# Scale, dimensions, and resolution - Photography

I'm completely confused by these concepts. Say my camera takes photos that are 640 x 480 pixels (about 8.6 x 6.7 inches) wide and high. I open the image using a software program, and it tells me that the image has a size of 640 x480 and a resolution of 72 ppi. Let's say I want to print this on an 8 x 10 inch sheet of paper. I can use my software to 'scale' the image from about 8.9 x 6.7 inches to about 10 x 7.5 inches (the closest I can get to 8 x 10 with a ...

1. ## Scale, dimensions, and resolution

I'm completely confused by these concepts. Say my camera takes photos that
are 640 x 480 pixels (about 8.6 x 6.7 inches) wide and high. I open the
image using a software program, and it tells me that the image has a size
of 640 x480 and a resolution of 72 ppi.

Let's say I want to print this on an 8 x 10 inch sheet of paper. I can use
my software to 'scale' the image from about 8.9 x 6.7 inches to about 10 x
7.5 inches (the closest I can get to 8 x 10 with a 480 x 640 image), but
the 72 ppi remains the same.

Camera manuals refer to the dimensions (640 x 480) as a 'resolution,' and
my software says that's the dimensions. It says that 72 ppi is the
resolution. My printer says it prints at a resolutions of 300, 600, or 1200
dpi.

Scaling the picture up from 640 x 480 to 720 x 540 still leaves me with a
72 ppi resolution. Some software will let me increase the 72 ppi to 144 or
300 by interpolation or fractals, whatever. This affects the dimensions of
the image.

So what's a good resource to study up on this? I want to figure out how to
get semi-decent prints from digital images.
--
Legal Assistance on the Web | spam and read later. email to philip
http://www.PhilipStripling.com/ | my domain is read daily.
Phil Guest

2. ## Re: Scale, dimensions, and resolution

Phil Stripling <zzn.com> wrote:
: I'm completely confused by these concepts. Say my camera takes photos that
: are 640 x 480 pixels (about 8.6 x 6.7 inches) wide and high. I open the
: image using a software program, and it tells me that the image has a size
: of 640 x480 and a resolution of 72 ppi.

: Let's say I want to print this on an 8 x 10 inch sheet of paper. I can use
: my software to 'scale' the image from about 8.9 x 6.7 inches to about 10 x
: 7.5 inches (the closest I can get to 8 x 10 with a 480 x 640 image), but
: the 72 ppi remains the same.

: Camera manuals refer to the dimensions (640 x 480) as a 'resolution,' and
: my software says that's the dimensions. It says that 72 ppi is the
: resolution. My printer says it prints at a resolutions of 300, 600, or 1200
: dpi.

: Scaling the picture up from 640 x 480 to 720 x 540 still leaves me with a
: 72 ppi resolution. Some software will let me increase the 72 ppi to 144 or
: 300 by interpolation or fractals, whatever. This affects the dimensions of
: the image.

: So what's a good resource to study up on this? I want to figure out how to
: get semi-decent prints from digital images.
: --
: Legal Assistance on the Web | spam and read later. email to philip
: http://www.PhilipStripling.com/ | my domain is read daily.

You might want to take a look at www.scantips.com

Ray

--
E. Ray Lemar net
elemar@comcast.net Guest

3. ## Re: Scale, dimensions, and resolution

Phil Stripling wrote:

OK.. It isn't that hard.

First off you have to realize the term INCHES means inches of paper. The
'inches' in dots per inch and pixels per inch both refer to inches of paper.

PPI is a printing term. PPI resolution refers to the PRINTING resolution. If
your software shows an image is 5 x 7, then that's how big it is going to be
on paper. It has no other meaning.

Once you understand that the rest is easy.

The size of an image depends on two things and two things only. The total
number of pixels and how many pixels you spread across each inch of paper.

