If asked, what would you say has been the most fundamental innovation in camera design of the last, let say, 10 years?
I can almost hear you all shout in chorus: “MEGAPIXELS! TONS AND TONS OF THEM!!!”.
And yes, I agree. We’ve come a long road from the 3 Megapixel cameras, and now the top performers seriously pose a threat to medium format film – and if you use sloppy lenses, sloppy technique or poor scanning equipment (i.e. less than a Coolscan / Minolta Pro equivalent or, better, a drum) I can assure that a full frame camera from 12-20 Megapixel onward, and maybe even a DX one, can smoke even an Hasselblad away (I tried for myself). If you’re interested in this subject please read the post FEM: Film Equivalent Megapixels.
But, after a certain amount of “sensor” resolution, the biggest problem in obtaining the sharpest results it becomes your technique. So a good tripod, a good tripod head, etc. are mandatory. But you will still have an enemy to beat: you’ll have to obtain a correct focusing.
What? In the era of autofocus you tell me that you’re pretty sure to nail the focus every time, because the camera does the work for you?
Well: take a good look at the pictures under the title – 100% unsharpened center crops of a very distant target shot on a Canon 5D Mark II equipped with an EG-S focus screen – and think again.
The autofocus has been fooled by the foreground object, even though the af square was placed exactly on the tree; focusing manually gets you better results, at least with a full format camera and a special focus screen; with Live View the correct focus has been nailed without effort.
Now I’m pretty sure that you all will agree with me that the greatest innovation of the past 10 years or so has been the Live View!