Image Resolution and Image Quality

When you buy or use a camera, the highest resolution it can record will be important to you. The number of separate points, recorded by the camera's image sensors, that make up a photograph determines the resolution of an image. The more of these points (pixels), the higher the resolution.

Pixels

Digital images are made of pixels. The word pixel is short for picture element. Each pixel is a tiny dot, similar to the ones that form the image on a television screen. When a digital image is viewed normally, the pixels blend together. When the image is magnified, you can differentiate the individual pixels. It is similar to enlarging a traditional photograph printed in a newspaper to the point where you can see the dots that make up the image.

This is a Santa figurine up close.

These are enlarged pixels at a high magnification that make up the eye in the previous photo of Santa.

Resolution Can Be Relative

As a rule, the higher the resolution, the better the quality of the photograph. However, there are plenty of exceptions to this rule. The trick is to match the resolution of an image to the device that is displaying that image. A printer has one requirement, a computer monitor another, and an e-mail attachment another. The concept of resolution can be quite confusing, especially to a novice. This book will go into much more depth about resolution in Chapter 8.

Megapixels: When you buy a camera, it will typically be listed by make and model and the maximum number of megapixels the camera can shoot, such as the Canon PowerShot A400 3.2 megapixel. This number is the highest-resolution photograph that the camera is able to record.

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