How to choose the best camera phone: sensor size vs megapixels

How to choose the best camera phone: sensor size vs megapixels

If you’re on the lookout for a new mobile phone, an excellent camera might be excessive in your checklist of important options. But how are you aware if the camera on a phone is nice or simply good? As some phones and cameras are marketed, you’ll assume that the more megapixels they’ve, the higher the camera, however, megapixels will not be the best approach to charge a smartphone camera. Megapixels is usually a helpful differentiator between completely different fashions, however, there are different camera-quality indicators to contemplate when selecting your subsequent smartphone.

You may have a look at the vary of smartphones and ask your self, “Is a 12-megapixel camera good enough? What is the camera with the highest megapixel camera “or it’s possible you’ll be questioning” How many megapixels do I need for a good photo “. In this article, we are going to strive to reply these questions and clarify why it’s not the megapixel depend that issues, however, how massive these pixels are.

What are megapixels?

A megapixel (MP) equals a million pixels (more or much less, it is really 1,048,576 pixels).

The phrase pixel consists of the phrases picture and aspect. Each pixel captures gentle and converts it into files. The pixel files is then mixed to recreate the picture.

You would assume which means the more pixels accessible, the more detailed the picture, however, not essentially.

The files collected consists of each good and unhealthy info. The unhealthy info is what we name “noise”, that grainy, low coloration, saturated look.

An 8 megapixel camera captures 8 million pixels and a 12 megapixel camera captures 12 million pixels.

Most phone cameras at present supply 12 MP. However, there are a couple of exceptions, as we’ll focus on in our highest megapixel camera phone part beneath.

Is it higher to have more megapixels?

Do more megapixels imply higher picture high quality? Not mandatory. If you evaluate an 8MP camera phone to a 12MP camera phone, it’s fairly potential that the images you may take with the 12MP mannequin can be higher, however, they may be worse if the sensor is the identical size. If each phones have the identical size sensor, the pixels on the 12 MP phone have to be smaller to match.

The downside right here is that smaller pixels are more affected by noise. This is as a result of whereas every pixel size collects the identical quantity of noise, bigger pixels additionally accumulate more different ‘good’ files wanted to recreate the picture.

An indication of how pointless it’s to stack on the megapixels, Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S6 got here with 16 megapixel sensors, whereas the S7, S8 and S9 fashions all supply 12 MP. The main distinction was the pixel size. Both phones had the identical sensor to pack all these pixels, so every pixel on the 16MP phone had to be smaller. The 16 MP S6 had a pixel size of 1.12 µm in contrast to the 1.4 MP of the 12 MP S7 phone.

Image shows: Galaxy S9

Another purpose you do not essentially need more megapixels is the file size. The more megapixels, the bigger the file size and the more space the picture occupies in your phone. If your phone has restricted cupboard space, a smaller file size is enticing. Large pictures additionally take longer to add.

The latter level could also be much less of an issue in the future, because it makes use of a new picture format that reduces file size. Apple has changed the JPEG with the HEIF file format for images and the HEVC (H.265) video format. These file varieties present higher, more friendly compression. As a outcome, images and movies take up much less space.

Another purpose megapixels most likely do not matter is your plans for the images you are taking. Do you add them to Facebook or Twitter? Print them out? Show them in your TV display? Or put them on billboards in the metropolis? If you solely need to add them to social networks or share them by way of electronic mail or messages then the size actually would not matter (the truth is it may be higher if they’re smaller as importing takes much less time).

How massive are you able to print?

While it’s possible you’ll be taking images and by no means viewing them once more, you’re seemingly to share them on social media, show them in your computer display, and even stream them to your TV. You may additionally need to print them. In that case, with a bit math, you possibly can determine out how massive you possibly can print without ruining the high quality of your picture.

To take a couple of examples:

  • An picture of 12 megapixels is 4000 pixels vast and 3000 pixels excessive.
  • An picture of 8 megapixels is 3456 pixels vast and 2304 pixels excessive.

It is the size of the pixels that’s necessary right here. You need these pixels to be printed as small as potential. Ideally, you don’t need to give you the option to ‘see’ the pixels.

If you checked out the picture on a display, you would want about 144 pixels per inch (PPI) to get what Apple describes as “Retina” high quality. The concept of ​​Apple’s Retina shows is that your eye can’t distinguish the particular person pixels.

So if you would like to see your picture on a display, with a ‘Retina’ decision, your 8 MP picture can’t be displayed bigger than 24 x 16 inches, whereas a 12 MP picture would stretch to 27.8 x 20, 85 inches. That might sound fairly massive, however, as 52-inch TVs have gotten more frequent, it is seemingly that you really want to view your picture bigger than the Retina decision permits.

