Understanding Photo Resolution

Resolution is the amount of information, or pixels, that your camera captures. In the photography role, this is measured in megapixels. Your camera sensor is made up of many megapixels. The sensor is a certain number of pixels wide and tall, which will be the resolution of the photos it can capture. One megapixel is one million pixels. A pixel is a tiny square that makes up the light, color and information of your photograph. It is created by the photo lights of your sensor.

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A 24MP camera would produce an image that has roughly 24 million of pixels. It measures the width and the height of its image and multiplies it. So, a 24MP camera, could shoot up to an image size of 6.000 x 4.000 megapixels. The more megapixels there are, the more detail and quality is in your photo. Your image will be the size of your megapixels when using the full resolution, the camera has. As you crop in digitally or if you zoom in when printing, you’ll start to lose those pixels, seeing less and less detail as you crop in or zoom in. The higher your pixels count, the more you will be able to zoom in without losing the quality and the bigger the physical print you can make without seeing the pixels.

12 to 24 MP cameras are pretty much going to be the standard for most cameras today and will be the most photographers really need. Printing a decent size photo or sharing them digitally will still look great within this size resolutions. There comes a point where too many megapixels become a waste of space. If you consider that to make a high-quality 8×10 print, you really only need just over 7MP. If you have 21MP’s, you can take a photo and create a sharp crop of 8×10. An immense number of megapixels is really only needed when the photographer will be cropping greatly or creating large advertise message prints. A fun exercise to help determinate the size of your image is to compare the resolution of your photo with the resolution of your HDTV. Most standard HDTV have a resolution of 1920×1080, meaning 2.073.600 pixels, which is 2.1MP.

Continue to lesson 41: DSLR vs mirrorless cameras