The MEGA PIXEL Myth

Off late, I was in a store to check out the latest mobile range for purchase. What I found was, the first thing that was marketed is the Mega Pixel (MP) of the mobile camera. Well, why not, since the sole point of comparison made by the customers was the same. That hits the question, why everyone is running after MP? What’s the catch? Very interesting it is, but trust me, its just a MYTH.


To start with the topic, let me first explain what is MP. It’s a count of pixels in million, to understand the resolution of a digital camera or a mobile camera. If your mobile phone has 5MP camera, this means, the image which you will shoot will have 5 million pixels. To understand this better, I would request you to open any image in MS Paint and zoom it as much as possible. At one point, you will find, there is no further zooming in, and the screen is showing rectangles of each different colour, aligned side by side. These rectangles and the pixels, and when the display distinguishes these rectangles, we say that the image has pix-elated. So technically, in digital imaging, a pixel, dots, or picture element is a physical point in a raster image, or the smallest addressable element in an all points addressable display device; so it is the smallest controllable element of a picture represented on the screen.


Now, let us take a random comparison. In this discussion, I chose a 6.1MP Pentax Camera and a 12MP Nikon camera to click the same image. The output is as below.




So, with more MP, we find the same image to have little difference in output, yet a huge variation in file size. So, this concludes, with higher MP, you will have images with greater file size, which will eat up a lot of your storage memory. Then, why someone will ever opt for a higher MP? Yes, one does so, only when there is a probable chance or requirement to crop the images. Let us use the same images, crop it and compare the result.


100% crop is for the Pentax, whereas there is only 50% zoom in the Nikon to get similar frame. At this point, you may see some better resolution in Nikon than the Pentax, but not that much different. Now lets give a 100% crop for Nikon and compare.



So, the conclusions are:

· A higher MP Camera gives you a pretty large image and file size

· Higher MP allows you to zoom in and crop the photo, without much detail loss.

· For small prints, high MP are not required.


So, this gives another question in our mind, what MP shall we opt for, or whats the optimum required MP for an image to be printed.



This makes us think. Yes, do think, what is your requirement with the device, rather than randomly believing in numbers. A mobile camera with 16MP camera will take images which will eat up a lot of your storage, however, your requirement is just 3MP to the max. On contrary to this, a Professional Photographer, who shoots for an advertisement consignment, would rather opt to shoot with high MP, so that one single image will have all details to crop from and connect later on, which will ease his job to a larger extent. Moreover, the prints which goes out to large hoardings will have those details needed which is supported by higher MP.


Please note, an image has many aspects. For being it sharp clear and full of details, there are much more to it apart from the MP, for eg: file type, post processing, camera settings, etc. Will take it up in due course of the discussion.

Meanwhile, why don’t you do a short exercise. Check out the MP of all the devices you have with you, which has a camera, and make a list. Then take a similar image to prepare your own comparison, and send it to us across mail. Try out, and we will be happy to review the results for you.


For further information on Mega Pixel in terms of Aspect Ratio, watch the online video

https://studio.youtube.com/video/zb_F7EYbqWU/edit


0 views