Should You Buy a Smartphone over Digital Camera? Do Megapixels Matter?

For the last few years, I have been continuously listening to the same thing all over again. The general public has a universal concept: “My 200-megapixel camera takes better photographs than your 12-megapixel camera”. Well, For these days, at least, the said sentence is purely a Myth.

Megapixel at large is a term that only describes the size of an image and not precisely how much detail is stored in the image or the real quality of the image. We’ll debunk the myth of Megapixels, and how to decide to Buy a Smartphone over a Digital Camera.

Should You Buy a Smartphone over Digital Camera? Do Megapixels Matter?

So What Is This “Megapixel,” You Say?

Well, Mega Pixel, in simpler terms, is “One Million Pixels.” Each Pixel is just a tiny dot of color that makes up a picture. So, how do we Calculate how many Megapixels a Camera has? Simple Multiply the Horizontal Pixels with Vertical Pixels.

Let’s take an example of an image captured on the latest iPhone 15 Pro Max, which offers a default 24MP camera, and the latest Redmi Note 15 Pro with a 108MP camera. Which one do you think captures more detailed and better photographs? Of course, an iPhone. This is all because of the sensor size and not the megapixels. The default sensor on the Redmi Note 15 Pro is still 12 megapixels. Most companies divide these pixels to create the myth of a high-megapixel sensor when, in reality, it is just the same sensor.

Now, it is known that a DSLR will take better quality photographs than any smartphone out there while still having a low megapixel count. Why is it so? It is again, because of the sensor size. When you see a lens on a DSLR camera and your smartphone, which one is bigger? The DSLR one. The bigger the lens, the more details and light it can capture, allowing it to produce sharper, more detailed, and more color-accurate photographs.

The following section will make the whole picture of megapixel counts more clear when we compare the sensor sizes of smartphones and digital cameras.

So, Doesn’t the Megapixel Count Matter at All?

Well, there was a time when it did matter. When we started with Digital cameras (Compacts) and Smartphones, the sensors were relatively smaller. Most were designed to capture an image max up to the Horizontal Pixel count of 1152 Pixels. Now, that was low, but after that time, there was a noticeable upgrade to the sensor, which also brought an MP count boast. At these times, the MP count increase did matter.

But not these days. We are observing Manufacturers claiming to put more Mega Pixels into their existing Sensors of the same size, whereas, in reality, all they do is make a pixel smaller, allowing them to technical call it a 108, 164, or 200MP camera when all it is is a 12 or 24 MP camera. Below is a chart that shows the size of the Image sensors, which are standard these days.

Digital camera sensor size comparison chart

(Image Credit

So basically, the sensor isn’t increasing, but manufacturers are boasting about their image dimension, which is unrelated to quality. After the sensor for such cams stopped growing, the change was hardly noticeable for most cases until you made a giant printout of it, which we usually don’t or even rarely do.

How to Buy a Digital Camera?

First, take the “Megapixel” myth out of your mind. As we said above, it doesn’t matter, but the following things do matter and make a huge difference, these are :

  1. Sensor
  2. Lens
  3. Stabilization
  4. Use Case

And what matters most is Your Creativity!!

1] Sensor Size

See, the smaller the Camera, the smaller the sensor. Also, its ability to record light and details is low. Smaller sensors on a compact camera are made more sensitive to capture light. It adds up to general noise. So, a larger sensor is better with the ability to capture light, and the quality of pictures improves.

(Smallest Sensor) Webcams  < OR =  Mobile < Compact Digital Cameras < Prosumer / Bridge < Entry Level DSLR / Semi-Pro (Cropped Sensor) < Pro-Level DSLR (Full Frame) < Medium Format (Largest sensor for general use), so a single image, if clicked by all of them, then the difference will be significant, due to the same difference in Sensor Size.

2] Lens

The lens and optics are the second most important after the sensor size. The lens and optics of the camera will influence how and how much light reaches the camera sense, drastically impacting the image quality, processing, noise, and information.

A Good Sensor with Bad Optics will produce bad results as a Smaller Sensor coupled with excellent Optics. So both should be good or balance each other to get good results. While buying a Compact camera, look for a Lens made by either Carl Zeiss, Leica, or Leupold.

3] Stabilization

It might go by many names like Image Stabilization, Vibration Reduction, Vibration Compensation, or even more, but overall, you can understand what it’s made to do.

Many Cameras these days come with Image stabilization, which is as simple as possible. The feature stabilizes your image even if your hands are shaking (in most cases, they do, like in Low Light Conditions) while taking a picture, so look for such a feature in the camera you buy. Different manufacturers may use different terms but have the same job overall.

4] Use Case

Put the technical details aside for a while and assess what you’ll be using the camera for; if you shoot more in low light conditions, you may want to aim for a larger sensor and better optics. If you’ll be shooting more in moving environments, you may opt for a camera with better stabilization.

Other than this, the economic feasibility of the camera also matters. If you are a professional and need a camera for your job, you have all the details to worry about. If not, remember the basics and pick the one that suits your budget.

How to Buy a Smartphone-Based on the Camera?

We’ve already discussed the basics in this article, but to sum it up, Don’t go by the gimmicky exaggerated megapixel numbers like 108, 164, or 200 MP cameras. Instead, look for the sensor manufacturer, size, and features. It would be best to look for camera lens manufacturers; while many smartphone manufacturers have stock lenses, some collaborate with big names such as Zeiss, Hasselblad, and Leica.

For most smartphones, especially the flagship ones, YouTube is filled with camera image quality and performance comparisons. You can always take some time to look at these videos and decide for yourself.

Find out all the details about the camera setup on the smartphone. This is something that most smartphone manufacturers don’t actively disclose. You must scour the internet for these details or head over to a familiar friend and YouTube them. Once you have the details, compare them with other options in the range.

Should You Buy A DSLR Or A Flagship Smartphone?

Smartphone or DSLR which one is better

We’ve thoroughly discussed the technical aspects of a camera in this article and how megapixels don’t matter, and one thing that is for sure is that smartphones are no match for DSLRs in terms of photography.

But both have their advantages and use cases. A DSLR will provide the best possible photographs out there, but if you only post them on social media, it will hardly make a difference as photos lose most of their detail when they go on social media. Photographs captured with a DSLR might also not look pleasing to the normal eye because they don’t process the photographs like smartphones do.

Smartphones also have wide-angle, telephoto, and macro lenses coupled in the camera setup, which will do the job for most people in a primary environment. So, the bottom line is that if you wish to capture photographs at a very professional level or care about the details and quality of an image, go for a DSLR. If you all need bright, slightly detailed photographs for day-to-day use and social media, go for a smartphone. After all, DSLR is a costly endeavor to pursue.


In this article, we learned how megapixels don’t matter while buying a camera or a smartphone and how to make the best decision when buying a digital camera or a Smartphone based on a camera. The key to making the best decision when buying any tech is reading the fine print and beyond the manufacturers’ marketing copies, as they hide the crucial details that make a difference. We hope you found the article to be helpful.



  1. i have heard about it from someone but the reason was not clear thanks to you and your wonderful explanation i know exactly what to look for before buying a digicam


  2. Hello Aashish you have such a wonderful blog….can you please tell me the best company for digi cam so that I can buy a best camera…

  3. After reading this, I am going to crank up my Samsung Pro 815 and treat it with respect! Thank you.


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