Bytes in a pixel?

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Hi,

"How mant bytes are used to construct one pixel?"

I got this question from a friend today. My thinking would be that it depends
on resolution of image in determining answer. However, I want to check with
others before passing this on. Any better answers?

TIA,

Conrad

Conrad Weiler
Camp Sherman, Oregon
27 answers Last reply
More about bytes pixel
  1. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    Conrad Weiler wrote:

    > Hi,
    >
    > "How mant bytes are used to construct one pixel?"
    >
    > I got this question from a friend today. My thinking would be that it depends
    > on resolution of image in determining answer. However, I want to check with
    > others before passing this on. Any better answers?

    You're right.. It depends on the color depth etc..

    http://www.scantips.com/basics1d.html
  2. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    weil91@aol.com (Conrad Weiler) writes:

    > "How mant bytes are used to construct one pixel?"
    >
    > I got this question from a friend today. My thinking would be that it depends
    > on resolution of image in determining answer.

    It doesn't depend on resolution. Resolution determines how many pixels
    are in an image, not how many bytes construct a pixel.

    What your friend is probably trying to figure out is how much storage is
    needed for 3MP, 4MP and 5MP cameras. This actually isn't a function of
    the number of pixels, thanks to JPEG compression. Cameras vary in how
    large a file they store per image. No matter what the camera, you can
    store an image for making sharp prints in (on average) about a million
    bytes. You can store an image for making what I think are acceptable
    prints in (on average) about a quarter of a million bytes. You can
    store a quality 640x480 image for emailing and web sharing in about 50
    thousand bytes.

    --

    http://ourdoings.com/ Let your digital photos organize themselves.
    Sign up today for a 7-day free trial.
  3. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    In article <20041214075501.08318.00002236@mb-m04.aol.com>,
    Conrad Weiler <weil91@aol.com> wrote:
    >Hi,
    >
    >"How mant bytes are used to construct one pixel?"
    >
    >I got this question from a friend today. My thinking would be that it depends
    >on resolution of image in determining answer. However, I want to check with
    >others before passing this on. Any better answers?

    In 24 bit RGB, it's 3 (24 bits, 8 bits per byte). In 48 bit RGB, it's 6. In
    256 colour registered GIFs, it's 1. In B&W 8 bits, it's 1. In 8 bit per
    channel CMYK, it's 4. The raw output (after decompression) from a Canon DSLR
    uses 1.5, etc. etc.
  4. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    Conrad Weiler wrote:
    > Hi,
    >
    > "How mant bytes are used to construct one pixel?"
    >
    > I got this question from a friend today. My thinking would be that it depends
    > on resolution of image in determining answer. However, I want to check with
    > others before passing this on. Any better answers?
    >
    > TIA,
    >
    > Conrad
    >
    > Conrad Weiler
    > Camp Sherman, Oregon

    It depends on color depth but as Bill says, for the VAST majority of
    Cameras, the color depth is 3 bytes per pixel (8 bits/byte).
    One byte for Red, one for Green and one for Blue.
    By combining the various shades of RGB you get the "true" color of the
    pixel.
    Bob Williams
  5. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    It has nothing to do with resolution. Resolution is how many pixels you
    have, not how big the pixels are.

    If the image is only black and white, no gray, then 8 pixels to 1 byte.

    If the image is 8-bit black-and-white (256 shades of gray), 1 byte per
    pixel.

    If the image is 8-bit color (256 levels each of red, green, and blue), 3
    bytes per pixel.

    If the image is 16-bit black-and-white or color, twice the above.

    File compression, however, makes it possible to store an image in a file
    whose size is smaller than what you calculate above. TIFF and ZIP files use
    lossless compression; you recover the entire value of every pixel. (They
    use concise codes to deal with repeated pixels, which are common, especially
    in poster-like images.) JPEG files use lossy compression; they discard some
    low-contrast detail in order to get a smaller file.
  6. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    >From: weil91@aol.com (Conrad Weiler)

    >"How mant bytes are used to construct one pixel?"
    >
    >I got this question from a friend today. My thinking would be that it depends
    >on resolution of image in determining answer. However, I want to check with
    >others before passing this on. Any better answers?

    Ranges from one bit (not byte, bit) for black/white (not grayscale) to 64 bits
    (8 bytes) for 16 bit/channel CMYK, so it depends on the mode and color depth
    ....

