What do you think, bigger the camera, better the photos? Do you think your phone with a 13-megapixel camera can take better pictures than a 21-megapixel camera? Well, photography is an art and a great photo can be taken on a small 3megapixel camera too. But will the quality differ between 13 megapixels and 21 megapixels? You will get your answer by the time you reach the end of this article. Without wasting any time, let’s get directly into it.

Recently we have seen big companies come out with mobile phones that have fancy specifications in cameras. Mobile companies have been on a streak to improve their numbers in cameras drastically. In the past few years, we have seen quite a few mobiles with a camera higher than 20 megapixels.

We saw Nokia reach a number of 41 megapixels in a smartphone. Nokia Lumia 1020 would have been a bigger hit than it was but it ran Windows OS. Oh, I do miss windows phones (sarcasm intended). But are these phones worth it for the photos? And are these phones better with pictures? To understand this, let us dig more into the camera mechanics.

A Phone camera has two main features that make a good camera. The sensor and the lens. The sensor is basically an image sensor that works on the light. Making this simple, they capture the amount of light that comes through the lens and paints a digital picture. A Lens is a mechanism of some glassware that actually bends the light that gets to the sensor.

A camera sensor is of various sizes, but the space issues in phones makes the manufacturers decrease the size of the sensor. A typical phone camera sensor is about half to one third of an inch which is pretty small. This sensor has multiple pixels on it which work individually. Each pixel takes up its information and the software stitches it up together

One mega pixel means one million pixels. When you say 41 megapixels, it literally converts into 41,000,000 pixels which means a sensor has that many pixels on it that capture light. After these pixels are bundled on a sensor, size of each pixel becomes small as to fit these many pixels. When the size of a pixel is reduced, the amount of light it gets also decreases. The less light a pixel catches, the more the software has to increase its processing which damages the photo.

A camera software has a concept called ISO (we will study this in detail in another article) which is basically the grains you see in an image with low light. When low light is detected in a picture, the software increases the ISO in order to brighten up the photo. This results in the grainy images.

A phone with higher megapixels will take a great photo in good light but when it comes to low-light or even in the medium light conditions in the evening. The performance decreases drastically. A higher megapixel has to have a bigger sensor. It all depends on the sensor size. That is the reason the DSLRs capture good photos as they have huge sensors.

Smartphones manufacturers like Samsung, Google, Apple have a good name in the industry and have figured out their sales. They don’t need a large number of pixels for their phones as people have trust in them. Many others take the advantage of people who have less knowledge about this sensor phenomenon with large numbers.

The big companies have figured out a sweet spot on the phone cameras and stick to it. The sweet spot in a phone camera is around 12 to 13 megapixels. Here with this resolution, you will get a great picture in good lighting conditions and a good picture in low-light conditions. The result might not be the as good as the professional cameras but it will give you the best results in your smart phones.


To conclude the article, the bigger the camera, the better the photos is neither a reality nor a myth. This concept depends upon two main things

  1. Sensor Size
  2. Lighting conditions

Thank you for reading the article. If you have any suggestions or doubts, please let us know in the comment section.


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