Why most pixels are thrown away
This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.
While camera makers like to keep hobbyists terrified that they don't have enough pixels, very few people realize that most of the pixels for which we pay are simply thrown away!
Even a 30" Apple Cinema Display has barely four megapixels, and projectors have much less than that.
The Cinema Displays aren't available anymore; the current 27" Thunderbolt display has less than 3.7 megapixels — less than a digital camera had over ten years ago!
No matter how many megapixels you have, most of them are simply thrown away since you're limited to the screen's resolution.
A laptop typically has only a one megapixel display, so there's no way it can display more pixels than it has.
Operating systems of computers, tablets and phones simply throw away the extra pixels. They can only show as many pixels as they have on their screens.
If you're a mathematician, of course you realize that there are various clever ways, like bilinear interpolation or bicubic convolution, to reduce the pixel count, but they're still doing the same thing. The technical name for simply throwing away extra pixels is called nearest-neighbor resampling, while bilinear interpolation and bicubic convolution do the same thing, but more smoothly and elegantly.
What this all means is that we never can see all the pixels we have at one time. Yes, we can zoom-in at 100% or more to see all of them in a small region, but we can't see more than our display or projector supports at one time. If we zoom-in, we only see a fraction of the image.
If you print big, you might be able to see them. A typical photo print engine runs at about 300 DPI and actually resolves about 150 DPI on paper.
If you have a 50 MP (9,000 x 5,555 pixel image) and print it at 60 x 40 inches, you'll get all 50 MP. 40x60 is over 3 x 5 feet or 1 x 1.5 meters; when was the last time you printed anywhere near that size?
The only high resolution displays today are Apple's Retina displays.
If you do photography on your computer, you need a 5k iMac, which actually can display 15 megapixels.
Unless you have a 5k iMac, every other display has only a few megapixels at best.
This has been going on since the 1990s or before, and do know that you'll probably never see all the pixels you have — so don't worry about pixel counts.
If you've found the time, effort and expense I put into this ad-free website, my biggest source of support is when you use any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live.
Thanks for helping me help you!
© Ken Rockwell. All rights reserved. Tous droits réservés. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.
Help me help you top
I support my growing family through this website, as crazy as it might seem.
The biggest help is when you use any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It costs you nothing, and is this site's, and thus my family's, biggest source of support. These places have the best prices and service, which is why I've used them since before this website existed. I recommend them all personally.
If you find this page as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me continue helping everyone.
As this page is copyrighted and formally registered, it is unlawful to make copies, especially in the form of printouts for personal use. If you wish to make a printout for personal use, you are granted one-time permission only if you PayPal me $5.00 per printout or part thereof. Thank you!
Thanks for reading!
12 October 2015