What Actually Determines the Quality of your Digital Photos?

Do you want to take selfies that will rock your Instagram account or create an avalanche of comments on your Facebook account? I guess you do. We all love nice clear photographs. To take a nice photo, you definitely need a powerful camera – and an equally stunning pose and makeover. The latter is simple, the former isn’t. The question is “what makes a good camera?” Is it the lens, the Megapixels, or the algorithm used to process the image?

Since I like solving irrelevant mysteries by trolling the net, I made me self a mug of coffee, grabbed me favorite laptop and got to work.

Megapixels are overrated

Everybody gawks in awe every time a new flagship smartphone enters the market with an impressive Megapixel count.  This is so since manufacturers have conditioned us into believing that the more the megapixels the better the camera. Here is a perfect analogy I came across during my search:

“Saying 18MP is better than 10 is like comparing two cups of coffee based on the quantity in the cup – and saying the one with more in the cup must be better without actually tasting the coffee.”

However accurate this analogy might be, the importance of the pixel count in a digital camera still reigns supreme. A pixel is a dot that will be an element of the overall picture. The pictures you see are made by joining up multiple dots of different colors and color depth to create an illusion of a continuous image. The more the pixels the finer the image. A finer image shouldn’t necessarily be a better image. The most notable feature of a finer image would be the ability to zoom in on the image without getting to see the individual pixels in the photo.

A picture zoomed to 300PPI (pixels per inch) is good enough. This means that the number of pixels needed to generate a clear image is bound by the device screen size or the range of resolutions you intent to use the image on.

For instance, if you intent to print the image onto an 8×10 piece of paper, you will need (8×300)x(10×300) = 7200000 (7.2) Megapixels. Change the resolution to 10×15 and you will need a bigger MP camera.

Fact: Megapixels determine how clear your images will look when presented on a range of resolutions. Choosing what is good enough to allow your crop image and print quality photos of at least 8×10 inch, a camera of 7MP plus is good enough. You rarely would need an over 10MP camera unless you are a graphics designer or are shooting photos for roadside banners.

Having established that Megapixel count, though important, is not actually the deity we think to be in image quality, the need to know what really matters begs for attention. The three most important factors for image quality are:

Also, make sure to check the article on smartphone camera sensor quality

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