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There is one non-obvious use for excess mega-pixels, namely binning. I'm a total novice at the local camera club, but we all have to start at the bottom. One restriction for competition submissions is that they must not exceed X x Y = 1024 x 768. Either or both dimensions can be less, but not more. So why do I shoot full-size 4308 x 2868?

I bin the image by a factor of 4:1 using imagemagick, resulting in a 1077 x 717 image. The X (width) needs a bit of cropping, but binning by 4:1 makes an ISO 6400 image look like ISO 1600. This is REAL noise reduction BEFORE USING DE-NOISING SOFTWARE. See http://www.noao.edu/outreach/aop/glossary/binning.html for a beginner's explanation of binning. It's oriented to astronomy, night photos. But the principle is valid in any low-light situation.

There's no such thing as a free lunch. I'm trading off pixels for a cleaner image. Since I'm not allowed to submit a larger image than 1024 x 768, I may as well get some use out of the extra pixels.
 
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