How to choose the right camera for your budget!

When you shop for a new camera, what is the deal breaker for you? Is it the colour of the camera; the brand; the resolution (mega pixels) or will it be the price? In this [multi] part series, we will examine 10 different important aspects in choosing the right camera for you!

Part 1 : [mega pixels / image resolution]

Do you choose their camera based on the amount of megapixels that is advertised on the camera? Many believed that the more megapixels has, the better the quality of the pictures taken – well, that is not quite true. The number of megapixels is only one aspect relating to the quality of a camera, or the actual quality of a photo it is capable of producing. Factors such as camera sensor (CCD or CMOS) and the optical quality of a lens play equally important roles.

Besides the sensor and lens, 4 other most common elements that determine the quality of photos and prints are:

Good lighting of a subject

Proper focus

Image clarity (image is sharp without blur that is often due to camera shake or incorrect shutter speed)

Shooting at the highest resolution and quality camera setting

If you buy a digital camera with too few megapixels for your printing and editing needs, resulting prints will become degraded (fuzzy, or pixelated).  The same will also happen if you enlarge a low resolution photo into a larger print, or a digital image that is cropped too much.

When buying a camera, do not let a salesperson push you to buy a digital camera simply because of its high megapixel count. We have provided the chart below for you to decide the number of megapixels you need. Besides, buying a camera with an average megapixel count can save you money.

Before purchasing, keep the following in mind:

the maximum print size you plan to make

if you do a significant amount of cropping when editing

Finally, remember to set your camera to it’s highest megapixel and quality settings if you print large photos and want to maintain fine detail. These days memory card are relatively cheap and there are no excuses for not using the maximum quality setting because your “memory card [size] is too small!”

Here are my recommendation for choosing the right megapixels sizes for quality prints (when printing at a photo-centre, not inkjet printer):

MP Will give you GOOD quality prints at: Will give you BETTER quality prints at: Will give you BEST quality prints at:
1 MP 5″ x 7″ (12 cm x 18 cm) 4″ x 6″ (10 x 15 cm) Wallet
2 MP 8″ x 10″ (20 cm x 25 cm) 5″ x 7″ (12 x 18 cm) 4″ x 6″ (10 x 15 cm)
3 MP 8″ x 10″ (20 cm x 25 cm) 8″ x 10″ (20 cm x 25 cm) 5″ x 7″ (12 x 18 cm)
4 MP 11″ x 14″ (28 cm x 36 cm) 8″ x 10″ (20 cm x 25 cm) 5″ x 7″ (12 x 18 cm)
5 MP 11″ x 14″ (28 cm x 36 cm) 11″ x 14″ (28 cm x 36 cm) 5″ x 7″ (12 x 18 cm)
6-7 MP 16″ x 20″ (41 cm x 51 cm) 11″ x 14″ (28 cm x 36 cm) 8″ x 10″ (20 cm x 25 cm)
8 MP 17″ x 22″ (43 cm x 56 cm) 16″ x 20″ (41 cm x 51 cm) 8″ x 10″ (20 cm x 25 cm)
10 MP 20″ x 30″ (51 cm x 76 cm) 17″ x 22″ (43 cm x 56 cm) 11″ x 14″ (28 cm x 36 cm)
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