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How to Buy a Digital Camera- page 2

Megapixels. It's all about Megapixels. To understand what a megapixel is, you must understand what a pixel is. A pixel is a dot, nothing more than that. With most computers today, that dot can be one of 16 (or so) million colors and the size "depends". The size of the pixel depends on your print out or on the actual resolution (dot-pitch) of your computer monitor. For example, if you are printing out a photo on your printer at 200dpi, then the size of the dot is 1/200th of an inch, at 300 dpi, the dot is about 1/300th of an inch, etc.

Now, how much is enough? If you're going to be emailing a picture, it's best to send a picture that's no bigger than 500-600KB in size. The reason for this is that many email systems will not allow files in excess of 1MB to pass through them. A file that's 3/4 of a Megabyte are relatively large from a display perspective, they're typically 1280x1024 pixels. The image below will help you visualize the difference in the pixel sizes of various sized images:


When you are printing the image, you're going to want just as many pixels as you can get to be able to print at a printer resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch). Please refer to the Print Size Equivalent table when thinking about this. It's very important when taking your pictures to understand what you MAY want to do. If you never blow a picture up to 8x10 then you'll need less megapixels than someone (like me) that will want to print things out at 8x10. For a very good quality 8x10 printout at 300dpi, you need a camera that can take and store at least a 3 megapixel image -- remember more is better for the larger images. If your budget allows, you really should get a 3-4 Megapixel camera just in case you take the photo of a lifetime and you want to frame it for the family room.


  • If you're an electronic only or electronic only and printing of standard 3 1/2 x 5 or 4 x 6 pictures, you should consider a 2MP camera.
  • The greater majority of users will be using their digital camera the way they use a standard point-and-click camera we strongly recommend a 3 Megpixel camera with a 3-4X OPTICAL zoom.
  • Now if you will be printing more pictures out or if you would like to print 5x7s or 8x10s once in a while a 4 Megapixel camera would be better for you. If you are going to be doing art shots or you consider yourself to be a photographer (not just someone that takes pictures) then you really should buy a digital SLR camera with at least a 6 megapixel rating.

We've included a section to help you search for a digital camera or any gadget. To see everything, click here.

All Digital Cameras 2 Megapixel Cameras
3 Megapixel Cameras 4 Megapixel Cameras
5 Megapixel Cameras Over 5 Megapixel Cameras

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