Print Resolution & DPI & File Size

Success When Printing Digital Files

When printing digital files, we like to print at 300dpi (or higher) whenever possible. Printing at high dpi's yeild the best results. It is important to note that while we can scale images up in size, a 300dpi original will look much better than a 100 dpi original that was scaled up to 300dpi.

The Following guide is intended to help you decide what size prints you can make from your files. Depending on the application, sometimes lower resolution prints will yeild acceptable results but its always best to start with the highest resolution source files possible.

DPI - Dots Per Inch

DPI is how we describe pixel density on a printed page. For example a 300x300 pixel image will be 1"x1" when printed at 300 dpi, a 3000x3000 pixel image will be 10"x10" when printed at 300 dpi. The Higher the DPI the smaller the dots on the printed page and the sharper the print will look to the human eye. 

 

Digital camera resolution vs print quality
Capture Resolution
Video Display
Print Size
2x3"
4x5"/4x6"
5x7"
8x10"
11x14"
16x20"
20x30"
320x240

OK

Good

OK

Bad

Bad

Bad

Bad

Bad

640x480
0.3Megapixel

Good

Excellent

Good

Bad

Bad

Bad

Bad

Bad

800x600

Excellent

Photo Quality

Very Good

Good

Bad

Bad

Bad

Bad

1024x768

Excellent

Photo Quality

Excellent

Good

OK

Bad

Bad

Bad

1280x960
1 MP

Excellent

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Very Good

Good

Bad

Bad

Bad

1536x1180

Excellent

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Excellent

Very Good

OK

Bad

Bad

1600x1200
2MP

Excellent

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Very Good

OK

OK

Bad

2048x1536
3 Megapixel

Excellent

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Excellent

Good

OK

OK

2240x1680
4 Megapixel

Excellent

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Very Good

Good

OK

2560x1920
5 Megapixel

Excellent

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Excellent

Very Good

Very Good

3032x2008
6 Megapixel

Excellent

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Excellent

Very Good

3072x2304
7 Megapixel

Excellent

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Excellent

Excellent

3264x2448
8 Megapixel

Excellent

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Excellent

10 Megapixel +

Excellent

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

Photo Quality

 

Bad

 Horribly pixelated blocky mess, like something out of 1987

OK

 Looks reasonable enough, but nowhere near photo quality

Good

 Pretty good all round, with a fair bit of detail

Very Good

 This will be fine for most uses, unless you get up reeeeal close

Excellent

 As good as a photo for most purposes

Photo Quality

 Woohoo! Fantastic quality print, full of detail and perfect for your picture frame or for your showing off your very best shots. 




Printing images - what file size do you need?
A guide to required file sizes for printing out images

Image size Pixels
(Virtual Size of Scans)

Megapixel
rating

Print size (inches)
at 200dpi

Print size (inches)
at 300dpi

640  x  480

0.3

3.2 x 2.4

2.1 x 1.6

1,024 x 768

0.8

5.1 x 3.8

3.4 x 2.5

1,280 x  960

1.2

6.4 x 4.8

4.2 x 3.2

1,504 x 1,000 1.5 7.5 x 5.0 5.0 x 3.3

1,632 x 1,224

2.0 3.3 x 6.1 5.4 x 4.1
2,000 x 1,312 2.6 10.0 x 6.6 6.7 x 4.4
2,240 x 1,488 3.3 11.2 x 7.4 7.5 x 5.0
2,275 x 1,520 3.5 11.4 x 7.6 7.6 x 5.1
2,272 x 1,704 3.9 11.4 x 8.5 7.6 x 5.7
2,590 x 1,920 5.0 13.0 x 9.6 8.6 x 6.4

3,008 x 2,000

6.0

15.0 x 10.0

10.0 x 6.7

4,256 x 2,848

12.1 21.3 x 14.2 14.2 x 9.5
4,536 x 3,024 13.7 22.7 x 15.1 15.1 x 10.1
5,782 x 3,946 22.8  28.9 x 19.7 19.3 x 13.2


Professional/online printing


Kodak suggests these resolution/file sizes:
For a 4" x 6" print, the image resolution should be 640 x 480 pixels minimum.
For a 5" x 7" print, the image resolution should be 1024 x 768 pixels minimum.
For an 8" x 10" print, the image resolution should be 1536 x 1024 pixels minimum.
For a 16" x 20" print, the image resolution should be 1600 x 1200 pixels minimum.
For a 20" x 30" print, the image resolution should be 1600 x 1200 pixels minimum.
For a Wallet-size print, the image resolution should be 320 x 240 pixels minimum.


Quality vs file size
This guide shows you the kind of quality you can expect when you're printing out your photos.