Getting Familiar with Images

July 20, 2011 by CHAUVET DJ

by Allan Reiss, product manager for CHAUVET®

There are different types of descriptions commonly used when it comes to discussing images and their resolution.  If you’re unfamiliar with terms like high resolution, web resolution, dpi, megapixel, digital zoom, optical zoom and SLR, they can sound technical and intimidating. Don’t be nervous, we’ll learn together and you’ll be photographing lighting installations like a professional in no time.

1. Does resolution really matter?
There’s a big difference between high resolution and web resolution photos. Both are very different and will determine if your photos are published in a printed publication or simply posted online. High-resolution photos are typically 300 dpi (dots per inch) and used for print. Web-resolution images are typically 72 dpi and can really only be published online since the image quality of these photos would be very poor if they were printed.
2.  The mysterious megapixel.
A megapixel refers to one million pixels (tiny squares on a computerized display) and commonly references the resolution capability of digital cameras. Basically, digital images are made up of thousands of these tiny, tile-like picture elements and the more pixels, the higher the image resolution.
3. Get your zoom on.
Is there a big difference between digital and optical zoom? Digital zoom is the digital magnification of the center of an image. It increases the apparent image size by making the existing pixels larger. The amount of image information stays the same and the resolution of the image actually decreases.  Optical zoom indicates that the camera has a real, multi-focal length lens. Unlike the digital zoom where pixel size is increased, optical zoom simply magnifies the center portion of the picture.
4. Choosing a camera.
The best camera to photograph lighting installations and produce high-resolution images for print publications is an SLR camera.  SLR, or Single Lens Reflex, means the same lens and optical system is used for framing and capturing an image. In other words, it’s a professional camera with interchangeable lenses.

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