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Image Size FAQ

Here is some brief and simple information for you to gain a better understanding of digital image size.

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IMAGE SIZE:
"Image size" can refer to a variety of characteristics about the photo, such as 1) file size; 2) pixel size; 3) resolution (dpi or ppi); 4) document size. If your digital camera shoots 8.2 mega pixels, then it produces a pixel image size of 3504x2336 pixels, which can create a file size on your computer ranging from 2mb - 12mb, depending on the file type (jpg, RAW, tif, etc). The resolution of the pixels that are squeezed into each inch will generally range from 72ppi - 360ppi (pixels per inch), which can create a document size ranging from inches to feet.

You can ultimately produce an output image for electronic transmission (web or email), which is measured in ppi, or for printing, which is measured in dpi. You can also create a large image that is saved with different levels of quality to produce a smaller file size.

More megapixels or higher resolution (dpi or ppi) doesn't necessarily mean you'll SEE a better image. It's what you do with them that counts. A poster that is printed at 72 dpi can look incredibly sharp when you're standing at the appropriate distance to view it. A 4x6 print won't look much different when it's printed at 180 dpi or 300 dpi. Most magazines are printed at 180 ppi. Note that 1440 dpi = 360 ppi.

FILE SIZE:
Refers to the size of the image file on your computer, measured in kilobytes (k), megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB). Jpg photos are compressed. Each time you open and close the jpg for editing, it looses quality when it recompresses. It's the nature of JPG. A 4 mb jpg file on your computer could open up as 12mg when you're opening it in a program such as Photoshop.

PIXEL SIZE:
The number of color or b&w dots along the height and width of a image, which is also called the 'image resolution,' or 'image size' or 'pixel dimensions.' The size of the jpeg photo image on your computer screen is determined by the pixel dimensions, but also the size and setting of your computer monitor.

Standard 15" computer monitors usually display a minimum of 600x800 pixels. Thus, a jpeg image that is 600x800 will fill the screen. On 16" monitors with 600x800 pixel resolution/dimension, the image will still fit the screen, but will be larger. If the same 16" monitor is set at higher resolution of 768x1024, then the 600x800 image will display smaller or take up a smaller portion of the 768x1024 screen.

DOCUMENT SIZE - DPI (dots per inch) & PPI (pixels per inch):
The resolution used for viewing (PPI) or printing (dpi). DPI is separate and independent from PPI. It's the number of ink dots per inch used when printing or color pixels on a computer screen. Thus, you can change dpi/resolution without changing or effecting the pixels. Higher resolution produces more detailed images, but might not matter if you're standing far away to view a poster. Many ink jet printers use spray and not dots and can vary in their resolution capabilities. Photo printers will likely have higher dpi capability than standard printers. When you print your image you can set the dpi higher for better quality. But, you should know what your printer's dpi is capable of producing. If your send a 300 dpi image to a printer that only handles 180 dpi, then the image will only print at 180dpi and not show you the enhanced detail. And, you will significantly slow your computer and printing process because of the larger file size.

You can produce a very good 8x10 print from a 640x480 image at 72ppi. 360 ppi on the computer screen = 1440 dpi on the output printer. Most commercial photo printers for the consumer don't exceed 300dpi.

PRINT SIZE:
Print sizes can be elusive. The standard consumer sizes are: 3x5, 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, 11x14 & 16x20. However, a 35mm film or digital camera doesn't translate to those sizes. Thus, if you produce a 8x10 print from your digital image, you will loose 2 inches. It should be 8x12.

JPEG COMPRESSION:
Images can be created in different formats, such as jpg, gif, and tiff. Each one uses different compression formulas and colors.

STD SIZES:
REGULAR SIZES
PIXELS
PPI
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3x5
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4x6
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5x7
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8x10
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8x12
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11x14
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12x18
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16x20
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20x30
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