DSLR v Consumer Image quality

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by oink, Feb 22, 2005.

  1. oink

    Scott W Guest

    Looking at 300 vs. 600 dpi laser prints does not really tell you much,
    this is because the defects you are seeing are from aliasing. If you
    had a laser printer that output gray levels at 300 dpi you would have a
    hard time telling the difference between 300 and 600.

    Scott W, Feb 24, 2005
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  2. oink

    paul Guest

    If you can't tell the difference between those two in a print, it's
    simply not being printed large enough. Yes they probably look the same
    at 8x10 but you must be losing part of the image if you can't tell the
    paul, Feb 24, 2005
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  3. oink

    bob Guest

    It seems like how well this will work will depend heavily on the monitor.

    I'll go in to 300% or more because that way I don't need to get close to
    the monitor (the way I will with the print).
    This seems to make either the assumption that printer technology will
    not improve, or else that you will never reprint old images when better
    printers are available.

    Unless we get a better printer. My 4x5 negatives *might* be 100 Mp, but
    I doubt it. 16x20 prints are clearly way better than anything that comes
    out of *any* photo printer. Today.
    You are making assumptions about how close I am to my monitor and how
    good it is. At 200% I can't see things that will be obvious on 4x6 prints.
    Maybe they don't matter to you, but if I enjoy technically flawless
    prints it matters to me.

    Bad example. Most aerial photography is pretty poor quality.
    I wouldn't discard an image with a small defect (that I could see in the
    print), but I would want to understand it and try to avoid it in the
    future. As I already mentioned though, the way my monitor is setup on my
    desk, I need to zoom in a lot further than 200% to be able to see what
    will show up in the print.

    bob, Feb 24, 2005
  4. oink

    Scott W Guest

    Well to say it is not being printed large enough seems odd if what I am
    after is an 8 x 10 print. In photography you need to choose you
    equipment in large part on how large a print you are going to make.
    Now if you were to say that the 20D can produce a print larger then 8 x
    10 and will still look clean I would not argue, I did after all decide
    that a 20D was a good camera to buy.

    But what the two photos show is that it is possible to huge differences
    visible on the screen but not show up in the final print. In fact
    looking at the F828 photo I was surprised that it make as good a
    looking 8 x 10 print as it does.

    If someone only wants to produce good looking 8 x 10 prints and does no
    mind some of the other limitation of a camera like the F828 then that
    would be enough camera for him. If you want to make really large
    prints then perhaps a 1Ds Mark II is needed, and if you are going to
    make even larger prints maybe you should be looking at a 8 x 10 LF

    To tell the truth I never printed 8 x 10 much when I was doing 35mm
    film, I just did not like the way they looked. I was delighted when my
    Nikon make clean 4 by 6 inch prints, but we all like to push things so
    I started printed out 8 x 10 prints from the Nikon, not so good, looked
    fuzzy compared to the 4 x 6 prints, so on to the F828 which make great
    looking 8 x 10 prints.

    If I really wanted to do huge prints I would not be messing around with
    any of these but going right to 8 x 10 LF film, but I don't feel the
    need that often for prints larger then 8 x 10.

    In the end people should buy the camera that meets their own needs and
    not bash the camera that others buy. For me a 1Ds Mark II would be
    more then I need, but I don't doubt for an instant that those people
    using them do need them. By the same token someone who has a 2 MP point
    and shoot that only prints 4 x 6 snap shots has the camera they need.

    The point that a number of people have been trying to make, with little
    success, is that you need to test a camera for you indented use not by
    what you see on the screen. If your indented use is making prints no
    larger then 8 x 10 then you should make 8 x 10 prints as the test of
    the camera. What is neat is that there are all sorts of review pages
    out there that have full resolution photos from just about every camera
    made, so you can make these test prints without needing to get your
    hands on the camera.

    Scott W, Feb 24, 2005
  5. oink

    Scott W Guest

    I would argue that looking at a print with a loupe serves no purpose,
    having said that I will confess that I do it from time to time. But the
    print is meant to be view as is, looking at it with magnification will
    not help you decide if it is good or bad. If I have two prints and I
    can only tell the difference between the two with a magnifier does it
    really serve a purpose to use one?

    I can see if you are trying to decide whether you can print it larger
    but if what you are after is the print the size it is already at then
    using a loupe tells you nothing about how the print will look when
    viewed normally.

    Scott W, Feb 24, 2005
  6. oink

    rafeb Guest

    Yet again. Yes, maybe some, most, or even
    99.9% of users don't care about anything
    larger than 8x10" prints. But some do.

    Yes, it's possible to get hung up on tiny
    details at 100% on a monitor, but if that's
    our choice, why does it so annoy you?

    You've made your point, but there's really
    no right or wrong here. Let it go.

    rafe b.
    rafeb, Feb 24, 2005
  7. oink

    Owamanga Guest

    For my argument, I pulled 15" out of the air as a typical viewing
    distance for screens.
    Not quite, but I do make the assumption that we will look at prints in
    the future in the same way as we have in the past - from a respectable
    distance that gets further as the print gets larger.

    There is a slight risk I could be wrong. The day I turn up to a
    gallery and the guy at the door asks me what size loupe I want to view
    the pictures with, I'll know that day has arrived.

    So, printers will improve, but they also are already good enough for
    the job they do. (*) My chemical prints come from a 400dpi laser
    printer, if they made it 200dpi or 800dpi tomorrow, I probably
    wouldn't notice. By the time it's mounted, put behind glass and nailed
    to a wall what difference does it make?

    (*) - They will be smaller, faster, cheaper, more archival and have a
    resolution that can print micro-fische in the future, but it makes no
    difference to this discussion.
    Well, that may be true, I'm not specifically talking about printers, I
    use a chemical lab that prints my stuff digitally. You can't tell the
    difference between that stuff and a print from 35mm film, so it's
    already *perfect*.
    At 200% on a regular monitor, 4/5ths of the image has been cropped,
    that's the main reason you'll miss something that would otherwise be
    obvious on the 4x6 print. But are you saying there are defects that
    will show on a 4x6 print that you can't see until you look at the
    screen at 200%? - I don't believe you - unless your screen is in
    another room from your keyboard and mouse.
    Then you are strange. A print with grain for example *is* still
    technically flawless in my opinion. It adds atmosphere, and is part of
    the medium. Just like I don't consider a 2D print to be flawed simply
    because it contains no 3D information - I never had that expectation,
    so why would I be disappointed?

    I'll keep on saying:
    If the flaw doesn't show up when you print it, the flaw doesn't exist.
    But only because your expectations are different. I can't comment on
    your experience of good/bad aerial photography but to say this. Stand
    back, look at the whole picture, and now judge it again using the same
    rules of acceptance you would a portrait or an image in the National

    I've seen some stunning aerial photography.
    You gotta be kidding. Try moving your monitor in to the same room as

    How can you argue that defect will show up on a 24sq inch print that
    doesn't show up at 100% magnification (effectively has to be displayed
    at 600 sq inches) on your monitor?

    But you need to see it at 200% - or 2,400 sq inches before it shows

    To quote O'Reilly, this is *ridiculous*.

    (Assumptions for math are a 6Mpix image, and a 17" screen at
    Owamanga, Feb 24, 2005
  8. oink

    Owamanga Guest

    Hey, turn up at the next art exhibition with an 8x loupe and see how
    long you last.


    Admit it, you are *not* being realistic. The general public do not
    carry 8x loupes around with them do they?
    Composition. EVERY time.
    You admit to being a techno-nerd then. That explains a lot.
    Owamanga, Feb 24, 2005
  9. oink

    Owamanga Guest


    That's the whole point!

    We toss LOTS of stuff when we print it, so much so that detailed 200%
    on-screen analysis is NOT REQUIRED for a print of this size.

    ...and a print of this size is as big as most people need to go from
    APS sized sensors.

    These are conservative guesses:
    An average DSLR or 35mm film user, for every 200 4x6 they print,
    they'll have one 8x10 printed. For every twenty 8x10s they have
    printed ONE print will be made that's significantly larger than 8x10.

    That ONE print might need the extra effort. But I still argue, that
    other than in special cases, the larger the print, the further away
    you are supposed to view it from, it's a self-healing cycle.
    Owamanga, Feb 24, 2005
  10. oink

    Scott W Guest

    It really does not annoy me that you look at your photos in detail on
    the computer screen and for what you do with your photos it may be

    The point I was trying to make, perhaps with too much vigor, is that it
    is very hard to tell how a photo will look as a printed just from
    looking at it on the computer monitor, others have stated that this is
    not the case, they have said that you don't need to make a print to
    judge how it will look printed. In fact you made just such a statement
    "I disagree that you need a print to properly see or judge a digital

    The OP was looking for advice and one bit of advice is before deciding
    on a camera make some prints from it at the largest size you think you
    will be printing at.
    Scott W, Feb 24, 2005
  11. rafeb wrote:
    I wouldn't use the word "care", I would use "need" or "want". It's not a
    matter of caring about quality, but knowing when the quality is adequate.
    A subjective judgement.

