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The myth of more megapixels

Peter Rojas

Digital photography might not be so good at preserving the past, but TheTechLounge takes a look at its future, and tackling an increasingly important issue — that these days it's not just about the megapixels:

Don't get me wrong, I find that "8.0 megapixel" stamp on the front of the camera as enticing as any other high-tech craving camera connoisseur. The problem lies not in the number of pixels recorded, but in the quality of those pixels. Now, if I am to make any sort of logical argument that labels these new cameras as having "low-quality" pixels, I must provide a concrete example of "high-quality" pixels for direct comparison. Thus, I introduce into the argument the current crop of digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras. Until recently, these cameras would have been labeled as "professional", but with the introduction of Canon's Digital Rebel and, more recently, Nikon's D70, DSLRs have entered the same price segment as their 8 megapixel prosumer brethren. The DSLRs in this price range are 6 megapixel variants with a sensor size that is approximately the dimensions of an APS film negative (22.7 x 15.1 mm). In contrast, the 2/3" sensor size of the 8mp digicams is dramatically smaller, about the size of the tip of your pinky (8.8 x 6.6 mm). So what! An 8 megapixel outputs a larger, higher resolution image than the 6 megapixel cameras and is therefore superior, right? Wrong. The people that buy into that argument are the same ones that purchase a 2.4ghz Pentium 4 instead of a 2.2ghz Athlon 64. That's right fellow geeks, the "megahertz myth" is quite synonymous with what I shall refer to as the "megapixel myth."

[Via Slashdot]

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