D-SLR Camera

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ayeying, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    I'm currently in the market of getting a D-SLR camera and I was wondering, does the MP really matter here? I'm not expecting to take pictures and print them the size a giant building wall. Prints, if I do any, are just gonna be a standard 8.5x11 size (at the biggest). I want the camera, however, to be able to take sharp images of course (thats hoping if I don't screw up the ISO settings and such, but thats a different story)

    I don't want to spend "too" much on the body, I saw a nice Nikon D40 for a reasonable price w/ lens.

    If anyone else has any other suggestions on D-SLRs, i'd greatly appreciate it. My only criteria is that it must be able to record on RAW files and preferably a SD Card slot since I have many SD Cards at home.
  2. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    Megapixels matter in context of the size of the sensor. DSLRs don't usually cram "too many" pixels onto a sensor, but Point and Shoot cameras do. This results in lots of noise in mid to low-light shots. For what you want to print, any current DSLR will be more than enough. (The lens will determine a great deal of the sharpness so don't worry about that too much.)

    Your choice in camera is a very personal one -- there are a LOT of threads on "what to buy" so other than doing a search here, the recurring advice is to go to a camera store and try them out. That really seals the deal with brand.
  3. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    Getting a larger number of pixels matters for two reasons: first, it allows you to make larger prints; second, it allows you to crop images and still retain ample data to make "standard" prints.

    That having been said, any of the current DSLRs from any of the major manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax. Sony, etc) has more than enough pixels to do what you're describing. And they all shoot in RAW format.
  4. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Well, the problem here is you're assuming the sensor resolution is the limiting factor when it comes to picture quality. For most people (at least that I've seen), this is not the case. They may have a 10 megapixel sensor, but small amounts of camera movement when pressing the shutter, incorrect focussing even by a little bit, less than great lenses, diffraction, etc. result in the actual detail level being much lower than the sensor could capture.

    Having said that - I agree 100% with you that all current digital SLRs have sensors that'll capture all the detail you want. And the D40 with its 6-megapixel sensor is included in this statement, in my opinion.
  5. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    Agreed. I'm assuming the shooter has the technical ability to use the camera properly.


    I'm using a 10D (6.3 MP) from 2003, and while its lack of features sometimes annoys me, picture quality/pixel number has never bothered me in the least.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Even the 6MP D40 makes images that can be printed at 300DPI up to about 11 inches wide. In terms of image quality the lens is what matters the most. I always say that "camera bodys don't make images, that only record the image the lens makes."

    So think about which lenses you might want then buy the body that works with them. Notice that the D40 will NOT work with many of Nikon's best lenses, You'd need the D80 for that. But them do you want any of these? Maybe. it depends on what you want to photograph and your "style". The D40 lack an in-body focus motor and can only work with lenses that contain their own motor. Make sure you are OK with this before you buy a D40. For me I'd much rather own a used D50 then a new D40. About the same price too.

    Almost universally beginers make two mistakes when they go shoping for a DSLR. They thinkthe body is the camera. It's not a body plus a lens makes a camera and they think they will want some really long telephoto lens when no, those are kind of a specialty item.

    One more thing about MP. resolution depends not on the total number of pixels but on the count of pixels across the longest edge of the frame. Resolution is measured in units of "pixels per inch" not pixels per square area.

    A little buit of math: Resolution depends with the square root of the total number of pixels. o if you have a 6MP camera and you want to double the resolution you would need 24MP

    To make a "good" print you need 300 pixels per inch of paper if the print is to be viewed while held in the hand. A 10 inch print needs 3000 pixels. The D40 shoots a 3000x2000 pixel frame.

    If people insist in thinking in terms of MP what I tell them is "OK then you need 90,000 pixels per square inch of print. if you are making an 12 square inch print then you need about 1MP. with 6MP you can print 72 square inches, A 12MP camera can make a print with twice as many square inches as a 6MP camera.
  7. tony-in-japan macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2008
    Saitama, Japan
    Explore your options...

    With any new DSLR you get will have RAW option, so that is no problem.

    I agree with some others here in that the quality of lens is important. Good lenses tend to keep their value over time and can be used for newer bodies -- so most DSLR users keep their lens collection that is suited to their style of photography while selling/updating the bodies when more advanced ones come out.

    Of course, for the best image quality and dynamic range then probably your obvious choices are Canon or Nikon. But there are also other factors too which maybe important to you, so the more research you do and the clearer your criteria/s the better your choice will be.

    For me, I have just recently sold my DSLR Canon Rebel XT and Canon Point-and-Shoot because I wanted something with the image quality of a DSLR but with more portability -- something that I can take around with me anywhere to take good quality images without being a heavy burden. So I am very excited by the newly released 10MB Olympus E-420 (soon released in US in May) which is marketed as the smallest DSLR in the world (very light too). There is also a very thin and light lens you can get with it (25mm Pancake Lens). Just ordered them both so I am just patiently waiting for it to arrive :). I have been doing my research and another key point for me to switch to Olympus is that they have some award-winning (Zuiko) lenses -- some of the best in the industry. So I am looking to spend more on some quality lenses while the body is quite cheap. Have a look if you’re interested in exploring outside the big two.

    About megapixels, it is not so important these days. Any new-ish DSLR will have more than enough MP for your needs. Even my old Canon Rebel which was 2-3 years old had 8MP and that was more than enough.

    Some questions to ask yourself:
    • Do you want the best image quality?
    • Do you want the most accurate colour?
    • Do you want the smallest and lightest?
    • Do you want Image Stabilisation?
    • What style of photography do you do and what kind of lenses do you need?
    • Do you want Live View (shooting from LCD like on a P&S)?
    • Are you on a budget and on the lookout for the best value?

    Some brands are leaders in some areas and weak in others, so it is not always so clear cut what DSLR is best for you, unless you know what is most important to your needs.

    Try them out for a feel in your hands (with a variety of lenses on the body). Also explore how intuitive the menu is. A key point I think is that it is something you would want to 'love' using and have with you during your variety of photo opportunities.

    Anyway, happy DSLR hunting!
  8. srf4real macrumors 68030


    Jul 25, 2006
    paradise beach FL
    A 5 megapixel sensor will give you outstanding prints with the right high quality glass. A sensor only records the information with which it is provided by your lens. Invest in good lenses and megapixels will not matter unless you change your mind about printing huge sizes... I can make beautiful 16x20 inch prints with the 7.5 megapixel Panasonic L1 dslr, because of the quality of Leica and Zuiko (Olympus) optics.

Share This Page