Pixels, Pixels, Pixels, and More Pixels

“Yep”, says the naive customer as he leaves the phone store, “This phone has 49 megapixels, I’ll never need one of them fancy DSLR doohickeys! Hell, it’s even got digital zoom, that’s got to be better than a zoom lens.”

Seems a number of companies making point and shoot cameras and smart phones think this is the way most consumers think. More is always better. Bigger sensor, more pixels, higher ISO settings; anything that can be more or bigger should be. I agree with the manufacturers of these devices. That is the way a lot of people think. And a lot of them keep right on taking mediocre photos.

I’m not going to make an argument here that a full frame sensor is not better than a two-thirds sensor or that more resolution (higher pixel count) is not an advantage sometimes. Having a car that tops out at 250mph is an advantage if you drive to work on the autobahn, but it won’t help you much on most U.S highways.

What I am going to say though is that of all the features you could spend money on, none will carry you as far as a really good lens. A 40 megapixel smart phone is a joke. All those megapixels will only reveal the limits of the lens. If you don’t have a really good lens on your camera, all is is futile. Vanity. Gimmicks to get naive consumers to buy more (bigger) stuff.

Personally I would choose a 10mp camera with a super sharp, prime lens over a full frame sensor, 50mp $5,000 camera with a $300 kit lens any day.

If you think that your camera is going to make you a great photographer because it has more, more, more instead of better optics, you need to start doing some serious research and stop wasting your limited resources on gimmicks. There is not much you can add to new lens models except focal length and lenses have pretty much reached the limit on that. Specs on resolution just aren’t sexy enough to sell product. Big sensors and high megapixel counts are like big breasts, they get people excited.

Invest in glass first, megapixels last. You’ll come out far ahead in the long run.





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