Pixels and screen display size

Resolution doesn't affect the quality of images viewed on a monitor, television, or other screen device the way it does on printed photos. Instead, it determines the size at which the image appears.

This issue is one of the most misunderstood aspects of digital photography, so I explain it thoroughly in Chapter 9. For now, just know that you need way fewer pixels for onscreen photos than you do for printed photos. For example, Figure 3-5 shows a 450-x-300-pixel image that I attached to an e-mail message.

For e-mail images, I usually stick with a maximum horizontal pixel count of 450 and a maximum vertical size of 400 pixels, depending on whether the picture is oriented horizontally, as in the figure, or vertically. If your image is much larger, the recipient may not be able to view the entire picture without scrolling the display.

In short, even if you use one of the Small Quality settings on your Rebel T1i/500D, which produce images that contain 2352 x 1568 pixels, you'll have more than enough pixels for most onscreen uses. The only exception might be an image that you want to display via a digital projector that has a very high screen resolution. Again, Chapter 9 details this issue and shows you how to prepare your pictures for online sharing.

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Figure 3-5: A 450-x-300-pixel image is plenty large for sharing via e-mail.

Figure 3-5: A 450-x-300-pixel image is plenty large for sharing via e-mail.

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