How often have you chosen one camera or phone over another simply because of megapixel count? The fact is - most people agree to the myth that more megapixels in a camera means higher quality photos. So here is the truth...
First, let us understand megapixels:
In fact, what limits the quality of the picture in a camera or phone is the processing power - huge amounts of CPU grunt is required to capture 8,847,360 points of light accurately for 30 times in second (while shooting a 4K 30 fps video).
The biggest factor that goes into shooting great quality images is the size of the sensor. A full frame dSLR camera has a 36 mm x 24 mm sensor size, while the iPhone 5S has a 4.8 mm x 3.6 mm sensor. By reducing the size of the sensor, you are cramming the same number of pixels into a smaller area, hence reducing the quantity of light falling on a pixel. This is the exact reason why a 16 MP full frame camera captures better quality pictures than the 16 MP camera on your phone.
In order to cram so many pixels without distorting the colour of light falling into every ‘pixel’ unit on the sensor, smartphone companies are using newer technologies like Deep Trench Isolation to isolate each pixel from another.
Many companies have even taken to reduce the number of megapixels of the sensor to produce better quality images. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S6 has a 16 MP camera while the Galaxy S7 has only a 12 MP camera. However, the images/video from the S7 is of better quality from that of the S6. Perhaps now you realise why Apple stuck with 8 MP cameras until the iPhone 6 and only expanded it to 12 MP on the iPhone 6S because of the 8.8 MP requirement for capturing 4K video.
The truth is that you will most likely never even view these images in their full resolution. Smartphone screens are usually HD quality (that’s just 2 MP), so the 4K content you are capturing is scaled down to be viewed on your device.
There is no point in choosing a phone or a camera based on the megapixel count, as long as it is a reasonable number. Instead, consider these factors:
And now you know how to purchase a better camera!
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