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Computing Terms


"Megapixel" is a term used to give a rough idea of the kind of quality a digital camera is capable of. It's calculated by taking the horizontal resolution and multiplying it by the vertical resolution.

For example, a camera that has a resolution of 1600 x 1200 would be producing an image with 1.92 megapixels (mega = million). So when you see a camera that states it's resolution quality in megapixels, it's giving you an approximate count of the total number of pixels (little dots) that make up the image. The higher the number, the better the quality.

Now, some of you probably have seen cameras that have 1600 x 1200 resolution but claim to be 2.1 or 2.3 megapixel cameras. When you do the math (1600 x 1200 = 1,920,000 or 1.92 megapixels) you come up a few pixels shy of a full load. What's the deal?

Well, I checked and it appears that some of the pixels are used for other purposes. Here's how www.howstuffworks.com explains it:

"What happens is that some of the photosites are not being used for imaging. Remember that the CCD is an analog device. It's necessary to provide some circuitry to the photosites so that the ADC can measure the amount of charge. This circuitry is dyed black so that it doesn't absorb any light and distort the image."

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