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What does megapixel really mean?

We typically rate digital cameras by the number of megapixels they have.  A typical conversation is: ” I just got the new Kodak 6 mega pixel camera.”  “Oh yeah, well check out my 10 megapixel Canon digital camera!”

In general, the more megapixels you have, the better the resolution is.  Specifically, a mega pixel, or a million pixels, is a unit of image sensing capacity in a digital camera.  In other words, the larger the print you need, the more megapixels are required.  For instance, a 1.3 megapixel camera is needed for print a good quality 4 x 3 inch print photo at 300 dpi (dots per inch).  But, if you want to print an 8 x 10, you’ll need at least a 4-megapixel camera to produce a crisp print.

This is good to keep in mind because if you simply use your digital camera to print out 4 x 6 photos, getting a 8 or 10-megapixel camera is overkill.  A good 4 or 6-megapixel digital camera will do the trick in producing quality 4 x 6 photos or wallet-sized prints.

So, next time somebody tells you how many megapixels their camera has, just tell them: “Ok, so you can print out large photos.  But, how is the anti-glare, anti-shake, and auto-focus?!”

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