New Site: SEE Megapixels vs. Print Size


TPF Noob!
Apr 28, 2006
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A recurring question on this and other lists is "I'm buying a digital camera - how many megapixels do I need?" People have offered various advice, but I've just put up a site with a Flash animation that *shows* the effect of various numbers of megapixels on your pictures. You can see it at
That's a good idea, it does strike me though that there's quite a few cameras out there with a considerably more MP than that - perhaps you could take it up to 16 or even maybe 20MP as well?

The problem is that "picture quality" is a subjective term. One person's great photo will look like crap to a picky internet forum junkie ;)

Viewing distance is also a factor. You can print off a 16x24 print from a 2MP camera...and it will look fine, if you view it from the right distance.

Software manipulation can also make a difference, as can image quality which goes along with things like sensor size etc.

Proper technique is also a factor in how your enlargements look. If you use a tripod, remote shutter and mirror lock up...chances are that your enlargement will look better.

I do think it's a good idea, especially for beginners to get a basic idea...but I think there should be more info.
All megapixels are not created equal. Would you expect to get the same image quality from a 6mp point-n-shoot, as a 6mp x1.6 DSLR, or a 6mp full frame DSLR? Is a photo from a 6mp DSLR of lesser quality than a photo from an 8mp point-n-shoot?
I have a pic taken from a 3.2MP point and shoot on A3 hanging on my wall, looks fine quality wise. I've always been of the impression that once you get over around 4MP it's the quality of the rest of the camera that comes into play for P&S cameras. I'm quite used to being wrong though! ;)

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