them on my 38inch LCD

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ArKeYa    12

Here's another thing.

I sometimes will have pictures composed big then I want to print only a small portion of it cropped. Say blowing up only one face in a group picture.

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Prince Charming    163

I understand that people who want to Photoshop or take pro pictures need a high mp camera.I was talking about an average joe like me with the above mentioned needs.

Also my question remains unanswered, Will i be at any loss if I get all my pics converted to 2mp? when I have the above mentioned requirements?

*

1) Share Online

2) Store Online (not on local HD, i use SkyDrive)

3) Occasional prints (4x6 up till 6x8 I think, this is the standard print size right? for the average joe)

4) Watch them on my 38inch LCD

You'll be fine. 8x6 might be a bit of a push at 2MP, but 6x4 shouldn't cause any problems. For sharing/storing online, and viewing on a 38" LCD (which will be resolution limited to 1920x1080 anyway), there's nothing to worry about.

There's a school of thinking that suggests converting them to a lower resolution isn't the best idea - it's a one way process. If you have all your images at 5MP, convert them to 2MP, then it's fine for the scenarios you outlined above, but if one day you do need the 5MP image, you have something of a problem.

Resolution only affects what print size you can run off before you have to scale the image, but if the image quality is decent anyway, scaling isn't really a major problem. I shoot most of my work with a Canon EOS 40D (10MP), and recently had to produce a 2m * 4m banner. Photographic background was scaled to 138MP, and it looked fantastic in print.

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HawkMan    5,232

Storage space is to cheap to throw away 80% of a pictures quality. online photos are fine at 1280 resolutions, unless your's uploading for wallpapers. but for storage, you ALWAYS keep the high quality copy. some day you might have a super high res screen and your pictures will look like ****, or you want to print a big copy and it'll look like ****, or you want to zoom in and cut out a single person from a picture and you can't.

always keep full res backups.

And it never hurts to have as big pictures as possible when printing, especially not with moderns printers hitting 1200 and 2400 dpi.

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MikeChipshop    3,458

I understand that people who want to Photoshop or take pro pictures need a high mp camera.I was talking about an average joe like me with the above mentioned needs.

Unfortunately it's probably the big companies trying to sell over priced cameras.

However storing in high quality is a step towards future-proofing

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crazzy88ss    66

Storage space is to cheap to throw away 80% of a pictures quality.

Reducing megapixels has no relation to photo quality. It just changes the size of the photo.

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WAQT    219

You'll be fine. 8x6 might be a bit of a push at 2MP, but 6x4 shouldn't cause any problems. For sharing/storing online, and viewing on a 38" LCD (which will be resolution limited to 1920x1080 anyway), there's nothing to worry about.

There's a school of thinking that suggests converting them to a lower resolution isn't the best idea - it's a one way process. If you have all your images at 5MP, convert them to 2MP, then it's fine for the scenarios you outlined above, but if one day you do need the 5MP image, you have something of a problem.

Resolution only affects what print size you can run off before you have to scale the image, but if the image quality is decent anyway, scaling isn't really a major problem. I shoot most of my work with a Canon EOS 40D (10MP), and recently had to produce a 2m * 4m banner. Photographic background was scaled to 138MP, and it looked fantastic in print.

Thanks for the info and help...

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Brandon    299

My Canon 7D is 18MP, and I rarely use it. Normally I shoot in the 8MP mode which allows cropping for me.

The 18 is kind of pointless unless you plan on blowing up to 20x30" prints or plan on cropping like crazy

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Lazure    52

I always shoot in the highest MP setting, and crop/downsize for my needs when they arise. I always prefer to have full size originals to keep stored. There's no reason not to, given your HDDs these days have hundreds of gigabytes, even thousands in some cases.

Like the others said, even if you don't do anything that needs high MP size, take the shots anyways so you'll always have the originals. If you ever wanted to make a nice crop of a face, or wanted to print on a large size paper, or whatever... you'd have the original to look back to. Of course you can drop em down in size yourself, using Photoshop or Irfanview or other similar software to do so, but just save them as different names or in different folders, so you still have the original to keep.

Now, on many point and shoot cameras, especially older ones, there is a certain threshold where the extra MP are almost a waste, due to the image quality of the pictures being taken at a much lower resolution than the megapixels it saves them to (the lens and sensor just don't cut it). This is more prevalent on cheaper models. For DSLR cameras, though, you want every megapixel it gives you. =p

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WAQT    219

Thanks all. Looking @ the link now.

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