What is megapixel and How They Can Affect Photos
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What is megapixel and How They Can Affect Photos

Camera manufacturers are fond of advertising cameras by the number of megapixel they have. But what exactly is a megapixel and how does it affect photos?

Pixels are small squares that are put together like pieces of a puzzle or mosaic to create your photographs. The resolution of your image will be determined in large part by how many of these tiny squares are packed together in a small space.

A megapixel means one million pixels. The resolution of digital cameras and camera phones is often measured in megapixels. For example, a 12-megapixel camera can produce images with 12 million total pixels.

Since pixels are usually square and form a grid, a 1-megapixel camera will produce an image roughly 1200 pixels wide by 900 pixels high.

A high number of megapixels matters most when zooming in or cropping a photo. For example, some phones let users “zoom in” without losing quality, without an optical zoom lens. They do this by simply cropping an 8-megapixel photo from the center of the original 23-megapixel image captured by the camera (for example.)

Photos with more megapixels have more detail, but are larger in file size, and therefore can take longer to transfer or send, and take up more storage space.

Megapixel Means for Your Photos

image megapixel

Simply put, the more information the better. The more information squeezed into an area, the better our eyes blend the edges to create a complete image. If too little information is available, the eye will notice the jagged edges of the pixels where they meet, just as you see the individual squares of mosaic tile designs. The accepted “standard” for printing images is currently 300dpi (dots per inch). While dots per inch aren’t technically the same as pixels per inch, the difference won’t affect you in your day-to-day photo-taking and printing.

A megapixel means one million pixels. The resolution of digital cameras and camera phones is often measured in megapixels. For example, a 12-megapixel camera can produce images with 12 million total pixels.

Since pixels are usually square and form a grid, a 1-megapixel camera will produce an image roughly 1200 pixels wide by 900 pixels high.

A high number of megapixels matters most when zooming in or cropping a photo. For example, some phones let users “zoom in” without losing quality, without an optical zoom lens. They do this by simply cropping an 8-megapixel photo from the center of the original 23-megapixel image captured by the camera (for example.)

Photos with more megapixels have more detail, but are larger in file size, and therefore can take longer to transfer or send, and take up more storage space.

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