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How It Works

The resolution of today’s digital cameras can easily equal that of traditional 35mm single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras. Professional photographers are able to enlarge prints of their digital photos, even to poster sizes, and still have them indistinguishable from equivalentsized prints from 35mm film. For digital cameras, the measure of image resolution is the number of pixels contained within the image. A pixel corresponds to a single “cell” or element on a computer screen. Digital cameras typically range from about 2–6 megapixels and even higher. The higher the number, the better the image resolution and the better suited it is to enlargement without becoming grainy and losing resolution.

Entry-level cameras are often 2 megapixels, intermediate cameras are about 4 megapixels, and more advanced professional cameras are 5 megapixels and higher. As an example, a 640 × 480 pixel (VGA) computer screen image would be composed of 307,200 pixels, which is just 0.31 megapixels. A picture 2,272 × 1,704 pixels in size, such as that taken by the Nikon Coolpix 4500, is 3.87 megapixels and provides a much finer resolution.


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