What Is a Megapixel?

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A megapixel is a million pixels, which are dots of color that make up the clarity and definition of a photograph. Find a digital camera with a higher level of megapixels for the best pictures with information from a professional photographer in this free video on megapixels.

Part of the Video Series: Digital Camera Technology
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is James Flint I'm a professional photographer and I'm going to take a moment to talk to you about what is a mega pixel. When you're choosing a camera and deciding what camera to buy and figuring out what all you're going to be able to do with your camera, you want to understand the number of mega pixels and what that means. Basically a mega pixel is the amount of pixels that each image is going to possess times a million. So if you have a ten mega pixel camera, it's going to capture images that have up to ten million pixels. That ten million pixels number is converted or calculated by finding the number of horizontal pixels multiplied by the number of vertical pixels. It's important to understand mega pixels because it's going to determine what all you can do with a photograph. If you're looking to just share photographs on a computer or a digital screen, you only need up to two mega pixels. If you want to do just regular prints in like a four by six or a five by seven size, you're going to want o have between a range of two and six mega pixels. And if you're looking to do enlargements eight by ten inches, eight by twelve inches, eleven by seventeen or anything larger then eight by ten, you're going to need more than six mega pixels. And basically what that number is telling you is how many pixels are made up or make up your photograph. And you know the pixels are the little dots of color so obviously, the more little dots of color you have making up your digital image the stronger image you're going to have. So again, more mega pixels is better, but you do need to realize the mega pixels are paired. You know, they're only as strong as the camera and lens they're working with. So don't run out and think you're getting the greatest deal if you find a low price on a camera with a high mega pixel. You need to find a good camera that has a good lens and a healthy amount of mega pixels. So basically mega pixels are going to tell you how many pixels make up your image. And as you know, digital images are composed of pixels. So the more pixels you have the more detail and depth to your photo you're going to have. So you're going to want, if you're going to be doing enlargements or any high quality prints you're going to want a large number of mega pixels.

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