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You've probably heard that more pixels means better pictures. And this is true... up to a point. Like so many other measures, a digital camera's resolution is only part of the story. So let's demystify the megapixel myth.
First, you should understand that more pixels is only half the story. The other half is pixel size. You see, smaller pixels tend to produce more digital "noise" - those annoying artifacts that degrade the quality of a digital photo. Some camera models increase resolution simply by cramming more (smaller) pixels into the same space... while others increase resolution through the use of larger sensors.
So, if you're looking for a 10 MP camera, your choices would include the Nikon Coolpix P80, the Olympus SP570 UZ, the Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ50 and the Casio Exilim EX-Z1000. Any one of them could be a good choice, depending on your needs.
But, though they're all rated at approximately 10 MP, the Nikon and Olympus have larger sensors (1/2.33 inches, vs. 1/1.8 inches on the Panasonic and Casio). The larger sensors on the Nikon and Olympus mean larger individual pixels... and less likelihood of digital "noise" being a problem in any of your shots.
So when you're shopping for a camera, be aware that - in some cases, at least - higher resolution doesn't necessarily mean better quality pictures.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|