Now the times when the 12-megapixel cameras marked the next step, not only in quality but also in quantity, seem far away. Since then many things have happened, such as the number of cameras has increased, or the excessive growth in the number of megapixels. Today we have here 108 megapixel sensors, in case they seemed a few before, and the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is the first to put them into circulation.
At this point it is worth asking if so many pixels sewn to a photographic sensor are really necessary, and the answer is quite long although it can be summed up in something similar to "yes and no, but with nuances". As with all advances, there are points for and against sensors with this capture capability. And remember that the photographic quality does not depend solely on the sensor, although it influences.
What to do with more than one hundred million pixels
As we said, the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 is the world's first phone in Brand new 108 megapixel photo sensor. That means we have more than one hundred million pixels attached to the main sensor. It is not the only camera on the phone, of course, because we have four other accompaniments, but the main one, the primary one, is the one that attracts the most attention for the ability to capture, and it is not for less.
The problem here is that the space inside mobile phones is limited, a lot, and the sensors in their cameras do not grow over time. The number of megapixels increases with the passing of generations but the sensor remains more or less the same size and that has an obvious consequence: the pixels are getting smaller and smaller. In the case of the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 we run into a sensor with 0.8 micron pixels. It is not the first to have pixels of that size, but it is relevant.
Pixels are the minimum unit of capture in photography, and their size depends on how much light (information) they are capable of capturing. Less size, less light. So we can take 108 megapixel photographs at the expense of sacrifice ability to capture light along the way. This will generate good photographs when there is good light, because it will be left over, but the sensor will suffer when it decreases because its ability to capture it is lower. Large photographs but for specific moments if we do not want to sacrifice their quality. It is a price to be paid.
The pixels are small in sensors of this caliber, but the option to merge them brings versatility to the set
There is also the option of merging the pixels, something that sensor manufacturers have been working on for a long time and that is offered in not a few products that are in circulation. The sensor of this Xiaomi Mi Note 10 has 108 effective megapixels, but take current 27 megapixel photographs unless we tell you otherwise. How? Merging the pixels into blocks of four. Thus we have virtual pixels of 1.6 microns on the side, and therefore more light at the cost of sacrificing resolution. Although if we are not going to print the photograph and only want it in digital, 27 megapixels represent much more size than necessary.
If you have to tell me in a group, do it in the "in favor of megapixels"
Unless we want to play with the clippings, of course, that each one there uses the photographs. So for practical purposes, having a sensor with more than one hundred million pixels helps us to take very large photographs when there is good light, to sacrifice resolution when we need more information and merge them together, and to be able to make cuts whenever necessary. Because what has been said, the sensor measures what it measures and in the field of hardware there are no miracles.
So, at the moment of truth, the more pixels we have the better because they offer us greater versatility, but knowing well what we can do with them. The ideal would be to have larger sensors and even larger pixels but a mobile allows the space it allows, there is no more. But as long as we can merge them, everything will be fine because we will have more options on the table. Of course, keep in mind that the lenses and the processing of the photographs have a great influence on their quality. The sensors are only the ones that capture the photograph, there are more parties involved in the process.