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Digital Camera Basics - A primer
Digital cameras are confusing to a lot of new users. In this basic guide to digital camera technology we hope to try to give digital beginners at least some basis to use in deciding which digital camera is appropriate for them. When shopping for a digital camera it's at least good to know what the basic terms like white balance, pixel, ppi and dpi mean and how they affect image and print quality. It's also important to know the difference between things like optical zoom and digital zoom as well as the advantages and disadvantages between storage formats such as Compact Flash (CF), Microdrives, Sony Memory Stick, Secure Digital (SD), Multimedia and camera interface technologies such as USB 1.1, USB 2.0 and Firewire IEEE 1394.
A pixel is a contraction if the term PIcture ELement. Digital images are made up of small squares, just like a tile mosaic on your kitchen or bathroom wall. Though a digital photograph looks smooth and continuous just like a regular photograph, it's actually composed of millions of tiny squares as shown below.
Each pixel in the image has a numerical value of between 0 and 255 and is made up of three color channels. So for example a pixel could be 37-red, 76-green and 125-blue and it would then look like this . If it was 162-red, 27-green and 12-blue, it would look like this . There are over 16 million possible combinations using this scheme and each one represents a different color. Computer savvy readers will note that each color in this scheme can be represented by an 8-bit number (byte), so the color of each pixel is defined by three color bytes. This scheme can be expanded, for example to use 16-bits (two 8-bit bytes) for each color. images using three 8-bit values are sometimes called 24-bit color images. images using three 12-bit values for color definition are called 36-bit color images, and those using three 16-bit values are called 48-bit color images.
One of the main ways that manufacturers categorize their digital cameras is in terms of pixel count. What this is is the number of individual pixels that go into making each image. Today this number varies between 1 million (1 Megapixel) to around 14 million (14 Megapixels). A million pixels is abbreviated to MP, so a 1MP camera has 1 million pixels and a 3MP camera has 3 million pixels. Currently most popular consumer digital cameras have between 2MP and 5MP. A 3MP camera can make excellent 4"x6" prints and very good 5"x7" prints. If you intend to make lots of 8"x10" prints, then perhaps a 4MP or 5MP camera would be a better choice. Sometimes two numbers are given, total pixels and effective pixels. Total pixels count every pixel on the sensor surface. Usually the very edge pixels aren't used in the final image. Effective pixels are the number of pixels actually used in the image after the edge pixels have been dropped.
The aspect ratio of a camera is the ratio of the length of the sides of the images. For example, a traditional 35mm film frame is approximately 36mm wide and 24mm HIGH. This has an aspect ratio of 36:24, which can equally well be expressed as 3:2. Some digicams use the same aspect ratio for their digital images. For example most digital SLR (single lens reflex) cameras have a 3:2 aspect ratio. However, video monitors typically use a 4:3 aspect ratio. For example a monitor with a 800x600 display has a 4:3 aspect ratio. With this in mind, most consumer level digicams use a 4:3 aspect ratio for their images.
The size of the digital sensor element (which is equivalent to the size of the negative for film cameras) is pretty small in all consumer digicams - typically around the size of a fingernail (and a small fingernail at that!). As I said above, a 35mm film frame is 24mm high by 36mm wide but most digital cameras use sensors very much smaller than this. Here are some typical digicam sensor sizes. The "name" of the sensor is based on specification for old TV tubes used in the 1950s. Nobody is quite sure why it's being used for modern digital sensors since the "sizes" don't really relate in any consistent way to the actual physical size of the sensor. However these names are widely used, so it's best to know what they are. They are often listed in digital camera spec sheets.
Here is a conversion chart for DPI (Dots per inch) to LPI (Lines per inch) or PPI (Pixels per inch)
180 DPI................31 lines/inch or 68 PPI 360 DPI................63 lines/inch or 138 PPI 720 DPI................127 lines/inch or 280 PPI 1440 DPI..............255 lines/inch or 561 PPI 2880 DPI..................510 lines/inch or 1122 PPI
If you plan to enlarge your image, it is better to enlarge it when you're scanning rather than in your application. Each time you modify an image, you lose some quality. Keep in mind when you enlarge a small photo, such as a 35 mm slide or wallet-size photo, you'll need to scan at a high enough resolution to retain your image quality, but not so high that your file size is too large to be efficient. You must manually adjust the resolution (dpi) to maintain the same image quality when you resize your image. For example, if you have a 300 dpi 2 x 2-inch image that you want to enlarge to 4 x 4 (a factor of 200%), increase the Scale setting to 200% or change the resolution to 600 dpi.
What is DPI PPI and Why Do They Matter
To some extent, we're all photographers these days. With a camera on every phone and digital SLRs coming down in price, we've all got a trove of photos waiting to be shared. When it comes time to share online, print, or email our favorite images, many are unsure about how to set the image's resolution...
If you've found yourself in this spot, don't worry - dots per inch (shortened to DPI from here on out) is a concept that even confounds some professional graphic artists. Here's a primer DPI so you can stop worrying about technology and start sharing your photos. Getting started
Digital photos are comprised of pixels, much like the individual boxes on a sheet of graph paper. DPI tells you how small those pixels will be when the image is printed. For example, "300 dots per inch" means that 300 pixels fit across each inch. If your photo is 600 pixels tall by 900 pixels wide, for example, it would come out at 2" x 3" inches if you were to print at 300 DPI. Keep in mind that most digital photos are several thousand pixels in either direction, but for the sake of simplicity, we'll use the more manageable 600 x 900 pixels. Separating pixels from presentation
It's important to separate DPI from the raw pixel dimensions, and this is where even the pros slip up. DPI is not an indication of image quality or clarity. When you print that 600 x 900 pixel image at 300DPI, it'll likely look pretty sharp, because every inch is densely packed with pixels.
