Modern televisions have a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels which is commonly referred to as 4K. A common resolution among smartphone screens is 1920×1080 pixels. We call that resolution Full HD, FHD, or 1080p. The Nintendo Gamecube displayed video games at a resolution of 720×480 pixels or standard definition which is often shortened to SD or 480p. On my desk, I have a Fujifilm X-T4 which has a 3.69 million dot electronic viewfinder (EVF). Did you catch the outlier there? It’s time we talked about dots.
WHAT EVEN IS A DOT ON AN EVF OR CAMERA SCREEN?
I’m not the first to say it but I’ll gladly repeat it: dots are an awful and, in my opinion, misleading way of describing a screen’s resolution. Your first thought when reading how many dots an EVF has might have been the same as mine. I used to think that a dot is just another way of describing a pixel. After all, we state how many megapixels a sensor has instead of the horizontal and vertical number of pixels. If someone were to ask you the resolution of your camera you wouldn’t say 6240×4160 pixels. You’d just call it a 26-megapixel camera.
Well, it isn’t. A dot is a part of what makes a pixel. Each pixel has three dots. One each for red, green, and blue (RGB). By that logic, a standard definition image has 1,036,800 dots. But you’d never say that. And nobody in their right mind ever should. It’s an SD or 480p image because that is what it is.
Converting dots to pixels
Let’s take my X-T4 as an example. It’s EVF has 3.69 million dots. Divide that by three and we get 1.23 million pixels. We know that most EVFs have an aspect ratio of 4:3 so a bit of number crunching gives us the most probable resolution which is 1280×960 pixels. And to my ears, that sounds like a decent resolution for an EVF considering how small it is. Why not just tell me the resolution to start off with?
Well, I obviously know why. Because 3.69 million sure sounds a lot more impressive. I mean 1280×960 isn’t even Full HD. But to be honest, I could have never told you whether a 3.69 million dot screen is a good thing or not.
The same goes for the recently released Sony A7s III. I kept reading that it had an EVF with a 9,437,184-dot resolution. What does that even mean? Why not just state that it has a resolution of 2048×1536 pixels? Yes, the 9,437,184 sounds like a lot but I can’t be sure whether that is a high or low resolution. But what I do know is that 2048×1536 is a higher resolution than even most computer monitors. I think that number would have been more impressive.
Please stop using dots
I’m putting a call out to anyone who will listen. Please, for sanity’s sake, stop faffing around with dots. I know it’s not much but I’ve started the fight against dots by actually stating the true resolution of my X-T4’s EVF on this website. Because that’s what the people deserve.
I know it’s not the most worthy of causes but please join me in the fight against dots. Thank you for your time.