Of course, when it comes to your TV display, you are not precisely the identical as you’re along with your laptop or iMac. So it is seemingly that you’re going to get away with a decrease decision until you have got nice eyesight.

Curious how many megapixels you want for an excellent picture? It is determined by the size of the picture.

When it comes to printing, the required pixel density is way increased than that required for a display, however, 150ppi can be the minimal for a photo print.

  • At 150ppi, you possibly can print an 8 MP picture at 23 x 15.4 inches
  • At the identical decision, a 12 MP picture might be printed at 36.7 x 20 inches.

However, to get top quality outcomes, 300 pixels per inch is the minimal.

  • At 300 dpi, your 8 MP picture might be printed at 11.5 inches by 7.7 inches.
  • At 300 dpi, the 12 MP picture might be printed at 13.3 inches x 10 inches.

Since typical picture frames are often 8x6in or 10x8in, a type of images can be massive sufficient to fill that. But when you’re hoping for 1 thing greater to hold over your hearth, you may be out of luck.

If you have got a print with a special size in thoughts, you possibly can calculate how many pixels you want as follows:

How to calculate how many pixels are wanted for an 8×10 inch print:

  1. Multiply the width and peak by 300 to get the size in pixels. So an 8×10 inch print can be 2400 x 3000 pixels.
  2. Multiply the width pixels by the peak pixels: 2,400 x 3,000 = 7,200,000 pixels.
  3. Divide that outcome by 1 million to get the variety of megapixels you want = 7.2 mp.

How many megapixels are required to print an A3 poster:

  • Using inches (as a result of it is simpler), multiply width and peak by 300: 11.7 x 16.5 inches is 3,510 x 4,950
  • So that’s 3,510 x 4,950 = 17,374,500.
  • Or 17.4 MP.

How many megapixels are wanted to print 16 x 20 inches:

  • 4,800 x 6,000 = 28,800,000
  • 28.8MP.

If you do not want to print pictures bigger than 10 x 8 inches and you do not view them on a giant display, you most likely do not want more than 12 MP.

How many megapixels do you want for … 4k, 8K, HD, 1080p?

When it comes to screens, listed here are some numbers which may be of curiosity:

  • Full HD decision, also referred to as 1080p, measures 1,920 × 1,080 pixels. So that is 1,920 x 1,080 = 2,073,600 pixels (or 2 MP).
  • 4K decision is 3,840 × 2,160 = 8,294,400 (or 8.3 MP).
  • The 8K decision is 7,680 × 4,320 = 33,177,600 (33.2 MP).

So when you’re contemplating shopping for an 8K TV quickly, it’s your decision to maintain that in thoughts.

Not that your 12 MP picture seems to be terrible on an 8K TV, it might have some high quality loss, however, since 150dpi is probably going to have sufficient decision remotely, it is unlikely to look actually terrible (until you are a extremely terrible photographer ).

Why it’s your decision more megapixels

The solely purpose you may like a couple of more pixels is if you would like to crop your shot. If you assume it is a seemingly state of affairs, 1 other factor to contemplate when on the lookout for a camera phone is whether or not it has an optical zoom (as opposed to or subsequent to a digital zoom) because it permits you to body the shot without including lower from pixels.

An optical zoom doesn’t lose picture high quality as a result of the identical variety of pixels is captured when the picture is enlarged. A digital zoom digitally enlarges the picture. Instead of utilizing the digital zoom, you may as nicely use enhancing software program to zoom in on the picture afterwards, the outcomes would most likely be higher.

Photo shows: Edit your picture after taking it

The highest megapixel camera phone

If, regardless of what we mentioned above, you are still on the lookout for the most megapixels, then it’s best to contemplate an SLR somewhat than counting on a phone.

For the most variety of megapixels, have a look at the Canon EOS 5DS or 5DS R cameras with a shocking 50.6 MP. Second is the Pentax 645Z with 51.4 MP. Other high-quality SLRs supply more than 36 mp.

Canon has mentioned that it’s growing an SLR that may take 120 MP photos. But it’s going to take some time earlier than it comes on the market. And if that is the case, you will want a big reminiscence card, as RAW pictures are a whopping 210MB every.

