The megapixel madness is back long after Nokia Lumia 1020 came out with 41 megapixel image sensor in the year 2013. With cameras still being the most important and unique feature of a smartphone and marketers looking for new buzz words to market their products (dual and triple cameras are passe), the pixel game has been resurrected from the dead. Slew of smartphones have been launched in the last few weeks boasting of 48 megapixel specifications. There is Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and many more would surely follow the trend. However, before you head out to buy a new shining 48MP phone for yourself, lets understand what exactly is a megapixel and do you really need more of them.
Megapixels (MP) or "one million pixels," talks about the detail a camera's sensor can capture. The higher the megapixel count, the more potential detail can be captured within an image. It measures how big a image your camera can take. One thing the megapixel is not - a metric for quality of the image. More pixels just mean that you can stretch the image wider on a canvas without any noticeable distortion.
In 2019, most images we click usually end up on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. These sites compress the files back to a quality that rarely exceeds 2 megapixels. That means that the additional 46 megapixels that you will pay for will never really get seen! Also, when you pack in several pixels in a small smartphone sensor the size of the individual pixels get smaller. In case of a 48MP sensor, the size of each pixel is just 0.8 microns! Unless one implements a proper software solution in the back-end to compensate, it could result in a loss of details and dynamic range, especially in low light. The reason why Google's Pixel camera can click better pictures with only single camera is the image processing algorithm that it uses.
More megapixels are helpful for the photographers who want to print their images to the large format with unbelievable detail reproduction and extreme cropping abilities, for the rest of us a 10 to 12 megapixel camera would be more than enough.
Edited By: Udit Verma