We all have a lot of confusion to compare and choose among the wide range of cameras available in the market. Yes, a common illusion is “more megapixel – more quality” – this is not always correct. There are a lot of factors which contribute to the Camera Quality, though increase in megapixel is contributing to increase in quality but remember that it’s not the only factor….
While the megapixel war has more or less cooled off, there are still sales people out there who are pushing the “more megapixels is better” line to first time digital camera buyers or digital camera owners who are upgrading from older digital cameras. I see this just about every day on our forums where people, when comparing a 6 megapixel camera to a 8 megapixel camera, that the 8 megapixel camera is the one to go with.
More Megapixels were better since the rest of the camera also improved – better lenses, better image processing, etc. Then, the resolution out-paced what people really need. Quite simply, having more megapixels means that you can create a larger print (or that you can do more cropping and still have enough data left for a full-size print).
Above Image shows megapixel chart – as the megapixel increases the viewing area increases
The size at which you can print depends on a couple factors, including the capabilities of the printer. According to this page at Microsoft’s site (and you can find plenty of other references out there with some Google searches), their minimum recommended printing resolution is 240 ppi (pixels per inch). At 240ppi, a 5 megapixel image can create a maximum print size of 8.1 x 10.8 inches. With a higher quality print resolution (300ppi), you would need an 8 megapixel image to be able to print an 8×10, but a 3 megapixel image is all that’s needed for a 4×6.
Why More Is Not Necessarily Better
In addition to producing more image data than you need for your uses, higher-megapixel sensors are not always of better quality. Typically, within a camera product line, the physical dimensions of the sensor stay the same from model to model. To achieve a higher resolution, more “photosites” must be packed onto the same size sensor. Advances in manufacturing and sensor technology allow this to even be possible. However, when the photosites become more densely packed onto the sensor, they start to affect each other – electrical signals can affect neighboring photosites.
Another downside to high-megapixel cameras is simply the file size of each image. While actual storage space is cheap these days, it will take longer to transfer images and it makes it harder to transfer full-size images to friends, family, and photo-sharing sites.
The final quality of any digital image or print is related to a number of interconnected factors. Megapixels are too often used as the gauge when they mainly affect size. Sensor qualities such as tonal range, noise reduction and the ability to deal with certain colors all can affect a photo, but so can the lens used and photographic technique of the photographer. No sensor will deal well with a bad exposure, for example.
We will see how camera quality can be weighed for Smart Phones in our next article, Stay Tuned….
Courtesy: digitalcamerareview.com, outdoorphotographer.com