How much do megapixes matter? and/or experience with CanonA60-80

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by soccerfan, Jul 9, 2004.

  1. soccerfan macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2002
    I'm looking at a digital camera...

    I've narrowed it down to the Canon A60, A70, A75, or A80.

    The megapixel difference is 2MP through 4MP on A80. Otherwise they are pretty much the same camera.

    Ken Rockwell (photographer) argues here:
    A60 vs. A80

    and here:
    The Megapixel Myth

    That I'd be just as well off getting an A60 as an A80.

    What does your experience tell you? Is this guy loony or not?

    I'd love to be able to print out the ocassional 8x10, though that would be the exception...

  2. alia macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    Megapixels only matter when it comes to printing, and/or heavy cropping.

    If you want lots of room to crop and still get an 8x10, you'll want the 4 mp, although I can print up to 8 x 12 with no cropping and still looking good with my 2mp camera. Since I'd like to print out at poster sizes, I will probably end up buying a camera with more megapixels, but since that's not a priority for you, you might as well save yourself some money and hard disk space by sticking with a lower resolution camera.

    I don't know anything about Canon digicams though, so I have no advice to offer there. I stick with Nikon myself, but that's just a personal preference I guess.
  3. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    I have a 3mp camera but usually wind up taking final shots at 1 or 2mp, i can get more shots on the card and they're usually fine for my finished purpose. I'd say 2 would do, but as was said, if you're going to want to crop afterwards, 4 would be better. It never hurts to have that extra resolution if you decide later on that you want to do something else with it. You can always make an image smaller, but not bigger i'm afraid...

    Make sure it's not 4mp interpolated, because if that's the case, you might as well go for a 2mp non-interpolated.

  4. soccerfan thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2002
    So you figure that for 5x7s and the ocassional 8x10 a good 2MP camera ought to do the trick?

    I won't be saddled with fuzzy photos?

    BTW I really like the work at your site....
  5. jbrjake macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2004
    At least go for a 3.2megapixel. There's no excuse for getting a new 2.0 megapixel camera in the second half of 2004, unless it's on a Japanese cell phone. A good 3.2 can at least take some decent photos at a resolution where you don't have to squint.

    People do put too much weight on megapixels, but I don't think that really applies when you're talking lowend consumer cameras. Sure, a 6mp digital rebel can take way better photos than some 8mp cameras, and there are a lot of relatively crappy yet overpriced 5mp cameras, and a good 3mp camera is better than a cheap 4mp camera...but at least get up to 3mp. Anything less really is obsolete. A great lens can work wonders, but there's only so much one can do with the tiny images older chips give you.

    You can print mediocre 8x10s from a 2mp, but with any scenes with lots of detail or contrast it's going to be obvious the image came from a digicam.
  6. FuzzyBallz macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2003
    Home of Al-Qaida
    Not true at all. DigiCams w/ lower MP will create photos w/ lots of grain, even at the highest settings because it doesn't have enough pixels to compose.

    Get at least a 3MP and always shoot at the highest quality. Resolution/pic size is up to you.

    Canon point and shoot digicams have about the nicest button layout and easiest to navigate menus and options. A75 and A80 are both nice digicams. Just check out the reviews at and first, then go to an actual store to physically check out the digicams.
  7. michaelrjohnson macrumors 68020

    Aug 9, 2000
    I own a Canon A60. I am very pleased with it. Yes, it would be nice to have some higher quality images, however, for it's pricepoint, the features it offers are wonderful. I would reccomend it for the budget-conscious user who wants more than a point-and-shoot. I would be happy to provide sample pics for you to analyze. Just email/IM/PM me.
  8. Dr. Dastardly macrumors 65816

    Dr. Dastardly

    Jun 26, 2004
    I live in a giant bucket!
    I agree, for 5x7 and the occasional 8x10 I would splurge the extra dollars and get the 3-4 mp. 2 mp will be so low in the next few months that cell phones will start sporting these as features. 2 will get the job done but 3-4 will give you the versatility.
  9. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    Just glanced at the "myth" portion. Not sure I agree. I work for a photo dealer, and do a decent amount of film and digital shooting.

    I can say that many consumers don't see a difference between a 2mp and 4mp camera even when doing 8x10's. For myself I do see a difference.

    Buying from a camera shop, as opposed to the big box electronic stores and on the web, can help. I know that most of our stores have "sample" books of some of teh various digital cameras and their printed output.

    With the recent price drops on the A80, it is a favorite of mine. Many like the fold out screen. If you want to save some money I would say that the A75 will save you a small bit, and give you image quality that you won't have to second guess on.
  10. djfern macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2004
    go with more

    funny thing, I have friends who have the A60, the A70, the A75 and i have the A80 - so I've actually used all of them.

