What is a Megapixel?
A megapixel, in general terms, is just 1 million pixels. What does this mean? Well consider your computer monitor. It has a resolution of 800×600 let’s say. That means it has 480,000 pixels. If you happen to have seen an 800×600 display, you could probably get close enough to the screen to actually see a “dot” of color. That is basically what a pixel is.
In terms of megapixels on digital cameras, it has to do with how much color and data from the lens it can pick up. If you take a 12MP picture you can blow it up to a really large size and put it on your wall if you wanted, but a 1 MP camera would look blurred and distorted at larger sizes.
Nowadays, with cameras almost always being above 6MP or even 9MP, megapixels don’t matter as much. Picture quality is more important. If you happen to be familiar with computers, this is kinda similar to the MHz race, where MHz or RAM don’t matter as much as optimizing clock cycles.
If that made no sense, don’t worry. The main thing to take away is that you need to look at the picture quality the camera can actually take rather than the megapixels it says on the box. My phone for instance, can take 9MP pictures, but in general they look like crap.
Don’t be fooled by the megapixels on the box. Go for quality of the photos being taken.