Megapixel for Adobe Photoshop

New Here ,
Apr 23, 2021 Apr 23, 2021

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I'm not sure if this is the right thread for this question, so I'll apologize in advance. But I was wondering if a camera's megapixel plays a key factor in post-editing in photoshop? I've taken some graphic arts classes, and all my photos had always been emailed or given to me. I want to purchase a camera to do my own photography and edits and wondered if a high megapixel camera is needed. I was planning to purchase a 24MP camera be sufficient, or will I need a higher one? I wasn't planning on printing billboard size; maybe 24 x 36 would be the biggest.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2021 Apr 23, 2021

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The higher the megapixel the better the quality photo. It is not uncommon for a camera today to be 24 megapixel. It will definitely play a part in the quality you will see in Photoshop. So your decision should be based on the quality you need for the end result.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2021 Apr 23, 2021

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Yes 24 MP will be more than sufficient. It is more than many cameras had 7 or 8 years ago and no-one worried about a lack of pixels.

The bigger the print the further away we stand to view it. A 24 x 36 inch print will be viewed from approximately 48 inches.

There is a formula for working out what resolution is needed at a particular viewing distance. ppi required = 6878/viewing distance. So in the example above, ppi required = 6878/48 = 143 pixels per inch.

 

So in pixels that means 24 x143 x 36 x 143 =3432 x 5148 = 17.7 MP . So your 24MP camera will be OK even when that large print is viewed slightly closer.

 

Dave

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2021 Apr 23, 2021

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@Davis5F93,

Megapixels is an equipment rating.

  • Modern iPhone and iPads have 12 megapixel cameras. 
  • Most entry level DSLRs have 16-24 megapixels. 
  • And the sky's the limit on high end cameras that can cost an arm & a leg. 

 

Get the best camera you can afford for the tasks you will be performing most because you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear. 

 

Nancy O'Shea, Adobe Product User & Community Professional
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2021 Apr 23, 2021

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@Davis5F93 wrote:

I'm not sure if this is the right thread for this question, so I'll apologize in advance. But I was wondering if a camera's megapixel plays a key factor in post-editing in photoshop?


 

The number of megapixels is a key factor, but not the only one. On paper, 24 megapixels is certainly enough for 24 x 36 inches at a typical viewing distance for a print of that size, as already discussed.

 

But just having enough megapixels doesn’t guarantee maximum detail or sharpness. To get that, you have to master the shooting side, regardless of the camera: No motion blur in the shot (use a high shutter speed, flash, or a tripod), perfect focusing (master your camera's focus system so you can verify the correct focus point), and excellent lens (in terms of sharpness).

 

Then, during photo editing pay attention to how the editing decisions you make might affect perceived detail, such as settings and technique for noise reduction and sharpening, local contrast control (e.g. Clarity and Texture), no unnecessary resampling,  and so on.

 

Those who are really good at shooting and editing can make a nice 24 x 36 inch print from cameras with less than 24 megapixels, but if you can afford a 24-megapixel camera it’s going to make your job easier.

 

Something even higher (36 megapixels and up) would help even more, of course. But before you spend more on that, think about the fact that the more megapixels, the bigger the burden on your computer. Higher megapixel images need more CPU/GPU power and RAM to process, so if your computer is getting old, high megapixel images might slow it down. And the bigger files need more space both for master storage and backup storage. If you can get a good print out of 24 megapixels, you'll get more performance out of your computer compared to processing 36-megapixel or higher images.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2021 Apr 23, 2021

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Megapixels is NOT the only or even most important factor. Lens quality, sensor size, and generation are just as important. A lot of small point and shoot cameras have a high pixel count but tiny sensors and will not hold up next to a DSLR with fewer pixels. Newer cameras with newer sensor technology and better processing software will normally outdo older cameras. Handling is also important, if the camera is clunky and awkward to use it will be harder to get good photos.

 

Look through the reviews at a site like dpreview.com and see what suits your budget and usage.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 24, 2021 Apr 24, 2021

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Everything above is spot on. I'm repeating some of it here, but this is important to realize (especially now, with ACR's new "super resolution" feature apparently firing up the megapixel race all over again).

 

If you're going to get a 36MP+ camera, you need absolutely stellar optics to go with it. Otherwise your money is wasted. You can't just put any old lens on a high resolution camera and expect good results.

 

You need something along these lines. They don't look very impressive, but this is what you need to bring out the potential of the sensor. And they are insanely expensive. The second image is a 1:1 crop from the first (shot with a Sony 90mm/2.8 macro, also in the same league):

Sony_a7r_III_lenses_2.png

Sony_a7r_III_lenses_3.png

 

You also need excellent photographic technique. A tripod and/or flash units are your constant companions. In the old film days, the rule of thumb was that you could work hand-held at a shutter speed of the inverse focal length. That's completely blown now, image stabilization notwithstanding. With these sensors, and a high quality 50mm, you can detect camera shake at 1/500 sec. Just goes to show how technology has advanced.

 

Another concept that is completely blown now, is depth of field. It just doesn't exist. The plane of critical focus is paper thin, and everything in front or behind is simply out of focus. It may still be perfectly usable, but don't expect "40 megapixel-usable".

 

What it all boils down to is that these high-resolution cameras are specialist tools that require special handling to be of any real value.

 

For any practical purpose, 24 megapixels is plenty enough.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 24, 2021 Apr 24, 2021

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Independent of any MP specifications, learn to manually focus or how to "trick" the camera into auto-focusing elsewhere so that you get the image in-focus where you need it, not where the auto focus may have picked for you. Also learn about exposure and how to get that right too. Despite all the advantages of modern hardware and post processing, getting the capture right will server you well as one can only do so much in post, even with raw files.

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