    There is DEFINITELY a picture sharpness and resolution difference between the A60 and the A80. My friend with the A60 recently saw some photos i took on Macro and was blown away by the detail.

    Two examples:



    The major difference i think between the A75, other than .8 megapixels, is the flip out screen. The screen is actually bigger on the A75. so if that matters to you, it might be a better choice.

    I happen to like the flip out screen - easy to take shots of yourself or you and a friend when no one else is around to take it for you.

    Anyway, what might skew your decision more is what you're actually using it for. If you think you're going to printing out high quality photos, or need great resolution or detail, here's a simple way to figure out what the native print resolution is of different cameras:

    2 MP
    10x13cm / 4x6"

    3 MP
    13x18cm / 5x7"

    4 MP
    2400 x 1600
    18x23cm / 6x8"

    I personally love the A80 - we have three at work, i have on at home, and two of my other coworkers bought them for themselves after using the work on. It's a VERY good point and shoot digital camera. but i think you'd be good with the A75 too if print size isn't a big issue and you would prefer a slightly bigger lcd screen.

    hope that helps.
  11. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    if you only do web graphics or regular 4x6 prints, everyting after 2MP is total waste of resources, but if you want print quality, everything below 5MP is total crap.

    the megapixels matter in one aspect: when you have more pixels in use, it is not so important to have a perfect picture right away. you can have a loose zoom when you take a picture and crop it later on. with 5MP for example, you can have good quality 4x6 prints almost anytime. but if you have that 2MP, you will have to compose a perfect image when you shoot it.
  12. seamuskrat macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2003
    New Jersey USA
    I have a Canon A70 and Epson R300 printer.
    My Canon (obsolete) is a 3MP. I can say that for 8x10 if you know what to look for you can tell its digital. That said, in a frame on the wall, its impossible for me to tell. Only looking up close.

    5x7, 4x6 etc are fine, even up close and personal. That is using nearly any digital printing service or photo inkjet in my experience.

    Given the ever increasing nature of mega pixels, I would get the 3+ just because the cost is non-existent in the Canon line (at least herein Los Angeles the A60, 70 and 75 are within $20 of one another). I also have a Kodak 5 MP and I cannot tell on the smaller sizes any difference, and on the wall in a frame, no one else can tell film, from Canon from Kodak.

    In my experience its the printer more than the camera that provides the quality.
  13. javabear90 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 7, 2003
    Houston, TX
    I have an a80 and my brother has an a70. You can see a lot of photos from mine at my website (see sig) I would say they are both really good cameras. I don't notice any quality difference bewteen the 2 cameras which is suprising. The flip out display is really nice. However the a75 is also a very cool camera. I would deffiantly recomend that over the a70 becuase of its exta modes, bigger LCD, and newness.
  14. soccerfan thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2002
    Thanks for all the great replies...!!

    The new "Modes" on the A75... Not sure if I'd actually use them.. .I'm going to investigate.
  15. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004

    my experience with my A70 makes me think you'll be happier with the 3MP cameras for 5x7s and occassional 8x10 prints

    if your prints are usually 4x6, then the 2MP would be good enough....that's my vote!
  16. bnemesis macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2003
    I own a Powershot A70(3MP) and before that a Powershot A5(1mp?).

    Its has been my experience with printing, that to get a nice 8X10 from a high res photo printer, you need at least 3mp. 2MP will look grainy depending on the lighting and details in the source photo.
    For a nice 5X7 2MP is fine, but if your printer supports letter sized paper why not print something bigger?

    As far as what I think of it as a camera, the A70 has a ton of great features. On auto, its easy enough for my wife to use. On manual, it has enough control for me to experiment. Over the A60, the A70 and above have a better .avi movie mode.

    The A75 is pretty similar to the A70, but has a larger screen and additional shooting modes.
    The A80 is 4MP and has the flip out screen for taking self portraits and stuff.

    Am I happy with my A70? Yes. My family members like it enough that my wife's aunt just bought an A70 on clearance, and I just got one for my mother-in-law too. When I go to upgrade it, it will be to another Powershot.
  17. Dr. Dastardly macrumors 65816

    Dr. Dastardly

    Jun 26, 2004
    I live in a giant bucket!
    I might be a little biased towards 3-4 mp pixels for the same reason. I can actually see the difference because I use to work a a pro photo lab so it really stands out for me. But your ultimatly right about the average consumer won't really be able to tell the difference. But in all fairness it will give you better pictures just in the fact that it will give you more play with the sensitivity of the shot.

    With that being said...

    COME ON 10D mark II!!! :D :eek:
  18. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia

    Being a 10D owner I know what you mean.

    i also remember my "first" digital camera, the Olympus D-600L (actually the Kodak DC120 was the first, but was replaced very shortly after by my camera shop shop by the "new" D-600L). The 600 was a 1 megapixel camera. I bought after doing some 8x10's from it. Today the 4mp A80 would run rings around it.

