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How Resolution Affects Print Quality in the Canon EOS Rebel T3/1100D

Images from your Canon EOS Rebel T3 1100D can produce dynamic prints, and one way to get them is to check the resolution (pixel count) before you print. The number of pixels in your digital image plays a huge role in how large you can print your photos and still maintain good picture quality.

Here's how resolution relates to printing:

  • Choose the right resolution before you shoot. On your Canon Rebel 1100D camera, you set picture resolution via the Quality option, found on Shooting Menu 1, or via the Quick Control display.

    You must select the Quality option before you capture an image, which means that you need some idea of the ultimate print size before you shoot. When you do the resolution math, remember to consider any cropping you plan to do.

  • Aim for a minimum of 200 pixels per inch (ppi). You'll get a wide range of recommendations on this issue, even among professionals. In general, if you aim for a resolution in the neighborhood of 200 ppi, you should be pleased with your results. If you want a 4-x-6-inch print, for example, you need at least 800 x 1200 pixels.

    Depending on your printer, you may get even better results at a slightly lower resolution. On the other hand, some printers do their best work when fed 300 ppi, and a few request 360 ppi as the optimum resolution. However, using a resolution higher than that typically doesn't produce any better prints.

    Unfortunately, because most printer manuals don't bother to tell you what image resolution produces the best results, finding the right pixel level is a matter of experimentation. Don't confuse ppi with the manual's statements related to the printer's dpi. Dots per inch (dpi) refers to the number of dots of color the printer can lay down per inch; many printers use multiple dots to reproduce one image pixel.

    If you're printing photos at a retail kiosk or at an online site, the software you use to order prints should determine the resolution of your files and then suggest appropriate print sizes. If you're printing on a home printer, though, you need to be the resolution cop.

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