11/10/2011 10:25 am ET | Updated Jan 10, 2012

Photo Tip: Megapixel Madness


The megapixel race has been very well publicized. Every camera manufacturer wanted to be ahead of the pack, for the bigger the pixel count, the better the perceived quality of the camera. This was true at the beginning of the digital age, but today camera manufacturers are also paying more attention to other qualities of the sensor and the number of megapixels is no longer the most important factor in image quality.

Beginner tip:

"Big megapixel" cameras do have an advantage if you want to print your images and display them on your wall or in a book. But they also have their disadvantages: the more megapixels, the more expensive the camera, the higher the computer system requirements, and the more memory cards you have to buy. If you are only ever going to display your images on the computer, you will not need many megapixels at all. Weigh up the pros and cons of megapixels and don't get dragged into the madness if you cannot justify it.

Pro tip:

A major advantage of having a full-frame camera with many pixels is that you can crop a photo severely and still get a good image out of it. This means that you can use shorter lenses and have the subject smaller in the frame. This is especially relevant when photographing action to ensure that the subject remains in the frame.

How you can take a similar image:

  • Lens: Medium telephoto lens (between 85mm and 300mm).

  • Settings: Low ISO (100-200). Medium aperture (f5.6-f11).
  • This image was taken with a 6 megapixel camera. Make sure that the background is far from the subject. An uncluttered background always enhances an image. Use a tripod or other support to prevent camera shake.

    To see more great photography visit HuffPost Exposure.