Enough with the megapixels already


I’m all for camera phones – for a photography nut such as myself, there’s nothing quite as awesome as always having a camera in my pocket – but things are getting a little bit silly now. Earlier this month, Sony Ericsson showed off a prototype of a 12 megapixel camera phone, and apparently the Swedes are planning to have 20 mpx crammed into phones in time for the 2012 olympic games.

So why am I being whiney? Well, just like horsepower isn’t everything on a car (a Mazda MX-5 would trash a 1000 horsepower drag racing car on a twisty race track) and clock frequency isn’t everything on computer processors (a 2 Ghz current-generation processor wipes the floor with a 4Ghz Pentium 4), Megapixels by themselves mean absolutely nothing.  


The first prosumer-grade dSLR – the Canon EOS D30 – only has 3.1 megapixels, but the photos it was capable of taking is a world of difference from even the best current camera phones.

“Three megapixels”, I hear you cry, “That is laughable in a world where you are buried in a deluge of 5- and 6 megapixel chattersticks the second you step into a Carphone For You!”. And you’d be right. Nonetheless, the fact that the D30 takes high-quality glass means that the photos it delivers is sharper than any camera phone (and most compact cameras, for that matter).

What happened to the Old One?
What happened to the Old One? by Photocritic.org on Flickr

The point is that even though it’s possible to take some fantastic photos with a simple camera phone (I recently wrote about the amazing stuff people are doing with the comparatively inferior iPhone camera, for example), the phone manufacturers need to get their priorities straight: Megapixels only affect the size you can show (or print) a photograph. Most of us post our photos on Facebook, Flickr or send them to our mates, so size clearly doesn’t matter – but quality does.

Most photographers would much rather have a 2-megapixel camera with a good lens than a 20 megapixel camera with poor glass at the front.

So Sony Ericsson, LG, Apple, Nokia and the rest of the gang; if you are reading this: give us proper auto-focus, faster and higher-quality lenses, flashes, proper shutters, and the possibility to manually override the automatic exposure.

This article was originally published on FiveFWD.

Do you enjoy a smattering of random photography links? Well, squire, I welcome thee to join me on Twitter -

© Kamps Consulting Ltd. This article is licenced for use on Pixiq only. Please do not reproduce wholly or in part without a license. More info.