How Many Megapixels Should I Buy?

Trying to decide how many megapixels to buy can be a difficult decision. Unless you are a professional photographer, you most likely aren't going to know the difference between a 5 megapixel digital camera and a 15 megapixel digital camera. Digital cameras are a major purchase, so you don't want to end up spending more money than you have to. Basically, the more megapixels that a digital camera has, the larger the print size of your images will be. This guideline will go over how many megapixels you should buy depending on the type of photographer that you are.

Casual Photographer

Remember, bigger isn't always better when you are buying digital cameras. If you are only a casual photographer, you are probably going to put most of your photos on your computer so that you can share them with your friends and family. If you are going to print any of your photos, you will most likely be using standard 4 inch by 6 inch paper. For casual photographers, you really don't need a digital camera that has megapixels exceeding 3 or 4 megapixels. If you can afford a digital camera that has more megapixels, then go for it. However, as the number of megapixels increases, so does the print size of your photos, so keep that in mind when you are making your purchase.

Serious Photographer

If you are a serious photographer, then you probably enjoy displaying your photos around your house. For most serious photographers, images with a print size of 4 inches by 6 inches or 5 inches by 7 inches simply aren't good enough. To proudly display your photos, you will probably want to print them on 8 inch by 10 inch paper. To get print sizes of 8 inches by 10 inches, you will be looking at a digital camera that has at least 7.2 megapixels. When you purchase a digital camera that has that many megapixels, buying a memory card for your camera is a must. The more megapixels your camera has, the higher the file size of your images.

Career Photographer

You are going to need a camera that has a good amount of megapixels if you are a career photographer. If you are a career photographer, then you need to be ready to print your photos in the size that your client requests. For career photographers, a digital camera that has at least 28.8 megapixels is a good idea. With 28.8 megapixels, you will be capable of printing photos as large as 16 inches by 20 inches. If you don't want to spend a huge amount of money on a digital camera, you can probably get by with a 13.9 megapixel digital camera. With 13.9 megapixels, your maximum print size will be 11 inches by 14 inches.

Career photographers should have memory cards that have at least 8 gigabytes of storage space because even with a 13.9 megapixel camera, the internal memory of your digital camera won't even be able to hold a singe photo.