Camera With The Most Mega Pixels

By | 23/11/2022

More oftentimes than not, camera manufacturers marketplace their products with their megapixels.

Indeed, the average digital photographic camera resolution is continually increasing.

You tin notice 20MP sensors in smartphones. With the Sony A7R Iv, you lot tin even have 240MP photos by sensor shifting.

But what does the photographic camera resolution mean to y’all? Do you lot need a high megapixel count? Today, we’ll find out.

a large camera and small camera facing each other

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Why Does Camera Resolution Thing?

Let’s try to see through the marketing slogans. Megapixel and camera resolution take get catchwords.

It’s cool, indeed, that even your telephone is capable of shooting xx-megapixel photos. Only how does that translate to real detail? Not so well.

And more importantly, do you need it?

A very general answer is no; you probably don’t.

There are two applications where you practice need loftier resolution: extensive cropping (digital zooming) and large press. And even in those situations, you demand
detail, not necessarily loftier megapixels.

What Is Pixel Count?

Photographic camera resolution is non equal to pixel count, although they often get mixed up, and used interchangeably. Film also has a resolution – referring to the level of detail it can resolve.

Pixels are the smallest component of a digital camera sensor. They record light. At that place are millions of them – one past one, and they build a coherent prototype.

Their number is of importance, but it does not tell us everything near the resolution of a photographic camera.

Pixel count is in the grade of megapixels. One megapixel (MP) is one million pixels. So, when someone says a camera has a 20MP camera resolution, they refer to the 20 one thousand thousand pixels on its sensor.

Indeed, pixel count poses a limit to how detailed an prototype can be. But in itself, it doesn’t set a minimum level for detail. Information technology doesn’t mean anything until we don’t know other factors.

The only matter that a loftier pixel count surely promises is less moiré.

Calculating Paradigm Size in Pixels

Camera sensors are rectangular. The pixels on them are not scattered randomly – they are in a grid.

The dimensions of the 2 sides are comparable. Their attribute ratio ranges from i:ane (foursquare) to 16:9 in some video-oriented cameras.

The virtually used aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:iii.

For case, my Canon 5D MkIII has a iii:2 aspect ratio. Its sensor measures 5760 pixels on the long side, and 3840 pixels on the short side.

Yous tin multiply the 2 sides to go the full pixel count. 5760 x 3840 is equal to ‭22,118,400‬. (Then, the 5D MkIII has a 22.1MP sensor.)

I can still achieve different attribute ratios, simply only by cropping. That’s also what the camera is doing when I set a different aspect ratio in the menu. Cropping reduces the resolution.

blue pixelated image
Image by hongkha from Pixabay

What Is Photographic camera Resolution?

When nosotros say resolution in the context of cameras, nosotros mean spatial resolution. That is the technically correct term, only it’s probably the first and concluding occasion you lot’ve read it.

Camera resolution tells us the level of detail cameras can provide. In other words, it’s the “ability of the imaging modality to differentiate ii objects” (Wikipedia).

The resolution depends on several factors.

When the recording surface is film, information technology’s determined by:

  • Flick size.
    Manifestly, with a bigger size comes more than detail
  • Grain levels.Lower ISO films generally have less grain and thus provide a cleaner, more detailed image.
  • Lens sharpness.
    However big and noiseless a piece of picture may be, if the camera uses a depression-quality lens, the camera resolution will remain depression.
  • Diffraction.The value of the relative discontinuity (f-stop) limits how small the smallest unit of detail can exist. It is always present, though, to a varying degree.

In the era of digital sensors, this slightly changes to:

  • Pixel pitch.The density of pixels on a sensor. Likewise gives a adequately accurate measurement of pixel size;
  • Sensor size,
  • ISO,
  • Lens sharpness,
  • And

Additionally, external circumstances besides influence the clarity of an image.

  • Focus.
    If the image is misfocused, it won’t be as detailed as it could exist.
  • Camera shake and motion blur.Depending on the shutter speed you choose, movement blur, or fifty-fifty your shake might appear on the photo. It diminishes resolution, especially at telephoto focal lengths and high pixel counts.
  • Atmospheric blur.
    If you photograph a subject from a considerable altitude, the temper itself starts to accept a negative impact on detail. This impact is most noticeable on telephoto shots. Fog, rain, and other weather phenomena too have an result.
  • Condition of equipment.
    Yous might accept the sharpest lens in the globe, but if you don’t keep it clean, it won’t perform at its best. Also, after sudden temperature changes, condensation tends to grade on lenses. It results in a hazy epitome.

