BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Paula J. Hoyal

How Megapixels Effect Picture Size

I know that the higher the megapixels the better image quality. My question is, if I own a 6 megapixel camera, am I going to be able to print small pictures such as a 4x6 or a wallet? If I am able to, what do I do to ensure that I get a quality print.

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6/27/2003 9:15:51 AM

doug Nelson   The answer is found in your imaging program. With your camera, or with a scanner, maybe, you must have gotten some photoshop-based software, Photoshop LE or Adobe Elements. Maybe you got a propriety software from the camera manufacturer. There will be a screen in there (Image/Image Size in the photoshop-based ones) that lets you size your image for print. I think Elements can even give you multiple small prints on a sheet of paper. If you have Elements or Photshop lE, and you are having trouble, come back.

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6/27/2003 9:24:06 AM

Michael Kaplan  
  Bird In Flight Original
Bird In Flight Original
Full Sized Original Picture
© Michael Kaplan
Canon EOS 10D Digi...
  Bird in Flight
Bird in Flight
Original Picture Cropped
© Michael Kaplan
First to directly answer your question, Yes, you can print ANY size print. It is settings in your program you are using to view or edit the picture that will adjust the size and resolution for your print. The difference is how good a picture you will end up with. If you are reducing the size then you will get an excellent print whereas if you are making a larger print, quality will decrease with the size and viewing distance. I have printed 13x19 and know of some people that have printed 20x30 and got what they considered good quality prints.

If you were only going to print 4x6 then there would really be no need for a 6MP camera but even then there are advantages to having the extra pixels.

The extra pixels will allow you to crop the picture. Take a snippit to allow a tighter view or enlarge something still leaving enough pixels to get a great quality print (see the Full and Crop samples below).

Hope this helps.

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7/1/2003 5:21:57 AM

Gregg Vieregge   I reccomend Adobe Elements 2. It's user friendly and has a gret how-to help guide.

Using the crop tool you can set the height and width of the picture. Use the largest print size for portrait packages of various sizes from one image. Make sure the image resolution is 300 dpi. You can always go to edit, image size, and resize. For internet use lower the dpi to 100 or 72 and the image size to 4X5. Also find a good lab that will print for $2 per sheet. Yhis will save you $$ as ink jet is expensive. Good luck!

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7/1/2003 6:10:18 AM

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