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island guy

advice for a youngster

9 posts in this topic

I've met a young fella who has really taken an interest in photography. A 15 year old. His Dad is a friend so I've let the kid mess with my SLR a bit and he's hooked. His budget is something around the nikon d40. I think it would be a fine camera to learn and start out with. He really can't afford much more. His question is the 6.1 pixels. He would like to do some nature photography and enlarge pics to a 8x10. Altho I take a lot of pictures I'm by no means a expert. Would the d40 meet his needs to enlarge? I hate to see him have to save more money to upgrade to a higher end camera when his interest is so high. It's taken him all summer to get the money saved for the d40.

Any advice?

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An image from a 6 Mp camera will enlarge quite well. I've got some such images enlarged to 13x19 and a few to 20x30 and they are excellent.

An 8x10 will be absolutely no problem unless he has to crop away a lot of the file to get the composition he wants.

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Yep as Steve said, that sensor will be plenty for 8x10s and 13x19s. I have quite a few printed that size from a 6.3 as well and they look quite nice.

Steve said this elsewhere but not in this thread, when you look at larger photos, you usually increase the viewing distance. It is a proportional thing. If you look super close, you might see some things that don't quite have super tight/clean edges, but you don't look that close at them.

When you print images with a lot of leaves and fine details at larger sizes you will notice more edges that seem to get lost, but it takes at least a 13x19 to start seeing that with a 6 mp SLR camera.

Remember, an SLR sensor is a lot different than a sensor in a point and shoot.

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I just brought up a chart and as Steve said, it's possible to print up to 20 X 30 with a full frame 6 mp shot. Even cropping down to 3 mp could yield a good 15 X 20. At one time, I printed a couple 8 X 10's from a 2.1 mp camera that looked great.

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I've printed many 20x30's and 24x30's with 2mp files. A little software rip from the printer and the results have been very nice. As has been mentioned you will have no problems if you are looking for 8x10's.

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Dan, are you talking about images captured with a 2 Mp sensor or images captured with a larger sensor that were 2 Mp jpeg files?

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The average photographer does not need more mega-pixels, they need better mega-pixels which no doubt is where you are headed by the phrasing of your question. Mega-pixels have become a marketing gimmick that allows the average consumer to just compare numbers and think that bigger is better. With any of todays or even 4 or 5 year old DSLR sensors we all have better mega-pixels, as you are aware than say an 8mb point and shoot because of the larger sensor size.

So yes my 2mb files from my 8mb sensor are much better than a 2mb sensor. If you are shooting JPEG your camera is not capable of shooting the highest resolution possible on the sensor. I thought this discussion was talking about DSLR sensors such as the 6.1mb sensor on the D40. I believe that is what the OP is asking?

I usually have no idea which images will be blown up to those sizes. Because of the number of shots I usually deal with I don't find it practical to shoot at higher resolutions. If I know, such as a shoot I have upcoming that they will be poster shots I then will shoot RAW or the highest JPEG setting I can get out of my camera's to ensure I get the highest quality. Here are the highest possible JPEG settings for one of my 8mb cameras.

L (Large): About 3.2mb

M1 (Medium1): About 2.6mb

M2 (Medium2): About 1.9mb

S (Small): About 1.1mb

RAW: About 7.9mb Exact file sizes vary depending on the JPEG quality, subject, ISO, etc.

Files at L JPEG are in the 1.9mb file size with my settings on my camera and many end up cropped and the file size reduced further. So I am normally not starting with anything larger than 2mb even though the camera is capable of higher resolutions. Higher resolutions just increase file sizes without significantly improving the images for my purposes. So I am often left with producing poster size prints from smaller files.

I've done well in excess of 200 prints at poster sizes this year alone and it has been rare to see a difference in quality from 2mb to 8mb files when talking about a DSLR sensor unless they are shot at a high ISO. The printer I use has an excellent RIP program which does a great job interpolating pixels. They do a much better job than I can in Photoshop.

This has been my experience with my setup, camera and printer, others may have different results.

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I agree with all you posted. I asked the question simply to clarify which you were talking about.

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I have a D50, same 6.1mp sensor, and I have printed many 8x10's and a few 14x20's with great success. I think the D40 would be a great start for a beginner. The two things I don't like about it is that it has a smaller chassis than the D50 and the more expensive Nikon bodies, and it will not work with gear driven auto focus. Other than those things I think that this is a great starter body.

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