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If you are in the market for a new camera, don't be misled by the number of megapixels. More is not necessarily better. I'll explain --

 Megapixels have long been used to be an attractive feature for digital cameras. In fact, just about every camera ad that you see will boast about the number of megapixels that the camera has. This used to be important when we were dealing with 1, 2, or 3-megapixel cameras. Now that we have reached really high levels of megapixels, it is no longer as important as it once was.

A little background may be in order. A pixel is the basic unit of a digital image. You can think of pixels as a cluster of colored dots that combine to form images in a digital camera, on the computer screen, or on a printed page. The camera captures the image, which is made up of pixels, with its image sensor and records it on its internal memory or a memory card. The more megapixels a camera can handle, the greater the amount of information it can record.

This would theoretically mean that a higher pixel count would produce a sharper image, but that is not the case. You see, the megapixels must all fit on the camera's sensor and that is the problem. Camera sensore come in many different sizes. When a lot of pixels are crammed onto a small sensor, the megapixels themselves must be smaller. The size of the sensor also determines how much light the camera can allow in. Pixels can only work if they have enough light. So a sensor crowded with pixels will not allow allow enough light in and the picture will actually be worse than expected.

All of this means that the size of the sensor is just as important as the number of megapixels. Yet, camera manufactures don't mention that. In fact, sometimes it is difficult to find the size of the sensor without some investigation.

The bottom line, is  that if you want a camera that takes good pictures, you should do a little research and don't rely on the number of megapixels that the manufacturer is touting.