Take a 1000 pixel wide image. Spread the pixels out at 100 for each inch. The
image will be 10 inches wide. 1000 pixels divided by 100 pixels per inch = 10
inches. It's very simple math.

So a 1000 pixel wide image printed at 100 ppi will be 10 inches.

The more pixels per inch you have, the better the image will look. But you're
stuck with how many pixels you have. In the above example, a 1000 pixel wide
image can only give you 100 pixels per inch when printed at 10 inches.

To print a 10 inch image at 300 pixels per inch, you would HAVE to have a 3000
pixel wide image. 3000 pixels / 300 ppi = 10 inches.

If you *needed* to print your 1000 pixel wide image at 10 inches at 300 pixels
per inch, you would could get by by resampling it and making it into a 3000
pixel image. Now it will work. The only thing is, you aren't getting any

Without changing the number of pixels in the image, it's mathematically
impossible to print a 1000 pixel wide image 10 inches wide at 300 pixels per
inch.

See the relationship ?

As far as your software saying 72 dpi.. And perhaps your camera showing
150ppi.... Again, these are printing terms. Your software and camera have
plugged in default PRINTING values.

Image files have a couple of bytes in the header where the ppi (or dpi) info is
stored. These couple of bytes are there to tell your printer how BIG to print
the image on paper.

The 72 dpi or 150 dpi (or whatever happens to be placed there) are *default*
values. It means that the picture will be a certain default size when you
print it on paper.

You can *change* these values to whatever you want at the time you print it.
The DPI and PPI values have no effect on the quality of the image... Just the
size when it is put on paper.

Jim Guest

4. ## Re: Scale, dimensions, and resolution

In <tdl.com> on 18 Jul 2003 11:40:31 -0700, Phil
Stripling <zzn.com> wrote:

It's actually quite simple. You tell your printing software what size to
print the image, and either the printing software or printer driver will scale
(resize, resample, upsample) the image to the resolution of the printer. So
if your image is indeed 640 x 480, and you want to print it as 8.6 x 6.45
inches (uncropped, same aspect ratio), and your printer is set for a
resolution of 300 dpi, then the image will be upsampled to 2580 x 1935 for
printing, a ratio of about 4:1 in each direction. That's a lot of upsampling,
so don't expect a terribly good print.

You only need to worry about upsampling manually before printing if you have
software able to do a noticeably better job of upsampling than the printing
software or printer driver (e.g., Genuine Fractals).

Assuming that the image has been taken with a good lens, for printing figure
at least 130 PPI (pixels per inch) for acceptable results (at normal viewing
distances), and up to 230 PPI for excellent results. With current technology,
anything more than 300 PPI is pretty much wasted.

4x6 5x7 8x10
------ ------ ------
Acceptable: 0.4 MP 0.6 MP 1.4 MP
Very good: 1 MP 1.4 MP 2.5 MP
Excellent: 1.4 MP 2 MP 4 MP
Best: 2.1 MP 3 MP 7 MP

640x480 = 0.3 MP
1024x768 = 0.8 MP
1600x1200 = 1.9 MP

Note that there is much more to the quality of digicam images than the raw
pixel count. The quality of the lens is an important item that is often
overlooked -- I'd usually go for 1.4 MP taken with a high-quality lens over
2.1 MP taken with an inexpensive consumer lens.

Note also that the above is only my own opinion, and that opinions can and do
vary widely. ;-)

--
Best regards,
John Navas
<http://bobatkins.photo.net/info/charter.htm> <http://rpdfaq.50megs.com/>]
John Guest

5. ## Re: Scale, dimensions, and resolution

Technically, a halftone (result of halftone process) was a sampled data
system, and the dot was the basic picture element (pixel). They called
them dots, but they were/are pixels. Now, this is ONLY true for
halftones, not pictures printed on personal computer printers.

Matti Vuori wrote:

--
Don Stauffer in Minnesota
net
webpage- http://www.usfamily.net/web/stauffer
Don Guest

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