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MegaPixels- Find Out Optimal Resolution Setting For Your Camera

MegaPixels debate is like a debate of car engines. Is a 4 cylinder good enough? Is a V8 better for you or a V6 engine? There is only one answer to such questions: It depends.

Similarly, for a digital camera, it depends on how you use your photos. Do you print large sized prints on paper or you just view on a 22 inch monitor or a 60 " LED HD TV. It is always not beneficial to take each photo in 24MP if your camera can take 24MP photos. It will fill up your memory card quickly and if you never print a photo in a size bigger than 8x10, there is really no benefit in taking each photo in 24MP Vs taking photos in 6MP mode.

Read this paragraph carefully.
Here is the resolution typically required for various prints or for viewing. If you mostly print photos in 4x6 inch size, a photo printer, or your eyes while viewing the photo, will not benefit from resolution higher than 800x1200 pixels. In MP terms, it is 1MP!!! Maybe you have sharp eyes so you can take photos in 6MP mode LOL.

A 8x10 inch print typically requires 1600x2000 (@200 dpi printing (most stores print at 150 dpi) pixels. This in MP terms is a 3MP. Surprising, isn't it? Most of rarely print photos in 12x18 in size. However as per Costco.com website, you can print this big size photo with 1380x2070 pixels!! That is 3MP!

These days, most of us look at photos posted by our friends on our smart phones. The leader in this segment currently is iPhone 5. Its screen resolution is 1136x640 pixels!!! Did you know that a 1 MP photo is too big for displaying every pixel on iPhone 5???

What about viewing photos on a 1080p HDTV? Well a 1080p HD TV has has 1920x1080 pixels/LEDs whatever you want to call it. In short, a HD TV can not even show a 2MP photo in full resolution! Viewing photos on a 22" LED monitor (1920x1080 pixels) is 2MP. Viewing photos on a 30" LED monitor which has resolution of 2560x1600 pixels doesn't benefit from photos in resolution bigger than 4MP!

Many of our customers send us photos in 16MP or even 20MP for converting them into Passport photos. It takes a bit longer for the customer to upload such a large file compared to a 4MP photo. For us too, downloading such photos takes longer time. Looking at several photos every day, it adds up on our bandwidth. We are not complaining but trying educate everyone about this MegaPixels misunderstanding. Once we download a 4000x5000 pixels photo in a 10MB file, first we crop it and then downsize the image to 800x800 pixels!!! That only helps us process your photos faster but also there is no loss in the quality of the photos printed on paper. A 2x2 inch photo really doesn't benefit from a more than 600x600 size which in MegaPixels world is 360K (Not even 1 MP but one third of a Mega Pixels).

So before you fill up your hard drives or struggle sending more than 2 photos in any email, remember to find out the optimum resolution on your camera. We mostly take photos in 8 to 10MP even though our cameras can take 20MP photos.

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Page updated: August 20, 2020