Now imagine printing that same image, with the same number of pixels, at a mere 30 DPI. As each inch would have only 30 pixels across, the density drops immensely and the image prints much larger: 20" by 30". What was once sharp now appears blurry, because each individual pixel is now ten times larger than before. By separating DPI from actual pixel count, we can understand that raising DPI doesn't magically improve a photo. DPI simply takes the same data (the original pixels) and alters how we'll view them. Pin itIt's all about context
Another factor is viewing distance. Just think of the eye chart at your doctor's office. If you're a bit nearsighted, the tiny letters at the bottom are illegible specks, while the letters at the top are easily discerned. In actuality, each tiny letter may be half an inch tall, but the distance makes them seem microscopic. Now consider our 600 by 900 pixel image. When we printed it at 30 DPI, the giant pixels made it look blurry. Were we to look at it across the doctor's office long hallway, however, it may look just as sharp as the 300 DPI print did in our hands. This illustrates how DPI is more about context than quality.
Pin itPixels Per Inch
You'll notice I've been talking about DPI in relation to printing only. This is because while printers can produce a variety of DPI settings, a computer display's resolution is fixed - its pixel density is part of the physical hardware, and cannot be altered. When talking about displays instead of print, most use the term PPI, or "pixels per inch."
If you intend to put your 600 x 900 pixel image online, switching the resolution to 30, 300, or 3000 PPI is completely arbitrary, because the computer display can't change its density. As modern desktop displays usually have a PPI in the low 100s, the 600 x 900 pixel image will appear around 6" by 9" (mobile displays may be much higher). Of course, your web browser could display the image smaller if need be, but it will do so by averaging and eliminating pixels, not squeezing them to be physically smaller. This is why it's always important to keep your end goal in mind when working with images. In summary:
• An image is defined by its pixel dimensions - # pixels tall by # pixels wide
• DPI/PPI determines the scale and pixel density at which image will be displayed
• What appears blurry from close up may look fine at a distance, so consider how an image will be seen
• Printers can produce a range of DPIs, while displays have fixed resolution
Whether you're a blogger dealing with an upload limit or are just trying to print a photo to hang on the wall, understanding DPI/PPI can go a long way. I hope these tips help you feel more in control of your images and how you share them with the world!
An 8.5 inch wide document scanned at 200 dpi gives you an image that is 1700 pixels wide. This is almost enough to fill a fullHD TV screen at native resolution (1920 pixels wide) which is unnecessary detail. I would use any picture editing programme (many free ones available) to reduce the overall pixel width of your already scanned images by 50 percent. This will automatically reduce the 1MB image to 250k. If you can scan again, use 100 dpi to scan - the result is same; image will be half as wide (and long), and picture file size one quarter of the 200 dpi scan.
The digital cameras capture images with number of pixels that that image sensor allows. They usually dont have DPI adjustment. However you can adjust capture resolution from 5 Mega Pixel to 1.1 Mega Pixel. Please refer to Page 24 and 25 on the following Owners Manual for this camera.
A couple of things - I don't think you mean 500 megapixels (that is a lot!) but I assume you mean you expected a high resolution image. You may have it! The dpi setting is largely irrelevant (for photographers) as it simply relates number of pixels to a (notional) print size. Thus an image that is 3000 pixels wide (say) would print out to 10 inches at 300 dpi (3000/300) or 40 inches (approx) at 72 dpi (3000/72). the image has the same information /resolution - it's just "spread" further on the larger print. You can easily change the nominal dpi in e.g. Photshop Elements but it won't affect your image quality. If however you are getting low resolution images when setting the camera differently that's something different. I would need extra info to help there but pssibly check if the camera was set to RAW and maybe you were looking at the (small) JPEG usually saved with it?
What I saw first off is that although the resolution indicates 96 DPI, the file size itself between the 2 examples are drastically different. You are putting raster images into MS Word for publication work, and that is a NO NO. Word was not created for any kind of high resolution printing. It's a glorified text editor that people seem to think is an option for printing. YOU WILL NEVER GET 300 or 600 DPI images out of Word. Ever.
To create your project for printing, you need to use software more suited for the task. InDesign and Quark are examples, but they are very expensive. In my opinion, Publisher would be better for this kind of project and I hate myself for saying that.
Talk to your Printer, find out his specifications for Applications and Linescreen for Printing. The minimum requirement is 280 DPI, but if the image is placed at 100%, 600 DPI is overkill.
Oh, and try to never scan a scan... you are looking for trouble... a little thing called a Moiré pattern comes into play, and it will make you images print NASTY!
I could go on about your post all day long, but if there is anything else I didn't explain, please post again.
Do not be too bummed out. The DPI reported in the EXIF data does not mean all that much. What does matter is the total number of horizontal and vertical pixels in an image and how this relates to the output size. For instance, your camera is capable of producing a 2304 by 1728 pixel image. This works out to about 220 DPI when printing an 8 by 10 inch picture. If you look at this the other way around, image editors will indicate an image size of 32 by 24 inches for an image taken by your camera (2304/72 and 1728/72). It is doubtful you will print at this size. Image software will take advantage of the full resolution when printing an 8 by 10, or 11 by 14.