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London Dec 4, 2002 6:27 PM

Image Quality
Hello Gang

This is a bit of Newbie question but also opens a big ugly can of worms, so I'm posting it here.

What factors determine the quality (by which I mean resolution, I guess, rather than aesthetics) of an image captured by a digicam?

I'm not a camera buff, but I discovered a few years back that the factors that really count in analogue photography are (a) lens quality, which determines how much of the image detail gets into the camera body and (b) film quality, which determines how much of that detail is actually recorded. At this point I traded in my zoom lenses for a really nice, fast 50mm prime lense and started experimenting with more interesting film stock. The quality of my snaps - and thats all I take, frankly - improved immensely. (All this assumes that you can get the darn thing in focus and correctly exposed. But even simple point 'n shoot cameras do this for you more often than not)

Now I'm contemplating making the move to digital. But where to begin? Is lens quality just as much of a concern? (I'm guessing that it must be) What determines the amount of detail 'captured' by the digicam other than pixel count? Are some pixels created more equal than others? etc etc

Any advice on these topics - or links elsewhere on the web - garetfully received.


jsmeeker Dec 4, 2002 8:48 PM

Well, resoultion is determined by the CCD that takes light and converts it into an electonic image. The CCD is essentially the film. This is what the focused light strikes. Unlike film, there is a wide, wide range in the "resolving power" of the CCD. All they way to web cams that do 640x480 to thousands by thousands.

This is where megapixels comes in. More megapixels == more resoltuion == larger image.

Sanpete Dec 5, 2002 4:21 AM

You're right that both lens and sensor (CCD) are important. Not all sensors with the same pixel count are equally good, and of course not all lenses with the same specs are either. Some sites, such as and, provide shots of and measures based on standard resolution charts in their reviews. Of course, cameras also differ in how well they render color, accurate shape, and so on.

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