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ZDNet Article - 5-Megapixel Digital Cameras

By acidosmosis
Jul 15, 2003
  1. Article from
    Direct link to that article:,10738,2914235,00.html

    High-resolution digital cameras were once for professionals only, but not anymore. Increasingly, 5-megapixel cameras are being aimed squarely at amateur photographers. Just a few months ago, for example, Canon added a 5-megapixel model to its popular PowerShot line, the S50.

    Though these high-res cameras still aren't cheap, they're now priced within reach of many hobbyists. So how do you know if one of them might be right for you?

    TO FIND OUT, I consulted with one of our resident digital camera experts, Aimee Baldridge. Her first question for anyone considering a 5-megapixel camera: What are you going to do with the pictures?

    If the answer is, "Create lots of prints, particularly large ones," then you might want to consider a 5-megapixel model. The extra resolution lets you comfortably create good-looking prints up to 11x14. Even with smaller formats (such as 4x6s), the higher resolution of a 5-meg model could be worth the extra money if you're picky about image quality.

    If, on the other hand, you just want to post your pics to the Web or e-mail them to friends, you don't need 5-meg resolution. If you're making smaller prints, and you're not super-picky about image quality, a 4-meg camera should be good enough.

    A 5-MEG CAMERA could also be worth it if you expect to edit your photos extensively. Higher resolution allows you to zoom and crop your images with your favorite photo-editing software as much as you want. These cameras also tend to include more advanced features--such as manual exposure controls and the ability to save images in a variety of formats--than lower resolution models.

    If you're on the fence, price might be the determining factor. The models listed below range from $475 to $1,000. If that's a stretch for you, sacrificing image quality should get you a cheaper model. That said, the PowerShot S50 costs just $50 to $100 more than its 4-meg cousin, the PowerShot S45. The extra money may be worth it to be assured your pictures will be as sharp and clear as possible.
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