When deciding what digital camera you want to buy, keep resolution in mind. You can find cameras with any amount of resolution you could want, so get a resolution based on what you plan to do with your digital photos.

As resolution increases, so does price, so look for a balance between cost and quality:

  • Less than 1 megapixel: You can create acceptable Web graphics, but that’s about all you can do.

  • 1 to 2 megapixels: This resolution range can create very good Web graphics and acceptable prints up to 4 inches by 6 inches. (See this figure.)

    This 8-x-10-inch photo was taken with a 1-megapixel camera.
    This 8-x-10-inch photo was taken with a 1-megapixel camera.
  • 2 to 3 megapixels: Create excellent Web graphics and good prints up to 5 inches by 7 inches.

  • 3 to 4 megapixels: Use this resolution range to create excellent prints up to 4 inches by 6 inches and very good prints up to 10 inches by 12 inches.

  • 4 to 5 megapixels: Create excellent prints up to 5 inches by 7 inches and very good prints up to 11 inches by 14 inches (as shown in this figure).

    A 5-megapixel camera took this 8-x-10-inch photo.
    A 5-megapixel camera took this 8-x-10-inch photo.
  • 5 to 6 megapixels: This resolution can make excellent prints up to 8 inches by 10 inches and very good prints up to 16 inches by 20 inches.

  • More than 6 megapixels: A resolution this large can create excellent prints 16 inches by 20 inches and beyond.