The greater the mega pixel, the better the photo quality – Right or wrong?

Mega pixel is a term used to buy and sell the cameras. This term is not only a term but rather a defining feature of digital camera. People say the greater Mega Pixel the better. There 2 main types of camera: Digital SLR and Point-n-shoot. An example of Digital SLR is Canon 60D and point-n-shoot PowerShot A4000 IS. There is one more type of camera which is the Hybrid of DSLR and Point-n-Shoot commonly known as Zoom lens camera such as Nikon COOLPIX L810. All have a few things in common. Most importantly and the most expensive thing is sensor. The other common feature is Mega Pixel.

What is actually mega pixel?

1 Mega pixel is equals to one million pixels. The mega pixel specification on the camera means the amount of pixels of points of light that camera takes to create an image on the sensor.

The higher the mega pixel, the larger the image size that one can get. Having more mega pixel doesn’t mean it will produce better image, in fact, the image can be blown up to a larger size.

What is sensor in camera?

The sensor in a Digital camera is the film on a SLR. This is the retina of a camera where the image is created. The larger the sensor, the better.


Sensor sizes of digital PnS camera and DSLR

Sensor sizes of digital PnS camera and DSLR

When you see above image you will get an idea how small are the sensors of point and shoot camera and smart phone cameras have yet they offer more mega pixel than a basic DSLR in less price. 🙂 The sensor is the key. Imagine 14 million pixels fitted into a 7.6mm sensor of PnS camera and 14 million pixels fitted in 35mm sensor of a DSLR. The small sensor will definitely loose details and on high ISO, the image quality will suffer on these small sized sensor cameras. Mega pixel is an important factor but it should not change ones buying decision. If you are getting a DSLR having 12MP and a PnS having 18MP, you should always choose a DSLR.

Megapixel is more of a marketing term now

If Megapixel is the thing that mattered, Is DSLR Canon EOS 1D MarkIV 16MP equals to PowerShot A4000 16MP? Think before you even think about it

People say wow Nokia has released a 41 Mega pixel camera, can’t be compared to your Point n Shoot camera. Can’t be compared to DSLR. This is something that most people doesn’t understand or people who don’t research. Note that the unit is mm2 and not milimeter.

Smart Phone and Point N Shoot camera sensor size

Smart Phone and Point N Shoot camera sensor size


It is the camera’s sensor size that matter!

Finally, I would like to add that don’t get deceived by the mega pixel factor of any camera. Although it is important but the first factor to consider should be sensor size, so always check the complete specs before buying a DSLR and PnS. Also a 41 mega pixel smart phone camera will give you a large image that can be used for printing, but the detail on each pixel will be low, even lower than a 12  mega pixel DSLR. Check the sensor size in above image.

Sensor size – Different DSLR and PnS



I hope by now you must have a good idea about the mega pixel myth that is surrounding the camera and smart phone camera industry.


Abubaker Siddiq Shekhani

Abubaker Shekhani is an IT Entrepreneur and Full Stack Developer. He is the co-founder and the Developer behind Mytabeeb, a health care solution. He has worked for 5 years in Microsoft Dynamics AX space with Techno-functional role and glad to be one of few Microsoft Dynamics AX developers/consultants in Pakistan. He is TEDx speaker and likes to speak in public. He is an Amateur Astronomer and Astrophotographer. He is the founding member of Karachi Astronomers Society. He can be reached at

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