What Is a Good Digital Camera Resolution?

When it comes to cameras, a number of terms are casually bandied about – terms such as pixels, and mega pixels and camera resolution, and so on. To the untutored, this is so much Greek and Latin; terms that basically bounce off the top of the head except to know that the higher mega pixel count is supposed to be better. So, in order to clear the air, we take a look at what a good digital camera resolution is, and what we need in terms of resolution, megapixels and some other factors.

What is camera resolution?

A digital image is made up of pixels – a picture element that is a physical point in a raster image. This is the smallest addressable element and the smallest controllable element of a picture on a screen. The resolution of an image is the clarity or the amount of detail contained in it. The resolution of a camera will determine the quality of the prints you are able to get from the images that it captures.


Simply put, the higher the number of pixels in a camera the better the resolution of the camera is. A camera can have low resolution – 256 x 256 or total 65,000 pixels. In this case the quality of the image in print will be fairly poor. Though if the picture size is small the on the screen image may be acceptable, the image will appear blurry, indistinct and pixilated as soon as the image is enlarged.

What resolution camera should you get?

In a 1 megapixel camera (resolution of 1280 x 960 pixels) the image in screen will be very good, and the quality of postcard size printed photograph will also be good. However a larger printed image is be of a poor quality. A 5 megapixel camera (2569 x 1920 pixels) will produce great prints even of sizes as large as a 20” by 30” poster and a 7 Megapixel camera of resolution 3072 x 2304 will produce prints that are indistinguishable from real photos.

However higher mega pixel cameras have a drawback – they produce a file size that is very large and this makes it difficult to use for web applications. For most web applications even a resolution of 800 x 600 is quite adequate for great looking pictures; and these are moderate sized files which is a plus. So to decide what resolution camera to get, examine your requirements and don’t assume that the higher the megapixel count the better the camera is.