Let’southward discuss some of these in item.

Pixel Pitch and Pixel Size

It’s self-evident that smaller pixels demand ameliorate optical quality from a lens.

An 8μm (micrometre) pixel has four times the surface area and twice the pixel pitch of a 4μm pixel.

This means that if the lens is just sharp enough to provide detail for the 8μm pixels, it volition fail to produce enough sharpness for the 4μm pixels.

Now, where can y’all find small-scale pixels?

In two places:

  • Big sensors with very high pixel counts.
    A Canon 5Ds R has a pixel pitch of effectually 4µm. It’s a 51MP full-frame camera.
  • Smaller sensors
    with normal pixel counts.An iPhone XR has a 12MP camera. But its sensor is then small-scale that pixels simply measure 1.3µm. Its pixels are thus nine times smaller than the 5Ds R’southward pixels.

In turn, the Canon 5D (the original one) has a 12MP pixel count on a full-frame sensor. The pixel pitch is 8µm. Its pixels are 36 times bigger than the pixels on the iPhone!

Smaller pixels also mean less light falling onto a unmarried pixel.

Even so, both big and minor pixels need to exist brought up to the same level. Otherwise, the image consisting of modest pixels would exist a lot darker.

This results in more racket because when you brighten an image, you as well burnish its noise.

With smaller pixels, diffraction is as well more pronounced. Information technology starts to take a noticeable effect at low apertures, sometimes already at f/two.8.

Merely what is diffraction?

Understanding Diffraction

It’s difficult to explain diffraction without going very scientific. If you’re an expert in physics – please forgive my simplification.

You lot’re probably familiar with diffraction in water. When you place a bulwark with a small hole in the way of water, the flow bends near the hole. The smaller the pigsty is, the more than bending.

This is what happens with light, besides. At smaller apertures (higher f-stops) diffraction harms sharpness and resolution.

Due to diffraction, at that place is a very measurable, physical limit on resolution. No matter how expert your lens is, it’due south always true. It’s given with this formula:

p = (1.22 λ A) / 2


is the smallest pixel that can receive pixel-level information from the lens.λis the wavelength of incoming light, andAis the f/stop.

Allow’s calculate with the iPhone XR’s camera. We open up the discontinuity all the manner to f/1.8 to become the least amount of diffraction.

The wavelength of visible lite is about 0.5µm.

p = (1.22 * 0.5µm * ane.8) / 2

The resultingp

What this means is that the iPhone XR (with its ane.3µm pixel pitch) is very shut to existence diffraction-limited.

And so, even if the lens is optically perfect, costless of all aberrations, it’s at its peak. Information technology tin can’t accommodate smaller pixels.

Take some other instance.

At f/sixteen, the resulting
pis 7.3µm. This ways that cameras with a pixel pitch effectually this value are only affected by diffraction above f/16.

So, the original 5D with its 8µm pixel pitch only gets diffraction-limited afterwards f/sixteen.

This coincides with my experiences. When I use the old 5D, I tend to go abroad even with f/16 without a subtract in sharpness. On the 5D MkIII and MkIV, it’s more like f/11 and f/9.

Take a expect at this illustration I shot with the Canon 5D MkIV and the Canon 100mm f/2.8L macro lens. Both shots are in perfect focus; the softening is due to diffraction.

animated gif showing the effect of diffraction on resolution
The event of diffraction on resolution

How Does Lens Sharpness Affect Resolution?

So, for diffraction to not pose a threat to prototype resolution, you need to stay at or below f/8 on most cameras.

But wide apertures can as well affect sharpness to the worse – especially on cheaper lenses, just lenses mostly don’t perform the best wide open up.

Please note that here I’thousand only talking nigh sharpness and not other aspects of image aesthetics. Sharpness is an important quality of a lens, but not a master deciding gene, at least for me.

A smashing measurement of lens sharpness are MTF charts. They prove you the resolution of a lens, irrespective of sensor size and pixel count.

Merely you tin can check your lenses just in real-life usage, likewise. In the cease, if they are sharp enough for you, you’re proficient to go.

