200, 108, 64, 48: Just How Much Do Megapixels Matter?

Xiaomi is ready to bring its new Redmi Note series to the market.There may be multiple variants of the phone but the most talked about is the 200 megapixel primary camera on the back It’s a new entrant dubbed the Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus by .

Now Xiaomi is not the first brand to put a 200 million pixel sensor in its Indian smartphone.

A few months ago, Motorola launched the Edge Ultra 30 with a 200 million pixel main sensor, and recently Infinix also released the Infinix Zero Ultra 5G with a 200 million pixel main camera.

That said, the Redmi Note series is one of the best sellers in the Indian market, so the presence of new features is sure to be a trendsetter. After all, a mid-segment one with a 48-megapixel sensor.

It may not be as popular as the 48, 64, or 108 yet, but 200 million pixel sensors seem to be a trend starting to bud, especially when they’re available at relatively affordable prices.

But while 200 million pixels looks great on the camera’s spec sheet, you have to ask yourself how much difference it can actually make.

megapixel meaning

Smartphone cameras aren’t just about megapixel count. Just as a giant 6,000mAh battery doesn’t guarantee long battery life in a phone, it can’t change the fate of smartphone cameras.

Having good megapixel count in the corner is definitely a plus, but the camera’s capabilities don’t stop there.

The term megapixel has become common these days. But what does that mean in practice? A megapixel is a measure of graphic resolution, and one megapixel equals one million pixels, hence the name “megapixel”. A pixel is the smallest unit of a digital image.

This means that a pixel is the smallest unit of an image. Add many pixels together and you get a complete image. A pixel can be thought of as one small boulder that is part of a larger mountain where all the rocks come together to form a mountain. This is exactly how pixels work when it comes to digital photography.

Collectively, these tiny pixels form megapixels, which make up a digital photograph.

The number of pixels in the image is calculated by multiplying the number of pixels in the horizontal direction by the number of pixels in the vertical direction.

I’ve seen image resolutions like 1,024×768 , which means the image is 1,024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

A 12-megapixel camera typically takes images with a resolution of about 4,000×3,000 pixels.

Are more megapixels better photos?

The more pixels packed into an image, the richer the image detail. All other things being equal, more megapixels can result in better and more detailed images.

Contrary to what most smartphone brands believe, megapixels alone don’t make for great photos. For years, smartphone makers tended to equate a smartphone’s camera capabilities with its megapixel count.

However, if this is true, the iPhone 14 or Google Pixel 6a’s 12-megapixel camera ranks much lower than other phones with cameras with a large number of megapixels. You can get a cell phone with a 48 megapixel camera. Now less than 15,000 yen.

The smartphone with the most megapixels is the camera boss.

But when it comes to smartphone cameras, there’s more to megapixels than just megapixels. I said “all other things being equal” when I mentioned how important megapixels are. .

Sensorship factor for sensational photos

One of the biggest factors is the smartphone camera sensor. This is a key factor in the performance of any camera and often determines the fate of your photographic journey.

The type of sensor that a smartphone has and the size of the sensor plays a big role on which every megapixel in a smartphone camera runs. Sensors are small pieces of hardware that create the images you see on your smartphone.

A simple camera works in three basic steps. Light enters through a lens, the rays are redirected and converge to a point on the surface to create an image. The surface on which this image is created is the sensor.

The sensor is like a canvas on which to paint. The better the sensor quality, the better the image, and the larger the sensor size, the more area it can take advantage of to capture more detail.

This is why many smartphone brands start talking about the type of sensor they have on their smartphone (Sony IMX, Samsung’s Isocell, etc.) and emphasize how good the quality of the images they get from the smartphone is.

Sensor size isn’t as important for smartphone cameras right now as space is limited in smartphones, but some high-end smartphones are starting to talk about sensor size as well. That said, most brands still focus on megapixels because larger numbers like 48, 108 or (now) 200 are easier to understand than he says IMX 766 or 2/3 inch sensor I like to guess

Aside from the sensor and megapixels, other factors such as the smartphone’s software, the camera tuning and processor that runs the smartphone, and optical image stabilization (for stability) all combine to make a smartphone’s camera good or bad. is determined.

Of course, AI plays a bigger role in photography, even when we’re writing articles. Both Apple and Google talk about computational photography.

Megapixels mean more detail, bigger photos, more zoom options

All of this doesn’t mean that megapixels shouldn’t count when considering a smartphone.

Cameras with more megapixels are likely to produce better quality images. For example, a 10-megapixel camera can capture twice as much detail as a 5-megapixel camera. This difference may not be noticeable when viewing the image on a smartphone screen, but it will come to the fore when the image is printed or enlarged.

This is another reason why higher megapixel counts are useful in smartphones. Unlike proper cameras where the lens actually moves and zooms closer to the subject, smartphones typically go for digital zoom.

There are also some smartphones that offer optical zoom, but it’s usually around 2x or 3x at most, and rarely in the mid-segment. With digital zoom, the camera actually crops (cuts) the image and zooms in on the subject instead of moving closer to the subject.

This means that the more you zoom in digitally, the more detail you lose. This is where the higher megapixel count helps. Very roughly speaking, you can crop the majority of a 64-megapixel shot and still get a relatively sharp 12- or 16-megapixel shot. Also, the more megapixels, the bigger the image. Megapixels can make a difference if you want to print huge, poster-sized images.

A large number of megapixels makes the image file heavy. This means that the more megapixels a camera has, the more detail it can capture, requiring a larger processor to process these images and on-board storage to store them.

This is why many brands bring higher megapixel counts to their camera setups, and often tweak camera settings to capture at lower megapixel counts by default. Even the iPhone 14 Pro series with it claims to take 12-megapixel images by default, packing all the details into smaller but richer images.

beyond megapixels

Megapixels are important, but megapixels aren’t the only thing that makes a great image. Rather than ignoring megapixels entirely, consider them in conjunction with other features that impact camera performance. Many megapixels are of little use if you have a low-quality sensor, slow interface, and processor.

While there are plenty of mobile phones with 18-megapixel cameras priced under about Rs 30,000, their performance falls short of some devices with 12-megapixel cameras (iPhone 12 /13/14 or pixel 6a).

So don’t forget to surpass that megapixel count when Xiaomi reveals a snapping 200 megapixel Redmi Note in a few days.

More megapixels in your camera always helps – even the new Pixels and iPhone Pro have megapixel-rich main sensors – but that alone doesn’t guarantee great photos. .

Megapixels are an important part of the photography equation, but they’re only part of the equation. There are other factors as well.