    What i tell customers with a simular question as the original poster is how often do you want to have the possibility of an upgrade for quality?

    the real choice today is the A75 at $249 average and the A80 at $299 are the most current models carried by mainstream camera shops (as opposed to big box stores). For the $50 the A80 is the best overall value IMO.

    Since you and I are are similar, I wonder what we will think of the 10D and it's 6mp in the next couple of years in terms of printed quality?
  19. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I own an A60 around 1 year ago and it has served me well. I don't believe that I'll ever print an 8" x 10" photo, and will probably stick with regular sized photos, or maybe a bit bigger than that. I have had no trouble with printing from the A60, but my parents aren't exactly pro photographers, don't use the available zoom (!!), and take pictures from so far away that people appear to be tiny ants. So when this happens (rarely, as I'm usually with them to tell them to zoom) I can't crop very much with my 2MP camera. I say get the A80 because the cost difference between that and the A75 is negligible.

    The swivelling screen is also a great plus. If you have to take a picture over a crowd of people by raising your camera in the air, how are you going to know what your camera is pointing at if the LCD can't tilt downwards to let you see?

    If the cost difference is too large, then get the A75. For almost every situation where you're not printing large prints, its the same.
  20. titaniumducky macrumors 6502a


    Nov 22, 2003
    I have the A75: it's awesome. If you want to print film-quality 4x6 pictures, you should definitely go with a 3.2 camera. Also, if you want to crop at all and still have film-quality, go 3.2.

    The extra modes on the A75 are really useful: the indoor mode is the only one I've tested, but compared to Auto there's a HUGE difference.

    Also, I took a picture at night in Auto and then in Night; it was amazing how well the Night mode works. I couldn't even tell that the two were of the same place! However, I think the A70 has the same Night mode.

    My brother has an A70: the bigger screen, the better button to switch from picture-taking to picture-viewing mode, and the extra shooting modes make it worth the extra money to get the A75. The old button was circular, this one is just up-down; it sounds small but it makes a big difference when trying to switch quickly. has the A75 for only $219 plus a $25 mail-in-rebate on any Ofoto prints; if you're a Costco member, you can get a 256MB CF card for $41. Otherwise has one for $45. That's an amazing deal! And always has free shipping on orders over ?$25.

    edit: I read the Megapixel Myth, and he/she is right in one respect: more megapixels does not equal better quality all the time. However, Canon's cameras take some of the best pictures among digital cameras. Within Canon's line, more megapixels does equal more quality because they are the same in other respects. However, the A70 and maybe A60 are probably comparable to Gateway's crappy 5 megapixel camera.

    Bottom line - go A75.
  21. geeman macrumors regular

    Nov 27, 2001
    At My Mac
    It depends on what your expectations are for a "good enough" quality digital image. It's like all those audiophiles who spend twenty grand on a CD player because it sounds better. Now I'm sure that a 20K CD player *does* sound much much better than my 500 buck unit (assuming the rest of your hi-fi can reveal the quality). But is my 500 buck CD player giving me "good enough" quality that I can live with? In my case that's a resounding "YES" - and maybe it's a "yes" for you too.

    Once you get to over about 2.5 Megapixels (when you then theoretically have enough uninterpolated data to output realistic-sized prints) the real quality difference lies in a combination of chip quality and how the camera electronics deal with chip "noise" - that is, non-image artifacts. Canon's DIGIC processing is absolutely phenomenal at "cleaning up" chip noise.

    My job allows me to critically scrutinize images made from many high-quality digital cameras. While 5MP, 6MP and now even 8MP (consumer) cameras are available, I've yet to see an image from any of those cameras that can touch the quality of a 4MP (third-generation) chip with decent chip noise suppression. More pixels means more heat on the chip - which equals more chip noise. Please note that I'm talking about consumer cameras here - I do not include pro-quality cameras such as the Canon EOS 1D and 10D, Nikon D1, etc.

    I've no doubt that the higher-resolution MP cameras will get better - it's inevitable. But I'd say that (at the moment, at least) camera manufacturers are more intent on giving us "bigger" rather than "better" (which is what we, as consumers, are asking them to do....)

    Just my 0.02c
  22. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    picture quality of any camera (digital or analog) depends most of the optics. you know... garbage in, garbage out. quality in, quality out. so i'd recommend you focus your attention more and more to the optics instead of the megapixels. as said, the megapixels only matter when you need to crop the picture a lot.

    it has been calculated that the regular analog 35mm film frame is about 13MP compared to digital. imagine that. and think about how great quality those professional cameras have, which use even bigger film frames? that's just awesome. and think about movie theaters that show movies from 35mm films - that's 13 megapixels 24 times a second :) wow!

    ok, off topic now..

Share This Page