Are High-Megapixel Cameras Really Better?

Many consumers look at megapixels as a metric to compare and contrast cameras. Manufacturers take advantage of this when marketing their new cameras to lure potential buyers. At one point, there was a time when manufacturers were betting hard on megapixels, causing their counts to rise drastically. On the surface, a higher megapixel count seems good—but is that really the case? Today we have landscape photographer James Popsys to share his experience of owning the 61-megapixel Sony A7RIV camera.

The discussions are based on a set of photo prints and Popsys’s experience with the A7RIV. Generally speaking, he points out, novice users believe that higher megapixel counts automatically translate to better image quality. But is that really the case?

More megapixels translate to greater details, yes. But as Popsys shares in the video, the extra details only make sense if you look very close up. If you compare images taken with two cameras—one with many megapixels and one with far fewer—from a distance, the difference becomes insignificant. If you constantly need to hand over smaller prints to your clients, yes, you’d be better off with a camera having more megapixels.

Like Popsys points out in the video, cropping has to be the biggest advantage of using a higher megapixel camera. Whether you crop to re-compose your image or to get closer to your subject in post, the extra megapixels help a lot.

Also, in his test, he shares that the A7RIV print is cleaner than a A7III print while using the same ISO. This suggests that higher-megapixel prints still appear cleaner.

Besides these advantages, however, there are more hurdles that you will face when working with a higher-megapixel camera. The files are bigger and thus take much more space on your storage devices. And if you’re working on an old setup, it may find it difficult to handle the bigger files. An interesting fact that Popsys shares is regarding stability and sharpness. You need to be very careful when working with higher-megapixel cameras. Even the slightest vibration or shake can have a greater negative effect on a higher-megapixel camera.

If you are looking to get a high-megapixel camera, we highly recommend that you watch the entire video. The insights will definitely help you make an informed decision.

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