Photography Information

Megapixel Cameras: How Many Megapixels Do You Need?


Knowing which megapixel camera to buy can be intimidating. There are literally hundreds of models of digital cameras out on the market today. How can you know how many megapixels you'll need?

Megapixels: The More the Merrier

For the most part, I would suggest that you get the highest megapixel rated digital camera you can afford. Having said that though, there are some considerations you need to keep in mind before you make your next digital camera purchase.

What are megapixels anyway?

Simply put, megapixels refers to how many millions of pixels make up the images a particular camera takes. The more pixels in the image, the more detail the camera can capture. More detail means better quality and better photos. The higher the megapixels, the larger the photograph that can be produced and still be photo quality.

How many megapixels do you need?

Over the last couple of years as digital cameras have been accepted by the masses and have gone mainstream, the cost of these cameras has gone down considerably. In the past, you had to pay big bucks for anything above 2 megapixels. Today, I wouldn't recommend you buy anything under 4 megapixels if you have any intentions of getting professional prints done from the pictures you take. 4 megapixel cameras allow you to achieve excellent photo quality for any picture size up to 8x10. For most people, this is the largest picture size they would ever get printed.

Is there any downside to lots of megapixels?

High megapixel cameras use up lots of memory. When each picture you take uses lots of memory, it means you fit less pictures on your camera for the same amount of memory. If you have a 3 megapixel camera, you should be able to fit up to 40 pictures on 32mb of RAM. If you have a 6 megapixel camera, for that same 32mb, you'll only be able to fit 20 pictures. Higher megapixels leads to higher storage card costs.

At the end of the day, the more megapixels your camera can do, the more options you have. I would highly recommend you also purchase the largest storage card you can afford to go along with your camera. That way, you're ready for anything life throws at you.

Joe Duchesne is the President of Gotocompare.com a computer hardware information site that provides easy access to device drivers, user manuals and tech support to a wide range of hardware. Reprint this article freely as long as you keep the keyword rich link found in this resource box pointing back to Gotocompare.com.


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