Difference Between Magnification and Resolution (With Table)

Magnification and resolution have different works. These two are completely different in their work and functions, but they have a very pertinent relationship between them. One’s job is not complete and convenient without the other. Magnification can not work fully until resolution is increased.

Magnification vs Resolution

The main difference between Magnification and Resolution is that magnification is making a small object looking big or zooming in a picture, and resolution is the quality that vividly and lucidly presents the details in a picture. The higher the resolution, the better the quality of details. Magnification is of no use if the resolution is not high.

Magnification is the tool we use to magnify a particular area of a picture or an item. We focus on a particular place and magnify it or make it large to understand the details better. But while doing so, the quality of the picture might get compromised, and as a result, the focused place becomes hazy and blurry.

To solve this problem, we need a resolution. The resolution gives the picture more pixels which elevates the quality of a picture by making its details crystal clear. Resolution and vividness of details are propositional to each other. If resolution increases, then the clarity will also increase.

Comparison Table Between Magnification and Resolution

Parameters of Comparison




Magnification is used to enlarge the detail of an item.

Resolution is used to see the details clearly and vividly.


Magnifying glass and microscopes are used to do this.

Pixel resolution is used to execute this.


Magnification makes things look bigger than their actual size.

The resolution makes things clearer than they formally were.


Magnification makes tiny details large.

Resolution represents those details more vividly.


Pixels are of no use in magnification.

Pixels are the base of resolution.

Effect on a printed copy

Magnifying a printed copy is possible.

Increasing the resolution of a printed copy is not possible.

What is Magnification?

Magnification helps us to magnify an area of a picture or an item so that we can be able to see it closely and notice the details. In a vast picture, we often can not see and comprehend a small item or entity. To see that item better, we need to magnify that part of that picture. By doing this, that item of the picture will get bigger, and we can see it properly.

For instance, if you have a picture of a person with a small tattoo on his/her hand, to see that tattoo better, you need to do magnification. You can magnify the tattoo, which will make it large, and that way, you can see the tattoo bigger than its actual size.

Microscopes and magnifying glasses work for magnifying the details. Tiny details can be magnified to make them visible to the naked eyes.

Magnifying an image to comprehend the details is not enough. We magnify a picture to see the details, and this intention will not be fulfilled if the resolution of the picture is low.

What is Resolution?

Resolution represents the number of pixels that fit in one inch. When we wish to notice a detail for better understanding, only magnification will not be of full advantage. Only magnification is pointless if the resolution is low.

Resolution improves the quality of a picture by adding more pixels in it that enhance the quality of details and make it vivid and sharp. The higher is the pixels, the higher the resolution, and the higher the resolution, the higher the vividness of the details.

So after magnifying the tattoo, you might notice that the quality of the tattoo has been compromised, and it became blurry. So to solve this problem, we need to add more pixels to it. That is, we need to increase the resolution. After increasing the resolution, it will get clear and bright, and you will be able to read it and comprehend it.

The more you magnifying, the more resolution is needed. Otherwise, it will become vague and foggy.

You can not increase the resolution once the picture is printed on paper. You can increase the resolution of the digital frames as their pixels do not have a fixed dimension.

Main Differences Between Magnification and Resolution

  1. Magnification magnifies or enlarges the selected items. Resolution enhances the quality of the enlarged items.
  2. Magnifying something without increasing the resolution is futile, as the details will not be comprehensible. Only by increasing resolution, a magnified piece will be fully understood.
  3. One can magnify a 2D item. Although that magnification will be hazy, and the quality will be decreased. Increasing the resolution of a 2D item is not possible.
  4. Magnification is used for observation of the details. Resolution is needed for the lucidity of the details.
  5. Magnification shows the details, and resolution elevates the quality of the details.


Humans are curious by nature, and to quench that trust of curiosity, one needs to observe closely to catch sight of the details. Now when we see something very complicated or vast, we need to divide it into smaller portions for a better understanding. And to do so, we need to focus on one thing at a time. For focusing, we need to enlarge that one chosen portion and see it carefully. This task of enlarging or expanding is known as magnification.

And as we already got to know, only magnification is of no use. We also need to increase the resolution, that is, to increase the number of pixels so that the details become more lucid and clear to the naked eyes. We saw the relationship between these two and how one is incomplete without the other. Both magnification and resolution complementary to each other and help us to accomplish our purposeful tasks.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3779393/
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Matthew_Mihlbachler/publication/235676261_Magnification_and_resolution_in_dental_microwear_analysis_using_light_microscopy/links/0fcfd51277ce8e00cd000000.pdf