As for many megapixels you may get on a smartphone:

  • Nokia Lumia 1020 has 41 MP (38 MP).
  • Moto Z Force presents 21 MP.
  • Asus ZenFone AR presents 23 MP.
  • OnePlus 5 presents a twin camera setup with 16MP and 20MP sensors.
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium presents 19 MP.
  • Huawei P10 presents twin cameras with 12 MP and 20 MP (the latter is monochrome)
  • iPhone X presents 12 MP, identical to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

As we talked about above, 12MP is a reasonably normal providing in the trade. This might be as a result of due to the size restrict of a phone type issue, sensors have to be small, and in consequence, packing these hundreds of thousands of pixels is a smaller pixel size.

How to choose an excellent camera phone

If megapixels are only a fable, what do you have to look out for with a camera phone? Below we are going to have a look at a few of the options we predict are the most necessary.

Sensor size and pixel size

As we talked about above, as a result of phones are smaller than SLRs, they can’t have massive sensors, that means pixels have to be small. The more pixels you press on a sensor, the smaller they need to be.

If you contemplate every pixel as a bucket, the massive buckets accumulate more water. The water on this allegory is gentle (or photons). So bigger sensors are higher as a result of they permit for bigger pixels (though you may simply have fewer pixels).

As Apple’s Phil Schiller mentioned in the keynote that the iPhone 5S introduced in 2013, “Bigger pixels equals better images.”

By rising sensor size and pixel size, producers could make a giant distinction to low gentle sensitivity and noise. (Apple’s sensor in the iPhone 5s was 15% bigger than the 1 in the iPhone 5, so it made a giant distinction at launch).

If you have a look at the world of SLRs, you might even see sensors measured in width and peak in millimeters, however, in the world of contacts and smartphones, you see sensors measured diagonally in fractions of an inch.

You see measurements like this, from small to massive:

  • 1 / 2.3 inch (6.3 x 4.7 mm)
  • 1 / 1.7 inch (7.6 x 5.7 mm)
  • 1 inch (13.2 mm x 8.8 mm)
  • Micro 4 Thirds or 4/3 inch (17.3 x 13 mm)
  • APS-C (23.5mm x 15.6mm)
  • Full body (36 x 24 mm)

The sensors in the iPhone 8 and X would measure 1 / 3in for the wide-angle lens and 1 / 3.6in for the telephoto lens in the Plus and X fashions. This is the identical as the older 6s and 7 fashions. Apple didn’t really disclose this info, though it was mentioned that the sensor was “bigger.”

Image shows: iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

For comparability:

  • The sensor in Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and Samsung S9 sensors measures 1 / 3.6 inches
  • LG’s V30 has a 1 / 3.1-inch sensor
  • The Huawei P20 Pro makes use of a 1 / 1.7in sensor

But it is not simply about the sensor size, as we talked about above, the size of the pixel is essential to how a lot good files the camera can accumulate.

As for pixel size, pixels are measured in micrometers or microns (written as μm).

As earlier than, Apple hasn’t actually disclosed the pixel size on its iPhone X or iPhone 8, however, studies counsel that the wide-angle camera presents a 1.22 µm pixel size (the identical as the iPhone 6s), whereas the telephoto camera on the X and Plus fashions are µm. However, another studies counsel that the iPhone X and 8 fashions have 1.4 μm pixels.

For comparability:

  • Google’s Pixel 2 presents 1.4 µm pixels.
  • The Galaxy Note 8 and the Galaxy S9 each supply 1.4 µm pixels on the wide-angle camera and µm on the telephoto camera.


Another camera function to watch out for is the aperture. The aperture is the opening by means of which the camera permits gentle. For instance, when you’re attempting to take a photo in low gentle, you possibly can benefit from an aperture that may let in more gentle.

The aperture is represented by an f-number comparable to f / 1.4, f / 2, f / 2.8, / f4, f / 5.6, f / 8, f / 11, f / 16, f / 22 or f / 32. the decrease the f-number, the more gentle the lens permits.

  • The iPhone X has an aperture of ƒ / 1.8 on the wide-angle lens and an aperture of ƒ / 2.4 on the telephoto.
  • The iPhone 8 Plus has an aperture of ƒ / 1.8 on the wide-angle lens and an aperture of ƒ / 2.8 on the telephoto.
  • LG’s V30 has an f / 1.6 ranking.
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 has a Dual Aperture that permits you to choose between f / 2.4 and f / 1.5.

Other potentialities

There are many more options of a camera phone that may assist it take a greater image, from the built-in enhancing software program to buzzwords like True Tone Flash, Backside Illumination Sensor and Optical Image Stabilization. But the most necessary consider taking an excellent picture, in our opinion, is the photographer’s means. Read our ideas for taking higher images right here.