How Many Megapixels Does Your Eye Really Have? 

As a photographer, you understand the importance of capturing sharp, detailed images. But have you ever considered how the capabilities of the human eye influence the technology we use to create and view those images? 

Coming to you from wolfcrow, this insightful video explores the intricacies of human eye resolution and its implications for cinema cameras and displays. The video takes a deep dive into the science behind visual acuity, explaining concepts like arc minutes, line pairs per millimeter, and the structure of the retina. By understanding these fundamental principles, you can gain a deeper appreciation for how we perceive images and what level of resolution is truly necessary for capturing and displaying them effectively.

The video goes on to discuss the limitations of the human eye, particularly in terms of peripheral vision and the varying density of rods and cones across the retina. It highlights the importance of the fovea, the central area of the retina responsible for sharp, detailed vision, and explains how its limited size impacts our overall perception of resolution. 

Furthermore, the video explores the concept of acutance, which refers to the contrast of edges within an image. It explains how increasing acutance can create the illusion of sharpness, even if the actual resolution remains unchanged. Check out the video above for the full rundown.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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How about a transcript or summary of the video?


Who care about resolution. What's the dynamic range?

A lot of tech info that does not really point out human vision. From the beginning of a camera and even earlier of even paintings there is a simple fact of viewing. The image from a camera and even a painting is sharp from side to side and up and down!! But it is what we are focused on or how much is in focus with sharpness. It is just like reading, how many letters are in focus when truly looking at a set of letters, for me about three but the rest is in our peripheral vision out of focus but there and seen!!! Like when driving and you look at a license plate on a car in front of you, you may only see one or two letters and the rest will be a blur until you start scanning but you can force your brain to view that peripheral area and see that all areas left and right out to and up and down your peripheral is a blur BUT know for all is lit an make out what is there but your eye to make out clearly has to move to the side to see what is really there. When asked by a doctor to hold out your thumbs side to side to where you see but not clearly is a range of notice.
To put it more factful at night in a lit city and a full moon you basically see everything but not all in focus and when you try to capture with a camera no lens will capture all of what you see. When looking at the moon a outstretched thumb will cover the moon but your vision of things is about 180 degrees of seen lit areas. So if you use a 10mm lens on a full moon night yes you will cover that area seen but the moon is just a spec somewhere in the image and the only way to get all and the moon with its normal size sort of is to do a panorama with a 50 or 55mm lens that will cover the in focus part of your vision with hands together at the thumbs out stretched and many rows up and down from side to side.
The one thing about vision sharpness is when in Ophthalmologists chair and different lenses are put in front of each eye and you keep saying that one after another till a max sharpness of a letter then comes the line you can make out each letter for a vision of 20 over 20 but with corrective glasses some like me sometimes to 20/05 but mostly 20/10. With corrected to the max there is no need for a scope on a rifle to 500 yards and a man sized target proven that just 20/20 for army and marine corp personnel every year.
I am completely nearsighted and every year get glasses at 20/10 for 20/20 is like really blurry to me. For sharpness at night I like to focus on the stars with my glasses and with camera it is zoomed in and adjusted for sharpness manually, this will give sharpness side to side in an image.
Now for the unsaid is no matter the image either on the camera screen on image on paper of any size from small to the very large YOU scan piece by piece close or far and only after the whole will you know any or all imperfections but still viewing the whole is mostly blurry (if you train on what you are seeing)!
Sensor size is just the area of the image and is what is printed in all sizes.
Ever close one eye and see a color filter different than the other well your brain compensates for any and all. For the colors and tint you see (both eyes open) will be most times different that others see. Yes many types of color blindness. The strangest is in hunting clothes for deer most will whare blends that look like trees and leaves but from a far will look like dark blob. Deer can not see red or orange. Main reason loggers wore multi pattern red and black (blue) for safety in the woods. Deer can see Blue and green at dusk blue like a state trooper light and even more due to brighteners in laundry soap.
Finally at night the thing that blows my mind is after an hour or so when night vision kicks in if on a beach and looking around you will see little round circles of white light in some places not from a flashlight but just there on the ground and even waving your hand over it is never blocked!!?? Maybe from below! who knows!!!
Oh! Why do some us see 3D like in our images to where like looking at the icons on your computer monitors you can see the sides of them as you look around them, that is cool, Something you never admit to ever but some new glasses with new material had me thinking till I told my doctor!!
Like always just enjoy your images for most you may be the only one to sees what is there!!!

A quick google tells me: 96.6 million photoreceptors per retina. Now our eyes are analog, so the correct answer is 0.