What Is The Resolution Of The Human Eye In Megapixels ?
How many pixels would the human eye likely have? It turns out, someone smart used some pretty complex math and (assuming 20/20 vision) got to 576 megapixels. 576 megapixels is roughly 576,000,000 individual pixels, so at first glance, it would seem that we could see way more than an 8K TV has to offer. But it’s not that simple. For instance, we see in 576 megapixel definition when our eyes are moving, but a single glance would only be about 5-15 megapixels.
Your eyes naturally have a lot of flaws that a camera or digital screen don’t. For example, you have a built-in blind spot where your optic nerve meets up with your retina. You might also have a refractive error like nearsightedness or farsightedness. You might have also been born with (seemingly) super-powered eyes, like tetrachromats: people with four cone cells in their eyes instead of three. This means they can see many more colour varieties and therefore, when looking at a TV, could potentially distinguish much more than the average person.
The eye is not a single frame snapshot camera. It is more like a video stream. The eye moves rapidly in small angular amounts and continually updates the image in one’s brain to “paint” the detail. We also have two eyes, and our brains combine the signals to increase the resolution further. We also typically move our eyes around the scene to gather more information. Because of these factors, the eye plus brain assembles a higher resolution image than possible with the number of photoreceptors in the retina. So the megapixel equivalent numbers below refer to the spatial detail in an image that would be required to show what the human eye could see when you view a scene.
Based on the above data for the resolution of the human eye, let’s try a “small” example first. Consider a view in front of you that is 90 degrees by 90 degrees, like looking through an open window at a scene. The number of pixels would be
90 degrees * 60 arc-minutes/degree * 1/0.3 * 90 * 60 * 1/0.3 = 324,000,000 pixels (324 megapixels).
At any one moment, you actually do not perceive that many pixels, but your eye moves around the scene to see all the detail you want. But the human eye really sees a larger field of view, close to 180 degrees. Let’s be conservative and use 120 degrees for the field of view. Then we would see
120 * 120 * 60 * 60 / (0.3 * 0.3) = 576 megapixels.
The full angle of human vision would require even more megapixels. This kind of image detail requires A large format camera to record.
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