Megapixels

What are megapixels?

Megapixels - frequently shortened to ‘MP’ - are a quantitative measurement unit. One megapixel is one million pixels. For example, a 12-megapixel camera can produce images with 12 million pixels.

The centre of your camera contains an image sensor, and this sensor has an array of pixels. The pixels act a little like buckets that collect light. Generally, the higher the number of megapixels, the better quality the image. The more information is squeezed into your camera's sensor, the better our eyes 'blend' the edges of the pixels to create a seamless image. Cameras with a low megapixel count will produce lower-quality images - your eye will notice the jagged edges of the pixels where they meet, just as you see the individual squares of a mosaic.

However, just because a phone has a camera with a high megapixel count, that doesn’t mean its photos will be superior. Camera quality factors also include image sensor design, optics, engineering and firmware.

Phones with rear cameras with a high megapixel count include:

The example below shows how pixels can make a difference - the image on the left is 60x30 pixels and the image on the right is 120x60 pixels. As the image on the right has more pixels, the image is clearer and sharper.

 

Side by side comparison of two images to show a difference in pixels

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