Helpful Digital Terms

How it affects your pictures
Pixels are like dollars. Unless you’re applying for a college loan, the more you have the better. For you, more megapixels means more versatility and more creativity. You can make bigger prints and can crop your pictures more to zoom in on a face, a barn, a boat, or whatever you’d like to enlarge. With a 5- or 6-megapixel camera, you can even crop creatively to make several pictures out of one. And you can effectively use that digital zoom.
How it affects print size
Take pictures with a 4-megapixel or larger camera and you can create inspiring poster prints of your favorite shots. Or zoom way in and crop your pictures and still make 5x7-inch and 8x10-inch prints. But if you take only snapshots, a 2- to 3-megapixel camera should be fine for standard 4x6-inch prints and small enlargements.
What is a megapixel?
A megapixel is one million pixels. A pixel is short for picture element and is the smallest building block in a digital picture. Think of a wall-size mosaic picture made of tiny square tiles. A pixel would be the equivalent of one square. The more pixels or building blocks you have, the bigger you can print a picture—or the more you can crop it and still make an enlarged print.
The same is true for digital pictures. Having more pixels gives you better quality prints. But with more megapixels you can make bigger prints. Or crop your pictures more and still have a good quality print.
What it means
The number of megapixels is the best indicator of how big a print you can make or how much you can crop a picture. With a 3-megapixel camera, you can make prints up to 11 x 14 inches, or crop it in half and still make an 8 x 10 print. With a 6-megapixel camera, you can make poster-size prints—30 x 40 inches—or crop it in quarters and still make an 8 x 10-inch print.
Megapixels  Print size 
11" x 14" (28 x 36 cm) 
20" x 30" (50 x 75 cm) 
20" x 30" (50 x 75 cm) 
30" x 40" (75 x 100 cm) 
Previous Term Previous Term:
Next Term:
Next Term