I found an article over at Petapixel detailing a product photographer who had two custom built 10 megapixel sensors built to fit his two large format film cameras. There are two interesting things about this story to me. One, that he uses the sensor to replace polaroid film. He apparently used to spend upwards of $50,000 per year using polaroid to proof his images, then take the final photos using a traditional 8×10 film camera. He now uses the sensor as his proofing system to be sure that he’s got the shot before using the 8×10 film to finalize the image. Ok. I can buy that. The system pays for itself in 10 years, and that’s just how he works. Fine. Who am I to question a working pro’s methods?
The second thing about the article that struck me was something that the writer of an article over at Engadget said in reference to the sensor: “What’s really loco, though, is that the sensor is only 10MP, which isn’t remotely sufficient for printable art.” Huh?
This is the problem with the hunt for the latest and greatest. When Canon released its top of the line Canon 1Ds back in 2003, tech hounds’ jaws dropped. The images coming off of that “lowly” 11.4 MP sensor were cleaner, crisper, and more usable than anything out there short of a drum scanned medium format negative. Photographers were drooling to get one. Billboards, magazine spreads, posters, you name it, were all being produced effortlessly on that sensor. These days, Nikon has a 24+ megapixel DSLR camera. Is the image quality coming out of it better? Of course! The images coming out of Nikon’s D3x are amazing. But that doesn’t do anything to diminish the fact that Canon’s 8 year old 1Ds is still a perfectly capable camera.
My point is only this: Knock it off, people! When people look at an image on the cover of a magazine, 95% of them aren’t going to care what kind of camera took it. They’re going to grabbed by the image or they’re not. Megapixels have very little to do with the success of an image. I’ve shot magazine covers with a 6.3 MP camera.
So when you photographers out there are out looking for your next camera, remember that a camera doesn’t create the image. You do.
What do you think, photographers?