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Explaining DPI and Resolution

drumheller, Canada

DPI is Dots Per Inch( of pixels) when printed off a printer.
Resolution is the how many pixels in a completed picture.
By increasing your cameras resolution you are in effect adding more pixels to a picture.
If your printer can only print(DPI) a low amount (4x6size )then isn't this a waste of pixels?I know it depends on the size of picture you are printing.
I also read somewhere that one can get a bigger size with a lot of pixels by scanning the picture, but I think one is sacrificing crispness.Any thoughts on this?

Chicago, IL

Yes - if you only intend to print 4x6 prints - you don't need a huge number of pixels. A 3mp camera will be about sufficient. Most suggested DPI ranges for clean, clear images are between 200 and 400dpi at a given print size (300 is magazine industry standard).

However, if you want to be able to crop in, or have the option of printing larger at some point, more pixels is nice.


Sometimes you can get a larger size by scanning a print - but you can also sacrifice sharpness, or induce other artifacts, depending on the originals output method. For instance, a scan from a standard CMYK rosette (professional press) can induce Moire patterns. You're almost always better off with the digital original file in this case.

However - an optical print, from an optical negative, can usually be scanned and reproduced with good results (up to a point, you're still better off getting the negative original, and working from that).

drumheller, Canada

rogue_designer: Thankyou for that information.
I have a 10mp digital camera.I want to buy a decent printer that I could print out at least a 13X19 picture.
So far I saw a Canon Pro 9000 and a 9500 models...and one Hp pro model.Which would you reccommend?I am using it for digital artwork.

This message was edited Sep 17, 2008 11:42 AM

Chicago, IL

Epson also makes models that will print out 13x19. I've always been partial to epson, but HP have been impressing me recently. I've never seen a Canon printer I liked though. Certainly others have been happy with them.

I tend to look for printers that have individual cartridges for each color, and ideally more than one black (glossy, versus matte). Unless you're willing to really invest though, I would say most of the printers under $1000 that can run that size will do so about equally well. I wouldn't worry overly much. If you can get print samples to review, that's ideal.

drumheller, Canada

HP Photosmart Pro B8850 sounds good too.
The Canons do have mutiple cartridges.I look for reasonable prices for cartridges as well.I figured that I may as well go for the good quality printers.Yes.it is a big investment.I can use it for newsletters, flyers etc.
I didn't know Epson had a good quality one though.I will check into this.Thankyou for your help.Much appreciated.

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