Dickerman Prints is Moving

Dear Friends,

After 10 years on Howard Street, Dickerman Prints is once again on the move! Our new home is in a considerably more peaceful location near Mission Dolores Park.

Much of our service will remain as it has always been, though there will be a few notable changes.

Our long-loved Polielettronica Laserlab (the Polie) will not be moving with us.

That amazing machine is 17 years old now (that’s 89 in printer-years) and is ready for a well-deserved retirement. We have always loved our type ‘C’ prints, and we will be sorry to see them go!

The good news is that we love our archival pigment prints as well (even more, actually), and will be providing the same Print on Demand and DIY services that you are accustomed to, on our archival pigment printers. This service will now have the advantage of having a wide range of beautiful archival papers for you to choose from.

More details will follow regarding the transition from type ‘c’ printing to archival pigment.

We will offer papers that render prints that look like our current ‘c’ prints, or like traditional fiber-based B&W prints. We will also offer a variety of more matte-surfaced fine art papers, with varying degrees of texture and “tooth”, with both natural and bright options.

The Polie will retire on December 23, 2022.

If you want to stock up on c-prints please do your printing before then!


We will still process and scan film … but …

We will still process and scan your film, but the actual processing will be done by Underdog Film Lab in Oakland. These film-loving industry veterans use Refrema dip-and-dunk machines, which are the gold standard in processors. You can still drop your film with us, and when the film is returned to us, we can scan it, proof it, or print it as you wish.


Thank you, Gabriel!

The final, and most deeply felt change is that the one and only Gabriel Aguilar will not be making the move. Garnell and I will do our best to fill his shoes, but he will be greatly missed! We are tremendously grateful for his 12 years at Dickerman Prints and wish him the very best.


We will continue to provide the highest level of service and quality, as we have since 1996.

We love making our customers’ work look its very best, and look forward to serving you in our new location for years to come.


Moving Sale Info

We will be having a sale in late December of whatever furniture, gear, and supplies that we will not be moving.

Seth’s photographs that are hung at the lab at present will be available as well, at Moving Sale prices.

Screen Resolution, PPI, DPI, and File Size Explained

A client recently asked me to provide a file at the “size” of 6000 x 4000 pixels for display on a large array of screens.

I wanted to know the resolution of the screen array for which it was intended. My question was “6000 x 4000 pixels at what PPI?” I was somewhat surprised to find that this information, the screen resolution, was not in fact readily available, and even more surprised to find how difficult I found it to explain exactly why I needed it!

How I would explain it now, after further reflection, is that a specification like 6000 x 4000 pixels by itself does not tell us the size or resolution of the file, because it doesn’t tell us the size of the pixels themselves.

Pixel size is not fixed – it is a variable.

The size of the pixel is determined by how many of them fit in an inch of screen (pixels per inch, or PPI). This may be more easily understood if we think for a moment in terms of print, in which we use dots (of ink) instead of pixels (dots of light).

We are familiar with printed images being made up of dots, and have all seen that that big dots mean low resolution, less detail, and that when we print smaller dots, more dots per inch (DPI), that we can achieve higher resolution, more detail, and finer gradations.

Screen resolution, or pixel density, works the same way. This is why PPI and DPI are interchangeable terms.

The pixel density of screens varies, just as the resolution of printers and prints do.

It used to be that pretty much all screens were made for 72 DPI. But screen resolutions have gotten considerably higher, and will continue to do so.

If I supply that 6000x4000 pixel file at a resolution of 72 DPI, and my client’s screen array resolves at 72 DPI, the image would appear to be approximately 83” wide (found by dividing 6000 by 72).

But if my client has a high-res screen, like a 4K, with a pixel density of 184 PPI, that same file would only appear to be 32” wide. If the screen resolution were to double again, to 368 PPI, the image would be 16” wide instead.

I suspect that most of us have observed this phenomenon when changing our computer resolution (often by mistake), and seen our desktop (alarmingly) either shrink or enlarge. A higher definition monitor, therefore, requires a bigger file.

The larger the screen - the greater the viewing distance.

What works in our favor, in terms of keeping file sizes reasonable for screens, is that generally the larger the screen, the greater the viewing distance. And greater viewing distance is more forgiving of lower resolution.

For a print example, consider a billboard, which uses a big dot pattern, because at a distance the dots blend together. It’s not until you get up close that you can see the dots. Likewise a Jumbotron screen at the ballpark is of a low resolution, because it too is seen only from a great distance.

This low resolution screen is also advantageous in terms of file size, because it can take relatively small files and render them very large.