The number of pixels in a digital image is referred to as resolution and refers to the number of pixels per inch (ppi). More megapixels means higher resolution. Resolution relates primarily to print size and amount of detail in an image when viewed on a computer monitor at 100%.
A digital camera with a high megapixel count doesn’t guarantee it will produce better looking images. Many factors influence image quality including the quality of the optical lens and camera sensor.
What having a higher resolution camera does mean is that you’ll be able to crop more when editing and printing large sized photos.
Some manufacturers offer two near identical model cameras, except one has a higher megapixel count. The one with more megapixels can cost considerably more and may be an unnecessary expense for some.
Buy a digital camera primarily because it has the features you want, not just because it has lots of megapixels.
So, how many megapixels?
One of the best ways to decide how many megapixels you need is to consider the largest size prints you make. Get a camera with the number of megapixels that will yield the best print results for that size.
For the suggested number of megapixels for the best prints based on print size, refer to the related chart.