Cannon Digital Cameras


Click to return to top of page Pixels-dots are all there are

Digital photographs are made up of hundreds of thousands or millions of tiny squares called picture elements-or just pixels. Like the impressionists who painted wonderful scenes with small dabs of paint, your computer and printer can use these tiny pixels to display or print photographs. To do so, the computer divides the screen or printed page into a grid of pixels. It then uses the values stored in the digital photograph to specify the brightness and color of each pixel in this grid-a form of painting by number. Controlling, or addressing a grid of individual pixels in this way is called bit mapping and digital images are called bit-maps.

earhart.jpg (102041 bytes) Here you see a portrait of Amelia Earhart done entirely in jelly beans. Think of each jelly bean as a pixel and it's easy to see how dots can form images. Jelly Bean Spirit of 76 courtesy of Herman Goelitz Candy Company Inc. Makers of Jelly Belly jelly beans.

Click to return to top of page Image size

The quality of a digital image, whether printed or displayed on a screen, depends in part on the number of pixels used to create the image (sometimes referred to as resolution). More pixels add detail and sharpen edges.

If you enlarge any digital image enough, the pixels will begin to show-an effect called pixelization. This is not unlike traditional silver-based prints where grain begins to show when prints are enlarged past a certain point. The more pixels there are in an image, the more it can be enlarged before pixelization occurs.

pixels-combo.jpg (17283 bytes) The photo of the face (right) looks normal, but when the eye is enlarged too much (left) the pixels begin to show. Each pixel is a small square made up of a single color.

The size of a photograph is specified in one of two ways-by its dimensions in pixels or by the total number of pixels it contains. For example, the same image can be said to have 1800 x 1600 pixels (where "x" is pronounced "by" as in "1800 by 1600"), or to contain 2.88-million pixels (1800 multiplied by 1600).

Cannon Digital Cameras This digital image of a Monarch butterfly chrysalis is 1800 pixels wide and 1600 pixels tall. It's said to be 1800x1600

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