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Digital Cameras - Megapixels Explained

Buying digital cameras based on megapixels

Digital cameras have changed the world of photography in a big way. With a digital camera, you can take high-quality photos, and then immediately print them or instantly send them to someone anywhere in the world via email.

Digital cameras are all the rage. Every store in town is running ads for them and offering great deals on digital cameras in all price ranges. So which digital camera should you buy? One selling for $100? $1000? A digital camera priced somewhere in between?

This article will provide some basic information on megapixels, which is perhaps the most important specification that you need to consider when shopping for a digital camera.

A digital camera's resolution (a measure of how much fine detail the camera can capture) is rated in megapixels. The higher the number of megapixels used by a digital camera, the higher the resolution and the larger prints you can make.

Larger and clearer photos will require a digital camera with a higher megapixel rating. Here are a couple of examples:

  • High-quality 5x7 prints - If you need photos no larger than 5x7, a two megapixel digital camera is ok. A two megapixel camera can produce photos that are made up of approximately 1600x1200 pixels, which is about the size required for a 5x7.
  • High quality 8x10 prints - A three megapixel digital camera is capable of producing images using approximately 2048x1536 pixels, which make a great 8x10.
One thing to consider is that when you take pictures with your digital camera using a higher resolution, you won't be able to take as many pictures as you could by using a lower resolution. Why? Because the higher the resolution, the more memory that is needed to store each photo.

If you plan to use your digital camera mainly for taking 5x7 snapshots, you can get by just fine with a 2 megapixel camera. But if you want the ability to take high quality 8x10 photos, you'll need 3 megapixels or higher. But the fact of the matter is, these days virtually ANY digital camera on the market will come with more than enough megapixels to make great large-sized prints!

Just remember that regardless of the amount of resolution that you decide that you need in your new digital camera, the more memory that comes with the camera the better. More memory means you can take and store more photos, regardless of the resolution used.

It's recommended that you only consider purchasing a digital camera that can accept a supplemental memory card. That way you'll be able to add more memory later if you need to.

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