Ah yes, the wonderful mystery of the megapixel. Cameras come in all sizes, and all amounts of megapixels. So how much do you need? Is ‘more’ better? Size does count, but not the way you think. If you are printing just the standard 4×6 inch (10×15 cm), almost all cameras will be fine; the standard is fast becoming about 5mp (megapixels). You can get up to 34mp for about $35,000 if you want it, but do you need it? Probably not. You can print up to an 8×10 inch photo with little or no pixel distortion (depending on the subject of the shot, maybe a little larger).
The question actually comes down to the size of the sensor, not how many megapixels. If you want to print larger than 8×10 you want to consider more pixels, but if you want to print sharper at any size you want to go with a bigger sensor.
In this image you see two representations of sensors. One is for Point & Shoot cameras and the larger is to represent DSLRs.Now they even make what is called a full frame sensor. The full frame sensor is the same size as the old 35mm film negative. The point is that if you project an image on both of the sensors shown, you can imagine that it is going to be reproduced in better detail with a larger sensor simply because it captures more color information. The more information your camera has to work with the sharper the image. So it’s true! Bigger is better!
This is a very simple explanation and overview, but it gives you the idea, no matter what she tells you that size does matter!
In part IV of the series I will get deeper into DSLRs and what to consider when buying a ‘system’.
Until then, Happy Shooting!