What Is Resolution, And How Does It Work?

If you’ve used a digital camera at all, you’ll know that resolution refers to the overall quality and clarity of a photograph. Snap a low resolution image on your phone and, once transferring it to a computer monitor, you will realise just how poor the quality is. Strange; the photo didn’t look that awful on your phone.

Hence; resolution is important in the world of photography, and can easily determine the difference between an image that is a masterpiece, and one that appears to have been taken with a bargain basement camera.

The Basics Of Resolution

In the digital world images are based entirely around the concept of resolution; you cannot have images in digital format without resolution being the core.

Digital images are made up of small dots. How many of these dots per square inch is directly equivalent to how much detail will be seen in that image, and how clear it will appear. However, there are a few factors to take into consideration here.

Namely; the screen being used to view the image versus the resolution of the image itself.

A screen or monitor can be high definition, which is a resolution of 1920 x 1080 dots per square inch, and be capable of displaying great quality images. The key here is though; it is the monitor that is capable of showing high quality images. If the image it is trying to display is low quality, the resolution of the display will not improve matters.

Capturing High Quality Images

Some cameras are capable of capturing more information per snap than others. The information captured is translated into the resolution of the image, hence giving it its clarity and quality.

In terms of monitors, 1920 X 1080 is still considered to be a decent display, and is used for everything from TV shows to a Canadian smartphone casino. But photographers generally capture photos at much higher resolution than this, after which they scale the image down to fit into smaller displays. But that additional quality is not lost, even after the image is scaled down, giving infinitely sharper quality.

Generally speaking; cameras that capture more information per snap are more expensive. Though this does not at all mean that a cheaper camera should simply be dismissed. A midrange camera is still more than capable of capturing enough information to create an excellent image. The resolution capability may not be as astronomically high as a top tier camera, but this isn’t the end of the world by any means.

What Resolution Images Should I Capture?

The average person is comfortable with taking 1920 x 1080 photos with their phone. But a professional photographer should certainly be aiming for higher. The term 4K generally refers to a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160. However, judging acceptable resolutions based on industry buzzwords is not a good idea.

Rather experiment, see for yourself, and determine what resolution you prefer. Don’t forget that working with more information per photo means having to transfer and work with that data, which can be challenge of its own.