The megapixel count on your camera doesn’t matter

Apple iphone 6 megapixelsApple

Megapixels don’t matter anymore.

But to look at most phone or camera ads you’d think they’re the most important stat in the world.

A megapixel is a measure of resolution: 1 million pixels. Pretty much every camera on the market today has several times that. If you’re reading this on an HD screen, you’re seeing about 2 megapixels. If you’re reading this on a top-of-the-line 4k screen, you’re seeing a little more than 8 megapixels.

It only takes about 7 megapixels to print a nice big photo for your mantle. Got 10 megapixels? You can print a photo across the top of a page in "National Geographic". Every major smartphone on the market meets at least that standard, let alone any mediocre point-and-shoot camera.

Here’s an image shot on my 12-megapixel Nikon D700, a DSLR with just the resolution of an iPhone 6:


And here’s one shot on my 36-megapixel Nikon D800:


There are differences in the lenses on each camera. But can you spot any difference in quality? I can’t. If anything, super-high-megapixel cameras perform worse in some situations than low-megapixel models. They tend to show more grain in low light and emphasize motion blur and focus errors.

In fact, both cameras produce photos so large that I had to shrink them in order to make them fit on this web page.

There are only a few occasions when you actually need super-high-resolution photos:

  • If you shoot covers and two-page spreads for glossy print magazines (and even then anything over 16 megapixels should do fine).
  • If you plan on sending your photos to professional printing houses for large (think 2 feet to a side), expensive, high-quality prints you might want 24 megapixels.
  • If you’re a professional fashion photographer, or someone else who shoots images designed to look beautiful plastered life-size on the walls of boutiques then 30+ megapixels may be right for you.

One terrible reason to buy (or manufacture) a high-resolution camera is "digital zoom." Digital zoom isn’t a thing. Let me say that louder: DIGITAL ZOOM ISN’T A THING. It’s a way of cropping your photo in camera that just gives you a low-quality, weirdly compressed version of what you’d see if you got up and walked closer to your subject. A 6-megapixel chunk of a 18-megapixel sensor won’t look anywhere near as nice as an image taken on a 6-megapixel sensor.

All of which begs the question: why does this 41-megapixel smartphone phone exist?

NOW WATCH: The 2 best features coming to the new iPhone cameras

See Also:

from Business Insider

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s