Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Megapixel Myth

The more megapixels your camera has the better photos it will take, right? Well, you couldn't be more wrong. This is easily the biggest misconception in digital photography to date. I’m sure the last time you went camera shopping, one of the first things you asked the salesman was “How many megapixels does this camera have?” Well remember, not all megapixels are created equal.

The quality of an image is dependant on many things, such as the camera’s sensor size and quality, the glass inside of the lens, it’s processor, and of course, the photographer. No amount of megapixels can make a photo look good if shot through a low-quality lens, and too many megapixels packed onto a small point and shoot camera’s sensor is going to produce lots of noise and give a very poor performance in low light situations.

A cameras megapixel count is only essentially useful if you plan on making enlarged prints. A three megapixel camera can make sharp, clean 8x10 prints. So if you are going to print an 8x10, why would you need a camera with 12 megapixels? Quite simply, you don’t. And how many mom and pops photographers make forty inch prints? None of them do. Again, jamming 12MP into that small camera’s sensor is only degrading the quality of your 5x7 and 8x10 prints.

So why do camera makers and salesmen keep pushing you towards cameras with more and more megapixels? Part of the blame can be laid on the consumers, who have become fixated on megapixels. A megapixel is a marketer’s dream come true, where almost every consumer thinks that more is better.

So next time you go camera shopping, think about what you want to do with your camera, and don’t fall for the megapixel myth.

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