Thursday, April 14, 2005

What Are Megapixles? Why Are They Important?

By Melissa Martinez

The digital camera boom is still in full swing. As the prices come down and make them more affordable, the amount actually being sold will go up. But the market is so flooded these days that it is hard for even a knowledgeable person to keep up and know what exactly is going on. But for a novice, it can be almost impossible.

One of the most important things that a fledgling digital camera buyer should know is about megapixels. Megapixels refer to a measurement of a camera’s resolution. Still confused? This means the clarity of the picture. If you have a camera with a high number of megapixels, not only will your pictures be clearer, but the size can be larger without sacrificing some of that resolution.

In other words, the higher the megapixels, the better-looking your pictures are going to be. This is why a camera with a higher megapixel rating are more expensive- they give you a higher quality of snapshots.

So should you just buy the camera with the highest amount of megapixels and be done with it? Not necessarily. The desired size of the pictures you take does play a roll. For instance- if you wish all your pictures to be 5x7 or smaller, a camera with 2 or 3 megapixels is perfectly OK. This will save you money and ensure that you are not buying a camera with wasted features that you will never use.

If you are looking for a higher-end camera or for pictures that measure up to 8x10, then a camera with a 4 or 5 megapixel rating is more of what you are looking for. The camera focus and picture clarity are still excellent at this rate, even for the larger size pictures.

That brings us to the cameras with the highest megapixel rating. The newest ones on the market are 6,7 and above. These will be pricey, but are well worth the investment if you need pictures bigger than an 8x10 or are using the camera for professional purposes. Some of these cameras have a resolution so good that some people can’t tell them from photos taken with a traditional camera (though a professional photographer would be able to tell).

Sure, megapixels are not the only important feature on a camera. Depending on your planned use, there are other features to look at like lenses, zoom ability, red-eye reduction, etc. But megapixels are definitely something you have to look at and make sure you understand in order to make an informed decision when jumping into the digital camera market.

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