Choosing a Camera - Page 4
How Many Pixels?
Until recently the quality of a digital camera was measured by how many pixels it boasted. Now we have cameras with tens of millions of them and it has ceased to be the most important test of quality. In the real world the number of pixels you need depends on how big you want to print your pictures. If you mainly want postcard size or A5 then I would consider 6 to 10 million pixels to be perfectly adequate. Even at A4 size I would be hard pushed to tell the difference between my 10 million pixel camera and my 18 million pixel camera. Don’t forget though that your framing in the camera may not always be perfect so you may be enlarging only a portion of the image. Top of the range camera sensors seem to have settled down now (in 2012) at around the 16 to 20 million pixel mark, and maybe we finally have enough of them. The main difference between a pro camera and an amateur camera is that the sensor is bigger and therefore each pixel is bigger but there are roughly the same number of them, the bigger pixels certainly do seem to produce better quality, smoother pictures.
I find the main advantage of having more pixels is being able to shoot at faster ISO settings and still get decent definition. This really helps to freeze the action in sports photography and other kinds of fast moving subjects. You get better definition at all ISO settings of course but, be warned, you need a good quality lens to really see the difference.
However we do sometimes seem to get too hung up on image quality, a fellow photographer once observed that photographers tend to smell pictures rather than look at them, by which he meant that they were more interested in the graininess and sharpness of the print than the actual content of the image itself.
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Other tutorials in this section
A short introduction to the types of cameras available and a discussion on what you need to look out for when buying a camera.
What you need to know when choosing a new lens.
Confused comparing 35mm lens focal lengths to the new DSLRs? This will make it all clear.
What you need to know before you go shopping.
More of a 'why you need a tripod' than a buyers guide, but it does include some tips on buying and using a tripod.