130 megapixels in a few seconds

One of the advantages of using a 36mp camera (D800E), is that you can easily produce an ultra high resolution image with image stitching. And that can be done in a matter of seconds.

(Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, 130 megapixels image)

This is the product of 9 different photos taken handheld and stitched using the Autopano Pro software. I usually use a tripod for this job but it was a windy day and the movement of leaves could cause a blur when stitched. So, when the wind stopped for just a few seconds, I managed to shoot the 9 frames.

I included more frames than I actually needed for my subject, in order to be able to crop if needed until I reach the final image I had in mind. All settings of course are set to manual (focus,aperture,shutter speed,white balance). I am very happy with the Autopano Pro, its an excellent tool for this kind of work.

I could shoot the same scenery with my 4×5 large format camera, but it would have taken more time. The light was not enough for a good shutter speed and the wind would cause a blurry photo due t the leaves movement. With the D800E I changed ISO to 400 so I could get a good shutter speed.


This is a zoom crop of the image. I could easily zoom even more and still see crisp details. That translates to a very large print with stunning image details.

With my 4×5 camera, I could have probably used movements to alter perspective of the trees and maybe get a better look, but what it mattered at the moment was to get sharp foliage (since the scene was full of them). And of course it would get a drum scan to get close to the resolution of the stitched image.

Now, I am not bashing my film equipment, but as I have explained at my previous post, a shot like this would have been ruined if had not used the D800E. So, its actually a simple statement using the proper tool for the proper subject.

I am often asked why do I need to shoot in these large resolutions. Why I use 4×5 or create ultra megapixels photos. The answer is very simple and can be immediately seen when looking at a 2 meters wide printed photo (that’s 80 inches wide). Sure, I can interpolate an image and get good results, but having the real megapixels is the way to go. And I print very often at these sizes, so why not having all the resolution you can use ?

Next week I am visiting a few locations in which I have spotted a couple of good locations for shooting a stitched photo. I will probably post the results by Wednesday.

(c)2013 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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4 Responses to 130 megapixels in a few seconds

  1. Frank says:

    I like to ask a question. If you print 2m wide, and it looks good, what print resolution do you use?
    I don’t think that a 130mb image size is enough (I think you mean 130 megabyte image size, not 130 megapixels?)… The native print resolution of my A3+ Epson printer is 360dpi, and printing at that resolution is very good. An image of 80inch wide on 360 dpi is 1,74 gigabyte, so you need a lot more image size then 130 megabyte. Now, this 360 dpi print resolution is maybe not necessary, 240dpi print res looks also still good, but then the image size still has to be 791mb, still a lot more than your stitched pano of 130mb. 80 inches at 97 dpi is more or less 130 mb image size. But printing at 97 dpi does not cope, looks unsharp and bad. So maybe you are using software to upress your photo from 130mb to get more dpi?
    I’m sorry to be so in the numbers, I apologise, but I’m planning to print large in the future, and I wonder how large the files must be to look good. I certainly don’t think 130 megabyte image size is enough. At how much dpi do you print, if I may ask?

    • kbesios says:

      Hi Frank

      The image is 130 megapixels, not megabytes (its a 13900×9452 pixel s file, so its actually a 132 megapixels image). The size of the TIFF file is 280MB.
      Now, in theory you need a 396 megapixels file to print at 80×55 inches at 300dpi, which means that my specific image should be printed at 180dpi to reach that size.
      By exporting from Lightroom to 80×55 inches, I am obviously interpolation to some degree, but a file of 130 megapixels shot with the D800E at ISO 100 using a good lens has plenty of information to reach that size. Digital files can be interpolated and still look very good (with an addition of careful sharpening). One more thing, a print that large is not something you will look at from a very close distance, its not like viewing a 100% zoom crop on the monitor. You have to stand to a certain distance to appreciate the print, so you don’t really need to have a 1GB large, 400 megapixels image to make a print that large.
      I have printed 120×40 wide panoramic photos with 200 megapixels files (in theory I would need 430 megapixels) and the details are stunning even when you get close to the print. So, the bigger resolution you have, the better, but you don’t need to reach the theoretical numbers to get a good print.
      At these sizes, the quality of the camera sensor, lens, flawless shooting technique and good post processing are crucial, since they the most important factors that will determine the quality of the final print.

  2. Frank says:

    Ok, thank you. So you use also interpolation, I was a little confused. Thanks for the explanation, it is clear now.

    • kbesios says:

      At these sizes in only natural that you will interpolate. Of course there is a difference interpolating from 24 megapixels and 130 megapixels !!

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