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Why do some people say that 10mp phone cameras are better than 20mp phone cameras?

Amol S.

Senior member
Mar 14, 2015
I do know that some people are saying that larger mp phone cameras make darker images, but is there another reason why people say that low mp phone cameras are better?

Its probably obvious that lower MP phone camera photos with no image editing, can be easily known to have sometimes a more pixelated look, but at the same time can sometimes have discoration artofacts or image noise in the photo.

I think it is also obvious that lower MP phone cameras can not capture extremely fine details.


Senior member
Apr 15, 2007
It's actually a more complicated issue than just looking at megapixels stamped on the box or in the manual.

The physical size of the sensor is a big key ingredient in taking pictures; it captures the light. A better capture of the light is obviously going to improve the image quality. To better capture that light, you need a bigger sensor, which means a physically bigger pixel when captured. So you could have a tiny sensor capable of 8mp or a larger sensor also capable of 8mp and the larger sensor should capture the light better. This is why an old 8mp DSLR camera will probably best a more modern 10mp camera built into a phone. The DSLR would have a larger sensor and as such would capture the light much cleaner/better than the 10mp phone camera.

Edit: Cramming too many pixels into too small of a sensor can create a lot of noise in the image.

Edit#2: As phones have modernized they've gotten smaller/thinner... which may mean sensors have gotten smaller in physical size. If you're making a comparison of an older phone's camera quality to a newer phone's camera quality, I could see where there might be some cases where the older phone out performs a newer phone in overall image quality even if the older phone sports a lower MP, but I don't think that it'd be a normal expected behavior in the grand scheme of things.
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Platinum Member
Apr 22, 2011
Do a little reading about the basics of digital photography. All else being equal, "moar pixels" doesn't necessarily mean "better images" with any equipment. In addition to the factors HutchinsonJC mentioned, the optics are crucial to capturing "fine detail". No sensor, no matter how good, can capture image "data" that the camera's optics don't transmit/present well to the sensor's surface in the first place.
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Elite Member
Jul 27, 2002
Yah it is the age old "quality vs. quantity" thing within the confines of other smartphone limitations.


Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
All else being equal, you wouldn't even notice a difference from a quality 5MP vs. 18MP up to an 11x14 enlargment since the human eye can't discern that level of detail. Once you've hit about 8MP then the size of the sensor is going to matter more than the number of megapixels.

This is only, really applicable to the Bayer sensors that are on all of the cell phones now, too. For instance, you can get a 5MP Foveon sensor that is comparable to a 12MP Bayer sensor. They just can't make them small enough to fit in a phone nor is the market/demand there to develop it.


Oct 18, 1999
My old Xperia Xv3 with its 21mp looked like crap compared to my s7 edge and its "paltry" 12mp.


No Lifer
Aug 31, 2001
Why do some people say that 10mp phone cameras are better than 20mp phone cameras?

because MP are just like HP

a car with more HP is not always faster than one with less HP