More than just Megapixels

by Larry Emmott on June 16, 2009

in Radiography

Pushing the old adage that more is better, most manufacturers market their newest digital cameras by touting how many more megapixels they have than previous or competing models. By this logic, a 6MP digital camera can’t possibly be as good as one with 7MP, and an 9MP unit has to be better than a 6MP model. Right?

Wrong. Megapixels are a measure of quantity (the amount of data captured), not quality. A digital camera’s image quality is based not on a single component, but on an entire system. True, the heart of the system is the image sensor, with however many megapixels, but that’s only part of the equation of how image quality is achieved.

Some of the other issues that influence image quality are pixel size, chip material, lens quality, and the ADC which converts the light signal to digital.

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{ 1 comment }

jens June 17, 2009 at 3:56 am

this is true but i find myself very often cropping big parts of the image (maybe i should get better in taking pictures without the need to crop?). anyway, when cropping a high resolution image comes in very handy.
it would still be intersting to know what the maximum capacity is a lens can deliver. given the fact that we use fixed length lenses that are optimized for detail instead of bokeh (macros) we should be in the upper third when it comes to resolution, even when taking pictures at f22 instead of the recommended 5,6 – 8,0. i read somewhere about 16 mp somewhere else about 30 mp.

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