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A common misconception with cameras is that the resolution of the photo—or the surface area of the picture measured in pixels, often referred to as pixel count—is the most important factor determining the picture quality. One of the first things that an aspiring photographer learns when researching cameras are that pixel count is not a highly representative factor in determining the resolving power, or clarity, of a camera. If the pixel count determines the physical dimensions of a picture, how would a professional camera with a 12-megapixel resolution—which yields a photo with a surface area of roughly 12,000,000 pixels—take any better pictures than a cell phone camera which also has a 12-megapixel camera? The answer to this mystery lies in the size of the pixels. The physical size of each pixel determines how much information—and therefore detail—can be collected by each pixel. The pixel size corresponds with the standardized sizes of image sensors, a list of which will be detailed in the final report. In this study, I will explore the concept of pixel size’s effect of photo resolution and clarity. I will take a series of photos with a variety of cameras ranging in image sensor size and, more importantly, image sensor pixel size. The subject of each photo will be a standardized chart for testing photo quality. This project will determine to what extent pixel size affects the quality of a camera’s image.

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Photography Commons