A few scanning tips

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Calculate Maximum Image Size Dimensions and print size
from camera Megapixels and Aspect Ratio

What are the maximum image dimensions that can fit in X megapixels? How big can we print it?

What image size do we get if we buy a 50 megapixel camera? Or in any 50 megapixel image?

The dimensions of its shape depend on the aspect ratio.

The calculator below shows your request and also automatically adds results for a few standard aspect ratios (1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9). These rounded nominal values may not precisely match your sensor dimensions, but your first request can use an Aspect Ratio more precise than the nominal 3:2 or 4:3.

That Aspect ratio can be entered in standard nominal format:
1:1 = a square image (image width same as height)
4:3 = 1.333:1 - Typical of compact camera and cell phone images
3:2 = 1.5:1   - Typical of DSLR camera images, and 35 mm film
16:9 = 1.778:1 - HDTV and movie video, typically 1920x1080 or 1280x720 pixels

which are just rounded approximate nominal values. Or preferably more precise, it can be the exact corresponding divided number (image width/height, dimensioned as pixels or mm or inches) like the 1.5 or 1.3333 or 1.7778 ratio. Example: for 4:3 aspect, 4/3 = 1.3333. Because it can be the more precise number, like maybe 1.327:1. It is Not necessary to enter the :1 here (:1 is assumed if not), but you can enter it or not, or you can enter the format like 4:3. For an actual real sensor, the actual precise value (like 1.327 or 1.503) may compute more precisely. More about aspect ratios.

Aspect Ratio Format — Example:

Aspect ratio 4:3 is 4/3 = 1.333, which can be entered as:

4:3 or 1.333:1 or 1.333, or as 1.338 if and when more precise.

Or 4288×2848 pixels is 4288/2848 = 1.5056:1 (images).
Or 17.3x13 mm is 17.3/13 = 1.331:1 (sensors or film).
Or 4x5 inches is 5/4 = 1.25:1 (prints).

The calculator will show the precise format, as like 1.333:1 format.

Three values of pixel dimensions may be shown, in the order of:

  1. Exact computed dimensions (matches megapixels to show precision)
  2. Rounded dimensions, like real pixels, but changes megapixels
  3. Div8 values, pixel dimensions evenly divisible by 8 (is only one shown if already Div8)

Maximum Image Dimensions
and Print Size from Megapixels

Megapixels    Aspect Ratio

Image Size x pixels (reverse direction)

If printed at dpi (Optional)

Div8 - Camera sensors actually use pixel dimensions which are evenly divisible by 8, no doubt to match JPG 8x8 compression blocks, which is the final result shown (I'll call that value Div8 here). Precise megapixels and aspect values obtained from the actual camera image dimensions should match it. But dimensions of any image scanned, or cropped or resampled in your editor is unlikely to be evenly divisible by 8. If the initial pixel dimensions are not divisible by 8, then Div8 can't exactly match here.

There are two calculator options, and the results for each case are:

Otherwise, Megapixels will work fine, and even better if you enter adequate higher precision for the actual megapixels and aspect ratio. Since pixel dimensions are typically four significant digits, then to reach that same four-digit precision again, enter all values to at least four significant digits, if applicable. Four digits total are usually enough, but sometimes five digits can be better on Aspect Ratio. The Image Size option does compute sufficient precision from your dimensions. You can see in the initial default example, that 1.503 computes better than the nominal 1.5 below it (unless 1.5 happens to be the actual precise value).

This blue image shows the aspect concept visually. 4:3 is taller, but 3:2 is wider. The sensors all try to fit their diagonal to the lens diameter. However, the 16:9 video mode frames in photo cameras are normally necessarily contained within the dimensions of the existing 4:3 or 3:2 photo sensors. Then 16:9 cannot be the full diagonal (that video width cannot be wider than the sensor width). But their size is likely even a little smaller to optimize the subsampling, because 16:9 HD movies are typically output as 1280x720 or 1920x1080 pixels, which is 0.92 or 2.07 megapixels. Since specifics are not known here, 16:9 is computed on this page as a camcorder, independent of any still frame size. See More about maximum video frame sizes relative to still pictures.

Again, camera megapixels and aspect ratio are said as nominal rounded values. But these two values are just a multiplication and a division of the pixel dimensions, and as explanation of the precision offered, the second Image Size option was added to show those actual more precise computed values. They also show the difference from the nearest standard nominal aspect ratio (if in range). The few tenths of a percent of difference is not a big deal in practice. See the Aspect Ratio page.

The goal is to compute maximum dimensions of a specific aspect ratio that matches the specified megapixels. Megapixels is sensor Area (in units of pixels). Pixels are the only units used. The calculator computes the Width x Height image pixel dimensions of various aspect ratios that match the megapixels that you specify.

The terms kilobytes and megabytes and gigabytes were corrupted to mean multiples of 1024 bytes, necessarily used for memory chip sizes (including memory cards, USB flash drives and SSD, which are all memory chips), but sadly, 1024 is also commonly used for file sizes, which is unnecessary and counter-productive. The standard SI term mega means millions, defined as multiples of 1000. So mega in megapixels still correctly means 1000s, same way as humans count things. Same also for manufacturer's hard disk specifications in gigabytes (1000s), except our computer operating systems still sadly refer to size of hard drives and files as multiples of 1024. But megapixels is correctly units of 1000. No 1024 complications.

Math is precise, but Real World is sometimes less so: If checking the calculator against your camera, realize that cameras round their specifications, which affects precise calculations. For example, a Nikon D800 camera specifies 36.3 megapixels and we assume a DSLR nominal 3:2 aspect ratio. That computes 7376 x 4920 image size. Close, but its actual is 7360x4912 pixels which computes 36.152 megapixels and 1.498 aspect ratio, which does then compute the correct image size. If you enter the actual correct numbers, the calculator should show the exact dimensions.

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