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Chapter 2. How Camera Raw Works > Pixels and Resolution

Pixels and Resolution

Strictly speaking, a digital image in its pure Platonic form doesn't have resolution—it simply has pixel dimensions. It only attains the attribute of resolution when we realize it in some physical form—displaying it on a monitor, or making a print. But resolution isn't a fixed attribute.

If we take as an example a typical six-megapixel image, it has the invariant property of pixel dimensions, specifically, 3,072 pixels on the long side of the image, 2,048 pixels on the short one. But we can display and print those pixels at many different sizes. Normally, we want to keep the pixels small enough that they don't become visually obvious, so the pixel dimensions essentially dictate how large a print we can make from the image. As we make larger and larger prints, the pixels become more and more visually obvious until we reach a size at which it just isn't rewarding to print.


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