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How long before 11 megapixels become commonplace?

by Merlin Macuser / May 25, 2005 12:29 AM PDT

I'm about to pull the trigger and buy a new Canon EOS 20D (8.2 megapixel) digital camera to replace my Canon A-1 film camera system. I have a lot invested in lenses, filters and other accessories that I will be kissing goodbye when I go digital. My wife asked an interesting question, "how long before a better model comes out?" Then I read a prediction in a 2005 how-to book that 11 megapixel cameras will soon become commonplace...

I'm getting ready for a photography trip to Big Sur next week. Should I buy this new Canon now or buy more film and wait until next year for 11 megapixels?

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The horsepower race
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / May 25, 2005 1:04 AM PDT

''how long before a better model comes out?''

Probably tomorrow.....

The digital camera is an evolving product.
As new technology is developed, it is incorporated.

If you wait until you know that something will not be outdated, you will be dead and buried.
Your headstone will read....''He never owned a digital camera''.


You can however, buy a 12.2 megapixel camera today.
The Nikon D2X.
The price is $5,000

Here are some outstanding bird shots by a photographer in England.
Some are taken with the D2X.
She used a 300mm-800mm Sigma zoom lens (another $5,000).


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my tombstone...
by Merlin Macuser / May 25, 2005 4:18 AM PDT
In reply to: The horsepower race

My only problem is the look on my wife's face when the new camera comes out within the next 6 months...then my tombstone would read: ''He shoulda waited another 6 months...''

We just got a new G5 after gradual upgrades to our Mac PPC 8600. A new HDTV is on the list for Santa too.

Nice photos...that's kinda what I'm going for too. I'm a birder and have ID'd 550 species in North America (not including Mexico) and another 50 in Europe. Wish I'd been able to photograph some of them. Even with a 400mm brand named lens, a solid tripod and fast film it is very difficult to get a decent head-n-shoulders portrait of a bird on film.

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The lenses tend to be the big investment. They will not be
by Kiddpeat / May 25, 2005 9:02 AM PDT
In reply to: my tombstone...

obsoleted for quite a while. Since the 20D just came out, I would not look for it's replacement within six months. In the meantime, you can get some very good photos. There is nothing in the film world like a raw file. That, in itself, is enough reason to move. You should, however, anticipate something like Photoshop to take advantage of raw file capability. If you are not going to work with the photo on a computer, then a lot of wind goes out of the digital sales.

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Your Tombstone..
by gwats1957 / May 27, 2005 2:17 PM PDT
In reply to: my tombstone...

6 Meg is the point where digital meets film. with a 6 meg RAW file your'e not going wrong.
The G5 will let you use iPhoto 5 with the RAW format with EXCELLENT results! If you had a Mac 8600 prior to the G5, you are a very prudent comsumer who does not throw money out the nearest 'Window', if you get my drift.:)
I've got a Canon T-50 and a AE-1 Program SLR. It broke my heart to buy my first serious digital, a Olympus C-700 2.1MP with a 10X zoom. It's still a good camera with great resolution but 8MPs will never let you down

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Here's a safe bet. Megxon will have them for 99 bucks.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 25, 2005 5:56 AM PDT

But you only need to read between the lines.

I wish some Federal Trade Commission would stop that insanity.


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Do you really need those extra megapixels.
by Ecm / May 26, 2005 10:19 PM PDT

What size prints do you want to make? That sould be the real question. If you want to make over 16x20 then wait, if not then 8 mp should be fine, unless you plan to enlarge and crop the original image.