    Most common is probably 3 bytes for 8 bit/channel RGB files though.
  7. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    weil91@aol.com (Conrad Weiler) writes:

    > Hi,
    >
    > "How mant bytes are used to construct one pixel?"
    >
    > I got this question from a friend today. My thinking would be that it depends
    > on resolution of image in determining answer. However, I want to check with
    > others before passing this on. Any better answers?

    one? one and a half? two? three? four and a half? six? eight? This is
    where things start getting very complicated. Are you chasing a real
    explanation or a 'lies to children' type glib one?

    one. 8 bits per pixel in some formats, unusual.

    one and a half. If you count the elements in a bayer map of 12 bits
    depth sensors and the numbers of final pixels, then this is what you
    end up with.

    two. Deeper bit depth pixels, usually people align 12 bits into two
    bytes, so that's where this come from.

    three. Nominal 8 bits, three channels, JPEG levels (apart from all the
    wonderful compression, which we won't go into here). You tend to get 3
    colocated samples in something like a scanner, so this is valid.

    four and a half. 12 bits per channel, packed tightly. Scanner, typically.

    six. 16 bits per channel, or 12 bits per channel packed
    loosely. Mostly from scanners, really.

    eight. 16 bits in four channels. RGB + IR and the IR used to assist
    the reconstruction of the other channels. Nikon scanners with ICE etc.

    Aren't you sorry you asked?

    B>

    ps. Compression breaks this horribly and should probably be ignored at
    this point.
  8. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    In article <20041214075501.08318.00002236@mb-m04.aol.com>,
    weil91@aol.com (Conrad Weiler) wrote:

    > Hi,
    >
    > "How mant bytes are used to construct one pixel?"
    >
    > I got this question from a friend today. My thinking would be that it depends
    > on resolution of image in determining answer. However, I want to check with
    > others before passing this on. Any better answers?
    >
    > TIA,
    >
    > Conrad
    >
    > Conrad Weiler
    > Camp Sherman, Oregon

    It depends on the source and the storage format. Consider a Bayer
    pattern camera that saves as a JPEG. Such a pixel may come from a 12
    bit sample of one color, be scaled to 9 bits through gamma correction,
    be upsampled using neighboring color data, translated to 8 bit channels
    of RGB, converted to YUV, downsampled to Y/1 U/2 V/2 resolution, and
    then converted to 2D frequency data of the YUV with different qualities
    per channel. Now reverse part of that to get RGB.

    How many bits now? It's anybody's guess. Each JPEG output pixel is
    represented with 24 bits but much of that information was taken
    neighboring pixels rather than a unique 24 bit source. A 640x480 image
    from the sample data path above has 640x480x24 bits but it could not
    represent 2^(640x480x24) possible combinations.

    Confused?
  9. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    The day you can measure a pixel will be the day I get my mars shuttle seat
    booked..


    "Conrad Weiler" <weil91@aol.com> wrote in message
    news:20041214075501.08318.00002236@mb-m04.aol.com...
    > Hi,
    >
    > "How mant bytes are used to construct one pixel?"
    >
    > I got this question from a friend today. My thinking would be that it
    depends
    > on resolution of image in determining answer. However, I want to check
    with
    > others before passing this on. Any better answers?
    >
    > TIA,
    >
    > Conrad
    >
    > Conrad Weiler
    > Camp Sherman, Oregon
  10. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    "Ryadia" <ryadia@hotmail.com> writes:

    > The day you can measure a pixel will be the day I get my mars shuttle seat
    > booked..

    You seem somewhat hazy on the definition of 'pixel'.

    B>
  11. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    In article <20041214112607.06555.00001262@mb-m24.aol.com>,
    Bill Hilton <bhilton665@aol.comedy> wrote:
    >>From: weil91@aol.com (Conrad Weiler)
    >
    >>"How mant bytes are used to construct one pixel?"
    >>
    >>I got this question from a friend today. My thinking would be that it depends
    >>on resolution of image in determining answer. However, I want to check with
    >>others before passing this on. Any better answers?
    >
    >Ranges from one bit (not byte, bit) for black/white (not grayscale) to 64 bits
    >(8 bytes) for 16 bit/channel CMYK,

    You can do even better than that - I've seen bitmap software that uses
    double precision floating point RGB channels. 24 *bytes* per pixel, yeah!
  12. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    "Ryadia" <ryadia@hotmail.com> writes:

    > "Bruce Murphy" <pack-news@rattus.net> wrote in message
    > news:m2brcwtn42.fsf@greybat.rattus.net...
    > > "Ryadia" <ryadia@hotmail.com> writes:
    > >
    > > > The day you can measure a pixel will be the day I get my mars shuttle
    > seat
    > > > booked..
    > >
    > > You seem somewhat hazy on the definition of 'pixel'.
    > >
    >
    > Perhaps Bruce, you could enlighten us as to the definition?

