Cameras, Editorial, PDBarton, Pictures, post, Street Picture
Comments 2

Set yourself free from the megapixel race.

The megapixel race, with its pursuit of sharpness, seems unending. Is this really important or is it just a callous marketing ploy used to make the last iteration of whizzy cameras redundant?

Here’s an interesting fact…

According to Thorsten von Overgaard, the Danish writer and photographer;

“When we were using film ( I assume here he is talking about 35mm film) those images equalled around 18-20 Megapixels.”


And I ask – didn’t those images set our perception of “Sharp”?

– Where does that leave us with modern digital cameras being 24, 37 and 100 Mega Pixels?

– Thorsten argues those extra pixels are simply “overkill”  because as he puts it  “What are we going to do with that level of sharpness – or detail might be a better expression”?

Making a print will not evidence those extra pixels. Thorsten argues the only benefit of such pixel size is when you want to use just a portion of the image.

He closes his argument with the simple statement of…

“If it looks sharp, it is.”

I would echo that.

As we have reached, surpassed even, what we could see with film then is it not wise to stop chasing the rabbit set loose by the camera manufacturers to get you to chase after it into the local camera dealer with your credit card?

If you must buy gear would it not be better perhaps to spend on lenses attached to a functional, if older camera? Though personally, I would argue. One camera, One lens especially for street-work.

Better to spend your money on photobooks, go to exhibitions anything in fact, except buying new cameras loaded with more megapixels – which will go unseen – thinking that is going to help you take better pictures.

I’m ready for your incoming… Seconds away!


  1. Hi Peter, I recently had the good fortune to see one of my pix printed A1 size, larger than anything I have ever had printed for myself before at the Alghero Street Awards . I do not know if interpolation was used but the original file I supplied was full frame from a APS-C, 20 megapixel camera and the print quality / image sharpness paralleled my memories of the prints I would make this size from 5×4 negs ,possibly better ?
    I believe that the number of pixels squeezed onto a sensor is also a contributor to optimum performance , I considered buying a APS-C 28 mega pixel camera recently but decided to stick with what I already have .
    The mega pixel race is over in my mind at least although mobile phone cameras seem to be making a mockery of anything and everything I thought I knew ?

    The files from my phone are stunning .

    Great advice on how to spend the saved cash!


  2. v70pdb says

    Thanks for your comment, David. There speaks a man with experience from both sides of the film versus pixel debate.

    The race was over for me a while back too. As I say often, it’s not about the camera, or as some people see them, ‘functional jewellery’. It’s about what you see.

    Thanks again for your comment.




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