Caffeine Priority: To be popular in today’s world you need to be in your 20’s… megapixels, that is!


posted Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 7:30 AM EDT


Glancing at our most popular cameras this morning over coffee I couldn't help but notice one rather interesting fact. While the list is populated by a variety of camera types from fixed lens zooms to ILC's, and by a variety of sensor sizes ranging from 1" all the way up to 35mm, they all share one common aspect other than their primary function, and that's a close proximity in sensor resolution. (Even the prices are widely varied!)

There are no 16mp Four Thirds cameras on the list, although many of those are popular on our site at present. And we don't see a huge pixel monster like the Sony A7S II adorning the list, although it's been very popular on our site as well. Nor are there any of the high resolution behemoths like the Canon 5DS R. All cameras in our most popular cameras pod as of this week (and dating back several months at least) are all either 20 or 24 megapixels.

So, I couldn't help but wondering, is that the current trend of what our readers find to be the best balance, or is it just a random coincidence given the overall diversity otherwise?

For 22 months the Sony A6000 has remained the King of the Hill here at IR with its 24.3mp sensor

[Click any image for a larger version, access to the full resolution image and EXIF data]

I'm personally a fan of pixel size and not pixel quantity, as I primarily enjoy portrait work, and really love not having to worry too much when the light dims. I prefer not to have to rely on flash, and the freedom to capture what I see around a campfire, or in a dim restaurant or party, without fear of motion blur nor high ISO noise. So in the full frame world these days I gravitate towards the A7S bodies, and for the APS-C world to the X-T1 with its 16mp sensor and terrific ISO performance.

The Sony RX100 series has enjoyed great success with its 20.2mp sensors (Mark III shown here)

But of course my comrade Luke Smith, our senior lab technician, is a landscape photographer when not laboring to bring you the world's finest lab images, and therefore craves higher resolution. As such he leans more towards a Canon 5DS R or a Sony A7R II. He and I as photographers represent two different resolution extremes.

And the Nikon D3300 with its 24.2mp sensor stays quite competitive - ranking #7 at the moment

And yet neither he nor I represent the masses in the enthusiast camera market today, who have their sights set squarely in the middle of these two camps where sensor resolution is concerned. Perhaps it's the desire to have the best of both worlds, or maybe it's some other apsect of this particular resolution range that gets our readers jazzed? We'd love your take on this - is it just a coincidence that the most popular digital cameras on our site are all in the 20-something crowd for resolution? Or, is that simply the magic formula found?

Sound off in the comments section below and Ye Shall Be Heard!
(Go easy on me, GG...)

[Want another cup of Caffeine Priority?.....just click here!]

Price, sensor size and camera types abound,
but all cameras here are 20 or 24 mp resolution

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Caffeine Priority is a new series of short photo-tidbits to ease you into your day, and give us a chance to share a bit more of what life’s like here at IR. We're more like a group of friends testing and talking about cameras and lenses than the buttoned-down, big-corporation world that some of our photo-friends at other companies work in; hopefully these little snippets will share some of that. So... grab another coffee and join in the conversation with us down below!

1/30s / f/1.4 / -0.3 EV / ISO 800