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Busting The Megapixel Myth — How Much Resolution Do You Need For Print?

How many megapixels does your camera have? Mine has about 10 megapixels. But how much of it do you really need for a print? Here’s a small reference table to outline the pixels required to print some common sizes. This assumes that you print them at 200 dpi (dots per inch).

Print Size (in.) Diamension in Pixels Megapixels
3½ x 5 700 x 1000 <1
4 x 6 800 x 1200 1
5 x 7 1000 x 1400 1.5
8 x 10 1600 x 2000 3.2
11 x 14 2200 x 2800 6

So just in case you thought the pictures taken with your old 2 megapixel cameraphone were a waste, don’t give up hope yet. Retouch them to your liking and feel free to press the print button when you are satisfied. And if you want do bookmark this post – those reference tables do come in handy.

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8 comments… add one
  • Kirsten Ness Dec 3, 2009 @ 14:38

    Thanks Nigel. I really love photography and every advice is welcome! O : )

  • John Buck Oct 28, 2011 @ 6:23

    It’s all in the size of your sensor. A full frame sensor absolutely kills other typical smaller sensors available in most point and shoot and many DSLR cameras. Forget the megapixel number. If you can, and desire incredible detail in your enlargements, buy a camera with a full frame sensor. A 12 MP camera with a full frame sensor is a gazillion times better than a 12 MP camera with an APS size sensor.

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