This term refers to the size of an image, most commonly about a photograph taken with a digital or non-film camera.
A megapixel is equal to one million pixels, and Megapixels are commonly used to describe the resolution of digital cameras and smartphone cameras.
Pixels are tiny squares assembled like puzzle pieces or mosaics to form a digital surface. And on digital screens, these tiny mosaics are in RGB colors (Red, Green, Blue), the standard for digital images and screens in general. Resolution is typically computed by the number of pixels packed into a given area, and a greater pixel count equals a higher resolution. The pixels are then calculated through the megapixel format, which translates to a million pixels. They are measured this way to easily define their classification.
Pixels and the megapixel, which are counted per inch, determine the resolution of digital images.
What does this mean for my digital or smartphone camera?
A 12-megapixel camera, for example, can produce photos with 12 million total pixels per inch (PPI). Correspondingly, an 8-megapixel camera sensor can generate photos with eight million pixels per inch (PPI). The 12MP one has more pixels per inch and thus creates sharper, more vivid images than an 8MP camera sensor. However, image quality is not solely determined by the number of megapixels. Other parameters influencing image quality include color range, light sensitivity, and optimization of details.
Taking high megapixel photos
Using a high megapixel camera to capture a set of images using burst mode gives the camera a much harder time than a low megapixel camera.
All of that memory necessitates a significant amount of processing. As a result, your rate of frames per second may be involved depending on the camera’s quality. Before continuing, your camera may have to stop capturing to load the images. In that case, you might miss the opportunity to capture a special moment.
What does this mean for my photos?
You can zoom in on the details of each blade of grass if you take a high-resolution photo of a lawn. You can also enlarge your photographs and print them as posters. Ten megapixels are required to print on A4 paper, and seventeen megapixels are required for an A3 print. Because high-resolution files are often large, your memory card will fill up faster.
How about transferring and uploading photos?
High-megapixel cameras produce high-megapixel (uncropped) images, and the greater megapixels a digital image possesses, the greater memory it consumes. This eventually leads to more storage – both memory cards and hard drive space.
Your storage drive will fill up quicker, and it will also take a long time to load images and work on them. Although it may only take a quick second or two to load one image with a huge pixel count when you have many photos to edit, each second matters.
For example, many event photographers take hundreds of photos per event.
Assume you have two thousand photos to sort through and process. If it takes only a second to load up the images, that still accumulates to about half an hour total! Just a glance through all of the images taken! Before you can even start culling or processing.
It will take even longer if your personal computer isn’t updated and fast enough. And some computer parts these days cost a fortune, so upgrading your PC might not be an option.
The storage size of an image also affects exporting, transferring, and uploading. As a result, the amount of megapixels affects every step. And you want to be as efficient as you can with your time and resources, right?
Will I take better photos if my gadget has more megapixels?
A camera with many megapixels does not always produce better photos than a camera with fewer megapixels. Only when you print the photos on a larger scale will you notice a difference. Especially websites and social media, automatically compress images to save data. Although higher resolution can also be beneficial for Photoshop post-processing, if you don’t intend to do this, don’t place too much emphasis on the number of megapixels. The size of the image sensor and the lens type will eventually have a greater impact on photo quality.
Don’t base your camera purchase on megapixels. A good camera isn’t just about the image resolution. In the end, image resolution does not immediately mean quality photos. Try to look at the build quality, dynamic range, frame rate, low light capability, ergonomics, menu layout, etc. This might even help you personalize what you need and make the most out of your purchase (whether it is a digital camera or a new phone!).
Having a greater resolution sensor is just one component of improving the quality of your images. While megapixel power appears to bridge the gap between phone cameras and high-end cameras, it’s quite difficult to argue against the value of larger sensors and exceptional optics.
In other words, consider everything else before focusing on the megapixels.