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by paaflyer / May 26, 2005 11:08 PM PDT

Megapixels are increasing every month. But megapixels should not I repeat NOT be the primary thing to think about when you buy a camera. The most important thing to consider are the optics (lens), the software that will process the picture and the photo sensor size. The sensor in the camera is very very important. In small point and shoot cameras these sensors are very small and must remain small due to the size of the camera. The Nikon D70 only has 6.1 megs but since the camera is relatively large Nikon has installed a very large sensor (about 33% larger than small ones in the point and shoot cameras). It is therefore much more sensative and accurate and will produce better quality photos. Each sensor point (pixel/photosite) is much larger, sensitive, and than the sensor points in smaller cameras. The larger the camera most likely the better the lens. And finally more megapixels are only needed if you plan to print very very large pictures. Using the high quality files from a D70 you can get outstanding large prints. For most users who only print 4X6 prints, 4 or 5 megapixels are more than adequate. Go to He has a very good discussion on megapixels requirements in the "How To" section of his web site. Additionally go to for excellent camera reviews which includes reviews of the quality of photos.

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Don't expect it to be any time soon, about 2 or more years
by BLuR / May 27, 2005 12:36 AM PDT

When Canon released the 20D They said they don't plan on any new major models comming out other then the planned 1Ds-II, & Digital Rebel upgrades (the XT) within the next 5 years. Since the New Nikon came out being 12MP with a sensor custom made by Sony for them I don't see them doing any thing new within the next few years really since all the current new camera's on the Pro market are top notch and can provide the pictures and resalutions any job needs. Nikon has anounce a new D70s model which really only has some cosmetic upgrades that are nice but it's still basically the same as the D70.

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Just do it
by Kimaileen / May 27, 2005 3:00 AM PDT

You can wait, or you can enjoy the technology in the pipeline now. I love my 20D and by the time you make the transition to digital (and it takes a year for pro photographers, a bit longer for dedicated lovers of photography to learn all you need to learn), you may want a new body. So what? Isn't that what happened when you got your first film SLR anyway???

Just do it. Don't postpone joy, man.

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By the way . . .
by Kimaileen / May 27, 2005 3:08 AM PDT

Go Canon. You won't regret it. Best glass and the smoothest transition from your A-1 system. Buy otherwise and . . . well, I have heard the story over and over again.

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Keep the lenses and filters
by embeologist / May 27, 2005 4:12 AM PDT

My suggestion is to go for it, but stay with the brand you have the lenses for. The top DSLR's will use the accessories form the film camera of the same brand. So, stay with the Canon, it is one of the best.

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Maybe. The old lenses, if they work, may not take full
by Kiddpeat / May 27, 2005 2:03 PM PDT

advantage of a camera's capabilities.

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Pick up a 10d on eBay
by valbevill / May 27, 2005 4:55 AM PDT

Your wife is right. You can't keep up with the technology unless you're loaded. So, there's no point in spending that much money on something that will soon be outdated. The 10d's 6.3 MP are plenty for most things. My husband and I shoot weddings and our 16x20's come out great.

The best part: I saw them on eBay for around $600. You can't beat it. There may still be some new ones around even.

The 20d does have a couple of advantages, though. The burst rate is better, so if you shoot lots of action you might choose it. It also boots quicker, if that makes a difference to you.

Good luck!

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Do I need an 11+ megapixel camera?
by grandadtexas / May 27, 2005 5:24 AM PDT

Unless you're going to be printing 30'x80' billboards or you're turning professional, the 7 to 8 megapixel cameras out now are way enough for most shooters.

As for an 11+ megapixel camera, I'd wait until the cost gets down to around $100 before I'd jump in.

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That ignores what is being learned about digital cameras.
by Kiddpeat / May 27, 2005 2:05 PM PDT

The additional pixels have far more effect than simple arithmetic would expect.

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You'll NEVER be ahead of the game, so don't try!
by mrmanfam / May 27, 2005 9:34 AM PDT

Didn't you have a simliar problem only a few short years ago when you bought a computer? I know I did. Every other day a better model with more "soup" came out. As for cameras, even if the megapixels remained constant, the price will get a lot cheaper for the EXACT SAME camera you get, six months after you buy it. No matter what you get. So either way, you'll be in trouble with your wife. For what it's worth, only 3.2 megapixels is all you need for beautiful 8 x 10 prints. Older literature will confirm this. You only recently see 5 megapixels being sold for 8 x 10 prints and it's NOT necessary. In addition, there are more features to concern yourself with than just megapixels. Megapixels are important when you plan to crop a picture you take and enlarge the crop. I do a LOT of 8 x 10 prints and I like to take group shots then crop out a head and make a beautiful portrait from it. I recently bought the Sony F828 at 8 megapixels and it takes rapid succession shots which is GREAT for sports events. Since it holds two memory cards, I can shoot over 500 large shots without "reloading". It shoots in the dark and its lens goes from wide angle to zoom. I studied cameras before I bought this, and I am VERY glad I did. I don't bother to look in the papers for better or cheaper since I KNOW I'll find it. So what? I'm getting great enjoyment out of the camera which is the reason you buy the camera - not to have the best one ever.

