Suggested number of megapixels for high quality prints
If you print large photos and want to maintain fine detail, set your camera to it’s highest megapixel and quality settings. You can always crop or reduce an image size after it’s taken. However, enlarging a low resolution image can result in a print that is pixelated and individual pixels become visible.
Below are the suggested number of megapixels to use for common print sizes. If you crop images a lot, increase the minimum suggested megapixels. While it’s rare today to find a digital camera with less than eight megapixels, if you crop resolution will drop. Some cameras automatically reduce the size of an image if you switch to certain modes, such as high ISO.
|Max Print Size||Minimum MP||Resolution|
|4 x 6″||2 megapixels||1600 x 1200|
|5 x 7″||3 megapixels||2048 x 1536|
|8 x1 0″||5 megapixels||2560 x 1920|
|11 x 14″||6 megapixels||2816 x 2112|
|16 x 20″||8+ megapixels||3264 x 2468|
It’s important to point out that print quality depends on a number of factors, such as the visual quality of the original image and the type of printer, ink and paper used.