Here’s why camera Mega Pixels are not so important for good pictures

If you hold a smartphone, you have probably taken it out of your pocket and taken several pictures. Quiet often you need to take more than one picture before you get the best one, maybe its the lighting , maybe its the angles or maybe its the phone that just couldn’t get the best shot on the first try.

This must get you thinking, especially about that smartphone camera and the photos you have taken with it over time. Have you been able to get the best shot one the first try? Even when you get a good shot is it as good as that on your friend’s phone? If it isn’t, you wonder whether you are just not cut out for photography because after all the phone camera has lots of mega pixels, right?…Wrong

Just because the box in which your phone came said it has a 24 megapixel camera doesn’t make it a king of photography, How is that you ask, well here’s is how this stuff works.

Smartphone cameras have evolved over the years to become clearer, faster and of higher quality, the images they put out are stunning and close to those that professionals snap with their huge cameras. The magic of these smartphone cameras is not in the camera lenses alone, no, most of the that good image quality comes from software.

Because smartphone cameras are small and the phone manufacturers need to make the phones slim, they use software to create a clean image as compared to the pro cameras that use mirrors and photo sensors to create images. The professional cameras with mirrors and photo sensors don’t need to process an image digitally and it therefore keeps most of its original attributes like color depth. Because the smartphones are small and slim they depend on software to digitally create an image that makes it susceptible to loss of image quality depending on the software, therefore, the images created by the smartphone camera go through a ton of software that processes the picture. If your phone takes a while to present an image on the screen after you take a picture, that’s because the software is at work processing the image. The quality of the image is greatly dependent on the kind of software the camera uses. The more advanced the software, the better the image.

For instance, the Tecno Camon X pro for has a 24 Mega pixel camera but the image it puts out is no where close to that of the LG G4 with a 16 Mega Pixel camera. The difference here is in the software. While the LG has a smaller number of Mega pixels, it has a more advanced image processing software than the Tecno hence creating a clearer, brighter, sharper and in depth picture despite the Tecno having more Mega pixels. As illustrated below.

The image on the left has more color depth in low light while the one on the right has less color depth despite having been taken in a brighter environment light. The difference comes down to advances in software.

So if you are looking to get a camera with pictures in mind, it is important that you spend some more time looking at the manufacturer’s advancements in software for features like the camera and not just going by the megapixel count displayed on the box and brochure.

NB: Do you like explainer articles for How Tech Works? If you would like to see more of such in 2019 let me know in the comments below


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