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What is a VGA Camera?

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 8/16/2010

A Video Graphics Array or VGA camera is an obsolete low resolution camera that has been overgrown by the creation of megapixels. VGA technology is still presently used in mobile phones and other applicable handheld gadgets. Learn more about VGA cameras and learn why MP resolution is much better.

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    Overview: Video Graphics Array

    Video Graphics Array (VGA) is the most basic color resolution made for CRT displays and other video hardware. It was invented by IBM in the year 1987. It supports a display mode of 640x380 pixels with 16-bit and 256-bit colors. The best example of VGA display found in your computer is during the boot-up of your Windows’ system in which Windows’ logo appears in the loading page just before you are brought to your desktop. Another is during Safe Mode, you’ll notice in this mode that colors are pale and have no blending effect - it is under a VGA resolution. By the year 1990, it was slowly replaced by more high tech creations such as the Extended Graphics Array (XVGA), Super VGA (SVGA) and followed by many others.

    Despite of the new inventions, VGA is still presently utilized in small electronics gadgets and mobile phones because display can come out clearly with small and compressed display.

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    What is a VGA camera?

    A VGA camera is considered as an early evolution of film cameras. It supports the very basic and obsolete resolution 640x380 pixels with the same value of .3 megapixels. With its digital existence, it made the possibility of storing pictures in the camera’s built-in memory or a removable memory card. Stored photos can be viewed using a card reader or USB cord to be transferred and be displayed in the computer. It provides people particularly those who are dealing with digital photography the opportunity to select quality photos before printing or simply store their shots on their hard disk.

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    VGA vs. Megapixel

    Because VGA covers only 640 x 480 pixels, the picture is small in size. Therefore, when it is enlarged or stretched, it is pixelated. The image can result to poor quality. Compared to other resolutions, VGA can appear to be chunky and choppy. With the advancement of technology, color palettes have become bigger and have gained more colors, which VGA lacks. As of now, the highest color palette is 24- bit RGB, which has 16, 777,216 colors. This is equivalent to the thrice of VGA's 256- color palette.

    In size, it is very much obvious that megapixel is way bigger than VGA. The latter has only 307,200 pixels, while the former translates to "million" pixels. Most, if not all, modern cameras have megapixels that range from 3 to 12, or even higher. Also, cameras that are measured through megapixels are more capable of producing clearer and bigger pictures and excellent quality. VGA- quality is much better for mobile phones and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). Whereas, megapixel are viewed better on the computer. However, when it comes to sending pictures wirelessly, it is better to use the VGA as it is easier, lighter, cheaper, and takes shorter time to transfer.

    You may also want to read about DVI vs. VGA.