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Andreas, If you somehow imagine that a 56MP sensor presents no additional challenges to lens resolution than a 12MP sensor, that diffraction limits are likewise the same and a non-issue or that the amazing D800 is a 'general purpose' camera, I'm afraid you don't get it nor is there any point debating this further. 'Fear' has nothing to do with high-rez cameras. Understanding the demands they place on your computer hardware and glass makes for a wiser decision buying these costly tools.
j.liam, you are of of course entititled to your POV and I am not going to attempt to change your personal opinion. My response to your post was triggered by statements which aren't from my perspective based on evidence.
Other readers of this thread should have a chance to get a more balanced perspective.
On your statements:
A given lens will always perform better on the higher res camera vs. the lower res - viewed at the same output size. Please show us the opposite.
Seen from a device electronic perpective, 56 MP is an intermediate step towards much higher resolution. It is currently being investigated how to manufacture a gigapixel resolution in current sensor sizes. If successful, we could overcome the physical diffraction limit by software (check the structure of an airy disc)
The "general purpose" statement is based on 20 months of usage of the D800 and D800E with a D3,D700,Ds,D4 still available as well.
There seems to be a wide gap between your assessment that someone needs 1/4000s and a tripod for 56 MP for any resonable (technical) quality picture vs. the other extreme, that it is not uncommon today to shoot 200mm handheld with 1/30s and still get a "reasonable" image quality with a 36 MP camera (above the capabilities 12MP resolution). I am not arguing that it has to be this way, I am arguing that your statement should not be seen by others as minimum requirement.
with regards to computer HW: Of the basic computer HW trends, filesize of digital cameras grows slower than memory, CPU speed and disk storage. By far. When I got my Nikon D1 back in 1999, a RAW used 4 MB, today the D800 takes approx 40 MB. An increase of factor 10. The largest flash card you could get 1999 was 64 MB, today 64 GB is almost common (and significant cheaper that 64 MB were back then). Factor 1000. Similar factors in main memory and CPU speed. Yes, there might be temporary "performance" issues dependent on the overlap of upgrade cycles in computer and camera gear, but overall and seen longer term it is a non issue. RAW files sizes just grow slower than those other factors.
Going forward my view is that camera resolution will be more and more decoupled from the final output resolution someone wants to achieve. This 1:1 dependency has been established long ago and is deep into peoples mind as inevitable. It is not. See it similar to the oversampling approach the music industry went with audio.
This post is not meant to convince you in any way. It is rather intended for other readers as an additional POV with regards to your blanket statements where I fail to see the evidence you provided. I would argue this overall development deserve a better, more nuanced debate.
with kind regards,
One example for getting reasonable resolution well below "common rules" . When I started using the AFS 70-200mm/4 VR lens the improvement in VR technology vs. other 70-200mm lenses became soon evident. As said, this is one example of many pictures taken with similar focal/time ratios. If you want, scale it down to 12 MP output resolution.
Again, I am not arguing that a heavy tripod, etc kind of setup would give someone the very best possible setup. Unfortunately, not all photographers can take their laboratory on location. And "general purpose" defines for me a camera/lens combo, which gives you consistently over a wide range of photographic scenarios the highest possible % of that maximum possible. And this is what the D800 does - consistenly.
D800E, AFS 70-200mm/4 VR, @ 200mm, 1/30s, f4, unprocessed, Full D800E resolution