When it comes to photography, the resolution of the camera has always been an important aspect of the device, and an important selling point. Additionally, the cameras that are installed on smartphones are now being touted as equal to traditional cameras because of the high number of megapixels.

The question that is now at the forefront for many people is how many megapixels are truly needed for a professional photo. There is no single, correct answer, but instead a variety of factors to consider regarding megapixels and image quality.

Size Matters, Or Does It?

If you are professional photographer who is taking pictures that will appear in magazines and on billboards, then the question of having greater or fewer megapixels is relevant. If you are the average photographer or just someone snapping pics on your smartphone, then the number of megapixels isn’t going to matter nearly as much.

Essentially, most people shooting photos, particularly with their smartphone, shouldn’t care about megapixels. There’s simply no way for the human eye to detect the difference in quality between a photo’s megapixel value when the photograph appears on anything smaller than a billboard or other large surface: The difference can only be seen when the photo is blown up to a much larger size.

The Sensor Says It All

The size of the sensor on a camera matters much more than megapixel amount. The sensor on a smartphone camera is small, less than 5 mm, whereas the size of the sensor on a professional camera is much bigger.

If a smartphone camera has a resolution of 20 megapixels with a small sensor, the pixels will be much smaller than the pixels on a DSLR camera that also has a resolution of 20 megapixels. The smaller the pixels, the higher the chance of discoloration and noise. The larger the pixels, the more light they can pick up and the higher image accuracy you will achieve.

The Aperture

The aperture is the part of a professional camera that controls the amount of light that is allowed to enter the iris. Not only does this control the amount of light, but also the depth of the photo, which is the sharpness of both the focus of the shot and what is behind it.

There is no aperture on a smartphone so there is no way to control light and depth in a smartphone photo. There is also no way to control the focus length, and all of these are key aspects of photo quality.


There’s still no right answer to the perfect number of megapixels or a formula to come up with one. Instead, it’s more important to determine what purpose your photo serves and where it is being broadcast: in print, online, etc.

Megapixels do matter, however, when it comes to image file size. More megapixels usually means a larger file. With Magic Picture, you can compress the file while saving the original image quality. Essentially, you can take that 8 MPx image and shrink it to the size of a 1 MPx while maintaining its sharpness. It’s the top choice among professionals for its ability to retain resolution while saving valuable disk space.

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