All digital images are composed of minute blocks known as “pixels”, or picture elements. The number of pixels that an image has dictates the image’s resolution. The more pixels, the higher the resolution. The number of pixels also determines the maximum print size, as more pixels mean you can achieve a larger print size. It is for this reason that resolution is one of the key factors governing the quality of digital images. The more pixels that are used to make up an image, the more detail is visible and the smoother the image appears. The resolution of a digital image is measured in pixels per inch (ppi), and the standard resolution to achieve photo-quality prints is 300 ppi. It’s important to remember, however, that 300 ppi is considered to be the optimum industry-standard resolution. Depending on the image, the camera, the printer, and the intended size of the print (larger prints tend to be viewed from farther away, you may find that a resolution of 200 ppi (or lower) can produce perfectly acceptable results.
Many years ago when I first started shooting digital pictures the camera I was using had only 3 megapixels. I was told that the maximum size of quality prints I could make from any of my 3 megapixel picture files would be no larger then 5×7 inches. (Refer to the following chart) I do not remember any pixel police officers telling me I could not make larger pictures. I made many pictures that were for publication and framing that were much larger than 5×7 inches. To me they were beautiful.It is amazing to me how many digital rules can be overcome with Photoshop, or one of the many image processing programs. Rules, really? I love Photoshop. Now you know all about pixels.
Megapixels Related to Print Size
Camera Approximate Print Size Limit at 300 ppi
3MP 7 x 5 in
4MP 7 1/2 x 51/2 in
5MP 8 ½ x 6 ½ in
6MP 9 ½ x 7 in
7MP 10 x 7 ½ in
8MP 11 x 8 in
10MP 13 x 8 ½ in
12MP 13 ½ x 9 ½ in
Visit Wally Barrus web site former professor of photography at Brigham Young University and Steve’s Father www.wallybarrusphotography.com
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