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Photography Question 
Sherry S. Boles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/28/2005
 

Prizes for Pixels


One of the tips given on this site to learn how to win is to study the winners. I noticed a trend in the winners. MOST of the WINNERS I viewed (except in Digital Darkroom and Special Effects, which are computer generated/altered images) are from cameras which are six megapixels or above. It only stands to reason that the better the equipment, the better the upload. (And for the record, I'm not suggesting that BetterPhoto discriminates.)
I've always heard the more megapixels, the better the picture quality. Does anyone know if megapixels really make photos that much better?


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6/24/2005 10:34:38 AM

 
Brendan Knell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/17/2005
  Well Sherry,
the more megapixels, the bigger you can print, and there will be less pixelation. But on the contest entry form, it tells you to resize your photo to 750x500pixels or 500x750pixels. So all of the photos uploaded should be about the same quality. Also, the Jim Miotke has said that the judges don't see your name when judging the photos, so I would think that they would also not have access to the camera that you use, at least not until after they judge it.


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6/24/2005 12:43:34 PM

 
Sherry S. Boles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/28/2005
  Brendan,
Thanks for your response.
I was not implying that they look and see what camera you use. I was inquiring whether the pixels necessarily made for a better quality upload.
If I shoot bigger and then downsize to 500x750 would it be a better image than shooting at a 480X640 (like I normally do) and uploading that image?


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6/24/2005 1:00:17 PM

 
Brendan Knell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/17/2005
  Shooting at a higher quality, then downsizing, might be better than just shooting in 480x640. Is 480x640 your lowest quality, or what? If it is, I recomend shooting at about medium. Then you probably wouldn't need to downsize, because it wont be much larger than that.


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6/24/2005 1:10:58 PM

 
Angela K. Wittmer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2003
  so, for example I shoot with a D70.. I shott JPEG Fine mode which is like 3000x2000 or something like that.. I need to shrink that down? I have never chnaged it before & it seems they are getting into the contest fine so far (no errors at least)?


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6/24/2005 2:14:15 PM

 
Brendan Knell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/17/2005
  Angela,
You are supposed to downsize it. I don't and they work just fine. They just take longer to upload. Also, if you are going to upload files from your 6.1 megapixel camera, I really recomend that you have high speed internet. If you don't have high speed, then I would downsize them. Because, it would take a few hours to upload on dial-up.


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6/24/2005 2:24:08 PM

 
Sherry S. Boles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/28/2005
  I can shoot at various sizes (600x480, 1280x960, 1600x1200, 2048x1536). Would that make a difference when I the uploads are supposed to be around the same size ("no more than 500 pixels on the short dimension")? [This pixel thing is very confusion to me.]


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6/24/2005 3:30:52 PM

 
Sherry S. Boles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/28/2005
  To add to my last comment--I'm trying to figure out if shooting at a higher image size then downsizing would make the images a better quality OR if it really makes no difference.


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6/24/2005 3:35:51 PM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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Bob's Gallery
bobslens.com
  If I understand this pixel thing correctly.....If you have NO other plans than entering these photos in the contest, your 600x480 will work. If you want to print them larger than postage stamp size, you'll need a higher pixel count.
It is a very simple process to resize a larger file for internet use and there are many more things you can do with a larger file pic.
Bob


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6/24/2005 4:06:27 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Forget all that pixel #%&@*!

Shoot photos that capture a rare fleeting moment,...that tell a story,...that will evoke a feeling or emotion,...that will demonstrate a knowledge of exposure, depth of field and use of light, AND...will convey to those judging that knowledge or the emotion you experienced at the time you created the image.

This represents the ultimate challenge in photography and these types of photos do get noticed by the judges.
Sure, technical merit is also judged so one must be in control of one's equipment but don't let that one factor take precedent over creativity of vision.


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6/24/2005 5:19:52 PM

 
Sherry S. Boles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/28/2005
  Thanks for your responses, Robert and Bob! They are very helpful.
I think, I'll take your advice, Bob, and forget those pixels. I like the creativity aspect of photography a lot better than the technical anyway! :)
Thanks again to everyone who responded!


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6/24/2005 7:10:11 PM

 
Jill A. Johnson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/20/2004
  just a note here... if you do capture a photographs that you are asked to purchase printing them out at that size will give you very unsatisfactory results...
unless you are really in need of the space on your cards I would say always take your photographs at the best offer pix's... is my opinion but then I do print & sell & make many prints for shows & my own walls...
well just my thought here...
whatever you do good luck with your photography...

