How to buy a Digital Camera and Why Megapixel doesn’t matter

For last few years , I have been constantly listening to the same thing all over again , a common concept what generally public has in their mind is “My 10 Megapixel Camera can take better picture than your 3 Megapixel Camera” , Well For these days at least the said sentence is purely a Myth , which I am going to bust after a while. This Digital Camera Buying Guide will help you make choice buy a right camera and what megapixel camera you need to choose.

People are always looking for some magnitude to separate the superior from the rest , While Buying Camera these days “Megapixel” is such a term , I feel worse watching that the Manufacturers even promote this as well , even they know that it doesn’t matter , but hey , they got a business to run , right ?

Canon CameraThese days , Point and Shoot  Cameras have a Limitations known as the MTF (Modulation Transfer Function) , this means that the Optics used in such Compact Cameras tend to blur up the resulting image in many parts , and the distortion differs from one Maker to another , So there is no guarantee that a Higher MP Count  cam will take better picture than a lower MP Count Cam.

So What is this “Megapixel” you say ?

Well , Mega Pixel in simpler terms is “One Million Pixels” , That is each Pixel are just tiny dot of color which makes up a picture. So how we Calculate how much Megapixel a Camera got ? Simple Multiply the Horizontal Pixels with Vertical Pixels.

So an Image with 1632 Width and 1224 Height ( 1632 x 1224 ) will be 1,997,568 , roughly equal to 2 Million Pixels , get It ? That’s how the Megapixels are measured , and as the size of the pixel will stay the same anyhow , this is why Megapixel doesn’t measure the quality of Image and just the Size of the Image(a.k.a The Resolution NOT the Quality) .There you go Myth Busted !!

So Megapixel Count Doesn’t matter at all ?

Well there was a time when it did mattered , few years back when we were getting started with Digital Camera (Compacts) the sensors were fairly smaller,  most were designed to capture an Image max up to the Horizontal Pixel count of 1152 Pixels , now that was low , but after that time , there was seen an Upgrade to Sensor which brought  a MP Count Boast also , at these times , MP Counts Increase did mattered .

But not these days. We are observing Manufacturers claiming to put in more Mega Pixels into their existing Sensors of same size. Below is a chart which shows the size of the Image sensors which are standard these days .

Camera Sensor Chart for MegaPixel

(Image Credit MegaPixel.Net )

So basically the Sensor isn’t increasing but manufacturers are boasting up their Image Dimension , which has no relation to quality at all. After the sensor for such cams stopped growing , the change was hardly noticeable for most of cases , until you make a larger print out of it , which we normally don’t  or even do rarely .

How to Choose a Good Camera then ?

Good Question , First of all Take the “Megapixel” myth out of your mind , as I said above it doesn’t matter these days , but the following things does matter and make a huge difference , these are :

  • Sensor
  • Lens
  • Image Processor
  • Other Components

And what matters most is Your Creativity!!

Things to look into a Camera Before you buy

KGPIf you were earlier dependent on the Megapixel Stuff earlier then you might get confused regarding where to start from while Buying the Cam , here are my two cents :

Feel : Many Fan Boys will tell you to go buy a Canon / Nikon / Sony or whatever they feel is good. I am a Canon and Nikon lover myself , but I got my own Reasons , I would first of all like you to get a feel of the Camera , Ask the dealer to show it to you , hold it , click some picture , see your comfortableness level and how fast you can get yourself ready to click pics with it and easily navigate between menus .

Sensor :The Baap” , Yes It’s the most Important Component in a Camera , Second to Lens (although it’s a bit controversial).  Its the Main thing and the Most Important thing in a Camera , Just like a “Film” / “Negative” was used to record images , sensors do the same for their Digital counterparts , but Sensors are what differentiates between higher end dSLRs and Compact Camera (See the Sensor Chart given above).

See the smaller the Camera is, the Smaller the Sensor is and its ability to record light and details are lowered .Smaller Sensors on Compacts are made more Sensitive to make them able to capture light , which adds up general noise , so larger sensor is better with the ability to capture light and quality of pictures gets improved .

(Smallest Sensor) Webcams  < OR =  Mobile < Compact Digital Cameras < Prosumer / Bridge < Entry Level dSLR / Semi Pro (Cropped Sensor) < Pro Level dSLR (Full Frame) < Medium Format (Largest sensor for general use) , so a single image if clicked by all of them , then the difference will be significant , due to the same difference in Sensor Size .

Lens and Optics : As I Said above , it’s the second most Important thing after sensor , actually both are really important , a Good Sensor with a Bad Optics will produce bad results as a Smaller Sensor coupled with a very good Optics , so both should be good or even balancing each other to get good results outta them.While buying a Compact camera , look for Lens made by either Carl Zeiss, Leica or Leupold , often some manufacturers tie up with them to produce very good quality optics , so you will find such cam a bit rare.

Image Stabilization ( IS/VR/VC) : This might go by many names like Image Stabilization , Vibration Reduction , Vibration Compensation or even more but overall you can understand what its made to do.

Many Cameras these days comes with Image stabilization , as simple as it gets , this feature stabilizes your image even if your hands were shaking (most cases they do like in Low Light Conditions ) while taking a picture ,so  do look for such feature in the camera you buy . Different manufacturers may use different terms , but overall they have the same job.

Also Note a point in your mind that , If you seriously love photography ,  you will notice that these things are just mere tools , just like a Brush for a Painter , these are tools to help you , ultimately its you who makes a difference , It depends on the Photographer mostly, he can use a cam to make a Pic look “WOW” or “Worse” . So Explore and I wish you ‘Happy Clicking’ 🙂

This Guest Post was Written by Kuntal Gupta , a Technology Blogger and newly in love with Photography , If you also love Photography , then Join him at his Facebook fan Page where he shares his Visions , and Explore 🙂