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Do megapixels matter? How many do you need?

about megapixels in cameras

In short, it depends on you and is entirely subjective. There is no ruleThe more megapixels the better". Although this is something that manufacturers of digital cameras and cameras in phones are constantly trying to impose.

Experienced photographers have long known that megapixels really don't make much of a difference. But people who buy smartphones often take a more sophisticated model, where they drew more megapixels in the camera parameters.

I will express my opinion. I now have a conditional sufficient limit of 24-26 megapixels. I think this is normal resolution. Below I will give arguments FOR and AGAINST a large number of megapixels.

Why don't you need a lot of megapixels in your camera?

  • The vast majority of images are now viewed from the small screens of smartphones, where megapixels do not play a significant role.
  • Even if the photos and print, few people do this in the format of 1 meter by 1 meter or more. And with print formats up to A2, any digital camera can easily handle it.
  • The number of megapixels does not determine the quality of the photo, although some people equate these concepts. Quality comes first lighting.
  • Small matrices, such as in smartphones or wretched micro 4/3, are not capable of producing high resolutions. The numbers that are inflated in the specifications - interpolation and have no real basis. Photos with 64 megapixels on a smartphone are in fact no better than photos at 12 megapixels from the same smartphone.
  • You can achieve a higher resolution by merging panoramas on any camera (relevant for landscape photography).
  • Files with fewer megapixels take up less space and process faster on older computers.

What gives more megapixels in a camera?

Everything depends on the viewer. For people who consume content from smartphones, high-resolution photos really do not make sense. But for owners of normal monitors, there is a difference.

If you have a large enough monitor with good resolution, you will be able to clearly see the difference between 20 megapixels on one camera and 30 or 45 megapixels on the other. And if you open a photo at 12-16MP on the same monitor, then there will be literally nothing to consider there. The difference in detail will be huge.

For people who are serious about photography, I highly recommend have a 27-32 inch monitor with 4K resolution. You will see photos in a completely different way than on devices with a smaller diagonal and FullHD resolution.

I won't go into detail about printing photos. Of course, higher resolution allows for larger prints. But we do not often print canvases on the entire wall. And small and medium-sized photos can be printed from anything.

Higher resolution will allow you to use a full-frame digital camera even in crop mode. This is a relatively new feature. Mirrorless added this functionality.

Also, a higher resolution gives more opportunities for cropping / reframing photos when processing in Lightroom.

But the most important thing is what you are used to and what is the norm for you. I have been shooting for a long time full frame camera with 20 MP and that was enough for me. To this day, there are plenty of professional photographers who have enough of this permission. Then I had Canon r with 30MP and I felt the difference. After R, I no longer wanted to use a 20 megapixel camera. Now I have Canon R5, where even more detail can be seen when approaching. It's great because you like it and that's it.

The practical use of extra megapixels is not as significant as your emotions from looking at a photo.

On medium format cameras like Fujifilm GFX100S more permissions. 100 megapixels cause a WOW effect even after 45 megapixels. The detail is phenomenal.


The question is, where should you stay? Or do you not need to stop and play megapixels indefinitely? It's subjective. As you wish, so be it. But the pictures are prettier or better from bóThere will definitely not be more megapixels.

Related articles: How many megapixels do you need to print photos?