How Many Megapixels Do I Need for Printing?

Photofocus (old site)

This is a complex subject. Megapixels are a measure of quantity, not quality. An 8 megapixel camera phone isn’t the same as an 8 megapixel DSLR camera. In short, not all pixels are compared equally.

Simple formula to determine megapixels

Multiply the width (in pixels) by the height (in pixels) then divide the result by 1 million

For the sake of simplicity, we are going to assume you have a DSLR camera. I currently shoot with a Nikon D700 12.1MP camera for sports and a Nikon D810 36.3MP camera for portraits. To determine how many megapixels your camera shoots, use a program such as Lightroom or Window’s explorer to review the metadata. Look for dimensions under the Metadata panel.

The D700 shoots 4,256 by 2,832 pixels. Using our formula we multiply 4,256 by 2,832 which equals 12,052,992. Then we divide that by 1,000,000.

(4,256 x 2,832) / 1,000,000 = 12.052992 or 12.1MP

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