Over time, my own personal story behind the story on print resolution is this. Print resolution controls how close you can get your face to the paper. Or... don't wring your hands so much over having enough pixels to meet the dimensions you want, you can always step back a couple of inches.
PPI (DPI) isn't used.
The image prints at whatever density that I ask the printer to use. The value is irrelevant, because it's an attribute of the display-or-print device, it is not an attribute of the JPEG. It's stored in the JPEG, but it's irrelevant to it, or any other rasterized image: BMP, TIFF. etc.
The PPI setting only changes characters that stored in the EXIF. It doesn't change the structure of the JPEG. The JPEG's size is dependent on the user's screen. Each pixel in the JPEG is usually one pixel on the device, but software can scale the image too.
So I ask myself, "Paul, why do you keep changing '240' to '300' if that doesn't do much?" It's just a weird obsessive habit on my part.
Here is a cropped screenshot if Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5's Print Module (below).
- The image was set to 240 PPI when it was saved.
- Lightroom pre-populated the Print Module's PPI field with "240".
- I highlighted the field, and typed "300". This did not change the image-file in any way.
- Lightroom will ask my printer to print the image at 300 PPI instead of 240 PPI.
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The Conventional Wisdom of Photographers says that, "Any camera can be used to make excellent pictures."
My first thought was: Instagram seems to bear this out.
I chose the Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR, which takes 8 images per second for my racing photos. That was The World's Fastest DSLR for Under $1,000 USD at the time. The fastest Canon DSLR? That's the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR, which can take 12-14 images per second, but the EOS-1D X costs close to $6,799 USD.
These two are my favorite lenses for motorsports, and they are also available for Nikon, Sigma, Pentax, and Sony DSLRs:
- Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM (I actually have this older version: Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF)
- Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO DG OS HSM
My walking-around-camera? That's The World's Smallest DSLR, the Canon EOS Rebel SL1. It can easily fit in my jeans pocket without a lens attached, and it can almost, but not quite, fit in my jeans pocket with Canon's EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens (around $199 USD) attached. Still, it's very easy to carry around with either that 40mm pancake, or with Canon's EF 50mm f/1.8 II "Nifty 50" lens.
Why is it called a "Nifty 50"? It's a 50mm prime f/1.8 for around $125 USD, which is a bargain considering that Canon's 50mm f/1.4 prime costs close to $399 USD, and Canon's 50mm f/1.2 prime costs close to $1,619 USD.
Any other lenses? Why yes, I love my Samyang/Rokinon 8mm F/3.5 Diagonal Fisheye Lens. It's available for Canon, Nikon, Nikon AE, Olympus, Pentax, Sony alpha, and Sony NEX mounts.
I haven’t been able to make money by making images. I can’t keep up with the business side of things for same reasons that I can’t ride-or-drive on a racetrack. Also: if it’s a choice between tires, and photos, the racer is usually going to choose the tires. That’s OK.
I’d love to get paid, but I really want to make things, because doing-so makes me feel good. Making things, and helping others, gives life meaning.
I came from the software development world where people legally share programs that took thousands of hours to create. Much of the software that runs entire industries is built using APIs that are free (gratis and-or libre), or on Linux. Free software is integral to Java, C++, IOS, Android, OS X, and almost everything else out there. There’s even free software from Apple inside Android.
It wasn’t always like this. Companies believed that they needed to keep their software to themselves in order to retain a competitive advantage, and there was a strong prejudice against free software for many years. It was assumed to be inferior, because people said that, "You can’t get the best work for free," and it was thought of as unfair competition, but we now live in an age where even Microsoft supports Linux for its customers.
So why doesn’t this work for photography? I am not sure that it doesn’t. Photographers often use other people’s images, and videos, on their websites. They only do this when they are allowed-to, but this isn’t substantially different than what happens in the software world; it’s just on a smaller scale.
Trey Ratcliff, and others, have been successful, in part, because they do share their photos. Trey writes about this in Go Ahead, Steal This Photo and Make Prints. "Steal" is a euphemism; Trey’s photos are licensed under Creative Commons Noncommercial, which is very similar to some free software licenses.
Here’s the thing: for the most part, people don’t buy images, because they want to support photography. Publishers buy images, because they want to produce great magazines. Wedding photos are purchased, because people want a great wedding. Advertisers hire photographers, because they want to make great ads. These are the people that pay.
There are a small percentage of people that make it big by purely making art, but most of us don’t expect to be paid for doing something fun, whether that’s skiing, surfing, musicianship, or taking photos.
Luck shooting is when one takes many pictures in hopes that some will be good. Some of the photographers out on the interwebs like to complain about beginners that do this, as if these beginners would gain the ability to determine what's good, before they have the experience to do so, if only they would behave like "real" photographers.
