What are megapixels in the camera and how much of them do you need?

What are megapixels? This is mysterious feature is usually exposed to show in storefront and camera makers always point on the model with more megapixels. So why is it so important and how many megapixels you really need? Let’s figure it out.

The point is that the pixel is the minimum point where an image is formed. If you take any photo and maximize it, then, as a result, you will see just dots that have different colors and shades:

An image is formed out from the pixels. Here you can draw an analogy with a notebook in cage. You can shade the cells in different colors, forming a pattern. It’s according to the same scheme that image in photo is formed.

In order to form a photo with a lot of different details, you need a lot of pixels. Not even just a lot, but very, very much – millions! Hence the prefix “mega” appeared, which in the system of units means one million.

Same as a notebook in cage, a photo can be represented as a grid of horizontal and vertical lines that separate the image into pixels (cells). Accordingly, the image has dimensions – height and width. If the image is formed in the height of 100 pixels (cells), and width of 200, then say that the image has dimensions of 100×200. This parameter is called the image resolution.

The image in camera is formed on the photosensitive element that calls sensor. The sensor entirely justifies its name, since it consists of sensors that are arranged in rows. It means that each sensor is able to record information only about one dot of an image – a pixel. Hence we can see a direct correlation between the resolution of the photo and size of the sensor – the more sensor, the greater resolution of the photo.

For example, modern cameras are able to shoot photos with a resolution of 3000 x 4000.

What does it mean? And it means that in the sensor of such camera the sensors are arranged in rows – 3000 pieces in height and 4000 pieces in length. To calculate the number of sensors, what should I do? Correctly!

3 000 * 4000 = 12 000 000 sensors = 12Mp

Now, I think the situation is cleared up. The more megapixels you have on your camera, the larger image you can get.

Is it important to have many megapixels?

Let’s figure out again. What are you going to do with the photos after? Print? If so, here is a table, from that it will be clear what size the images should be in order to get the best quality photo on the printer:

The size of printed photo, cm Necessary image resolution, pixels Megapixels
6×9 1024×768 0,8
9×12 1600×1200 1,9
10×15 1712×1200 2
13×18 2048×1536 3,1
20×30 2272×1704 3,9

So if you don’t shoot professionally for newspapers, magazines and advertising agencies that need posters a few meters long, then megapixels are absolutely not important to you and any modern camera by their number will be enough for you.

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