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What is MP? MP is the abbreviation for "megapixels". It's a measurement used to identify the amount of space needed to store a digital file. One megapixel equals one million pixels. To calculate megapixels, you multiply the pixel width by the pixel height. The term "megapixels" is also used to describe the resolution of a digital camera.
What are JPEG and TIFF files?
What is a digital image file? Digital image files are the means for organizing and storing images to be viewed on electronic image viewing devices (computer, television, cell phone, etc.).
What is a pixel? A pixel, usually square or rectangle, is the smallest visual element that makes up a digital image. A digital image is what you view on your computer screen, television, cell phone, etc. A pixel is very small, normally too small to see. Each individual pixel has one color, but putting a lot of them together makes a photo look great. Below is a photo of a dog. The next is the same photo zoomed way in so you can see the pixels.
Which should you have scanned, your printed photos, film negatives or slides? It depends on the condition they are in. If they are all in equally good condition, then the negatives or slides should give the best digital image. View comparison images HERE.
DPI does not equal PPI. DPI is the abbreviation for "dots per inch". The dots are usually round. DPI is the resolution measurement used for printers and printing. It is the number of dots of ink a printer places in a single row 1 inch long when printing. So, if your printer prints at 1200dpi, there will be 1200 dots of ink in a row 1 inch long. Printer DPI and quality will vary significantly depending on the type and model used.
PPI and DPI are commonly used interchangeably, but they are actually 2 different things. PPI is an abbreviation for "pixels per inch". What is a pixel? PPI is the resolution measurement of a digital image. PPI is the number of pixels in a row 1 inch long that will be viewed on a computer screen, television screen, cell phone screen, etc. Digital image files can also be sent to a printer and printed. Higher PPI (resolution) results in a more detailed and usually better quality image for both viewing and printing.
Viewing different PPI size images on a viewing device: Each computer screen, television screen, cell phone screen, etc. displays an amount of pixels per 1 inch row (PPI) that can be viewed. In the following example, were going to say the computer screen resolution is 100ppi.
A digital image that is 300ppi and measures 4 inch by 6 inch, would have a total pixel size of 1200px by 1800px. Viewing the image on the 100ppi computer screen should measure 12 inches by 18 inches (3 times the size of the 100ppi image).
Here's a huge difference between DPI and PPI: The current standard digital image resolution to send to a printer for printing a high quality photo is 300ppi (pixels per inch). The current standard resolution for a printer to print a high quality photo is 1200dpi (dots per inch). The printer needs to place a lot more dots per inch (compared to pixels per inch) to make the printed image look as nice as the digital image does on a screen. If a printer printed a photo at 300dpi, the image detail would look really poor (not crisp or clear).
Why is a flatbed scanner better? A flatbed scanner is important for the safety of your printed photos. All printed photos are carefully placed by hand onto a photo flatbed scanner (not auto-feed and not a document scanner). Automatic machine feeder scanners can damage or tear the original photos before they get scanned (these feeders can rush photos through as fast as 1 per second). The auto-feeders can also add lines or marks to the original photos. Even rubbing against other photos in the feeder can add smudges and defects. Worse yet, the feeder could jam the photo in the machine resulting in damage so bad that the memory and history is lost forever. BEWARE: Some sneaky companies say "scanned by hand" even though they are using an automatic machine feeder scanner. If they request all photos rotated the same, facing up or sorted by size, they are probably using a scanner with an auto-feeder. If they don't accept curled, bent or thick photos, they are probably using an auto-fed scanner.