Words and Images by Jerred Zegelis
Resolution is usually just a series of numbers on a box, where the horizontal and vertical resolution of a camera’s sensor equals “megapixels.”
More megapixels doesn’t always mean “better,” but there are situations where more resolution is helpful.
The Canon EOS R5 is one of the new high resolution mirrorless cameras on the market, giving photographers a powerful 45 megapixels to work with, which means 8192 horizontal pixels and 5464 vertical pixels.
This means that an image from the R5 can be printed larger and maintain quality and sharpness for much bigger prints. This is fantastic news for professional photographers needing to print at scale.
But what about the rest of us?
For us, the power in the R5’s megapixels is that they give us options, namely the ability to re-compose photographs in editing and allowing us to crop closer and maintain resolution.
Let’s look at this photograph as an example of the first situation. Here, we have an image that I purposely photographed from farther away. Knowing that I have so many megapixels to work with, I can compose my shot in multiple ways in the editing room.
Here is the photograph unedited at full resolution:
I can take this photograph and crop in closer for new compositons.
Do you want to make this into a square canvas shot for a room in your home? This isn’t a problem with the Canon R5.
Look at all that detail! Cropped that close still gives us 4023x4023 lines of resolution, which is more than 16 megapixels. This is more than enough to print a 20” or even 30” canvas!
We can even change the entire composition of the photograph, from a horizontal to vertical one like I’ve done here:
This horizontal version has almost 24 megapixels, which is about the standard resolution for many cameras that have come out over the last few years.
Beyond this, all of this resolution also allows us to get in closer than usually possible through cropping. With the R5, that means we still get all of the detail we would expect. The following shot was of a particularly bashful butterfly at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo’s Butterfly Pavilion. I couldn’t get any closer or run the risk of the creature flying quickly away.
This isn’t a problem for a camera like the R5, where I can stand a little farther back to get this photo:
And then I can crop in during editing and still have plenty of resolution to work with.
Just look at all the detail that’s there when you zoom in closer to the original image!
Megapixels are NOT the most important part of a camera, but in many situations the resolution gives you some options that are helpful and useful for many photographers.