Have you noticed that new digital cameras seem to come with an ever increasing number of megapixels? These are the picture elements (pixels) which make up the picture and are a function of the sensor technology within that particular camera. The question is whether bigger is always best. Should you always go for the camera with the most megapixels or is there a case for having a camera with much less than the maximum megapixels?
The arguments in favor of having the maximum number of megapixels you can get are:
1. The picture will have maximum sharpness. The more pixels, the sharper the picture will be.
2. It will be possible to magnify the picture to a bigger size before the pixels become visible to the naked eye. The maximum size this will happen will depend on the number of pixels in the picture. Generally, the greater the number of pixels, the larger the size the photo can be viewed or printed.
3. If you plan to crop the picture and then print it or view it at its original uncropped size, you may need to have lots of pixels otherwise the same effect as in 2 above will come into play.
The arguments against going for the maximum megapixels are:
1. Cameras with the greatest number of megapixels tend to be more expensive and are generally the latest models. Cameras which have been around for a while will become cheaper as they are overtaken by the latest models. Special offers can make them even cheaper still.
2. The more megapixels you have the bigger the file size of the photo. This means that if you have lots of photos, then you will need a lot of disc on your computer if you store all your pictures there. If you display photos in a digital photo frame, then you will be able to show fewer photos if the picture size is bigger. If you normally only print photos without storing them, then the megapixels size doesn’t matter.
3. There is no point paying extra for unnecessary picture quality. If you only ever print or vie photos in normal size then you don’t need to pay extra for higher picture resolution that you neither see nor use.
So, it’s your choice. It all depends on what you use the photos for. If they are just always going to be holiday snaps, then a smaller megapixel rating could be just fine for you. If you are a budding professional photographer or regularly enlarge your pictures to hang on the wall, then you will need as many megapixels as you can get.
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