DPI, PPI, Resolution and Print Sizing

Understanding the resolution and print size relationship of an image can be confusing, it’s actually easy for most typical print needs. There are several variables to consider, not to mention the differences between any two photos, but in general, we can simplify the process.

Watch the video below that walks you through the concepts that matter, quickly, and to help you understand the reference chart that follows.

Video

This chart will give you an idea how resolution and print size affect the print quality and can be used as a general reference. Underneath the chart is a useful Legend.

Resolution & Print Size Chart
Image Size\Print Size 8x12" 10x15" 12x18" 16x24" 20x30" 24x36" 30x45"
1 MP (1280 x 960) Good/113 Okay/90 Poor/76* Poor/57 Poor/45 Poor/38 Poor/30
2 MP (1600 x 1200) Great/142 Good/113 Okay/94 Poor/71* Poor/57 Poor/47 Poor/38
3 MP (2048 x 1536) High/181 Great/145 Great/121 Okay/91 Poor/73* Poor/60 Poor/48
4 MP (2240 x 1680) High/198 High/159 Great/132 Okay/99 Poor/79* Poor/66 Poor/53
5 MP (2560 x 1920) Photo/227 High/181 High/151 Good/113 Okay/91 Poor/76* Poor/60
6 MP (3032 x 2008) Photo/252 Photo/201 High/168 Great/126 Good/101 Okay/84 Poor/67
7 MP (3072 x 2304) Photo/272 Photo/218 High/181 Great/136 Good/109 Okay/91 Poor/73*
8 MP (3264 x 2448) Photo/289 Photo/231 High/193 Great/145 Good/116 Okay/96 Poor/77*
4K 8.8 MP (4096 x 2160) Photo/289 Photo/231 High/193 Great/145 Good/116 Okay/96 Poor/77*
9 MP (3700 x 2467) Photo/308 Photo/247 Photo/206 High/154 Great/123 Good/103 Okay/82
10 MP (3872 x 2592) Photo/323 Photo/259 Photo/216 High/162 Great/129 Good/108 Okay/86
Resolution Legend
Poor* (70ppi) = novelty
Poor (below 80ppi) = novelty
Okay (80 to 99ppi) = bedroom poster
Good (100 to 119ppi) = decor print
Great (120 to 149 ppi) = framed print
High (150 to 199ppi) = lithograph
Photo (200ppi plus) = photo
Things to Remember

DPI or PPI are the same but different, use them interchangeably though they are not identical, dots are round, pixels are square.

DPI or PPI do not indicate the size of the print, they indicate the potential print quality of the print, regardless of size.

In general, the larger the print, the lower the DPI/PPI, additionally, the larger the print, the greater the distance expected from the print for viewing.

DPI or PPI are determined by dividing the image’s pixel count by the desired printed size, in inches, independently for each side. You can then average the two sides results or pick either, usually the higher.

DPI/PPI Example

if Image Size = 6 MP (3000px x 2000px) = 6,000,000 total pixels

Desired Print Size = 16" x 24"
DPI/PPI = 3000/24 = 125   &   2000/16 = 125
DPI/PPI Avg = 125 + 125/2 = 125 dpi/ppi
or…
Desired Print Size = 8" x 12"
DPI/PPI = 3000/12 = 250   &   2000/8 = 250
DPI/PPI Avg = 250 + 250/2 = 250 dpi/ppi
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