Are More Megapixels Compromising Quality?


Camera manufacturers continue to find ways to squeeze more pixels onto the sensors in our digital cameras. In a recent Cnet article by Stephen Shankland, the question comes up: Is this compromising overall image quality?

The answer varies among experts. Camera manufacturers don't think that more megapixels in the same space hurt image quality. Other folks, such as Dave Etchells from The Imaging Resource thinks there is an overall increase in image noise as a result of the megapixel race.

I tend to take a middle of the road approach here. I see no need to cram 10 megapixels into my compact camera. Six or 7 megapixels are just fine, and I am happy with the image quality I'm getting at the lower ISOs. For my DSLRs however, I want more resolution so I can make big prints. It's a scenario of choosing "the right tool for the job" for me.

But the Cnet report is interesting, and you might want to take a look at it.

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I believe that the myth that more megapixels is better is marketing run amuck. The marketing rogue wave prays on the consumer who does not know better and we all suffer. Five or six megapixels on a 1/2.5 inch sensor is difinitely the sweet spot. Ten megapixels on my D200 is the sweet spot for the APS size sensor. I did not have any complaints with the 6 megapixels on my D70 and I'm looking forward to the 6 megapixels on the D40 I plan on getting. But, I'm waiting on that one for a couple months to see if the body only will be available. I have a Canon SD300 point-and-shoot with 4 megapixels that I like alot and a Canon SD700 with 6 megapixels that I like a lot. I'm thinking of picking up another SD700 just in case I trash my current SD700 so I would not have to buy a ten megapixel point-and-shoot.

I think the SD700 will go down as one of the best compacts Canon built. It is the sweet spot in terms of megapixels, features, size, and image quality. The image stabilization really works, the LCD is beautiful, and it's great having a 4X optical zoom.

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