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2 memory cards??
by jpcfarms / May 31, 2005 7:14 AM PDT

What two memory cards do you have in there that will get you 500 large photos? Thanks, just bought an f828

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by jimnaro / May 27, 2005 11:35 AM PDT

the better the sensor the better the pics will be with more pixels . but-- right now the 6+ meg cameras are just great. i have older nikon film gear , and some of it would have worked on the newer nikon digis,but i found that for the money the 10d ( used , purchased for $700 )was to good to pass up . the lens availlability of canon eos ( again , used ) was not as good as the nikon , but the prices are better , and with a bit of searching (including ebay ) many items can be found . istill have a nikon 995 point & shoot that i just barely even use (shutter lag).my wife even loves the 10d with the 24-85lens.
my advice--get the 20d ( or even a 10d )you can upgrade the body again later , and later ,and later. just do it !

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Something besides megapixels
by guillermoi69 / May 28, 2005 10:24 PM PDT
In reply to: mondomegapixels

I am not an expert but nobody really mentioned optical zoom and shutter speed as well as image stabilization.

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The original thread was on the Canon 20D. Shutter speed is
by Kiddpeat / May 29, 2005 7:33 AM PDT

part of the 20D, but optical zoom and stabilization are lens functions in a DSLR. Stabilization is built into the body on one brand, but is in version 1.

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How long before 11 megapixels become commonplace?
by Owl / May 29, 2005 4:23 AM PDT

If you buy it now take with you for your photography trip to Big Sur next week and shoot with both cameras.
unless you are cropping a lot out or making posters. It should be more than eought megpixels.
So features, flash and lenses should be your real concern.

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I just used my 20D to capture a model rocket firing class
by Kiddpeat / May 29, 2005 7:41 AM PDT

that my daughter is taking at the local HS. It was fast enough in burst mode to get one shot of ignition and lift off, but it could not get two for the same rocket. It did get a lot of shots tracking the ascent. A few shots show the rocket lifting off on a small cloud of gas. Cool!

I was using a 70-200mm stabilized lens resting on a tripod. It took me a few tries to realize that I could only rest it on the tripod if I wanted to track the rest of the trajectory.

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How many models does it take to fire a rocket?


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by peterteo / May 29, 2005 12:04 PM PDT

Take a look at this website for product timeline.

For most digital cameras, the trend is to get bigger LCD display screens, faster start-up, longer battery life. Megapixel is no longer the only comparison factor consumers are looking. My guess is that it will not go up much as higher MP means bigger files, more storage requirements, longer time to download etc, without improving the digital image significantly.

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Thanks everybody! Here's what I did....
by Merlin Macuser / June 28, 2005 3:19 AM PDT

I picked up the Canon 20D with the 17-85mm lens and a 75-300 lens both with built in image stabilization.

Looking at the prices for flash memory I opted for 2 2 GB CF III chips and got a 60GB iPod Photo on which to transfer the shots for storage if needed.

Had a great trip to Big Sur and environs where I took ~425 shots filling one chip and part of the second. Got some great shots including one of a mountain lion looking down at us while on Fremont Peak.

It was only about 50 yards away but before I blew it up with Photoshop Elements, it just looked like a tabby cat. Having 8.2 megapixels to work with let me blow up 1/12th of the picture to 8.5X11 and the print is as clear as if I were doing a close-up portrait.

All the shots downloaded to the G5 in ahout 15 minutes (or less) using a USB card reader.

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