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Camera Megapixels Is more always better

10 Feb 2020

With the digital revolution of the 21st century on the boom, technology seems to get ‘outdated’ very quickly. Competitive market and ever growing demand has only resulted in devices cramping in more specifications and ‘higher’ specifications into simple old technologies and concepts. A twin cooler is better than single. A 6” screen is better than 4.5”. These are some of the many preconceived notions being encashed by brands and manufacturer companies in the various technical fields alike.

The megapixel hype is one of the best examples of this misunderstood trend by the latest camera smart phones and digital SLRs launching being launched in the market every month. The popular opinion suggests “the more the better,” like how the 8MP standard flagship models replaced 5MP and so on, just because “it sounds better.” But when we come to photography, especially, we need to understand why megapixels are not important. Yes, megapixels do affect the quality of photographs in the sense that the more data captured by the more number of megapixels will enable you to stretch-out the final image without becoming grainy, i.e. not compromising on you image quality, but are definitely not the sole determining factor. Camera lens, better electronics, shutter speed and image sensor quality are probably much more important in this respect.

It is not the megapixels but light sensors which result in higher resolution images. These light sensors are like digital ‘films’ which capture the image. The more light that falls on the sensors, the clearer the image is produced, with more details. This is the reason why 20MP cramped in a smart phone camera will not produce as quality images as a 20MP DLR, which has larger sensors than the ones present in the smart phone to collect the image reflection. Hence an 8MP camera with better sensors may give you sharper results than a 12MP camera.

There are also a number of disadvantages of using more megapixels unnecessarily;

  • Models with more megapixels are proportionately more expensive.
  • More megapixels will takes up more memory space and hence encourage you to take lesser shots.
  • The higher data count, the longer the processing time. This causes lag between multiple shots taken in a shorter time frame, no photographer can compromise on missing out ‘the perfect shot’ because of a slower camera device.

So, are megapixels important? Yes, of course they are. Having an image taken from, say a 42 MP camera, even if you end up cropping a large one-third portion from the picture, your resultant image still has well over 20-25MP of data with great picture resolution. More megapixels will indeed give you the added flexibility to experiment with you captures even after the final shot without compromising on the picture quality. But experienced photographers who understand how to use megapixels efficiently may find a camera of 20 megapixels more than sufficient. It all depends upon how you photograph personally, and what use you are looking to make out of the megapixels. But do more megapixels mean better photo quality? No. The sensors’ quality, lighting, optics and speed will ensure a better picture quality than pixel count.

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