The upper limit of lens sharpness is pixel-level sharpness. It means that a lens is and then abrupt it can resolve image data to every unmarried pixel, without affecting the neighbouring pixel.

This not only depends on the lens merely also on the pixel pitch of the cameras you apply it on.

My 85mm f/i.8 lens is sharp enough to provide pixel-level sharpness on the 12MP Canon 5D.

Not and then much on the 30MP Catechism 5D MkIV, but it however performs decently there. And I love that lens anyhow.

This too proves that smaller pixels demand more from lenses.

Note that when y’all view both images at the same size (say, on your monitor), yous won’t detect a difference. Y’all will merely meet information technology when you examine them zoomed-in.

What Causes Atmospheric Mistiness?

We all know that when calorie-free passes through glass, information technology refracts. But this is not a supernatural power of drinking glass only.

Light refracts in every substance, including air.

You don’t notice it at brusk distances. It becomes apparent when you lot shoot far-away subjects with a telephoto lens.

Take a await at this photo. I shot it with a 400mm f/2.8 lens (a bit excessive for this task, I know) at f/8. The closest buildings are 5km (3mi) abroad, so everything is in focus. Only observe the departure between the buildings in the foreground and the hills in the groundwork.

The foreground is squeamish and abrupt. Information technology’south close enough not to be significantly affected past atmospheric blur.

The hills are more than three times farther away from the camera. At this distance, the light starts to split. Different wavelengths are differently shifted. This shift causes mistiness.

The softening effect of atmospheric blur. Shot on a 400mm lens, both snippets are in perfect focus
The softening effect of atmospheric blur. Shot on a 400mm lens, both snippets are in perfect focus

How to Achieve the Highest Resolution

Now, I won’t say to go out and buy the highest megapixel camera y’all can notice. Megapixel and pixel count, as I mentioned earlier, hateful nothing without the proper settings and technique to support them.

It’s important to note that very oftentimes your aim is non to capture the absolute highest amount of detail you could theoretically capture.

Photography is not all about sharpness. It’s nearly communicating a story or feeling. Or to please aesthetically.

Notwithstanding, there are applications where you want to highest resolution. It might be that you want to crop information technology later (“digitally zoom in”). Large prints likewise require highly detailed images.

And then, what tin can you practice to achieve the highest resolution with your photography equipment?

Know your lens.Know it’s sharp and weak points. Examine what apertures it performs best at. Check if close-up focusing results in a blurrier image, this is often an issue. Bank check sharpness at different focal lengths throughout the zoom range.

Know your camera.Know the ISO levels that yous tin can dial in without affecting the image besides much.

Shoot at proper shutter speed.
Experiment with shutter speeds at all focal lengths. We all know the inverse focal length rule, but in that location’s more to it. When I photograph people, I tend not to go slower than 1/400s, to freeze motion. (Unless I want a creative motion mistiness consequence.)

Set it up properly.
Fix it to full aspect ratio, and best quality JPG. Or, only set information technology to RAW, so y’all have more choices when mail service-processing. Also, cheque your in-photographic camera sharpening settings. It doesn’t provide more than just emphasizes the existing detail. Oversharpening, yet, can hurt detail in a photo.

Clean your cameras and lens.
Make sure there’s little to no dust in it. If your lens has mucus, get it removed. Clean the sensor.

Bank check your filters.If you’re using filters, be sure that they don’t degrade image quality. Some cheaper filters tend to decrease sharpness.

Focus accurately.Excercise autofocusing, make it behave how you desire information technology. If necessary, make AF micro-adjustments. Be aware of focus shift in your lens and focus accordingly. If you shoot steady subjects on a tripod, utilise transmission focus.

Be aware of external circumstances.Hazy days, although promising a lot for creative photography, don’t assistance sharpness.

Exist enlightened of diffraction.Cheque the pixel pitch on your camera, and try to avert apertures that are affected past diffraction.

Resolution and Cropping

A master reason for shooting high-detail images is the option to ingather in afterwards.

Information technology gives you lot flexibility and creative liberty. You lot can alter your composition, your main subject, your focal point, and communicate something else by cropping.

Notation that “digital zooming” is the same procedure as cropping, but information technology happens in-camera, with no option to afterward reveal cropped out parts. I recommend fugitive the digital zoom. Crop your images during post-processing, instead.

I don’t like shooting with zooms. I appreciate extra lite over versatility. And so, I ofttimes acquit just a 24mm and an 85mm lens when travelling.

