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I used to chase megapixels, but now I pursue memories with my camera

Don't chase megapixel
(Image credit: Lecia / Phase One)

I'm sure there are many out there, like I once was, when you hear about a camera with a 61 megapixel sensor, like the Sony A7R IV (opens in new tab) and you will do anything to try and add it to your arsenal of gear because you think it will make you either a better photographer or provide better deliverables to clients.

But when did we start caring so much about megapixels, instead of things that could really make us a better photographer?, like shooting more to get better, practising composition or just trying to get the most out of the equipment you already have, I used to chase megapixels, now I just chase memories, and I promise it will make you a better photographer for doing so!

Shot on the 12MP Nikon D3 (Image credit: Sebastian Oakley)

Shot on film with the Leica M-A and Kodak Ultramax 400 (Image credit: Sebastian Oakley/Digital Camera World)

Shot on a 4MP Nikon D2H (Image credit: Sebastian Oakley / Digital Camera World)

My journey into photography began with film, shooting kodak point and shoot cameras, progressing to the Nikon F5 for a shot time, then onto digital cameras like the Nikon D2H all the way up to the Nikon D800 (opens in new tab) and these were amazing cameras, including the 4 megapixel D2H. 

However, after using the Nikon D800 for some time, I got to thinking what would more megapixels get me? generally I thought more clients and began to chase digital medium format cameras like the Hasselblad H6D 100c and the Phase One XF100, both 100 megapixel cameras. Yes, they produced the resolution I was after and I loved both systems equally, with the Phase One having the winning edge for me, I even covered a whole event with it in Ireland and the UK to fully test out the system. 

But my head ruled over my heart, and I thought I would wait for the D850 from Nikon, Canon had already launched the 50 megapixel Canon 5DS at the time and I was waiting for Nikon to lunch its rival 50 megapixel camera, which never arrived, in fact it's still not here now!

It is at this point I realized that my equipment was already good enough, I was just chasing the glory of megapixels and not realizing that my already high 36MP D800 was plenty, and with this new view on megapixels, I actually began taking better pictures, I was never questioning what other photographers were using, if high megapixel cameras could help my work get better - I had to become better, not the camera!

It was at that point I began chasing memories, making sure I was taking images no ones else was, placed myself at different angles, rather than being squashed with 10 other pros all taking the same image, and then rushing to get it out before anyone else! I was becoming a better photographer buy just taking pictures and not worrying about resolution.

Leica M-E, 18MP camera (Image credit: Sebastian Oakley / Digital Camera World)

Shot on film with Leica M-A (Image credit: Sebastian Oakley/Digital Camera World)

Fast-forward several years and I now shoot on a Leica M-E, this is a full-frame CCD sensor camera that produces 18 megapixel images, yes just 18MP and I am more than happy to shoot with it as my main camera, and I even produce prints just fine as a result of the images taken with it.

My outlook is, if you have something in front of you worth taking, then you should take it, getting that shot is the priority, not how many megapixels the final result will be, if we all thought a bit more like this and really practiced our techniques in the genre of photography we like capturing, we develop a skill of getting shots to look how we want them, and when we want them, and that skill is worth a whole lot more than megapixels! 

Read more:

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For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specialising in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound and many more for various advertising campaigns, books and pre/post-event highlights.


He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science and is a Master of Arts in Publishing.  He is member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected in to BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association. 


He is familiar with and shows great interest in medium and large format photography with products by Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa and Sinar and has used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI and everything in between. His work covers the genres of Equestrian, Landscape, Abstract or Nature and combines nearly two decades of experience to offer exclusive limited-edition prints to the international stage from his film & digital photography.