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The Megapixel Myth
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The Megapixel Myth

Its time for you to shop for a new DSLR and the big question on your mind is, "How many megapixels do I need?" Before you get too caught up in this feature, let me explain why it isn't as important as you think.

What is a Megapixel?

A pixel is basically a dot of information on an image. A digital image is made up of a large number of these pixels. When you multiply the vertical pixels by the number of horizontal pixels, you get the megapixels. Make sense? Ok- no more math, I promise!

Measuring MPs

A camera's megapixels has become a measuring stick, much like an automobile's miles per gallon. You would assume that a 15MP camera will produce better images than a 10MP camera. This is not necessarily true. Not all megapixels are created equal.

More Important Than MP

One factor that has a huge impact on your image quality is the lens you use with the camera. I high quality lens will do more for your image quality than a few extra megapixels. After all, the image has to pass through the lens before it even reaches the camera's sensor. If you have a low quality lens, or even a cheap filter on the lens, your image quality will suffer. Keep this in mind when you are setting a budget for a new camera. Sometimes you are better off going with a less expensive body and buying a higher quality lens.

How Much Is Enough?

Just how many megapixels you need is something you will have to answer for yourself. However, you might not need as many as you think. I used a 6MP DSLR for several years and was able to create beautiful 30 inch prints. Honestly, I could have probably gone larger, but I never had the need to do so. By shooting in RAW mode and paying attention to details like exposure and focus, 6MP is plenty of imaging power for most users. Of course, you'd be hard pressed to even find a new camera these days with only 6MP. Heck, the iPhone has an 8MP camera built in! So try not to get caught up in the megapixel count.

Instead, try to focus on things like focus speed, frames per second, exposure accuracy, etc. Read online reviews and see which models are most reliable. This kind of information will be much more valuable to you than the number of megapixels. Remember, great photography ultimately comes down to the photographer - not the camera. If you can save a little money on the camera itself, you'll have a few extra dollars to invest in your photographic education. Now THAT will lead to better images!


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