General Question

keobooks's avatar

Is the difference between a 16mp and 12mp camera really noticeable?

Asked by keobooks (12292 points ) May 10th, 2013

When doing my search for the “best” camera out there, this one camera keeps showing up in the top 1 – 3 listings. But it’s a 12 megapixel camera and all of the other ones listed are 16mp. The camera is NOT cheaper because of this. It has many features I love, including a very sturdy case and 20x optical zoom. But I wonder if I’ll be kicking myself when I look at the pictures and see a difference between 12 and 16 megapixels.

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12 Answers

rojo's avatar

Are the cameras the same brand? Are they good reputable brands? I would go with a good brand and lesser mp’s before getting a cheapy with more.

What are you going to do with the pics? If you are just viewing them on a computer screen then not much difference. Same with small prints. If you are going to go to 8×10’s or larger you would probably be better off with the 16mp.

josie's avatar

It is only an issue when you enlarge the image, or if you are a careless composer and crop a lot.

You want 300 ppi for high print quality, which is 90000 px per square inch.

If you want an 8×10 print that is 80×90000 which is 7.2 MP. There aren’t that many photos worth 8×10 anyway. At 12 MP you are loaded.

Unless you crop. But it is better to compose than to crop.

Pay for lens quality.

uberbatman's avatar

The nice thing about higher MP cameras is that you don’t have to be as exact with your shot. You can later crop out a small area and blow that up without stretching pixels and losing resolution.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Better lens means a better picture. The additional pixels only help in large prints as @josie and the print size for seeing a difference because of pixel count would be 16 X 20 inch. That’s an expensive print.

Inspired_2write's avatar

If your going for the better MP there are newer ones at 20 to 24 MP.
I would like to get some of my photos in Photo Contests but as my friend found out the other day..the MP was not big enough for the magazine to publish it successfully.
He recommended 20 -24 MP If one wanted to get Professional looking pictures good enough
place in popular mags etc.
It then places the photogrpaher to ALWAYS obtain the bigger MP, right?

keobooks's avatar

In my lists of reviews, all of the cameras are well known brands, so that’s not an issue. This list has the Canon Powershot SX260 at #3 with 12 MP and the rest are 16MP.

Gah.. after reading several reviews in detail, they ALL have some sort of Canon Powershot on the top of the charts, but they are each a different one. This is what is confusing the heck out of me. Some people say “get a Canon Power shot!” but there are 8 billion to choose from with specs all over the map. Then they say “get a Nikon Coolpix!” and that model—there are so many distinctive looks and features that they all look totally different to me.

Anyway.. I’ll ask here instead of making a question up. Because I do crop quite a bit, perhaps 16mp is better. But how much zoom do I really need? I mostly take pictures of family members and use the zoom for closeups. Is 20x overkill for this? Will 5x do?

I am a terrible photographer, but I don’t do much with my pics. I almost never print them out at all and when I do, they are 8×10s. I don’t need professional quality. That would be overkill for what I do.

Another question—how can you tell if the megapixel count is “true” and not interpolated? I’d rather have a lower “true” count than a higher interpolated count. Or is this even an issue with digital cameras? I know when buying a cell phone camera, you have to be careful about the claims.

echotech10's avatar

Not at all….I have both and there is no visible difference to me…

rojo's avatar

Years ago when I bought my last camera (OM UZ550) I bought it because it had the longest autozoom available at the time (18X, optical) with additional digital zoom capabilities. I like to be able to take photos unobtrusively (my SLR lens of choice had been a (70–210) and this feature worked great for that purpose. It also gave me greater ability to compose photos before they were shot and reduce my cropping to a minimum. I do not even remember what the digital rating is because I learned real quick that the quality diminishes so fast with the digital zoom that I never use it.
I would choose zoom capabilities over megapixels but that’s just me.

Axemusica's avatar

I’m no photographer by any means, but photoshop and picture editing have been a hobby of mine for many years & never really understood how these high rez camera still couldn’t give me the quality of picture(s) I’d want to edit, until I met the drummer in one of my bands. He’s a very good photographer & fellow picture editor. I asked him one day about how he would about purchasing a camera.
He response went like this, “When buying a camera now’a’days you don’t really need to think about it. Find a camera you like with the options you like, because most cameras today are overpowered compared to yester-years. What you need to spend a lot of money on is the glass.” He then held up his (rather expensive looking) Canon camera. “I paid upwards of $400+ for this camera.” Then he held up his lens (which are much heavier then they look) and said, “I paid over $1,000 for this tube full of glass & this was the best investment I made. So get what you want in a camera & spend all your money on the glass.”

I’m not sure if this was helpful, but judging by the pictures I’ve seen him take I’d say, worry about getting an awesome lens.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Unless you often crop large sections off your photos or make wall sized enlargements, you will hardly ever notice the difference between 20MP and 24MP. I favour great lenses and useful features over small differences in resolution.

mattbrowne's avatar

No, unless you want to print large posters. The quality of the lens is far more important than the mega pixels.

Lucasvu's avatar

In my honest opinion, there is no difference. In fact the high resolution is the smaller the difference. There are other factors too, like sensor and pixel size. A 10mp DSLR will be much better than a Point and shoot 18MP.

In our digital camera buying guide, we talk a bit about sensor. Come check it out

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