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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.

8 comments… add one
  • XposurePro Photography Community October 31, 2009, 8:23 pm

    Depends on the camera too. You can buy any 10MP point n shoot at best buy today and it won’t even compare to the quality that came out of my old 2MP D1 I had back in the 90’s … of course I paid $6,000 for the body. Megapixels is a feature more for the marketing department and not the photography department.

  • Kirsten Ness October 31, 2009, 8:39 pm

    So true. What camera you suggest… not so expensive but pro? I want a camera that captures little details… Bugs, tiny flowers, etc…. ; ·)P.

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