    A discrete element of a planar space, usually rectangular. This isn't
    complicated.

    B>
  13. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    On 15 Dec 2004 19:54:15 +0800, Bruce Murphy <pack-news@rattus.net>
    wrote:

    >"Ryadia" <ryadia@hotmail.com> writes:
    >
    >> "Bruce Murphy" <pack-news@rattus.net> wrote in message
    >> news:m2brcwtn42.fsf@greybat.rattus.net...
    >> > "Ryadia" <ryadia@hotmail.com> writes:
    >> >
    >> > > The day you can measure a pixel will be the day I get my mars shuttle
    >> seat
    >> > > booked..
    >> >
    >> > You seem somewhat hazy on the definition of 'pixel'.
    >> >
    >>
    >> Perhaps Bruce, you could enlighten us as to the definition?
    >
    >A discrete element of a planar space, usually rectangular. This isn't
    >complicated.

    you mean that's the definition of a sensel on a sensor ? :-)
  14. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    imbsysop <imbsysop@yahoo.com> writes:

    > On 15 Dec 2004 19:54:15 +0800, Bruce Murphy <pack-news@rattus.net>
    > wrote:
    >
    > >"Ryadia" <ryadia@hotmail.com> writes:
    > >
    > >> Perhaps Bruce, you could enlighten us as to the definition?
    > >
    > >A discrete element of a planar space, usually rectangular. This isn't
    > >complicated.
    >
    > you mean that's the definition of a sensel on a sensor ? :-)

    No, I don't. A pixel is an abstract concept for which there are many
    physical realisations with varying levels of divergence from this
    original definition..

    B>
  15. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    "Bruce Murphy" <pack-news@rattus.net> wrote in message
    news:m2brcwtn42.fsf@greybat.rattus.net...
    > "Ryadia" <ryadia@hotmail.com> writes:
    >
    > > The day you can measure a pixel will be the day I get my mars shuttle
    seat
    > > booked..
    >
    > You seem somewhat hazy on the definition of 'pixel'.
    >

    Perhaps Bruce, you could enlighten us as to the definition?
  16. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    Conrad Weiler wrote:

    > Hi,
    >
    > "How mant bytes are used to construct one pixel?"
    >
    > I got this question from a friend today. My thinking would be that it depends
    > on resolution of image in determining answer. However, I want to check with
    > others before passing this on. Any better answers?
    >
    > TIA,
    >
    > Conrad
    >
    > Conrad Weiler
    > Camp Sherman, Oregon

    It depends on the colour depth of the image.
    Assuming that a byte is 8 bits, then:
    48 bit colour depth is 6 bytes per pixel
    32 bit colour depth is 4 bytes per pixel.
    24 bit colour depth is 3 bytes per pixel.
    16 bit colour depth is 2 byte per pixel.
    8 bit colour depth is 1 byte per pixel.

    This is directly related to a bitmap (uncompressed) image file size.
    A 4Mp image at 48 bit colour is 192 MB (Mega Bytes).
    The same image at 32 bit colour is 128 MB.
    Again, at 24 bit colour, it is 96 MB.
    ....And so on, and so forth.
  17. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    In article <psadncMkpe8naV3cRVn-1A@comcast.com>, Paul H.
    <xxpaulhtck@zzcomcast.yycom> writes
    >
    >"Bruce Murphy" <pack-news@rattus.net> wrote in message
    >news:m23by7nl4h.fsf@greybat.rattus.net...
    >> "Paul H." <xxpaulhtck@zzcomcast.yycom> writes:
    >>
    >> [ snip my spatial definition of pixel and ryadia's incapactity to grasp
    >it ]
    >>
    >> > Here's a simple definition: a pixel is an ordered 3-tuple in a
    >> > three-dimensional color space having equal bit resolution along each
    >> > orthogonal color axis. Given Nb as the number of bits of resolution
    >along
    >> > each color axis, where Nb for practical purposes is limited by the
    >> > expression Nb>=8, the number of bytes per pixel, Bpp, is given by
    >>
    >> Unfortunately what you've defined is (one of several possible) a
    >> colour representation for a pixel rather than a pixel itself.
    >
    >It was also meant to be completely in jest. Thanks for picking up on that.
    >
    As a gnatsarseologist myself, I must say I'm disappointed.
    --
    Roger Hunt
  18. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    "Paul H." <xxpaulhtck@zzcomcast.yycom> writes:

    [ snip my spatial definition of pixel and ryadia's incapactity to grasp it ]

    > Here's a simple definition: a pixel is an ordered 3-tuple in a
    > three-dimensional color space having equal bit resolution along each
    > orthogonal color axis. Given Nb as the number of bits of resolution along
    > each color axis, where Nb for practical purposes is limited by the
    > expression Nb>=8, the number of bytes per pixel, Bpp, is given by

    Unfortunately what you've defined is (one of several possible) a
    colour representation for a pixel rather than a pixel itself.

    B>
  19. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    "Bruce Murphy" <pack-news@rattus.net> wrote in message
    news:m23by7nl4h.fsf@greybat.rattus.net...
    > "Paul H." <xxpaulhtck@zzcomcast.yycom> writes:
    >
    > [ snip my spatial definition of pixel and ryadia's incapactity to grasp
    it ]
    >
    > > Here's a simple definition: a pixel is an ordered 3-tuple in a
    > > three-dimensional color space having equal bit resolution along each
    > > orthogonal color axis. Given Nb as the number of bits of resolution
    along
    > > each color axis, where Nb for practical purposes is limited by the
    > > expression Nb>=8, the number of bytes per pixel, Bpp, is given by
    >
    > Unfortunately what you've defined is (one of several possible) a
    > colour representation for a pixel rather than a pixel itself.

    It was also meant to be completely in jest. Thanks for picking up on that.
  20. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    On 15 Dec 2004 20:45:00 +0800, Bruce Murphy <pack-news@rattus.net>
    wrote:

    >imbsysop <imbsysop@yahoo.com> writes:
    >
    >> On 15 Dec 2004 19:54:15 +0800, Bruce Murphy <pack-news@rattus.net>
    >> wrote:
    >>
    >> >"Ryadia" <ryadia@hotmail.com> writes:
    >> >
    >> >> Perhaps Bruce, you could enlighten us as to the definition?
    >> >
    >> >A discrete element of a planar space, usually rectangular. This isn't
    >> >complicated.
    >>
    >> you mean that's the definition of a sensel on a sensor ? :-)
    >
    >No, I don't. A pixel is an abstract concept for which there are many
    >physical realisations with varying levels of divergence from this
    >original definition..

    so why not stay with the original definition ? :-) It is simple enough
    to cover the general idea of being a picture element .. (and hence
    have no dimension :-) causing the eternal confusion between the pixel
    itself and its representation on any "picturing" device)
    Now it has been smeared out from being a sensor (sensel) in a Bayer
    pattern CCD up to "I_don't_know_what" ... obscuring all & everything
    ...
    FWIW
  21. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    Bruce Murphy <pack-news@rattus.net> writes:

    >one? one and a half? two? three? four and a half? six? eight? This is
    >where things start getting very complicated. Are you chasing a real
    >explanation or a 'lies to children' type glib one?

    Don't forget 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8 byte per pixel. One bit per pixel is
    used for bitonal images (typically scanned text, or very high resolution
    typeset characters). 2 bits per pixel gets 4 colours, used in some map
    displays. 4 bits per pixel is 16 colours, used in some older computers
    and some other maps.

    Dave
  22. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    imbsysop <imbsysop@yahoo.com> writes:

    > On 15 Dec 2004 20:45:00 +0800, Bruce Murphy <pack-news@rattus.net>
    > wrote:
    >
    > >imbsysop <imbsysop@yahoo.com> writes:
    > >
    > >> On 15 Dec 2004 19:54:15 +0800, Bruce Murphy <pack-news@rattus.net>
    > >> wrote:
    > >>
    > >> >"Ryadia" <ryadia@hotmail.com> writes:
    > >> >
    > >> >> Perhaps Bruce, you could enlighten us as to the definition?
    > >> >
    > >> >A discrete element of a planar space, usually rectangular. This isn't
    > >> >complicated.
    > >>
    > >> you mean that's the definition of a sensel on a sensor ? :-)
    > >
    > >No, I don't. A pixel is an abstract concept for which there are many
    > >physical realisations with varying levels of divergence from this
    > >original definition..
    >
    > so why not stay with the original definition ? :-)

    Because the 'original' definition is not only fairly naive, but has
    also become corrupted by decades of near-enough approximations.

    Nothing I've said above makes them any more useful.

    > It is simple enough
    > to cover the general idea of being a picture element ..

    But you need the word discrete there. You also need to point out that it
    is planar, not volumetric.

    > (and hence
    > have no dimension

    And where did 'have no dimension' come from? Why should a pixel not
    have an extent, and thus dimensions?

