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Choosing the right resolution for your digital photos
If you use a digital still camera to capture patient photos, selecting an appropriate resolution can be very important to getting the most out of your imaging system. If resolution is too low, images may lack detail. If resolution is too high, large file sizes may slow down performance.
A resolution of approximately 3 million pixels is ideal for most medical applications. The majority of physicians find that for the way they use patient images, 3MP is indistinguishable from higher resolutions. However, Canfield encourages all of our customers to make this determination for themselves.
The following is a general procedure for determining the "right" resolution for you:
- Referring to the documentation for your digital camera, determine how to adjust the resolution setting (often this is labeled "image size").
- Take a series of photos of the same subject at each of the possible resolution settings. (Tip: You may wish to write each resolution setting on a separate index card and have the subject hold up the appropriate card within the frame for each photo.) These photos should be as identical as possible in every way other than resolution.
- Create a new patient record in Mirror and import the images into that patient chart.
- Using the Side-by-Side tool, compare the images two-at-a-time on screen. Start with the two highest resolutions and work your way down (for example, compare 6MP to 3MP, then compare 3MP to 1.5MP). Note the lowest resolution that offers acceptable image quality. Repeat this step on each computer that runs Mirror.
- Print each image at the largest size that you use in your practice. Compare the printouts to determine the lowest resolution that offers acceptable image quality.
- Based on your results from steps 4 and 5, determine the lowest resolution setting that produces acceptable image quality for all methods of viewing. This is the right resolution for your clinical photos. (Note: If you use patient photos for publication or lectures, do not select a resolution that is lower than 2 million pixels.)