Megapixels

To define what a megapixel is, you first need to understand what a pixel is.

The word 'pixel' is short for 'picture element'. A digital camera's imaging sensor is divided up into millions of tiny light-collecting sensors. The camera uses each of these sensors to assemble an image made up of millions of coloured dots. Each individual dot that makes up a photo is known as a pixel.

The term Megapixel refers to how many of these dots make up a photo. One Megapixel is one million pixels. So a 24 Megapixel camera is one that produces images that are made up of 24 million individual dots.

Graphical representation of a grid of pixels. Note: This isn't an actual picture of a camera's sensor.
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