Meta Description: At a time when all the smartphone manufacturers are aiming to capture the market by offering feature-rich phones, megapixels of cameras are a major selling point. Here is a look at what megapixel means in terms of smartphone camera quality.
2020 has just come to a close and the smartphone manufacturers are all set to flood the market with brand new models that are bound to create a buzz. From the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra to the Realme 8 Pro or the Redmi Note 10 Pro, historically, phones that promised to be the best mobile in India have had at least one thing in common: high resolution cameras. And with smartphones gradually replacing digital cameras to become the primary device to take pictures, it is obvious that we find ourselves flooded with phones that brag about quad-rear camera set-ups and high megapixel count. This measure of the all-important camera quality is often communicated in terms of megapixels or MP.
What is a megapixel?
The common belief is that more the megapixels in a camera, the better is the outcome, and hence, the best camera phone must have the most number of megapixels. A pixel is the smallest dot that one sees on the computer or phone screen. The greater the number of pixels, the more detailed is the picture.
Hence, screen resolutions are often expressed in terms of megapixels. But what do megapixels tell one about the camera? To put this in simple words, every camera has a light sensitive area on its sensor called photosite. When light falls on the photosite it generates data about the pixels that later create the image that is captured. As every pixel we see has a corresponding photosite, the efficiency of the photosites is often described by the pixels they produce.
Photosites work as per the amount of light they capture. Hence, it is ideal to have larger photosites that capture more light, which ultimately produce better pictures. The phone cameras with smaller photosites capture less amount of light, and hence fail to produce quality pictures in low light conditions. As a result, higher resolution cameras often produce better low-light images.
Also, megapixels refer to a million pixels. So, an 8MP camera produces an image with eight million pixels, while a 16MP camera produces an image with sixteen million pixels. Hence, it is evident that the cameras with more pixel range produce finer images. These images have their own advantages, as they are more detailed, clearer and do not get pixelated when enlarged.
Are megapixels the final standard to measure camera quality?
If experts are to be believed, then no. Though higher megapixels do ensure much detailed pictures, high resolution cameras also mean there are a huge number of photosites crammed into the fixed area of the camera sensor. This means as the resolution increases, the photosites get smaller, and as a result, their capability to absorb light gets reduced.
This finally impacts the quality of the pixels in a negative way. Hence, higher megapixels have both positive and negative impacts which the best camera phone tends to balance out using techniques like pixel binning.
Thus, megapixels, often touted as the benchmark of good camera phones, are not the last word, though they do provide a good measure of performance.
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