My very first digital camera was a Nikon Coolpix 950, purchased 13 years ago. It was a 2.1 megapixel camera, producing 1600 x 1200 pixel images. I really enjoyed using it, until one day I accidentally left it behind on a plane. And so the never-ending series of digital camera upgrades ensued. But that’s another story.

Today’s camera phones range up to around 8 megapixels. For example, the iPhone 4S produces images which are 3264 x 2448 pixels.

DSLRs provide, of course, even more resolution, with the latest 36 megapixel Nikon D800 clocking in at an impressive 7360 x 4912 pixels.

Clearly, today’s cameras are capable of producing digital images of much more than the 1024 x 768 pixels which is the current gold standard for “projected images” or “digital images” in competitions and salons.

That’s why our committee proposed last year that we would move to a new allowable maximum digital image size for our KCPS salons of 1600 x 1200 pixels. We thought it was time to move on, and this decision was endorsed when discussed at our AGM in November 2011.

It’s important to mention that this is a maximum allowable size (i.e., no more than 1600 pixels across, and no more than 1200 pixels high).  Less is OK as well. And this will also allow for more freedom in aspect ratio for cropped images, within those constraints.

Image resolution is important at four stages – capture, production, judging, and display:

  1. Capture – as noted above, there is no difficulty in capturing images of at least 1600 x 1200.
  2. Production – this will depend on the photographer’s computer display. Many monitors these days are tending towards the HD aspect ratio of 16:9 or 16:10.  Common resolutions now are 1920 x 1080, 1920 x 1200, and on up to the 27 inch iMac resolution of 2560 x 1440.
  3. Judging – again, this will depend on the judge’s computer display. But it is very likely that they will have good resolution displays.
  4. Display. For projection at the KCPS salons our own projector has a native resolution of 1200 by 800 pixels (WXGA). We did consider limiting images to this, but decided that it was time to “move on”, even if not all the detail in an image of (up to) 1600 x 1200 could be projected just now. Technology is advancing rapidly. For example, rumour has it that in early March Apple will announce their iPad 3 with a “retina” display resolution of 2048 x 1536.

So don’t forget that starting with our 2012 Summer Salon (images due by 12 March) you can submit digital images of up to 1600 pixels across, and up to 1200 pixels high. The process for submitting these images is about to change, but that’s also the topic for another post.

Finally, for more than you ever wanted to know about display resolution, check out the Wikipeda entry.

Wikipedia Display Resolution Graphic