When it comes to digital photography, there are two terms that people often get confused with: megapixels and resolution. The most common misconception about these two terms is that they are interchangeable. But they are not!
If you are new to photography, megapixels and resolution could be tricky topics for you. As a photographer, you should know about them properly because it helps greatly for photography.
In this blog post on megapixels vs. resolution, we’ll cover the differences between these two concepts and how they pertain to digital photography. We will also discuss their importance and required megapixels and resolution for particular tasks. So, let’s go to the main topic.
Difference Between Megapixels and Resolution
Megapixels and resolution are two crucial factors for camera and image. Megapixels determine the capability of a camera. On the other hand, resolution determines the quality of the picture: megapixels and resolution are related to each other. You can call resolution the second name of megapixels.
Although some differences exist between them, let’s talk about these differences in detail.
What are Megapixels?
As I said earlier, megapixels measure how many pixels a camera can capture in an image. For example, if you have a 10 MP camera, it can capture 10 million pixels in an image. One megapixel equals one million pixels.
Unlike resolutions, megapixels are fixed. You can’t upgrade the MP of a camera. If you want to increase megapixels, then you have to buy a new camera.
Modern cameras come with ten or more megapixels. 10 MP is average for modern cameras. If you take a picture with a 10MP camera and want to count its pixel numbers, you can measure it by multiplying the pixels of the image’s height and width.
If you consider a 10MP camera, its height will be around 2592 pixels and width around 388 pixels. By multiplying them, you will get about 10 million pixels or 10MP.
Image sharpness depends on megapixels. Higher megapixels in an image indicate its sharpness. Most modern cameras feature a 10MP sensor. If you consider its pixels count, it won’t exceed 1920*1080 size display. Most modern display comes in this size.
You don’t need to use a higher resolution camera if you don’t have a high-resolution display. Ultimately, you will lose image quality if you view high-resolution images on a low-resolution display. Therefore, A 10MP camera will work for most displays.
As images become sharper, the pixel count in the image will increase. As a result, the image size will increase also. Hence megapixels have a relation to increasing image size.
What is the Resolution?
Resolution measures the details of an image. You can know how much detail an image holds through resolution. It is directly related to megapixels. Resolutions count the number of pixels in a picture.
When you capture an image through your smartphone or DSLR, you can know its details after getting the resolutions. Every single pixel holds certain information in a picture. Hence it means the higher the pixels count, the higher the image resolution.
The resolution count is straightforward. For example, if the image size is 6000×1000 pixels, this image has 6000 pixels in the vertical direction and 1000 pixels in the horizontal direction. If you multiply horizontal and vertical pixels, you will get total pixels called megapixels. In this case, the total megapixels will be 60000000 pixels or 60 MP.
As far as sharpness is concerned, it doesn’t depend on the resolution. Sharpness defines image details’ clarity.
An image can have higher resolutions, but its details could be unclear. On the other hand, a low-quality image could look crisp and clear. Actually, sharpness depends on the image viewing angle, distance, and viewing person.
Importance of Megapixels in Photography
Megapixels alone can’t define image quality. If your camera has higher megapixels, it doesn’t mean it will capture higher quality images than a lower pixels camera. However, megapixels play an important role in image quality.
Let’s say you have a 20MP DSLR camera and a modern 100MP smartphone camera; which one will perform better?
It is a million-dollar question. Smartphone cameras may have higher megapixels, but their lens and sensor size are small. Therefore, you will get more detailed images from a 20MP DSLR camera.
However, megapixels can fill the gap for small size sensors. Now, higher megapixels smartphone cameras can capture detailed images like DSLR.
If you have a higher megapixel camera, its image size will be larger, so it will affect capture time. Moreover, megapixels come in handy when you crop an image. It helps to hold details and clarity after cropping.
Importance of Resolution in Photography
As I said before, resolution is another technical term for megapixels. However, there are some minor differences between them. Image resolution is crucial for daily uses. So, it is always better to take higher-quality images every time.
When you edit an image, it will lose its original resolution. In this case, save the picture in a different format. It will help to retain higher resolution.
When you post an image online, it loses its original resolution. That’s why you should take high-resolution photos.
Resolution plays an important role when you crop an image. If you crop an image, it loses its actual resolution. For this reason, you should take pictures in high resolution if you want to crop or edit them.
In addition, image resolution plays a crucial role in printing. If you want the best result from printing, higher resolution is a must. There are several cameras on the market that produce stunning photographs that would make impressive large prints.
When you buy a camera, the first question that comes to mind is how many megapixels could be perfect for me? The camera’s megapixel requirement depends on users, and it varies from person to person. Let’s find out the answer in detail,
If you are a general user, then a 20MP full-frame camera would be enough for you. This amount of megapixels will give you enough room to try your creativity. You don’t need a higher megapixels camera like a 60MP full-frame one.
On the other hand, if you are a photography enthusiast, a 20MP to 25MP camera would be great for you. This amount of megapixels will allow you to experiment with all kinds of shoots. You won’t feel megapixels’ shortness.
If you are a professional photographer, you will require higher megapixels because you will take pictures for personal use and for clients.
You will need to deliver higher resolution images to your clients for projects like weddings. That’s why you need to ensure that your camera can take higher-resolution images. For professional photographers, cameras with 30MP to 65MP would be great.
What is the required resolution for an image? It is another common question related to photography. It depends on a few facts such as the viewing screen, viewing person, and viewing distance.
If you want to use an image for your computer wallpaper, then modern cameras with 6MP would be enough for you. Do you know why?
The current MacBook Pro’s 16 display is 5.9MP. And it is one of the highest resolution displays in the market. If you take an image with a 6MP camera, it will fit any device.
Moreover, if you want to crop or edit an image extensively, ensure that you take the image in the highest possible resolution.
Frequently Asked Questions
What resolution are 22 megapixels?
Ans: If you consider a full-frame camera, 22 MP means it can capture an image that can hold 22 million pixels.
Do more megapixels mean better photo quality?
Ans: Short answer is yes, and the long answer is no. Higher megapixels will give higher quality images, but image quality depends on other things such as lens size and sensors.
How many megapixels do professional photographers use?
Ans: For professional photography, you can choose a full-frame camera between 20MP to 65MP.
What is the best megapixel for photography?
Ans: It depends on your level of photography. If you are a general photographer, then a 20MP full-frame camera would be great for you. Moreover, if you are a professional photographer, you can choose a higher megapixel camera like 50MP or 60MP.
Megapixels and resolution are connected but there are some differences between them. In this article, we have discussed their differences, the requirement of megapixels, and the resolution for particular needs. Hopefully, you will be able to apply this information to different photography needs.
If I missed any vital information on this topic, please let me know about that by leaving a comment below.