How Many MegaPixels is a VGA Camera

By | November 28, 2007

While high end camera have gone upto and more than 10 MegaPixels there are still many VGA Digital cameras in the market, specially the ones with Mobile phones. If you ever asked the dealer hom many MegaPixels is the VGA camera and ‘VGA cameras are a Class apart’, ‘They are not termed in MegaPixel…’ or similar to one of this reason is being conveyed to you then the dealer is misleading you either because of ignorance or for intention.

The largest image size supported by VGA camera is 640 x 480

640 x 480 = 307200

Divide it by 1000000 (or 1048576 for purists) and round off appropriately to get the value in MegaPixels

307200 / 1000000 = 0.3072 or 0.3 (rounded)

So a VGA Camera is in fact a 0.3 MegaPixels Camera.

Similarly, for a camera with largest image supported as 1280 x 1024, the calculation would be as :

1280 x 1024 = 1310720
1310720 / 1000000 = 1.3 MegaPixel (rounded)

21 thoughts on “How Many MegaPixels is a VGA Camera

  1. Forrest

    Tis true. Generally, megapixels are like PageRank or Alexa Rank … ie virtually meaningless. My current camera has 13 of them, my last had 6. It’s not twice the sharpness or twice the resolution ( actually, when you multiply the X and Y counts, you get the total, but to actually double resolution you need to double the sample count on both axis, yielding 4x the number of pixels ). More importantly, because of better sensor technology, I can crop out a 6 million pixel region from the 5D and it will have measurably more detail than the same area from my old D60.

    With that said, 640×480 pixels isn’t large enough to make a small print. Moreover, anybody who’s going to cut corners to this extreme and deceive their customers about it shouldn’t be trusted to make sure the other elements of a good camera system are in place … like the optics, for example.

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  4. Tech Blog

    Is it true that canon quoting 3 megapixel is different than kodak’s?
    I always knew that x*y/1000000 gives the camera mp size and the higher size of the image only helps if someone is very interested in taking bigger prints.

  5. jatin

    good n clear explaination abt resolutions to define megapixels .. i also want to knw d full form of vga camera .

  6. Arl

    Im just confused: one product is 0.3mp (vga) and the other one is 1.3mp. What is more clear between the two or what’s their difference?

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  9. jalaj

    I did mention there “Divide it by 1000000 (or 1048576 for purists)” but manufacturers prefer to calculate it to show higher number that’s why I stressed on 1000000… The 10mp and 12 mp cameras are not actually 10 & 12mp if you go by purist approach.

  10. Ben

    This is interesting. I want to know which picture will be clearer: A picture taken with a VGA mobile phone camera and another taken with 2MP mobile phone camera.

  11. rhinestone

    the higher the mp is the finer the clarity is. VGA converted to mp is only .3mp…so we should not expect godd quality pictures taken from a VGA camera.

  12. ur2k3friend

    thanks pals,

    but i still want to know the difference if a person is going for more pixel cameras like 3mp or higher. How does that calculation go for. Some latest cameras display their mp limit in higher rage, say 12 or more. I also want to know how zooming will have impact on pixels. Because when we zoom, the picture size drops… Just want to clarify!

  13. Ed

    The quality of the picture taken does not depend entirely on the “Megapixel” label. Most of the cellphones, digital cameras (not professional ones), have a very low optic zoom or even none. Digital zoom decrease image quality no matter the megapixel capability.
    There’s also the Lens factor – depending on the quality of the lens, the shutter, the image processor (internal components that “sees” what you are taking a picture of) may also decrease the quality of the picture taken no matter how many megapixels the camera may handle.
    To be clear for those who think that the more MP the better – try taking a picture with the iPod Touch 4th gen (960×720, equals to 0.7MP or something like that) and an iPhone 3G (old model, but with 2.0MP). The ipod picture (smaller sized picture) will look better than iphone’s, but it may look the same if you resize the iphone picture to the same resolution than ipod’s. It’s relative.
    Of course, if you plan on printing the pictures, the HIGHER the megapixel value, the better the image will look ON PAPER (not on the monitor screen). Don’t think about size, imagine the pictures with the SAME size – so following this logic the more MP, the better. But if you plan on viewing on the monitor screen, that’s not entirely true, and most of the times, it will look worse on cellphones and digital cameras. Technique is also a good factor, sometimes the artist makes a good painting no matter the brush and canvas used (if you get what I mean)


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