How many megapixels are enough to make a quality print? This is a common question among a lot of digital photographers today. Many years ago buying a 6 megapixel camera seemed to be more than enough to meet any amateur photographers needs. Today, as camera sensors have become more advanced and cheaper to produce we are seeing even more digital cameras on the market with even higher megapixel ability. The reality is most amateur photographers are well served by 6 megapixels but if you want to make larger prints, say a 20X30, you’ll need a minimum of 31 megapixels to maintain a “good” quality print. Attached is a handy reference chart provided by West Coast Imaging that can be used to help in determining the print size limits of your camera.
Remember print quality is very subjective and this chart is only to be used as a general guideline. When reading this chart keep in mind purple is the highest quality and orange is the lowest. The numbers located within the color boxes are simply the dots per inch (dpi) of each print. A “good” quality print generally has a dpi of 200 or more. In tomorrows blog I’ll address software that can be used to increase your file size so that you can make larger prints at a higher dpi.