We live in a world where everything is hyped and every hype needs surrounding paraphernalia.

Everywhere around you would listen to great sounding jargons, and the world of photography is no exception, and the biggest jargon thrown around all the time is the mighty Megapixel.

But what is megapixel and Is more always merrier. Let us find it out.

So what is this Megapixel thing?

Every digital camera that you have ever owned contains a sensor to capture an image, these sensors, in turn, are made up of small photosites.

A photosite is nothing but a sensor for every unique pixel. When the sensor is exposed, each little photosite receives light which is translated as colour in your final picture.

The more the number of photosites on camera the better the resolution. A sensor that has 1000000 photosites will, therefore, have a million pixels to capture the detail in form of colour. So if you have a 13-megapixel camera, it means that the image sensor on that camera has 13000000 photosites on it.

All sensors are not made the same. They come in various different sizes. A smartphone sensor obviously is much smaller than one in a DSLR with full frame sensors.

Here arises the million dollar question. Why is it then that you may have a 21-megapixel smartphone camera and an 18 megapixel DSLR but the DSLR still gives you unquestionably better quality images?

This difference is due to the size of photosites on the sensor.

In smartphones, the photosites are tiny while in DSLR their size is much larger.

This size matters a lot when it comes to the quality of the image and your ability to capture photos in low light situations. A bigger photosite is able to capture more information owing to its size. Which can be rendered as more vivid and vibrant colours in the final picture.

So, why are the manufacturers cramming ever more pixels on their sensors?

More megapixels mean large photos. People working in fashion who have the eye for the detail, appreciate the virtue of large images which can capture minute features of the subject in question.

It is also good for people wanting to enlarge their images. One other advantage here is that if you have a camera with high megapixel count you can capture images from a great distance and later zoom in on the intended target without losing much in terms of detail.

But there are obvious disadvantages to cramming more megapixels on small sensors. Let us take an example here, suppose you have a sensor to design, on the same sensor you can cram 13 megapixels or 26 megapixels.

Because the size of the sensor will always remain the same the amount of light it gets exposed to will remain the same. So if you have decided to pack 26 mp on the sensor each photosite will receive only half the amount of light that a photosite on 13 mp would have received.

So each individual pixel will have less information to generate the colour and a lot of image would be lost in translation.

Add to that the fact that 13 mp image will require a lot less storage space compared to the 26mp image.

Today, any decent camera has more than enough megapixels for almost everything that you can think of. So, it can be said with reasonable certainty that once a minimum threshold in terms of photosites is crossed, megapixels tend to become much less important than other factors.

Having too many mp on a sensor may hurt your image more than you may imagine. Most of us like to upload pictures on Instagram, snapchat etc. or print them out.

While printing or uploading the image is compressed in size and this results in random deletion of pixels. Also, large photo sizes mean large upload times and data consumption.

Let us find out how many pixels you need for different needs.

If you are someone who wants prints to hang on the wall. Here is a calculator to now the optimal megapixel number

If you are someone who lives by the web and don’t care much about prints. Megapixel should worry you much less. a decent photo on Twitter is about 0.2 megapixel and a facebook timeline photo is about 0.7 mp.

Below we share our take on appropriate megapixels that photos for different social media outlets would be.

So, the next time a salesman sings the tunes about the magic megapixel number. Tell him to get around the sensor instead.

Till then happy clickin’

Source: Tomsguide

VS Chaithanya Is Vsbytes's Editor-In-Chief. He Is A Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert And Has Been Interested In Computer Hardware, Software, And Gaming Right Since The Time He Was A Child.
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