Megapixels chart

Do more megapixels mean better photos?

With popular social media sites like Facebook and Instagram that are primarily image-based, we now have a platform to display our digital images for all to see. This created the demand for a digital camera that could fit into our pockets that holds enough megapixels to do the job.

Photography has become a part of everyday life and an obsession for some. Once upon a time, photos were reserved for special events. This was due to the fact that the equipment was bulky and expensive, the technology was only truly understood by a privileged few, and  the only way to see photos was via the difficult and expensive processing of film.

Change started with the compact point and shoot cameras like the Sony Cybershot. This meant that you had to walk around with a camera in your pocket to catch those once in a lifetime shots. The camera phone soon made its debut and eliminated the need to walk around with a bulky camera.

With the advent of digital photography, cameras got smaller, cheaper and more importantly, the need to print was entirely eliminated. This marked a new era for the amateur photographer. It was the perfect storm.

What exactly are megapixels?

The simple answer is, a megapixel is one million pixels. If you know the resolution of an image, you can calculate the megapixels within it. For a computer monitor, the best available resolution is usually 1920 x 1080. Therefore, a picture that size would have 1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600 pixels. If your photography is destined to be viewed only on the internet or other mobile devices, a 2 megapixel camera would do in most cases.

Do you really need a camera that offers a higher number of megapixels?

As mentioned above if your intention is just to post to a social media account a large amount of megapixels should not be your only consideration. There are a lot of factors that could affect the final outcome when it comes to a photo’s quality.

  • Use of the image (print or digital)
  • Camera sensor (size or type)
  • Quality of the glass
  • Aperture (all smartphones have fixed aperture lenses f/2.0, f/1.8)
  • Camera lens

Image stabilization, Hardware stabilization-OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) vs. Software stabilization-EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization)

March 2017

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