Taking a nice picture is more than just the megapixels of your camera

Even though digital cameras have been popular for more than a decade, people are still confused about megapixels and their importance. The term “megapixel” refers to resolution, which means how much digital information is makes up the picture. Digital photos are made of dots or “picture elements” called pixels. Digital cameras use millions of pixels to make an image, hence the term million (or “mega”) pixel. For example, a 5 megapixel camera generates up to 5 million pixels to create a photo. The more pixels created, the larger you can print your image and still have it look sharp.

Do more megapixels mean a better picture? Not necessarily. Other camera features come into play, as well, such as lens quality, the lighting conditions when the picture was taken and even the software in the camera. For example, a smartphone like an iPhone can take perfectly acceptable pictures at 8 megapixels, but a DSLR will probably take better pictures, even if the resolution is set the same. This is because the high-quality lens on an SLR is generally better than a smartphone.

Most digital cameras let you set different resolutions; for example, an 8 megapixel camera can let you choose between 1, 2, 4 or 8 megapixels. Why would you do this? Images can take up a lot of card space, and if you know you aren’t going to make big prints, you probably won’t even notice if you set the camera at 4 megapixels. That’s handy when your taking a long trip.

When printing at MailPix, we’ll tell you if the photo you are using will have high enough resolution for big prints.

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