Abertura de câmera, megapixel, resolução... O que isso importa para minha foto?

Camera aperture, megapixel, resolution … What does that matter for my photo?

Quick Reading

  • Pixel is the smallest "piece" of a digital image.
  • The greater the number of pixels, the greater the amount of information stored and the level of quality of an image.
  • The more megapixels, the more details the images show.
  • A sensor that supports a large amount of megapixels in synonym for better images.

Over time, the technology niche – especially the mobile sector – has entered a race to discover which devices have the best cameras in the world. Smartphones, drones, steel cameras, cameras in general – all of these devices, when launched, are of great importance for these specifications (megapixel quantity, camera aperture, shutter speed, etc.), and many consumers choose what to buy based on them.


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However, many people wonder, at some point in life, why these things are important and what are their benefits. What are megapixels and why does more always look better; what a larger or smaller camera aperture represents and what it changes in the captured image; why we are currently in a race for the highest resolutions (for now, focus on 8K and 108MP).

In this article, we are going to delve into some basic concepts of photography, while relating these elements to the advancement of some technologies in general. Check it out below:

Megapixel (MP) and Resolution

What a pixel?

The pixel is the smallest "piece" of a digital image. Bright dot cover – either square or line, depending on the image – has a specific color positioned at a point on the screen at a certain time to create the photos, videos and interfaces that we see working in the routine (phew). The term even derives from the English expression "picture element"(in Portuguese, element of the image).

The color of each pixel, in the case of a virtual screen, the result of a mixture of three colors: red, green and blue (or Red, Green, Blue – the famous RGB). Each of these colors has 256 shades which, when combined, can offer more than 16 million options for each pixel (16,777,216 to be exact).

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An image of 800 x 600 pixels on the internet, for example, composed of 480 thousand total pixels – 800 pixels wide multiplied by 600 pixels high. The greater the number of pixels, the greater the amount of information stored and the level of quality of that image.

The more pixels, the higher the quality of an image

However, it is important to know which unit of measurement should be used to talk about pixels. They, for example, are not connected to centimeters – they will vary in size according to the number of pixels per inch (ppi).


Starting from the base on which several pixels form an image, when combining a certain number of these elements in the width and height of a composition, we have what we call resolution. The more pixels an image has, then, the higher the resolution and the more visually closer to reality it will be. Resolution, then, the number of pixels that form a given image, being marked horizontally vs. vertically.

The higher the resolution, the closer to reality a picture is visually

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How to calculate the right size of my image to have a good resolution?

There is a formula for this – and even simple. By convention, we have to a good resolution at 300 pixels per inch (300 pixels for every 2.54 cm of area). Thus, the calculation is as follows, where L is the number of pixels in width and A is the number of pixels in height of the defined image:

(W / 300) x 2.54 = Xcm wide (H / 300) x 2.54 = Ycm high

Most common resolution patterns

The resolutions vary slightly according to the screen aspect ratio of the device


VGA: 640 x 480 pixels; – QVGA: 320 x 240 pixels; – WVGA: 800 x 480 pixels; – SVGA / Super VGA: 800 x 600 pixels; – XGA: 1024 x 768 pixels; – WXGA: from 1152 x 768 pixels to 1366 x 768 pixels; – HD / 720p : 1280 x 720 pixels; – qHD: 960 x 540 pixels; – full HD (FHD or 1080p): 1920 x 1080 pixels; – QHD (WQHD): 2560 x 1440 pixels.- 2K: 2048 x 1080 pixels; – 4K (UHDTV or QFHD): 3840 x 2160 pixels; – 8K: from 7680 x 4320 pixels to 10080 x 4320 pixels (depends on the aspect ratio of the device).

Resolutions with 720 pixels or more can always be considered High Definition (HD)


Finally, in this part, when we talk about megapixel (MP)It is normal to remember the numerous options for professional photo cameras or smartphones available on the market. The iPhone 11 has a 12MP sensor, the Galaxy Note 10 has 16MP and the Huawei Mate 30 has a 40MP sensor in its triple configuration. At the moment that this article is being developed originally, the main highlight goes to the 108MP sensors, who can already capture an incredible "volume" of details with each image. However, what, after all, does this nomenclature mean?

Well, a megapixel represents an exact set of 1 million pixels. A 5 megapixel image, then, composed of 5 million pixels.

As we already mentioned, the more pixels an image has, the higher its quality – and the greater the number of details available at the time of capture. With this brief explanation, we have already begun to understand why several companies mainly highlight the camera configurations of their products. A sensor capable of capturing 12MP images, for example, will deliver less detail than a 24MP camera, which will deliver less than 48MP and so on …

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Samsung is introducing a new technology in this sensor: the Ninth Binning 3×3

Each camera has a sensor capable of capture the light on the objects and transform this information into pixels, generating a digital image. So, even if the number of pixels captured is high, the photo can be bad if the available sensor is not powerful and cannot transform so many pixels with good quality – sometimes it comes out worse than using a camera with a smaller number of megapixels and same sensor.

So, a camera with more megapixels is better?

The smaller the divider (1/3 or 1 / 2.6), the bigger and better your camera's sensor.