Jill :)


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6/25/2005 1:39:43 PM

 
Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
Contact Bob
Bob's Gallery
bobslens.com
  I guess, in the end, the # of pixels don't make the image better (I believe that was the question). The # of pixels only give you more options after the shot has been taken. Is that close?

Bob


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6/25/2005 5:04:20 PM

 
Jill A. Johnson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/20/2004
  I agree Bob but as a photograher I would never shoot in such a low grade just because it works ok for the net...

Jill :)


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6/25/2005 8:46:39 PM

 
Sherry S. Boles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/28/2005
  Thanks for your comments, Jill and Robert! Increasing my options is a definate reason to upgrade the quality of images taken. You both made a very good point...Thanks again!


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6/25/2005 9:45:53 PM

 
Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
Contact Carolyn
Carolyn 's Gallery
PickYourShots.com
  Only in the last year have I used a camera with more than 1.6 MP..That's the best my old one would do, and I had finalists and a few winners despite the low megapixel count.


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6/26/2005 4:33:06 AM

 
Jill A. Johnson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/20/2004
  I have to agree with that when it comes to the web but was any of that work done for print Carolyn? I know I am not happy with less then 5 on anything bigger then a 5X7...
I was not saying that you can't get good images for smaller pix's I was just saying if you would want to do anything more with them it would make for a low quailty result in my opinion...

Jill :)


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6/26/2005 8:31:49 AM

 
Sherry S. Boles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/28/2005
  Thanks, Carolyn and Jill! Everyone's comments have been very helpful! I have only had my digital camera for a few months and am still learning.


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6/26/2005 11:53:12 AM

 
Shawn Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2005
  I wanted to interject a little technical babble to maybe further your understanding of the pixel question. All the comments here are good and I don't mean to change your mind if you've made it up already... only to help you understand the pixel question if you want to further.

The problem is that different cameras and different software do things differently so there isn't a real global answer as to whether shooting high and resizing is better than shooting low.

For example, today's D-SLRs have very good image chips in them. Not the sensor mind you (although those are great too) but the image chip (in my canon it's the Digic II I believe). That chip is what will make the resize from your sensor size to the size you choose to shoot at. The same image information is captured, but then the camera resizes it before writing it to the card.

On a great camera with a great chip, shooting small wouldn't be sacrificing anything. And the better the camera, the more true that gets.

On lesser cameras (like a lot of digital point and shoots) that image chip isn't the best. So the camera's resize function may not be all that great. You may be loosing picture quality by shooting small.

Software as well has it's good and bad. I'd put Photoshop at the top (although I know there are even better, yet greatly more expensive programs out there) and say MS Paint or the Office picture viewer at the bottom. The better the program, the better quality of a resize you'd get.

So, the rule I'd use is if you have a point and shoot digital and Photoshop, then shoot high and resize.

If you only have free image tools, then shoot as close to the size you want in the end so you don't have to resize.

If you have a D-SLR but not photoshop, shoot whatever size you need in the end so you don't have to resize.

If you've got Photoshop, shoot your highest size and resize.

Lastly, practical reasons speak to shooting high anyway, like others have said, so you can print it later if you so choose. And card prices are affordable so don't shoot low just to save space... you'd be better off saving a little and getting a card that suits you.

...and a note to all you who use Paint Shop Pro, LView, or other popular image programs other than Photoshop and swear by the quality of them... I am not saying your program isn't great. I have not done any comparrisons so I'm not making ANY such claim. I use Photoshop here as a generic reference that can be replaced by any image program you personally feel is a great program...


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6/26/2005 2:51:16 PM

 
Sherry S. Boles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/28/2005
  Thanks for your response, Shawn! I really appreciate your comments; they make sense. Right now I am trying to determine what is best to shoot with my camera (like I said, I'm new to digital). I am having fun while I learn and am learning a lot.


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6/26/2005 3:45:01 PM

 
John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/24/2005
  Sherry,

Firdt of all, I really enjoyed looking through your gallery. "Flower Fairy Sleeps" is very good. The focus and clarity of "Striking a Pose" is dead on. Good work.

Shoot at the highest resolution your camera is capable of. After all, you aren't taking photos just to upload to your gallery.

However, please ignore the advice to forget about pixels. Shoot high and downsize before uploading. I know the site will take care of correctly sizing if you forget, but it taxes resources if multiplied by the hundreds of photos uploaded daily. Keep the site running smoothly by resizing before uploading.

Again, I like your photos.

VR

John


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6/26/2005 4:59:32 PM

 
Sherry S. Boles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/28/2005
  Thank you, John, for the advise and the compliments! (You have a wonderful gallery!)


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6/26/2005 9:51:58 PM

 
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