Regular readers may recall a post a month or so back that asked how large you print. Specifically, I asked the maximum size readers printed to more than twice, pointing towards ‘need’ rather than the surprise one off big print. I asked this because it allows us to answer the question of ‘how many megapixels are needed’ and I was curious as to whether the generally recognised ‘sweet spot’ of 12-24 megapixels matches up with the print sizes people are making.
The results are a mixed bag of expected and surprising, summarised below:
1. A full 10% of voters make no prints at all. I figured it would be much lower.
2. 21.5% of voters selected 16″/A3. 25.3% selected 24″/A2. Combined this gives us about 47% of respondents at A2/24″ or smaller. If you include ‘no prints at all’ that rises to 57%!
3. At the upper echelons, we have prints bigger than 36″ and by combining the 36″ category with ‘bigger still’ we get 30%!
What does this mean? Well, if I were to make it simplistic, I would say the results make perfect sense of the following:
1. Those who feel 10-12MP is plenty (they are probably either making no prints, or making A3/16″)
2. The cluster of people who feel that 16-24MP is all they need (making 16″/A3 to 24″/A2 prints)
3. The significant but vocal contingent online who want 36MP or more. These people are larger in number than I had expected and they are making large prints.
Sure, this was a small survey and of course skewed by those finding their way to TPF; however, it’s still a result. It also explains some of the heated debates over whether the next Camera X needs more megapixels or not. Some cry ’24MP is plenty’, others say ‘more, more, more!’. The bottom line is that everyone is right, its just that there are different needs out there and those wanting more or less are both completely legitimate based on the results of this survey. That won’t stop the entirely predictable mud slinging when the next Leica M is released. The polarisation alluded to in this survey (actually printing at 24″ and below vs. 36″ and above, accounting for 46.7% and 29.9% respectively) is exactly what you see on the forums, both sides of course hoping their needs will be met by Leica! Unlike Sony, with their three way splitting of the A7 line, it’s ‘Highlander’ all over again! There can be only one….