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Think of Megapixels in Terms of Cupcakes


Lifehacker has noted that cramming more and more megapixels into consumer-grade digital cameras isn’t really giving everybody better pictures. These days, in fact, cameras with more than seven or eight megapixels per picture are seeing more noise and grit because too much information is passing into too small a sensor. One New York Times writer explains the phenomenon using a cupcake analogy:

megapixel cupcakesThe mechanics of this can be understood by thinking of a digital camera sensor as a flat sheet of material pocked with millions (hence “mega”) of cylindrical, cuplike pixels. In other words, picture the digital sensor as a tiny cupcake tin … Larger pixels (cups, remember), with larger surface areas, capture more photons per second, which in electronics-speak means a stronger signal — and in camera-speak means less noise and cleaner colors.

The article recommends those seeking better shots for less cash not worry about grabbing the latest MP-busting digicam and focus on getting a decent, lower-end DSLR.


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