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It's not the megapixels that count

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Sprint Product Ambassador

htc-10-logo.pnghtc-10-global-glacier-silver-black-phone-listing.pngThere has been an arms race over the past several years to pack more pixels into camera imaging sensors than your competitor.  The question is, do you really need more megapixels for good photos?  More photos are being taken every day than at any time in history, and the majority are being taken with smartphones.  Look at the data at Flickr.com; on any given day, the two most used cameras are either iPhones or Galaxies, followed by Canon and Nikon DSLRs.  So, what are all these photos being used for?

In the old days, you printed almost every photo you took unless you used slide film, but you still got something physical back.  Of course, you still have the option of physical prints, but that makes up a really tiny percentage of all the photos taken these days.  Most photos are viewed on phones, tablets and maybe computers, either shared directly or via a social networking app.  Most, (not all), laptops have a screen resolution of about one and half megapixels, and a really high resolution phone with quad HD, like the HTC 10 or LG G5 have a screen resolution of around three and a half megapixels.  Yes, the camera on the HTC 10 is 12 megapixels, but you can never see all of that detail and all of the photo on the screen at once.  That extra detail would come in handy if you were going to make a really giant print, or if you need to crop it like crazy, but generally speaking, most people don't ever need more than a five megapixel camera for what they are using their camera for.  As an example, all the photos uploaded to this page for these blogs have to be reduced to around two megapixels, but you can still see them on your phone or computer just fine.  My point is that while many phones out there today have 16 megapixel cameras or even higher, that extra resolution isn't generally helping you in any way.PSX_20160702_204846.jpg

Consider the HTC 10; it has a 12 megapixel camera, which might sound a bit low compared to other phones these days, but there is a very good reason for reducing the resolution.  You see, in order to cram more pixels on a sensor, you have to make the pixels smaller, which causes two unfortunate side effects.  First of all, a physically smaller pixel gathers less light, and photography at its core is only about light.  Second, in order for a smaller sensor to gather enough light, it either needs more voltage applied to it or it needs to stay powered on longer, both of which cause sensor noise.  Both of these problems are mitigated with the HTC 10.IMAG0092small.jpg

The pixels on the HTC 10 are larger, so they gather light more efficiently and with less noise.  Not only that, low light photos have a bit more detail and better color accuracy than those taken with higher megapixel cameras.

Another feature I appreciate about the HTC 10 is that it uses a native crop factor of four by three.  This is a professional format used by painters and photographers and can allow for really balanced compositions.  You can still shoot at sixteen by nine or even a square format, but you are reducing the resolution to do this, but that's not really a big deal in the real world.

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Disclaimer: The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee