Please define "pixel peeping".

Started May 14, 2013 | Discussions
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BobT Forum Pro • Posts: 12,967
Please define "pixel peeping".

I would like to know just how YOU might define "pixel peeping".  Many folks are guilty of it, and many can't live without it.  Others put no stock in it at all.  Just how important is it when looking to purchase new gear?

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skyglider Veteran Member • Posts: 4,468
Re: Please define "pixel peeping".
1

BobT wrote:

I would like to know just how YOU might define "pixel peeping".  Many folks are guilty of it, and many can't live without it.  Others put no stock in it at all.  Just how important is it when looking to purchase new gear?

For me, pixel peeping is viewing an image at "actual pixels" or greater magnification.

For beginners: 
Images from a modern digital camera  that's set to its maximum resolution will have more resolution than a typical computer or HDTV screen can display.  When that image is displayed on the screen, the image is re-sized down so it can fit on the screen.

Viewing that image at actual pixels or greater (pixel peeping) will appear to magnify it on the screen so only a small portion of the image can be viewed.  The image has to be scrolled up/down or left/right to see the various portions.  At "actual pixel" viewing, deficiencies in the image can be seen more readily.

For instance, if an extraction is made from one image and pasted on another image, one can spend a lot of time trying to get the pasted image to be undetectable at the "pixel peeping" level.  Or one can get it good enough to be undetectable at the display level.

Sky

Cailean Gallimore Veteran Member • Posts: 6,082
Re: Please define "pixel peeping".
11

It's an obsessive/compulsive behaviour carried out by tortured souls who can't stop thinking about 'noise' and 'sharpness' no matter how hard they try.

No cure exists at this time, but some experience periods of remission, and go on to occasionally leaving the house to take a photograph.

Gary Fischman Regular Member • Posts: 202
Similar to not seeing the forest for the trees
5

Pixel peeping is the questionable practice of worrying about individual pixels of an image, and not actually looking at the image itself.

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dsjtecserv Veteran Member • Posts: 3,262
Re: Similar to not seeing the forest for the trees
1

Gary Fischman wrote:

Pixel peeping is the questionable practice of worrying about individual pixels of an image, and not actually looking at the image itself.

Actually, its the ability to see both the forest and the trees, and use both inputs to optimize the quality of the results.

Dave

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richardplondon
richardplondon Forum Pro • Posts: 10,358
Re: Please define "pixel peeping".
1

I would like to know just how YOU might define "pixel peeping".  Many folks are guilty of it, and many can't live without it.  Others put no stock in it at all.  Just how important is it when looking to purchase new gear?

In my opinion, this term is not intended to describe one or another way to judge the pictures taken by one or another camera...

since it IS perfectly valid to look at magnified pictures as required, in order to understand and compare different kinds of camera - or different lenses / zooms on the same camera. Things may be evident that way, which are not evident when looking at the overall picture, scaled to fit your screen size - for example, if the edges are noticeably less sharp than the centre, which is something which will affect many aspects of your pictures, this is easier to diagnose if you pixel-peep.

Pixel-peeping, though, is used to describe the error of paying attention only to such magnified views, and so, exaggerate their importance.

A 1:1 magnified extract from one camera may look very different than a 1:1 magnified extract from another camera, but this different look may be to do with how much you have to magnify in each case; it may be a spurious comparison IOW, which may present a different conclusion when you compare the whole pictures printed, or the whole pictures viewed on screen.

Pixel-peeping used as an insult, is an accusation of "not seeing the wood for the trees" - like a doctor who wanted to find out what was wrong with you ONLY by looking at microscope slides, without examining you otherwise.

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The Mad Kiwi Contributing Member • Posts: 697
Re: Please define "pixel peeping".

Cailean Gallimore wrote:

It's an obsessive/compulsive behaviour carried out by tortured souls who can't stop thinking about 'noise' and 'sharpness' no matter how hard they try.

No cure exists at this time, but some experience periods of remission, and go on to occasionally leaving the house to take a photograph.

Too True.

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nelsonal Senior Member • Posts: 2,464
Re: Please define "pixel peeping".
1

I'll paraphrase Carlin's philosophy about driving.  Anyone who doesn't look as close as me is a Philistine, anyone who looks closer is a pixel peeper.

zakkix Regular Member • Posts: 377
Re: Please define "pixel peeping".
1

BobT wrote:

I would like to know just how YOU might define "pixel peeping".  Many folks are guilty of it, and many can't live without it.  Others put no stock in it at all.  Just how important is it when looking to purchase new gear?

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=pixel%20peeping

Fuzzy John New Member • Posts: 18
Re: Please define "pixel peeping".

So I shouldn't be worried that when comparing images from my 8 year old KM7D (6MP) and a new Nikon D7100 (24MP) at 100% each, the images from the KM7D appear sharper?

When I view each image shrunk down to the monitor's native resolution isn't detail (quite a lot in the case of a 6000x4000 image) eliminated? With both pictures filling the monitor's screen they look similar, maybe with the D7100 a little softer, but at 100% the difference is huge. I expected more from the D7100 and I am starting to have second thoughts. Or maybe I forgot to remove the protective film Nikon placed over the sensor?

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leno Senior Member • Posts: 1,257
Re: Similar to not seeing the forest for the trees

dsjtecserv wrote:

Gary Fischman wrote:

Pixel peeping is the questionable practice of worrying about individual pixels of an image, and not actually looking at the image itself.

Actually, its the ability to see both the forest and the trees, and use both inputs to optimize the quality of the results.

Dave

-- hide signature --

No Pixel peeping is only applied to those who have lost perspective and not rational about what they are looking at.

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Wally626 Senior Member • Posts: 2,312
Re: Please define "pixel peeping".

Fuzzy John wrote:

So I shouldn't be worried that when comparing images from my 8 year old KM7D (6MP) and a new Nikon D7100 (24MP) at 100% each, the images from the KM7D appear sharper?

When I view each image shrunk down to the monitor's native resolution isn't detail (quite a lot in the case of a 6000x4000 image) eliminated? With both pictures filling the monitor's screen they look similar, maybe with the D7100 a little softer, but at 100% the difference is huge. I expected more from the D7100 and I am starting to have second thoughts. Or maybe I forgot to remove the protective film Nikon placed over the sensor?

The D7100 is magnified twice as much at 100% as the KM7D so it is likely to look a bit worse at the pixel level. To get a true comparison you need to look at them at the same actual magnification level. It would also be important to being looking at the same scene shot at the same time at the same exposure settings with the same mechanical support and the same lens, or equally good lenses.

A 24 MP image is going to show more of the lens problems, shooter problems etc. than a 6 MP, but if you  shoot under the same conditions an 8 x 10 print from each camera should be similar, a 16 x 20 should look better with the 24 MP.

Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
"pixel peeping" defined.
4
  • "Pixel peeping" is the act examining an image so huge and magnified that each pixel on the sensor is alloted its own pixel on the screen... (also called 100% magnification). 
  • Because the number of pixels on a sensor is vastly larger than the number on a screen, it is inevitable that the 100% rate of display produces an image which is much MUCH bigger than the screen itself... (only a section can be displayed at any one time).
  • For this reason the 100% rate of display is not a good viewing size if you want to see the PICTURE. Instead, all you will see is apparent FAULTS in the rendition of details in the picture.. so don't do it unless looking at fuzzy detail is something you like. 
  • Even more silly, the better the camera you happen to have, (with a really high number of pixels to its sensor) the WORSE will the faults in the picture appear to be when displayed at the 100% rate.... (details appear fuzzier than with cameras having fewer pixels) 

..... which is exactly the opposite to what people are expecting....

.....  and so gives them a TERRIBLE SHOCK!        
--
Regards,
Baz
:
"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no ORDINARY time travellers!"

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Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 12,389
Re: Please define "pixel peeping".
1

"Pixel peeping" is a derogatory term used to describe people who examine photographic output at the pixel (100%) level.

There are times when minute examination is useful and times when it is pointless.  Sensible people only do it when it's worthwhile.  Unfortunately there are also people who don't understand the benefits (when they apply) and mindlessly apply the term to anyone who looks closely at things.

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Gerry
_______________________________________
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dsjtecserv Veteran Member • Posts: 3,262
Re: Similar to not seeing the forest for the trees
1

leno wrote:

dsjtecserv wrote:

Gary Fischman wrote:

Pixel peeping is the questionable practice of worrying about individual pixels of an image, and not actually looking at the image itself.

Actually, its the ability to see both the forest and the trees, and use both inputs to optimize the quality of the results.

Dave

-- hide signature --

No Pixel peeping is only applied to those who have lost perspective and not rational about what they are looking at.

Then it is, by your description, a tautology. Pixel peeping isn't looking at pixels, its looking at pixels more than I would. Kind of like saying that anyone who drives slower than me is a piker, while anyone who drives faster than me is a wacko.

In fact, inspection of both a picture as a whole, and at various levels of detail, is a very good way to judge the quality of the image, as well as the characteristics of the system that produced it. An image is comprised of details, and the quality and properties of those details affect the final image. Dismissing the use of 100% viewing as a component of image evaluation, or to learn more about the equipment or processes that made it, is itself a photographic sin, and could be equated with glorifying ignorance.

Dave

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bm bradley Veteran Member • Posts: 3,991
Re: Please define "pixel peeping".
1

skyglider wrote:

BobT wrote:

I would like to know just how YOU might define "pixel peeping".  Many folks are guilty of it, and many can't live without it.  Others put no stock in it at all.  Just how important is it when looking to purchase new gear?

For me, pixel peeping is viewing an image at "actual pixels" or greater magnification.

For beginners: 
Images from a modern digital camera  that's set to its maximum resolution will have more resolution than a typical computer or HDTV screen can display.  When that image is displayed on the screen, the image is re-sized down so it can fit on the screen.

Viewing that image at actual pixels or greater (pixel peeping) will appear to magnify it on the screen so only a small portion of the image can be viewed.  The image has to be scrolled up/down or left/right to see the various portions.  At "actual pixel" viewing, deficiencies in the image can be seen more readily.

For instance, if an extraction is made from one image and pasted on another image, one can spend a lot of time trying to get the pasted image to be undetectable at the "pixel peeping" level.  Or one can get it good enough to be undetectable at the display level.

Sky

yes the other definition might be taking a beautiful image and blowing up on the screen until the pixels break apart... even if you have to blow it to 800% just to make sure the camera is crap  $.02

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leno Senior Member • Posts: 1,257
Re: Similar to not seeing the forest for the trees

dsjtecserv wrote:

leno wrote:

dsjtecserv wrote:

Gary Fischman wrote:

Pixel peeping is the questionable practice of worrying about individual pixels of an image, and not actually looking at the image itself.

Actually, its the ability to see both the forest and the trees, and use both inputs to optimize the quality of the results.

Dave

-- hide signature --

No Pixel peeping is only applied to those who have lost perspective and not rational about what they are looking at.

Then it is, by your description, a tautology. Pixel peeping isn't looking at pixels, its looking at pixels more than I would. Kind of like saying that anyone who drives slower than me is a piker, while anyone who drives faster than me is a wacko.

In fact, inspection of both a picture as a whole, and at various levels of detail, is a very good way to judge the quality of the image, as well as the characteristics of the system that produced it. An image is comprised of details, and the quality and properties of those details affect the final image. Dismissing the use of 100% viewing as a component of image evaluation, or to learn more about the equipment or processes that made it, is itself a photographic sin, and could be equated with glorifying ignorance.

Dave

-- hide signature --

No that does not apply, the term pixel peeping should only be applied to those who peek a pixels as if that was an end to itself. What you are describing is a rational action by somebody has command of their senses, I don't know what it might be called but it's not pixel peeping.

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dsjtecserv Veteran Member • Posts: 3,262
Re: Similar to not seeing the forest for the trees
1

leno wrote:

dsjtecserv wrote:

leno wrote:

dsjtecserv wrote:

Gary Fischman wrote:

Pixel peeping is the questionable practice of worrying about individual pixels of an image, and not actually looking at the image itself.

Actually, its the ability to see both the forest and the trees, and use both inputs to optimize the quality of the results.

Dave

-- hide signature --

No Pixel peeping is only applied to those who have lost perspective and not rational about what they are looking at.

Then it is, by your description, a tautology. Pixel peeping isn't looking at pixels, its looking at pixels more than I would. Kind of like saying that anyone who drives slower than me is a piker, while anyone who drives faster than me is a wacko.

In fact, inspection of both a picture as a whole, and at various levels of detail, is a very good way to judge the quality of the image, as well as the characteristics of the system that produced it. An image is comprised of details, and the quality and properties of those details affect the final image. Dismissing the use of 100% viewing as a component of image evaluation, or to learn more about the equipment or processes that made it, is itself a photographic sin, and could be equated with glorifying ignorance.

Dave

-- hide signature --

No that does not apply, the term pixel peeping should only be applied to those who peek a pixels as if that was an end to itself. What you are describing is a rational action by somebody has command of their senses, I don't know what it might be called but it's not pixel peeping.

Yeah, but that's precisely the problem. You (and others; I'm not intending to single you out) want to ascribe a pejorative term to people who, in your view, are excessively preoccupied with looking closely at images. But in the process you stain the act of looking closely at images, itself, without providing any benchmark for how much is too much. In the end it just become a rhetorical weapon; a way to malign someone who has drawn a conclusion you don't like. It actively discourages people from using close inspection effectively and creatively, and encourages a "don't bother me with the science" attitude. I just think that's regrettable, and cringe every time I see the "pixel peeper" bomb thrown.

Dave

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nelsonal Senior Member • Posts: 2,464
Re: Similar to not seeing the forest for the trees
1

Ultimately "pixel peeping", like every other shibboleth, is just a way of identifying people similar to the speaker.  That's why there isn't a fixed definition (because as a means of identifying similar thinkers) it isn't necessary.

BobT OP Forum Pro • Posts: 12,967
Re: Please define "pixel peeping".

OK.  This has developed into an almost heated debate.  Didn't expect that.  But should have, I guess.

Don't know if anyone is game for this, or if this is even possible, BUT....could anyone post a "pixel peeped" image showing a good image and also a bad image noted as a result of their pixel peeping?

I for one, would like to see such an example.

Thanks

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