Ever since I printed out the shot from Arches I was thinking about how much resolution you really need to get a good quality picture on paper.
Also, you have to keep in mind how far you’re going to be from the piece of paper when you’re looking at it. For this I’m going to assume normal home viewing distances. If you’re designing for a billboard, your mileage will most certainly vary.
Scaled a chunk of yesterday’s photo to a bunch of different resolutions: 50, 66, 83, 100, 125, 150 DPI. I then printed them all next to each other.
From looking at the paper, 150 is more than acceptable. 125 is ok. 100 is on the ragged edge of good enough. Ennie thought that 83, for her, was on the edge. Different standards.
I’ll go from 100dpi since it’s higher.
To put things in perspective, you’re standard 8×10 is only 0.8 megapixels (MP) at that resolution. 1.2MP at 150 dpi.
You get cameras like the Canon 5DSR that go up to 50MP. Or the Hasselblad medium format hitting 100MP.
Put that into perspective. At 150DPI, a 100MP print will print something that covers 30.9 square feet of area. Are there people that need that? Of course there are.
Do you need to chase resolution?
You almost certainly do not.
Be content with your 16-24MP camera, it’s plenty good enough for what you’re likely going to do.
I do encourage you to do this experiment yourself. It might be an eye-opening experiment!