Saturday, February 14, 2009

Digital Photography - Pixel and Resolution

My first experience with digital photography was in 2000 when my uncle presented a 0.5 MP Kodak digital camera. It was an amazing present I liked it a lot and started admiring digital photography from then. Things which I liked about digital camera as compared to analog camera was I can see my shots results instantaneously in the LCD screen and there is no recurring cost of developing and printing to view your shots. You just need to take your shots, connect the camera to computer and download pictures to computer and after that you can email it to your families and friends.
Building blocks of digital cameras is PIXELS, which is a short for 'PIcture ELementS'. An individual pixel carries information that governs its color, the strength of that color, and how light the pixel is displayed. In photography terminology these are termed as (HSB)
  1. Pixel's Hue,
  2. Pixel's Saturation, and
  3. Pixel's Brightness.
Each image is made up of million of pixels and number of pixel that an image has dictates the image's resolution.
More Pixel means

  1. Higher Resolution.
  2. Large Print Size.
  3. Large Disc Space.

Pic 1 is taken from 2 MP camera has 1600 x 1200 pixels, size on Hard Disk is 177 KB.

Pic 2 is taken from 6 MP camera ( Sony Cybershot) has 2816 x 2112 pixels, size on Hard Disk is 1.5 MB.

Pic 3 is taken from 10 MP camera (Olympus E420) has 3648 x 2736 pixels, size on Hard Disk is 1.9 MB.

As you might have noticed even though these pictures are taken from different camera of different pixel but still their clarity is pretty much same. That is because of Screen resolution / Print resolution which is measured in pixel per inch (ppi). Photo quality prints is 300ppi and computer's monitor has a standard resolution of either 72ppi (Windows) or 96 ppi (Macintosh). Which means if print area is small lesser megapixel camera will give almost the same kind of clarity as of high megapixel camera. Yes if we need to blow up this image then pic taken from 2MP will be most destorted and from 10 MP camera will be least.

So if we need to take pics to email friends and families and to get small prints we can achieve the same using lower MP camera and no need to spend money on higher MP cameras.

Below is the table which helps to determine what is the best print you can get from the range of 2MP - 12 MP cameras.

Next I will be discussing about ISO and Noise in Camera

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