Digital images viewed on the net compared to what you can expect to see when they are printed

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Progressiveabsolution, Jun 3, 2006.

  1. Hi all,

    First the digital stuff:

    I was wondering if the images that come from the digital source, posted

    on the web, are the way they will look when they are printed? In other

    words, are the photos seen posted on Pbase and other various photo
    sites the actual photo that will be developed or are these photos
    showing a compressed version that isn't as nice as the final developed
    photo? I would think a person that posts their best in these galleries

    would show the best the photo can look like. Then again, if one likes
    the 16MB file they have and this is too large to load into website's
    database, then the more compressed version must be given (hence, a
    poorer quality of look?). I'm trying to figure out what these images I

    have been looking at from all sorts of cameras (i.e. Pentax IST, Konica

    7D, Olympus E-1, Fuji S models, Canon 20D/5D/1DSMKII/etc., Nikon
    D70/D200/etc. etc.).

    The next question deals with a similar subject. When viewing the
    galleries on dpreview dot com, they have a link to view the "actual
    image". This is something like a 3.5mb image in jpeq. Again, much
    smaller than say, the Canon 1DSMKII can produce...but they say it is
    the actual image or best image (forget what exactly it is they say and
    am too lazy to go see;)). Anyhow, are the images they are showing
    going to be the ones that you will see when you print them or are they,

    too, in a compressed form?

    A third question and final question, what will these images that I view

    on the web "generally" look like when printed? I know this question is

    likely redundant, but all in all, when a pro photographer has their
    images on a website for sale, is what you see on the screen going to be

    exactly what you will get in life?...or will it look better, different,

    worst, etc.?

    Just trying to figure out how amateur and professional photographers
    get images onto the net and what to expect to see when this image is
    printed onto paper and place into a photo album or in a gallery.

    Thanks all!!!
    Progressiveabsolution, Jun 3, 2006
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  2. Professional photographers need to protect their intellectual
    properties, so they are unlikely to offer their full size images for
    grabs on the internet. Besides, pros will try to match their images to
    the capabilities of the output medium, so e.g. internet quality will
    be somewhat different from print quality.
    Although different output media (monitor, process print,
    inkjet/photochemical print, back-illuminated, etc.) exhibit different
    (color gamut / contrast) capabilities, pros will try to simulate the
    best possible representation of their creations for the medium at

    For professionals, assume the images are adjusted for the output
    medium at hand, i.e. web publishing.
    For pros, not likely. The (full size) images are more likely to be not
    resampled (which sites like Pbase do to conserve bandwidth), and are
    unlikely to be from pros (unless they represent a non-cropped
    quality/resolution example).
    No, technically looking similar to what can be achieved on other
    output media, but not the same.
    Depends on the output medium, but possibly slightly lower quality than
    what a print can offer.
    Depends on the output medium. Monitors have quite a different contrast
    and color gamut, than printed output. Monitors generally have better
    contrast and Blue saturation resolution, prints can have wider gamuts
    towards the Yellows and Reds.
    Expect the images to look similar, but optimized for the output medium
    at hand. That also means that you shouldn't expect Web-published
    images (without additional tweaking) to look optimal in print. They
    may look good but not optimal.

    Bart van der Wolf, Jun 4, 2006
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  3. Thank you Bart for your explanation. It makes perfect sense. In short
    sum, what you see on the web is essentially what you will see in the
    print, give/take additional tweaking/the full image uncompressed, and
    also the difference in colors due to how the computer interprets color
    vs. real life photo image color.

    An off-topic question if you do not mind me asking. Is there any way
    to adjust color/shading/etc. so that one can get a digital image to
    "simulate" a film image? In other words, can a digital image look
    nearly identical to a film image, but obviously without the grain found
    in the film image? I work with the Contax G system as a reference to
    achieving similar like results with a digital format.

    Thanks Bart and anyone else that may chime in with my going off-topic
    on the original post since I feel you (Bart) answered it effectively to
    allow me to understand what I was wanting to understand.

    Progressiveabsolution, Jun 4, 2006
  4. Depends on your monitor and whether you've calibrated it properly or not.
    In my experience most people don't calibrate their monitors and therefore
    images can look very different from one monitor to another. I recently
    calibrated a friend's monitor who was complaining that the pictures he took
    recently were all underexposed. Instead it was his monitor that was at
    fault, the shadows were too dark. Colour balance can also be quite

    Also, it depends on the whether the pro has optimised his images for web
    viewing, which he should have done, but you can't be certain.

    I think it's reasonable to expect that if you order a print it may indeed
    look different to what you saw on your monitor, but if so, it should look
    better, i.e. how the photographer intended it to look.

    Paul Saunders, Jun 4, 2006
  5. Progressiveabsolution

    Kevin Agard Guest

    Not unless you are viewing the on a calibrated monitor.
    Kevin Agard, Jun 4, 2006
  6. Progressiveabsolution

    Bob Williams Guest

    Most web images are of low pixel count, e.g., 1024 x 768 = 0.78MP, to
    fit a typical monitor screen, and are compressed to around 200 KB so it
    doesn't take forever for viewers with phone modems to download them.
    So basically, you have a rather poor quality image for making a high
    quality print at any reasonable size.
    High quality prints require an image with about 250 pixels/inch. So with
    a 1024 x 768 pixel image, don't expect too much from a print much larger
    than about 3" x 4"
    Bob Williams
    Bob Williams, Jun 4, 2006
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