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How many Megapixels do you need for a Good Picture?

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Cameras now these days are judged by the Megapixels they have. If you have a friend who has a phone with more megapixels than his camera is automatically better than yours. No other comparison is required, Right? Wrong!

If we keep all the other things same, megapixels indicates how detail the image is. In general, more megapixels in an image, the more you can crop it and it won’t get distort. But pixels don’t impact the same always, and as they go up in a phone other issues like lens quality becomes important as well and in some case, increasing megapixels can be a limiting problem as well.

So are megapixels overrated or we need to keep adding them?

Every image we click is different from the other. The subject of the image, its composition and lighting are an important factor while megapixels are secondary. Having said this, megapixels affect the image sharpness and the overall quality. It really comes down to how you want your photos to look. And then adjust the pixels with other things like the lens to click an amazing photo.

How many megapixels are needed typically?

Now, this depends on the physical size of your print. Let me show you by calculating it for a general 8 by 10 inch print.

We will start off by multiple the width and height by 300 to convert inches into pixels (1 inch = 300 pixels per inch, this is the standard for good-quality photos). Therefore, an 8 X 10 inch photo would be 2,400 x 3,000 pixels.

The next step is to multiply the width (in pixels) by the height (in pixels). The result for an 8 x 10 inch photo will be 2400 x 3000, which equals to 7.2 million pixels.

Now we have to just divide the above number by a million and you would have the number of megapixels required to take a good quality photo. So in this to get a good photo in the minimum resolution, the camera needs to have 7.2 megapixels.

How will extra megapixels affect a picture?

Well, it wouldn’t impact the quality of your clicks but it will hurt you in other places. For example, you upload your high quality, high megapixel image to a social media or a printer or anywhere else, your overly large image will automatically be downsized to fit in.

In technical terms, the software during the upload process will randomly delete pixels to fit in and this will surely distort your image. They will delete pixels from anywhere which means the pixels in your razor-sharp edge of a leaf might go missing.

Plus these overly large images take a long time to upload or transfer as well. That said, with the increased megapixels in smartphones, the social media are also increasing their typical sizes as well.


All in all, for an 8 X 10-inch photo, the minimum megapixel required for a good picture is 7.2 but if we need a better image we need to improve a lot more than just megapixels.

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