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Understanding Resolution; PPI, DPI for Print and Digital | PhotoJoseph’s Photo Moment 2017-02-28

Resolution is a topic that many beginners (and even advanced users!) get confused on easily. This discussion aims to clear up confusion around DPI and PPI, native camera resolution, scaling in apps like Photoshop, and more.

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24 thoughts on “Understanding Resolution; PPI, DPI for Print and Digital | PhotoJoseph’s Photo Moment 2017-02-28

  1. Hi there, thanks for video, i understand the difference between ppi and dpi, but somehow noone can answer me my question. When i export photos from Lightroom (raw to jpeg), I have to select “Resolution”:ppi. Which number should i give in there if a picture will be printed at 2,400 dpi (in different sizes – 10×10, 21×21 etc) And also if threre a difference to print at 600dpi or 2,400, or in which cases the difference will be seen?

  2. They may be used interchangeably but they are different things, ppi and dpi. They're as different as oranges from apples. I'm so sick of this created confusion!

  3. Imo, I think his approach works for left brain thinkers. I think the best descriptions take a visual approach (instead of a numbers based approach) and then everyone will understand it. The numbers matter but not until you understand (and can visualize) the concepts first. Let's use a real world example. Say I work at a print shop and a customer emails us a file to print into a very large mural. The final print size will be 9 feet wide and 3 feet tall. The image dimensions are set at actual size (9'x3') and also at 300 ppi. But the file is so large (Its 4 gigabytes!) that we have trouble sending it (spooling) to the printer and the program freezes up. So, we decide to reduce some aspect of it (to reduce the file size) without comprising "noticeable quality". What would be the approach to do this? When you know the approach to take then you understand resolution, DPI and PPI.

  4. Please give me your opinion :

    600 * 600 dpi ( ppi ) with 30 bit depth

    Would such resolution be sufficient for a board of directors meeting ?

  5. thanks for this joseph – when you demonstrated how all those changes happen using photoshop – can you get similar info tabulated in lightroom (where i do all my printing from) ?

  6. Thank you so much PhotoJoseph! This is one of the better videos explaining Rez/PPI/DPI. I've been in the biz for some years and this subject still gets hairy; until now. Cheers!

  7. ty from a total beginner that takes clients piks by e mail .things have too be professional ive still got lots too learn but ty for your input …

  8. I had a similar resolution argument on the Aperture forums a few years ago. Oddly it was with one of the forum's prolific posters who was otherwise an expert on Aperture. Some people just can't be convinced but I applaud you for trying.

    I have the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens mentioned near the end. It does not have image stabilization built in so you will need to rely on the camera body IBIS. I think it will work great with the GH5. In fact I hope to try it some day. One feature that won't work is the Depth from Defocus on the GH5 that speeds focusing. It only works with Lumix lenses whose bokeh characteristics are in the camera's built-in database or with newer Lumix lenses that have the lens bokeh information in the lens firmware.

    Similarly, some of the Olympus body features won't work with Lumix lenses. One example is the Pro Capture feature of the OM-D EM-1 MKII. It continuously captures frames while the shutter button is half pressed and retains the previous 14 frames when the shot is taken so you don't miss fast moving subjects. But it only works when using an Olympus Pro lens.

    The take-away is some features require tight integration between camera and lens so using the same manufacturer body and lens will always have advantages.

  9. It is wonderful to see you responding with an entire video to a user question! Thumbs up!
    I also think those EXIF-PPI-values are rather arbitrary. I had a quick look and found Olympus E-M5 mkII and E-M1 (both mFT 16MP) with 350PPI, Panasonic G85 (mFT 16MP…) with 180PPI, Pentax K-1 (FullFrame 36MP) with 300PPI, Fuji X-T2 (APS-C with 24MP) with 300PPI and my own lovely Olympus E-520 (FourThirds with 10MP) with 314PPI. I also have a scan from a 6x9cm slide with 17.8MP at 1588PPI.
    I remember when I started digital photography I had viewer that showed the image size in cm… And today I finished a cover of a book in inkscape, had to import a jpeg and inkscape asked me if I would use the NATIVE PPI for the embedded size of the image in the svg. So there might be some use cases where applications query the resolution of a photo not by megapixel but by its "resolution in PPI".

    But for printing all this really shouldn't matter. Printers don't care for noise or captured detail in the image. They just map pixel count to print size… As long as you don't resize the image all should go well.

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