Yes and maybe not. A sensor that supports a large amount of megapixels in synonym with definitely better images. Of course, a very important factor, but there are other N features and resources working together to deliver your final images – sensor size and, consequently, pixel size, processor, shutter aperture, etc. We will even talk about one more of these variables below.

The resolution affects the image size and not the quality. That is, it gives us a sense of how much we can enlarge this photo without losing sharpness.

Also, as I mentioned a few times so far, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat, the pixel count / resolution is ideal for your photo depends on what use it has. A "normal" photo print for an album certainly needs a lot less megapixels than a banner.

Another point is that your 48MP photo may have more details than a 12MP image, but it certainly does too take up more storage space. Whoever works with photography for the internet, for example, knows that it is not necessary to have as many megapixels in the final product, and reducing this number (what we can also call "optimize") saves a lot of space on the memory card, HD or another chosen drive . In this scenario, with a smaller amount of pixels, the images will be lighter and will load faster.

You can understand this a little better by comparing the information in the images below:

The more pixels in an image, the more space it takes up on the device

Camera / diaphragm aperture

Photography control and light capture

Going back a little to the basic concepts of photography, photographing means control light exposure on the sensor (or movie) for a certain time. The three variables that take care of this exhibition are:


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Shutter speed (how long the sensor is exposed); – Diaphragm opening (how much light enters); and- Adjusting the Light Sensitivity Index (ISO)

In this article, I will focus on the second variable, that is, the opening of the camera diaphragm (which many know only by opening the camera).

My camera has a diaphragm ???

Yes. The diaphragm of a camera is the mechanism that controls the intensity of light reaching the sensor. By decreasing the actual size of the lens (aperture), it is possible to decrease the luminosity that enters the lens.

The size of the opening is carefully calibrated using "f" numbers always multiple, and these changes also define the blur intensity the background of an image.

The almost universal aperture scale is used to standardize exposure levels:

Full scale: f / 1; f / 1.4; f / 2; f / 2.8; f / 4; f / 5.6; f / 8; f / 11; f / 16; f / 22; f / 32; f / 45 and f / 64

Not all cameras cover both ends of this scale, and each has its limits – both cameras and smartphone cameras. Let's look at the example of a Nikkon 50mm f / 1.8D. Its scale:

– f / 1.8; f / 2; f / 2.8; f / 4; f / 5.6; f / 8; f / 11; f / 16 and f / 22.

Okay, and what does this have to do with my photos?

Quite something. Larger "f" numbers represent smaller openings of camera. That is, the higher the number "f", the less light reaches your sensor – while we are talking about the same shutter speed. On blur, a smaller "f" number, with a more open diaphragm, will deliver photos with the background more blurred (in these cases, care with the crucial focus). Closed diaphragm gives greater clarity to the whole picture.

Important note: In the case of wide angle lenses such as smartphones or drones, which have the ability to regulate aperture, they will be important for light control, but it will have almost no influence on the background blur.

Taking this into account, one of the main rules (and something that smartphones can do automatically) is the following: diaphragm and obturator go together and are inseparable. The larger the aperture of the diaphragm, the slower the shutter speed / exposure time.

For those who enjoy taking pictures in manual mode, knowing this helps a lot, because, depending on the weather, you should leave the diaphragm more open or closed. On very sunny days, for example, it is better to decrease the amount of light that enters your camera to avoid having "burst" photos (when the light ends up becoming a white spot). On the other hand, it is not a good time to capture images with a blurred background.

Below, you can see two pictures, both with a shutter speed of 1 / 500s. In the case of the diaphragm. the first image was at f / 1.5 and the second at f / 2.4:



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Even if you are a professional photographer, enthusiast or just a common user of cameras and smartphones, it is very important to know the basics when capturing a funny or exciting scene. After all, as we learned in the journalism course, the "perfect click" doesn't happen twice, and we must be prepared to set up settings and click at the right time. Believe me, it takes some getting used to these rules and understanding all of that, but with practice, it gets even easier.

Another important point is that, knowing what megapixel and resolution mean, in addition to other features influencing your camera, the purchase becomes more "faster" and practical. After all, you already know what you need and know the basics to find the ideal product.

I used some smartphones as an example in the text, but the information applies to any cell phone or camera. You can stay tuned here in the Connected World for more articles like this soon.

If you find any wrong information or know something that should be included in this article, be sure to comment on this publication or send us a message through the "error report"!

Fonts used

– ADA: What does Megapixel and how does it influence the quality of an image? https://ada.vc/2018/05/14/o-que-e-megapixel/- BBC: Why cell phone with more megapixel camera does not mean better pictures. https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/geral-49965713- PhotographyMore: What Pixel? Learn All About Pixel in Photography. https://fotografiamais.com.br/o-que-e-pixel/- School Info: Megapixels. https://www.infoescola.com/fotografia/megapixels/- InfoWester: Resolues HD, full HD, 4K, 8K and more. https://www.infowester.com/resolucoes.php- LIMA, Ivan. Photography your Language. Rio de Janeiro: Espao e Tempo, 1988.- Super interesting: What is a pixel? https://super.abril.com.br/mundo-estranho/o-que-e-um-pixel/ – Zoom: What megapixel? https://www.zoom.com.br/camera-digital/deumzoom/o-que-e-megapixel+ My college photography notebook.

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