Are megapixels still the predominant factor in image quality?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by TH55, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. TH55 macrumors 68030

    Nov 5, 2011
    I was extremely disappointed in the 5S still having 8mp. With digital cameras now averaging almost twice as much it's impossible not to be.
  2. user-name-here macrumors 65816

    Aug 31, 2013
    Take a photography class. It will help you understand why megapixels aren't the end-all-be-all for image quality.
  3. Lucille Carter macrumors 65816

    Jul 3, 2013
    Having less crowded pixels will give better low light performance. 8mp is more than enough to print to the web and even do 8x10 photos. Looks like Apple choose quality over quantity.
  4. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040


    Jul 13, 2008
    The amount of light let in and sensor size are the most critical aspects for a quality image.
  5. watchthisspace macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2010
  6. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    TH55, u been here since 2011, for sure you have read a few posts about this subject.
  7. VTECaddict macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2008

    The thought that megapixel is a measure of image quality is a complete fallacy. It gives the general consumer a number to look at and compare when they don't know how else to compare. Why do you think DSLR's don't have the MP count slathered everywhere? Because pros know it doesn't matter.

    My old Nikon D40 DSLR was only 6MP. Pictures from it will no doubt be miles better than any phone or point and shoot that has double or triple the MP. MP only dictates the size of the image file, it's not at all a measure of quality. The only time MP matters if you need to make poster sized prints of things.
  8. zedzded macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2013
    Perth, Australia
    They certainly aren't, but I still think Apple have failed by not having more megapixels, simply because 90% of the Iphone buying population have no idea "why megapixels aren't the end-all-be-all for image quality". They think the more megapixels the better and that's potentially a big chunk of buyers that could be swayed elsewhere e.g the Z1.
  9. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    The MP race is something Android makers started as a means to achieve quality. Example, the 40MP camera on a MS phone. Sure it takes nice close up pics, but might be horrible in low light settings.
  10. Virginaustralia macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2013
    Megapixels were never the biggest factor in image quality. Most people think that because thats what everyday people know about cameras; the megapixels. Samsung makes lots of megapixels so it will make the normal crowd happy but really its behind the iPhone in terms of image quality. You could have a 41MP camera like the Lumia 1020 but if thats all it has then no matter how much detail there is the photo wont look good. (not saying the 1020 has a bad camera its just an example)
  11. Squid7085 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2002
    Charlotte, NC
    Megapixels were a marketing gimmick back in the early days of Digital Cameras. Sure it meant something when we were going from 0.7 MP to 1 MP to 2,3,4 Ect. But once we hit 8-10, unless you print wall sized posters on a regular basis it makes no difference. I think most people seem to understand that these days, I rarely hear people throwing out Megapixel stats. It's like with anything, there are a million factors that make "image quality" but a number and the word "mega" sounds good and looks great on a marketing poster.
  12. Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    Not the most predominant factor unless you are printing poster size photos... It still matters though.
  13. kingalexthe1st macrumors 6502


    Apr 13, 2013
    Pixel count is just one part of the 'image quality' story. Size of the pixels and total sensor size are just as important. Nikon's flagship camera is 24MP, which is a lot, but it's less than some lower range cameras that have 36MP or even the Nokia phone that has 42MP. To say you're disappointed the new iPhone doesn't have more is like saying you're disappointed with a new make of car because the tyres are the same.

    I for one commend Apple on not going down the 'more megapixel means better camera' route, and have instead focused on increased aperture, increased pixel and chip size, and the dual LED for better white balance. I hope it jolts people out of this megapixel myth nonsense.

  14. VFC macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2012
    SE PA.
    Those factors are only most important in low light, non-flash pictures. When taking pictures in daylight, well lit indoor places, or flash; mega pixel count is more important.

    I am not all that excited about the 5S larger sensor; it is still no bigger than a pencil eraser. I am in the market for a new DSLR, and I want a sensor at least an inch in size.
  15. Kissaragi macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2006
    Megapixels have never been the predominant factor in image quality.
  16. dwarnecke11 macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2009
    "Are megapixels still the predominant factor in image quality?"

    They aren't and they never were.
  17. VFC macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2012
    SE PA.
    I guess you have never cropped a picture?

    I purchased one of the first digital cameras on the market (1mp). The picture that justified my purchase was of my son scoring the winning goal in the championship game. I was unable to crop the picture to bring the image focus on the "moment" because the picture became too grainy.

    Later I purchased a 10mp camera and I now have a nice collection of clean, cropped pictures of my son scoring goals in hockey. Nothing beats a close up (cropped) picture of just the goalie and my son with the puck passing by the goalie. You can only do that with a high-pixel-count camera.
  18. gadget123 macrumors 68000

    Apr 17, 2011
    United Kingdom
    Would you rather have an average 12mp camera which is worse in certain conditions than the previous 8mp one or would you rather have an 8mp camera which is maybe the best ever seen on a phone?

    Phones are still way behind digital cameras so for them to make a better 8mp is a good step forward.


    Exactly and for what people use it for people would rather have a decent print to share on Facebook than one you could sit in paint and make into a massive 15 mega pixel poster.

    More mega pixels won't offer anymore detail.
  19. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    I wouldn't go quite that far... pixel count was important in the late 1990's for cameras and slightly later for cellphone cameras.

    Still, these days the optics are usually the determining factor in technical image quality. Much past 6-7MP is a waste for most anyone who isn't a pixel-peeper (a 300ppi 8x10 print is less than 8MP).

    Doesn't stop the marketing folks from focusing on physical specs in lieu of what actually matters.
  20. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    It's similar with pixels on monitors. How many people who are excited about a 4k screen would even know one if they sat in front of one.

    It's easier for a sales guy to quote the number of pixels, rather than learn what the sensor size, processor, aperture actually mean.
    Once cameras get to about 8 megapixels, unless you are either
    A. Printing posters
    B. Cropping half your image away.
    it stopped being that important.
  21. Dun Properly macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2011
    Sensor size, not megapixels, is what matters.
  22. VFC macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2012
    SE PA.
    The 5S camera would need a 500% improvement in light capture (not the 15% improvement over the 5) to take any quality low-light pictures.

    If you look at the pictures you take with phone cameras; > 90% are either outdoors or with flash; where pixel count is more important than the 15% larger sensor on the 5S.

    BTW - I am the photographer for most of my extended family's sporting events. I crop nearly all the photos I take; even those taken with a large zoom lens.
  23. dwarnecke11 macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2009
    Yes, cropping ability is important, but again, I would hardly consider resolution to be the predominant factor in image quality.
  24. zedzded, Sep 12, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2013

    zedzded macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2013
    Perth, Australia
    And does your stereotypical Iphone buyer comprehend that? No. Your average Iphone buyer gauges the quality of a camera on the number of megapixels it has. You see cameras advertised, the megapixels is the spec that gets the most emphasis and looking at it from that angle, Apple have missed a trick. They have over-estimated the average intelligence of the Iphone buyer, they don't give care about dual flash, or sensor size, it's all about megapixels... It's like putting rear diffusers and spoilers on underpowered cars - completely useless, but that's what the idiots want, that's what we'll give em..... strange decision from Apple.. Just go to various 'gadget' websites and look at reviews of various smartphones, the reviewers, who I'm assuming are relatively intelligent people, are over themselves over the Xperia's megapixels and the 40megapixel Nokia etc etc - what hope has your typical Iphone buyer have of being jolted "out of this megapixel myth nonsense". Zero. And that's where Apple have failed. They don't understand their customers anymore, primarily because their customers have changed.
  25. pickaxe macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2012
    Alternatively, they chose profit margins over quality or quantity.

Share This Page