Dealing with too many images is extremely time-consuming. People figure that out immediately. That person that appears to be luck shooting is simply someone who has not-yet developed their ability to previsualize. If they could do that, then of course they would take less photos, dealing with lots of images always has a cost associated with it.
Pixel peeping is when a person views their image at 100% zoom (1 pixel in the image takes up one pixel on the computer monitor) in order to get it as sharp as possible. Obsessing at this level might be unnecessary, and potentially counterproductive, because most images, even ones that are excellent as-is, have flaws at 100% zoom. It's common to see this criticism on the interwebs: "You don't need to be pixel peeping, because you aren't printing the images that large."
That is incorrect. The minimum size photo that you should be (pun ahead) shooting-for is 21" x 12" at 12" away. Why? That's close to the dimensions of a 23 inch monitor. Those monitors are now common, and using computers to enjoy photos is now the preferred way: at least for non-photographers. Your customers will judge you by how sharp your photos are at this size or larger, and in many cases, depending on your monitor's resolution, your images will be close to 100% zoomed at this size. Pixel peeping is a virtue.
Every year I struggle with this decision: do I stay in the AMA (the motorcycle one), or not. In the end, I stay. Why the struggle? The AMA's anti-helmet law activism posing as fence-straddling.
Do riders avoid Missouri? Not that I can see. They wear their helmets in Missouri, and pull over to take them off at the border. If this is all it takes to increase helmet use, then I am all for it.
People hated it when we instituted seatbelt laws, they said that during an accident, they didn't want to be trapped in the vehicle. Do people still complain about seatbelt laws? No. The laws changed our future values. This is how we resolve our cognitive dissonance, and in some cases, that's a very good thing.
In the AMA's response to The Community Preventive Services Task Force's recommendations on helmet laws. Wayne Allard, the AMA's vice president for government relations, said, "Instead of trying to draw conclusions from this type of observation, the CDC task force could have better spent its time and resources searching for cures for infectious diseases." Does he really believe that our government shouldn't be looking into the prevention of motorcycle deaths at all? Is this even logically reasonable? No, it's not.
This video was shared by a couple of my favorite photography websites. Here are some of my thoughts about it.
I highly doubt that the analog-video-tech described in the video inspired digital-imagery, at least not directly. "Pixelated" (rasterized) images are closely related to arrays, which are data structures that existed long before computers had video terminals. Rasterized-image history started with the teletype. Teletypes created images just like typewriters.
OK: so if pixels were digital, and video was analog, then why did they both have lines? Because books have lines!
The pixels that make up an image, are exactly the same regardless of which display technology is used. So the RGB designs at the end of this video are not pixels. (Where he says, "shapes and sizes on a variety of screens.")
Pixels are one-dimensional points, just like in geometry class. To get a better understand this, you could read Alvy Ray's essay: "A Pixel Is Not A Little Square! (And a Voxel is Not a Little Cube)". If my next paragraph doesn't sound right, well, Alvy Ray has a more precise explanation.
Now you might be thinking of how when you zoom into a picture you can see the squares that make up the image, but the decision to render the image as squares when you are zoomed-in is something that the computer programmer chose to do. Also: the squares are easier for an artist to deal with when zoomed-in to a paint program (such as Photoshop). As an alternative, the programmer could have chosen to calculate the hues and brightness for the points (pixels) in between the current pixel data, and rendered those when zoomed-in.
Digital video is even stranger. It doesn't have pixels in it, instead it has a digital representation of what the CRT guns would do, if displays had CRT guns, which they no longer have. That's why we still use terms like "progressive scan", and 1080p, instead of 1290x1080. This is a historical artifact. We had video, we needed to digitize it, so we took what we had (analog wave forms), and digitized those.
One thing that's cool about this is that it's efficient. If 1080p at 30 fps digital video were a series of rasterized bitmaps, then its uncompressed size would require 1,003,104,000 kbps (24 bits per pixel * 1290 horizontal resolution * 1080 vertical resolution * 30 fps). Another thing that's cool about it, is that it's naturally anti-aliased, at least for each line.
6 E 9th St, Lawrence Kansas, USA
Canon EOS Rebel SL1
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Photomatix Pro HDR
Nik Sharpener Pro 3
This is a Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera. This composite photograph represents less than two seconds at Heartland Park Topeka's Turn 12.
American manufacturing isn't growing relative to the-countries-that-are-currently-undergoing-an-industrial-revolution, our children are being taught to hate science, and our public schools don't teach computer programming. Without more research, more production, or more software, what do we have to contribute to the global economy? Less-than-we-did-before is what I fear.
Event: Heartland Park Topeka Touring Club Track Day
This was the first automotive track day for 2014.
The old and busted (just kidding, but I like the new version a lot more):