--if you are a photographer and plan to print 8x10 or larger pictures you should get at the very least a 3.0 mp camera. Other wise the article below is a great guide to how many digital camera pixels you may need.
Digital Camera Pixels How Many Do I Need?
By Marty Rubenski
With the bewildering number of digital cameras on the market, it's increasing difficult to know where to start for your first purchase. One of the major determining factors of the price of a digital camera is the number of pixels. Nowadays, even 5.0 mega pixel cameras are affordable, even for casual snapshots.
But is bigger always better?
Higher mega pixel cameras do have some drawback. The first, and most obvious, is price. A basic 5.0 mega pixel camera currently runs between $200 and $300. A 1.2 mega pixel camera can be had for less than $50. Storage for those large pictures will also cost you more. A 32 MBytes memory card will hold around a hundred 1.2 mega pixel pictures. This drops right down to around 60 pictures for 2.0 mega pixels and to around 40 pictures for a 3.0 mega pixel model. One other consideration, not often mentioned, is that a higher mega pixel camera has to do more work to compress and store images, leading to longer waits between picture shots and viewing.
Before you rush off and spend $300 for a camera, consider what you will be doing with the pictures. Are you viewing them just on your computer? Sending them as email attachments? Printing them on an existing inkjet printer? Having them professionally printed?
The larger number of pixels you use, the larger the file size. An important consideration if you are emailing them as attachments. The following chart shows sample file sizes, typical resolution and maximum print size for different pixel counts stored as high-quality JPEG files:
Pixels - - - File Size - - - Resolution - - - Print Size
1.2 - - - - - 480k - - - - - 1152 x 864 - - - - - 4 x 6 inches
2.0 - - - - - 980k - - - - - 1600 x 1200 - - - - 5 x 7 inches
3.0 - - - - - 1.2M - - - - - 2048 x 1536 - - - - 10 x 8 inches
5.0 - - - - - 2.3M - - - - - 2592 x 1944 - - - - 11 x 14 inches
Most computers will only display the 2.0 mega pixel image (at most) without scrolling, so you may find yourself resizing all your pictures - or not using the maximum resolution of your camera - if you have a 5.0 mega pixel camera.
Only print pictures at 5 x 7, or only view them on a computer? Then a 2 mega pixel may be enough for now. The prices will be lower next year if you want to upgrade later.
Obviously, the higher pixel cameras do have some advantages, especially when it comes to cropping and editing - and you know the salesman will want to sell you the best camera in the store - but I hope this information will help in making an informed decision.
About the Author
Marty is the editor of a number of websites including http://1PhotoProducts.com and http://discountgolfequipment.us
My main concern with the larger mega pixel cameras is, for the non-professional, the massive amounts of memory each and every picture takes on my computer. At around 1 mega-bite per picture for my Sony 3.0 mp digital camera I use a lot of CDs to save my pictures on. So you really should know exactly what you plan to do with your pictures before your purchase. If you want to email some and print some 8x10s you can always go for the higher mp camera and set it as you go for what you need. For example when I put something on Ebay I use the lowest setting. When I took my daughters senior pictures I used 3.0 because I wanted up to 8x10s.
B. Archer -- http://www.A1-Computers.net
Digital Camera Pixels