High Resolution Now

The following article was written after all the groans that came when Nikon announced the 12mp D3 and D300 in 2007. Only 12mp? Canon had a 21mp camera! But as relevant as the article was back in 2008, it still is relevant today (ironically, it’s the Canon users asking for more pixels now). It doesn't matter how many pixels your camera has, if you want more, just follow this recipe.


What do we want? Pixels!

When do we want them? Now!

With Photokina 2008 coming and going with no high resolution Nikon DSLR, the clamor from the pixel mongers has grown to defeaning proportions once again. Not from me (though I still believe Nikon needs to actually make such a camera). Why? Because I already have one.

Say what? Thom's got a high resolution Nikon DSLR? 

Yes, I do. You might, too. And no, I not smoking what you're thinking (actually I don't smoke anything—I don't even like the smoke from a fireplace). 

Here's the recipe, enjoy:

  1. Purchase a Nikon D3 or D700 (can be done with any camera).
  2. Obtain an L plate for your camera.
  3. Buy the Nikon 24mm, 45mm, and 85mm PC-E lenses.
  4. Shoot.


You now have wonderful 19.7 and 23.1mp images.

What's that you say? You're only getting 12mp? Oh, I guess there's just a little detail missing in Step #4.

You need to learn to shift and stitch. The PC-E lenses can shift to 11.5mm, but I'm a little conservative in my use of the pixels from them at the extremes. Thus, I generally end up with 2832x6962 images when I use a 12mp camera horizontally and do two full shifts. This creates a widescreen, quasi-panorama image (19.7mp that prints nicely at about 10x24"). Flip the camera into the vertical position and shift and I usually end up with a 4256x5428 image. This latter use creates images remarkably close to the traditional 8x10 aspect ratio of photo prints (23.1mp that prints superbly at 14x18").

True, subject motion makes for real problems, so you won't be using your faux high resolution Nikon for shooting sports, and you have to be somewhat careful of subtle subject motions (ocean waves, for example). And, yes, you have to learn the field procedure for shifting (you must keep the front of the lens constant—if you shift the lens one direction you must shift the body the opposite direction an equal amount to keep the lens front in the same place, which is why I use an Arca-Swiss style camera plate). True also that you'll have more post processing to do (though with proper field technique the images should stitch right together with ease).

What's that? You can't imagine the framing of the image when you're looking at the scene? Make yourself two cardboard viewing frames, one 2.4:1, one 1.25:1. Now figure out how far you have to hold them from your eye to approximate 24, 45, and 85mm focal lengths (hint: don't make your frames too big). 

So:

First you s -h-i-f-t to the left
Then you move it back ri-ight
Put your lens in a grip
be sure to hold it real tight
But it's the megapixels that really make it insane
Let's do the High Rez Thing Again!

(if you don't know what to sing that to and how to dress as you do, well, it's astounding and time is fleeting, but I can't help you)

text and images © 2017 Thom Hogan
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