The Beginners buyer's guide to digital cameras or The Ins and Outs of Megapixels.
By Warren Lynch http://www.wlynch.com
The most important part of buying a digital camera is making sure that one you select meets all of your needs.
Digital Camera 101
Better digital cameras uses a chip called a "Charged Coupled Device" (CCD) instead of film. Light enters camera, through open shutter, and strikes CCD where it is converted to digital data before being stored in camera's memory.
While that is simple description, things can get pretty complicated from there.
Megapixels & Resolution
Resolution is a measure of how many pixels are used to make a digital copy of an image. Pixels are tiny dots of light that make up a digital image.
The quality of a digital camera's image is usually measured in 'Megapixels' where each megapixel represents one million pixels.
Here's how to determine how many megapixels you'll need depending upon type of photos you will be taking and what you intend to do with them.
Almost obsolete, you might still find these in cell phones, PDAs, and desktop "web" cameras. They're OK if you only intend to email pictures to other people and those people aren't going to be printing them.
1.1 to 2 megapixels
Only slightly better than 1.0, this resolution is OK for an average 4x6 snapshot, but it isn't going to be a production quality image.
2.1 to 3 megapixels
This is beginning of decent camera range. You get very good 4x6 images and reasonably good 5x7 images. These cameras are low cost and provide a good platform for beginners.