Frank wasn't referring to digital cameras because they didn't exist then, but the current tendency of camera marketeers to try and outgun each over on number of megapixels brought it back to mind.


I have a client who has been uploading digital photos onto their Wordpress website directly from their camera which means they are uploading images more than 5000 pixels wide weighing in at 7.3MB as a .jpg - this for display on a webpage at about 600 pixels wide. Wordpress has kindly resized the image for display for them to speed up loading times and added a couple of smaller thumbnail images, but of course leaves the original intact.

By the time they had uploaded 50 images the site was well out of disk space and they of course wondered why because they didn't think they had done anything wrong. Well they hadn't.

The fault clearly lies with the camera manufacturers and their marketing departments who have been persuading people that more mega-pixels must be better.

In the early days of digital cameras this was true, my first digital was an Olympus which had half a megapixel - about 800x600. That was good enough for posting pictures on websites, but they really didn't come out very well if printed anything larger than 6" by 4".

Realistically does anyone using a camera phone or mid range digital camera ever want to blow their images up to A0 poster size or larger? Very few will be printed at all these days, and almost all if they are used at all will only appear in a Facebook page or on a photo sharing site.

So why the never ending obsession with more megapixels? SImply because it is a number that the punter can sort of understand - "more must be better, right?" - so can be persuaded to "upgrade" their device because 5 mega pixels is sooo last year.

Just remember kids, "anything over a mouthful is wasted" is good guidance for technology as well as for body parts.