What "resolution" is, and why it matters to you.














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Resolution is a measurement of an image's detail, and since digital prints are composed of many tiny dots, it is expressed in "dots per inch." The more dots per inch the higher the print's resolution and the more detailed and finer it appears. At a resolution of less than 300 dots per inch prints start to appear grainy and unresolved. Screen or computer monitor resolution is measured in pixels per inch, a "pixel" being the atom or light dot of which monitor images are composed. Pixels differ from the dots of digital prints, but the principle is the same: the more dots or pixels per inch, the higher the resolution and the finer and more detailed the image.


If it is to be enlarged, a relatively small print must have a high resolution to retain detail. An 8"x12" print at 300 dots per inch enlarged 3 times to 24"x36" will have a resolution of 100 dots per inch and appear grainy and less detailed than the original. If however, one were to move back from this enlargement until it took in the same angle as did the original close up, the two views would appear equally resolved and detailed. This is why a billboard appears fine at a distance but coarse and lacking in detail when viewed up close. Any small section of the billboard has low resolution, for the billboard is only meant to be viewed as a whole from a distance.


My prints have a lot of detail when viewed up close or at a distance. This is because they come from huge files and are therefore highly resolved at all print sizes. For each image we use the largest file that exists. If a large enough file is not available in the public domain, we buy one from an astronomer or observatory or we choose another subject.


Some galaxies contain trillions of stars. You cannot actually see trillions of points of light in their prints because stars in other galaxies are at such a great distance that the more central ones blend together into clouds of light. But the outlying halo stars in these galaxies are highly resolved in our prints and beautiful to behold in the hundreds and hundreds of thousands.