Ads for digital cameras always tout a “megapixels” number as if it where a good thing, but they don’t really tell you why. It even gets into the specs for cell-phones and laptop computers. So, what is it, and do you care?
A megapixel is an area measurement, like a square foot. It’s about how many dots of picture information (“pixels”) can be picked up for an entire photograph.
The term megapixels used as a rough guide to how much detail that a digital camera can record. In general, the more megapixels the camera has, the finer the detail the camera can “see” and record. Technically it is about “resolution,” but for the rest of us, that just means “detail.”
For printing, and again, in general, a larger number of megapixels equates to being able to make bigger prints and still have them come out looking good.
So, as a general guide, yes, you do care. More megapixels are better.
Of course, other parts of the camera matter at least as much as megapixels. Depending on what you want out of it and how you are going to use it, things like the quality of the lens or the camera’s ease of use may matter even more.
If beautiful landscapes or finely detailed portraits are what you want to shoot, then more megapixels may make a difference. Or, if you like to be able crop your photos or fiddle with them in your computer then you’ll want as many megapixels as you can get.
On the other hand, if you really just want to be always ready to grab swell snapshots of family events, and usually just going to print snapshot sized prints, then any megapixel number over “2” is going to work for you. That leaves you free to pay more attention to how easy it is to use and if the camera size and its price both fit nicely in your pocket or purse.
Digital photo technology is constantly changing, so no rules are going to hold for long. But the point of it is pretty much the same as with happy old film cameras: to capture a picture of something that you want to remember later. If snapshots of family events are your goal, then a giant megapixel number just isn’t that big a deal.
Additional information and links can be found at: www.ThisllWork.com/whats_a_megapixel.html