Digital Cameras - How Many Megapixels?

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Digital Cameras - How Many Megapixels?

Post  sleepyme123 on Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:41 am

The number of pixels (or megapixels) available these days seems to be growing everyday. It's a standard marketers dream of more is better, and releasing cameras with "more" every year ensures that the sales keep rolling in.

But...increasing the resolution, that is the number of pixels, isn't the best way to ensure that you take great photos.

If you print your photos then 5 or 6 megapixels is more than enough to cover the standard range of photo sizes. Unless you're printing at larger than 8x10", or you want to crop and print small sections of your photos then there really is no need to splash out on higher resolution.

A 1.2 megapixel camera literally has 1.2 megapixels, if you look closely at the picture that it takes it will probably be about 1280 x 960 pixels in size, that is 1280 pixels across by 960 vertically (rounded to 1.2 million pixels).

Printer pictures as a rule-of-thumb require something like 200 pixels per inch to look like good quality photos so in our 8x10" example 8x200 = 1600 and 10x200 = 2000. You would need a 1600x2000 resolution image to make a good print - thats about 3.2 megapixels.

Now, you may want to crop your photos (cut out a smaller section) or perhaps print a larger "poster" version, some high quality printers will print at a higher resolution giving "extra clarity" and "pin sharp" detail. So factoring these possibilities we could add 50% to the requirement, meaning 300 pixels per inch or an image of 2400x3000 or 7.2 megapixels.

We arrive at the top end of the current handheld digital market. So the key is to work out your requirements and buy a camera that suits your budget. A good quality camera that has "just" 3 or 4 megapixels may well just meet all your photography needs at a fraction of the cost of buying a top of the range camera with features (and pixels) that you'll just never use!

Good luck

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