Posted on June 24th, 2011
Earlier in the 21st century as digital cameras were really starting to get popular resolution like megapixels was more important than it is now. Low resolution usually meant smaller prints and not so sharp an image. Things have changed though and a higher megapixel number is not always better.
First let’s discuss what a megapixel actually is. A megapixel is one million pixels and a pixel is a single point or dot on a graphic image. If your camera is 8 megapixels, it means that any pictures it takes on the highest quality setting will consist of 8 million of these pixels. Somewhere around 5 megapixels will give you good quality 8×10 shots. Most people think that a higher pixel rating will give you better pictures and that is not true. The higher megapixel camera merely contains more pixels and a higher resolution in the photos it takes, but it’s not necessarily any sharper than a lower megapixel camera. This is a great theory but actually this creates a terrible photo with more dots. There are many factors that affect the quality of the shot besides the megapixels.
Other factors to consider besides megapixels are sensor size, type of camera, and quality of the camera. Image noise and ISO also will factor into your shots. There is no real advantage to having a 12 megapixel digital camera and the pixels will actually make your photo less attractive when image noise comes into play. The more megapixels you add to a sensor the more densely they are packed together which will result in image noise and unclear shots. Once you get past 7 or 8 pixels in a point and shoot camera most sensors are struggling to keep up.
The best cameras all use larger sensors but in turn they are much more expensive and fall in the category of DSLR. These larger sensors produce less image noise which results in a much clearer shot. These cameras also usually have a higher ISO setting which also contributes to a better photo. When are out looking at point and shoot cameras keep these facts in mind, compare sensor sizes to the megapixel rating. In the end you could be saving yourself quite a bit of money.