High Resolution Cameras – Facts & Myths

Anyone who intends to purchase a digital camera may fall for the myth of high resolution. The resolution is the number of mega pixels the camera can produce and it is said that the higher the resolution, the better your photos will turn out like. This is indeed true for certain situations, such as when pictures are printed out on larger size paper. The truth is that for plenty of camera users the advantages of a high resolution camera are close to zero.

Let’s start by understanding what a mega pixel means. Literally, it means one million pixels. A pixel is the tiniest part of a digital picture. If you have an application that you can use to zoom into an image you can really see those pixels – they look like the ‘pixellated’ effect you’ve seen on TV which hides people’s faces. Each digital image, including your PC screen, is a rectangular made of pixels: the larger it is, the more pixels it has. You can find out how many pixels your monitor has in the display settings. For example, a 1024 (horizontal) x 768 (vertical) screen has 1024×768 pixels, meaning 786,432. This means a little less than 0.8 mega pixels. So if you look at an image with a higher resolution, the rest of the pixels just don’t fit your screen and they are lost. You have to remember that you can never see more pixels than the screen can display. A 10 mega pixel image would be much resized to fit the computer screen and the remaining pixels would be lost. If your computer didn’t do that, you could only see a small section of the picture and would have to scroll up and down to see the rest. When an image is zoomed out, the number of pixels is decreased. Viewed on the computer screen, an image which only has 0.8MP and needs no zooming out has the exact same level of detail with one of 12MP which has been zoomed out. To see for yourself, open two images of small and high resolution on your computer screen and see how they look like.

Many people never print their digital photos. They share them with friends and then store them on the computer to view them later. Most cameras found on the market nowadays are over 4MP, which is more than enough for your computer screen. If you buy a 12MP camera and only view the photos on the computer, the extra pixels are just lost. Moreover, higher resolution images take up more space on the memory card so you can hold fewer pictures. Not to mention the hassle to resize them when posting them on a website or sending them by e-mail. However, if you have a high resolution camera, you can adjust its resolution settings to take most of the pictures at lower resolution.The settings are either numbers or high, medium or low levels. If you choose a low resolution, you will be able to view your photos easier and upload them faster.