Mega Pixels - Mega Pickle
Often we look at megapixels as the thing to judge a camera by when we go out to make a purchase, however this isn’t the thing to be judging high quality on- bigger/more megapixels does not necessarily mean better!
Mega Pixels Overview
Let’s start from the bottom….In its most basic translation- a megapixel is a unit of graphic/image resolution. A pixel is one dot or area of information that makes up a digital photograph. With today’s camera’s our photos consist of millions (mega) of pixels.
The way this translates is if your camera is a 3.1 MP (megapixel) then you have 3,100,000 pixels in your image.
When it comes to image quality megapixel rating doesn’t matter that much
How do I choose what number of Megapixels I need in an image?
The amount of megapixels you need depends upon the end goal/use of your image as the different sizes of viewing, printing and sharing will all affect the quality of an image if megapixel amounts aren’t complementary.
When buying a camera MP isn’t everything, many cheaper cameras sell themselves with high resolutions however they don’t have the processing power to deal with the size and will slow them down. Big mega pixel rating in a small camera can be a negative, with too much information coming to a small space.
In general anything over 8 megapixels is for the pros.
If not just megapixels what else should I be looking at in terms of camera specs?
Shutter Lag – your shutter speed determines how much light your camera collects in one go. Higher shutter speeds reduce blur and time taken to capture.
The Sensor – much like film this is the area that is exposed to light for the other camera components to record the image. A smaller sensor means quality can be sacrificed.
Zoom Lens – The benefits of a stronger zoom are that you won’t need to magnify your subject post editing which can result in a loss of resolution.
Raw Mode – removal of the compression that jpeg images use, raw mode allows for preservation of the data in images
Manual Focus – ideal for when autofocus isn’t doing the trick.
Storage – capacity for images
Battery Life – make sure your cameras battery makes the cut in terms of keeping up with your length of photography shoots
Shooting Modes – presets are a great tool to have – scene modes, focus options and panoramic settings can make a large difference in your photographic pursuits.
We’re not saying to disregard megapixel rating completely just it’s not the only thing to consider with a new camera… bigger isn’t necessarily better.