The Truth About Pixels, Part 2-1: Printing 4x3 Inch Photos
Why is a 3 megapixel camera better than a 1 megapixel camera? It really depends on how you intend to reproduce the picture. The reason cameras produce pictures at 72 pixels per inch is that this format is standard in video uses such as television and DVD. So there is no noticeable difference in quality when viewing pictures on a TV or DVD. The difference appears when you are cropping and/or printing these pictures. If you are not familiar with the term cropping, I will explain it later. First, let's talk about printing.
Even the most inexpensive of printers these days are capable of printing at 300 dots per inch (dpi). Most are capable of printing at 600 dpi and you can buy relatively affordable printers that print at 1200 dpi and above. You may have noticed that with cameras it's called pixels per inch and with printers it is call dots per inch. The terms are hardware specific, but relate to the same principal. A printer prints a specific number of dots of ink per inch on the paper whereas a TV displays a specific number of pixels per inch on the screen. In either case, combining the dots or pixels creates the picture.
So how does this affect quality? If we're printing a picture that has 72 pixels per inch from a 1-megapixel camera on 4x3 printer paper we've got a problem. (Here is where I have to crunch some numbers, so please bear with me.) Let's figure it out. Four inches times 72 pixels (dots) per inch equals 288 pixels (dots) on the vertical line. Three inches times 72 pixels (dots) equals 216 pixels (dots) on the horizontal line. The total picture would have 288 times 216 or 62,208 pixels. That's way short of one million.
So where did the other pixels go? If you're printing this picture at a store or camera shop that has conversion capabilities, the machine that you are printing on actually crunches the picture down for you. The size of the picture taken by a 1-megapixel camera is approximately 16 inches x12 inches. (16x72=1152 and 12x72=864 and 864x1152=995,328 pixels). The machine makes this picture into a 4x3 by increasing the number of pixels per inch. The 4x3 picture is 1/4th the size of the 16x12 so there has to be four times as many pixels per inch to reduce this picture to 4x3. Four times seventy two equals two hundred eighty eight pixels (dots) per inch. With more pixels or dots per inch, the picture can be reproduced at a higher quality level making details sharper and more distinct. So a 1-megapixel camera can produce a reasonably good quality 4x3 inch picture on a 300 dpi printer. That's what most amateur photographers get with their snapshot cameras. If you try to get larger pictures, then the picture quality begins to deteriorate. Part 2-2 will deal with larger prints.
Conclusion: If you have a printer with more than 300 dpi capabilities and all you want is 4x3 inch prints, then you are not using all your printer's abilities. If you want prints larger than 4x3 inch, then you need a camera with a higher quality output capability. If all you want is 4x3 inch prints and video reproduction without cropping much, then a 1-megapixel camera and 300 dpi printer should serve you fine.
Note: Different printers produce different quality prints. Since this is a discussion of pixels and digital cameras, I do not get into choosing printers for the quality. Suffice it to say, if you have a reasonably good quality printer, then the information provided should work for you.
Note 2: There are ways to enlarge prints with lower dpi rates and size and still get quality results. This information will come in later discussions and is probably geared toward the more advanced photographers and digital dark room users.
Arco Rock Star / The international climbing photography contest 2019 Planetmountain
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I would like to add some thoughts to my previous posting, in which I explained that at the age of… - Photography is Not a Crime - Indian Country Today Media Network
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'Photograph 51' offers tantalizing views of DNA pioneer Rosalind Franklin - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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This former Tri-Citian is now an award-winning street photographer. See how he captures the world - Tri-City Herald
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Have You Read Your Digital Camera Manual?
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Digital Camera Memory Cards
A digital camera accessory you should purchase is a spare memory card. Most cameras are sold with a 'starter' memory card that is usually a low capacity card that's enough to take a few sample photos on, but not enough for day-to-day use.
Diffusion & Softening of Digital Photography Images
Like many people who've made the switch from film cameras to digital, I've discovered that the lens tools I once used so effectively on my cameras to soften, diffuse and vignette my images for quality "finished" professional results won't do for digital what they did for film.I'm sure it's arguable by some that their diffusers still work fine, and I too have discovered that some tools still work okay under some circumstances; my Ziess Softar #1 seemed to offer decent results when photographing a single subject in the studio but I knew that the black netting diffuser that I used with my Lindahl Bell-o-shade no longer worked on the Nikon D70 zoom lens at the wider angles without showing lines in the image.
Top 10 Digital Cameras - What You Need To Know About Them
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Take Spectacular Nighttime Photos with Your Digital Camera - Part II
Night photos can take on a somewhat magical quality you may find lacking in normal daytime photography. Amazing night pictures certainly can attract attention.
HP Digital Cameras - History and Beyond
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Home Run Baseball Photography Tips
Strike one! Strike two! Strike three!Baseball! America's Pastime, and a sport growing in popularity throughout the world, where the Boys of Summer slug it out. A baseball game is the perfect way to spend a lazy summer afternoon, plus it provides opportunities to take photos that last a lifetime.
Digital Camera Reviews and Ratings De-Mystify the Choices
Shopping for a new digital camera can be quite frustrating with the hundreds of choices available. Digital camera reviews clarify this confusion by comparing camera features and options, then rating how each camera compares with similar models.
The Benefits of Disposable Cameras
Disposable cameras are cheap and easy to use. If you just want to take some snapshots and have fun then this is the camera for you.
Selecting Your First Digital Camera
Purchasing a digital camera is a wise decision, particularly if you take a lot of pictures and you want to control how they are developed. Camera prices continue to plummet and Americans are exchanging their 35mm cameras for digital devices at a record pace.
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