Near of the time, I change framing by moving closer with the 24mm. Information technology too gives a perspective that I similar meliorate.

Yet, in the photo below, I had to crop in afterward. I couldn’t go closer. To exist fair, I like both versions equally, just the cropped image places more than attention on the male child, and less on the surroundings.

I could do this because I had plenty of resolution.

street scene taken in Skopje, North-Macedonia, on a Canon 5D MkIII and a 24mm f/1.4 II lens at 1/400s, f/2.
Taken in Skopje, N-Macedonia, on a Canon 5D MkIII and a 24mm f/1.four II lens at 1/400s, f/two.

How to Avoid Pixelation When Upscaling

Upscaling or enlarging small images rarely yields the results you lot’d like. Adobe Photoshop and other editing programs offering algorithms to make upscaled photos less pixelated, simply the outcome is far from precipitous.

However, in the past few years, the options became much more sophisticated. This is due to the ascent and evolution of machine learning algorithms.

Photoshop’s tool has improved significantly, only in that location are spider web-based services for avant-garde upscaling.

Check out this video from PiXimperfect to learn more than about them.

Also, consider the previous points. A photo that is close to pixel-level sharp is easier to upscale than a blurry, softer one.

Resolution and Printing

The other reason for really high-resolution images is printing.

Now, I don’t mean printing at home with the printer that yous apply for printing documents.

I hateful professional person photo printing, magazines, books, and posters.

Printing works similarly to digital imaging. Printers paint tiny dots on the paper – those dots are the smallest unit of measurement of particular in printing.

Digital pixels can be directly translated to dots. And just like pixels, dots also don’t tell you a lot nearly detail.

However, press services enquire for files with specific pixel dimensions. This is because they presume that the files yous submit contain pixel-level data, and are detailed.

During printing, in that location’southward a new unit you lot volition run across: DPI. It stands fordots per inch.

DPI tells you how densely the dots are printed onto the paper. The denser they are, the more detailed the impress tin be.

Magazines, books and smaller prints expect good higher up 300 DPI, more often than not.

Posters, larger prints are made with slightly lower dot densities. This is because there’s often not enough resolution for supplying 300 DPI.

Calculating Print Size

Let’s suppose that you’d similar an eight″ 10 ten″ print size. It’s a standard, medium-sized format.

Just multiply the desired DPI (in this case, 300 DPI) with the length of the sides.

It turns out that for this print, you’ll need to submit an image that is 2400 ten 3000 pixels.

If you lot interpret that to megapixels, information technology’s not a lot: merely 7.2MP.

Now, make a calculation the other way around. If I use the total pixel count on my 22.i megapixel camera, what size can I impress at different densities?

The images are 5760 x 3840. They have an aspect ratio of 3:two. Let’s meet the sizes:

Dots Per Inch

Concluding Size

600 DPI {{column-name-ii}}:” x half-dozen.4″
300 DPI {{column-name-ii}}:
xix” 10 13″
200 DPI {{column-name-2}}:
29″ x 20″
100 DPI {{column-name-ii}}:
58″ x 38″
10 DPI {{column-name-2}}:
14m x 10m

Resolution and Digital Utilise

Digital display of images doesn’t crave a lot of resolution.

The images that you detect on websites are tiny. For instance, on our site, we use images that are 700 pixels on their longer side.

That’southward still plenty for seeing what’southward in the prototype. But information technology’south also small enough to load quickly.

The full resolution of monitors and TVs is not a lot bigger, either. The most popular brandish sizes are HD and FullHD, with 4K gaining more and more than share.

But what are those exactly?

HD refers to 1280 10 720, or 1366 x 768 pixels. These are around 1 megapixel!

FullHD is twice equally large, at 1920 x 1080 pixels. That’s 2 megapixels.

4K is a significant pace, information technology’southward iv times larger than FullHD, at around 3840 x 2160. Information technology’s close to viii megapixels.

Higher resolution displays are rare.

Images on a computer screen
Photo by Designecologist from Pexels


And then, practise you need high resolution?

If you lot do, yous now also know that item and resolution are non all near megapixels. Other technical and human factors contribute to a high-res photograph.

Hopefully, you’re now able to bring the sharpest image out of your camera gear.

Good luck, and thank you for reading ExpertPhotography!