The Mega Pixel Myth: How Many Are Really Needed

LONDON/EWORLDWIRE/Dec. 12, 2005Major camera makers have succeeded in convincing consumers that for better pictures, cameras need more and more mega pixels. To some degree this is true, but just how many pixels do people really need? In a recent competition prompted by a customer inquiry, Fixerlabs, developers of the acclaimed SizeFixer software for digital photo enlargement, challenged its website visitors to distinguish between four six-Mega Pixel (MP) images. The four images were taken at the same time from the same point, but at four different quality settings using a top-end camera.

These settings were equivalent to a camera with one MP, two MP, three MP and six MP. Analysis of the results indicated that over 75 percent of people could correctly identify the photo which was taken at the one MP setting, but virtually none of the participants could reliably distinguish between the photos taken at the two, three or six MP setting. In this experiment, the results clearly indicate that software can clearly produce high quality results from as little as only two MP. The question asked by a keen amateur photographer which prompted the competition was, "Can I take pictures at the lower quality settings on my camera and use your software to effectively increase the image size back to the highest setting, saving me time and disc space?" Fixerlabs reached the conclusion that beyond two MP, its software can produce the same results as a camera. This finding has important implications for anybody wishing to capture images quickly (as smaller image files can be stored more quickly) or wanting to produce an enlargement from a compact camera or even a mobile phone camera.

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