It's clear the market for DSLRs is squarely focused on megapixels (MP). Just a few years ago 1.5 to 3MPs were the rave for amateur shooters entering the digital world. Now the average "point and shoot" carries 10 to 12 MPs. and DSLRs from 10 to 24+MPs.
Before you blow the rent money on the hype, do the research. Ask yourself a few questions:
HOW MANY MPs IS ENOUGH?
Remember the naked human eye has its limitations. After about 3MP the average viewer won't be able to tell the difference between a photo taken by a 8MP or 12MP camera. Professional and commercial photos don't usually have the luxury of slipping under that radar. Images are technically measured and scrutinized for accuracy, size and resolution according to the media in which it will be shown (ie.-web, newspapers, magazines, tv, billboards etc.)
WHY HAVE SO MANY?
If you're concerned about cropping and image size, MP can play a vital part in your decision about how many you'll need. As stated before, the purpose for which your photos are intended can dictate the requirements. Generally speaking , it's always best to get as many as you can afford.
WHAT ARE MEGAPIXELS ANYWAY?
"Pixel" is digital speech for picture elements. The suffix "mega" means millon. Think of them as millions of little building blocks all lined up horizontally and vertically to form the 2 dimensional, rectangular shape of a photo (4x6, 5x7, 8x10 etc.). Deposited in each unique block (or should be) is data pertaining to its contribution to the total picture. The more informational blocks, the clearer, sharper and richer in color a photo can be.

Of course I'm simplifying the process, nothing is ever this easy. There's much more to it than this, but determining your needs and wants is always an important and costly factor in photography.

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Replies to This Discussion

Seems like some companies have stopped pixel race. Latest Nikon D3s(my dream camera body ) has even lower pixel count then my D90. D90 has 12.3 but D3s has 12.1 megapixels. But there is a very big deal...D3s can work at highest ISO 102400 (Hi 3) and 12800 as standard. Right now i get good pictures at ISO 1600 but with this new beast I might be able to get 3000. That is lots of stops. Maybe photography gets boring then ....no more hard work :))))

For concert photography thats deal maker. I can shoot even at lower light. Not sure how it is in other places but over in Estonia we shoot without flash. In any case Nikon already has great low light performance but this situation opens possibilities to get some print quality photos from any basement club.

I have tried very high pixel count D3x but it is far too slow and 24.5 Megapixels would be use in studio work or in nature landscape pictures...nothing for me. So i will dream of D3s ...maybe in one day I will be blessed with it :))

Leon...and everyone else here too.....10 to 12 MP....for most mag, or picture assignments is more than adequate.....for large prints and poster size repro...or really big final print/picture size...or EXTREMELY fine detailworks....shoot film...a 35mm fine grained Fujichrome Velvia transparancey scanned at 4000 to 6000 dpi will give you the results of a 250 mpx image....nuff said...and all the detail and size reproduction yo'd ever need...I've shot 6mpx with my trusty Nikon D1x...remember them...and with carefull resizing and using Qimage had trade show prints done to 20x40 for display at trade show booths for clients....generally the rule is the bigger the image needed...the bigger the negative yuou use....all my best to you all ...always
Ok, some ground has been covered on the subject of megapixels here. We've defined it, Heiti established that it's not the quantity, it's what you need them for and how you use them. But now Bruce C has brought to the fore an interesting and important reminder: for detailed work, shoot film. So before we invest ourselves completely in the digital world, remember, film still plays an vital role (pun) in creating the optimum image.

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