    > :-) causing the eternal confusion between the pixel
    > itself and its representation on any "picturing" device)

    This 'eternal confusion' is really just stupidity on the part of
    people frightened of simple multiplicative relationships.

    > Now it has been smeared out from being a sensor (sensel) in a Bayer
    > pattern CCD up to "I_don't_know_what" ... obscuring all & everything

    sensor elements, particularly ones in a Bayer map sensor don't map
    directly to pixels in the final image, which is presumably why this
    other ridiculous term emerged. In a monochrome sensor, or in something
    like a foveon, they do map directly.

    B>
  23. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    davem@cs.ubc.ca (Dave Martindale) writes:

    > Bruce Murphy <pack-news@rattus.net> writes:
    >
    > >one? one and a half? two? three? four and a half? six? eight? This is
    > >where things start getting very complicated. Are you chasing a real
    > >explanation or a 'lies to children' type glib one?
    >
    > Don't forget 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8 byte per pixel. One bit per pixel is
    > used for bitonal images (typically scanned text, or very high resolution
    > typeset characters). 2 bits per pixel gets 4 colours, used in some map
    > displays. 4 bits per pixel is 16 colours, used in some older computers
    > and some other maps.

    I realise this, but point out that they're all quite rarely used in
    the photographic context of this newsgroup!

    B>
  24. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    "Paul H." <xxpaulhtck@zzcomcast.yycom> writes:

    > Here's a simple definition: a pixel is an ordered

    Wrong

    > 3-tuple

    Wrong

    > in a three-dimensional

    Wrong

    > color

    Wrong

    > space having equal

    Wrong

    > bit resolution along each orthogonal

    Wrong

    > color axis.

    Well, you did say `simple'.

    --
    Paul Repacholi 1 Crescent Rd.,
    +61 (08) 9257-1001 Kalamunda.
    West Australia 6076
    comp.os.vms,- The Older, Grumpier Slashdot
    Raw, Cooked or Well-done, it's all half baked.
    EPIC, The Architecture of the future, always has been, always will be.
  25. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    <prep@prep.synonet.com> wrote in message
    news:87llbys4o2.fsf@prep.synonet.com...
    > "Paul H." <xxpaulhtck@zzcomcast.yycom> writes:
    >
    > > Here's a simple definition: a pixel is an ordered
    >
    > Wrong
    >
    > > 3-tuple
    >
    > Wrong
    >
    > > in a three-dimensional
    >
    > Wrong
    >
    > > color
    >
    > Wrong
    >
    > > space having equal
    >
    > Wrong
    >
    > > bit resolution along each orthogonal
    >
    > Wrong
    >
    > > color axis.
    >
    > Well, you did say `simple'.
    >
    > --
    > Paul Repacholi 1 Crescent Rd.,
    > +61 (08) 9257-1001 Kalamunda.
    > West Australia 6076

    My post was OBVIOUSLY intended as a satirical comment about the incessant
    quibbling over trivialities daily conducted in this newsgroup by
    anal-retentive obfuscators and savant-wannabees.

    BZZZT... Thanks for playing!
  26. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    "Paul H." <xxpaulhtck@zzcomcast.yycom> writes:

    > My post was OBVIOUSLY intended as a satirical comment about the incessant
    > quibbling over trivialities daily conducted in this newsgroup by
    > anal-retentive obfuscators and savant-wannabees.

    And yet completely indistiguishable from a buzzword-laden response by
    someone who didn't understand what they were talking about.

    Strange.

    B>
  27. Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

    "Paul H." <xxpaulhtck@zzcomcast.yycom> writes:

    > So much for civility. I suggest you apply your arrogance somewhere else and
    > your repeated quibbling proves my original point.

    Whatever the hell your original point was.

    > Concerning your remark about the unit step function: the term "pixel" is
    > jargon, a technical word invented to provide a convenient shorthand
    > decriptor

    Yes? This is what words do. That they are placeholders for more
    complex concepts does not excuse them from requiring definitions.

    > --it is not a quantity requiring a formal mathematical derivation.

    Mathematial derivation and a precise definition are two very different
    things. The word 'quantity' is misapplied here.

    > Until step functions are indeed useful and I suspect you haven't a clue
    > about when and how they are used.

    "So much for civility". "I suggest you apply your arrogance somewhere
    else" and your repeated misuse of simple words illustrates your
    inability to grasp these concepts.

    If you have an issue with the definition for pixel I proffered, then
    *say* so, don't beat about the bush.

    B>
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