    David J Taylor, Feb 24, 2005
  12. oink

    Larry Guest

    100% on the screen is what I use to tell me if a little un-sharp masking will
    improve the picture, or just add un-needed visual distractions.

    Other than that, I see no pint in "pixel peeping" any closer. Thats probably
    why I have been , for the most part, satisfied with what I get from my Sony
    717, & 828, also from my Fuji S7000.

    Most of my prints are 5x7, with 8x10 on request of the customer.
    Larry, Feb 24, 2005
  13. oink

    bob Guest

    It tells you that high contrast edge detail can be seen at higher
    resolutions that printers can print.

    I was just looking at a magazine that had light blue text in a small
    point size on a light grey fill. I know for a fact that my 1200 dpi
    color laser can't come close to the clarity of that magazine page. Maybe
    your prints are all low contrast mush, but mine have some edges.

    bob, Feb 24, 2005
  14. oink

    bob Guest

    But it gives me pleasure :)

    I really enjoy exploring the print, to find things that are in it that I
    didn't know about. Clide Butcher talks about (in his biography) people
    exploring his prints and how great he thinks that is.

    bob, Feb 24, 2005
  15. oink

    rafeb Guest

    Owamanga wrote:

    If 35 mm is your standard of perfection,
    that explains a lot. Not to be snooty
    about it, but that's setting a fairly
    low standard.

    OK, OK, so it's fine "for 99.9%" of all

    rafe b.
    rafeb, Feb 24, 2005
  16. oink

    bob Guest

    Scott asked how we each look at our own prints.
    You think I'm a nerd because it doesn't bother me that most people don't
    have an eye for art? I don't understand. I'm not necessarily denying
    being a nerd, but I'd like to understand the reasoning that gets you
    there ;-)

    bob, Feb 24, 2005
  17. oink

    bob Guest

    That's for sure. Obviously most of it's not hard, but there are many
    steps that need to be performed in the correct order.

    Like: Close shutter first, then remove dark slide. Doh!

    I was glad I had the Polaroid back because my first half dozen or so
    shots were all really thin. The Polaroids confirmed that the exposure
    was reasonable, so I knew I had processing issues.

    bob, Feb 24, 2005
  18. It could. If you're willing to take a video camera, or a still camera
    that shoots many frames per second, put a telephoto lens on it (one long
    enough to give 1 arcminute resolution), then use that camera to pan back
    and forth over a wide and tall field of view, you could eventually
    capture all the data needed. Then those thousands of frames could be
    assembled into a mosaic that showed anything your eye could have seen
    from the same place over the angle covered. But the processing would
    take a long time.

    The human eye and brain perform better because they combine a
    high-resolution narror-angle sensor (fovea) with a wide-angle
    lower-resolution sensor, automatic motion tracking, plus some
    intelligence that decides which parts of a scene are worth looking at in
    detail and which ones are not. It ends up capturing *the interesting
    bits* of a scene at high res in a few seconds, plus a low-res impression
    of the whole thing at the same time, all assembled into an impression of
    one image.

    Dave Martindale, Feb 24, 2005
  19. oink

    bob Guest

    My viewing distance is more like 36" Do your 100% figures become 200% at
    double the distance?

    We (r.p.d) had this discussion two years ago. Many people look from
    further distances with larger prints, but many look up close regardless
    of print size (in addition to looking from further away). You can verify
    this *fact* at any museum with a large photographic exhibit.
    With the right subject matter, I can see the difference between 400dpi
    and 600dpi at arms length.
    I moved from 35mm film to 4x5 film because it (35mm) was *not* perfect.
    I'm looking forward to printers that can deliver the same level of
    quality you can get from LF negatives.

    About 3 feet away. Maybe it's my eyes, or maybe it's the monitor.
    Unfortunately, replacing either is not really an option :-/
    I didn't say anything about grain -- and I hardly think I'm unique in
    the quest for perfection.
    To see many flaws in diamonds you need a loupe or even a microscope. The
    fact that you don't see them with the naked eye doesn't determine their

    So if you have a print that you think is flawless and you suddenly get
    the urge to print it 20x24 instead of 8x10 and all of a sudden the flaw
    becomes visable it goes from non-existance to existance? How does that
    make sense?
    I work with a lot of aerial photography. Most of it is quite poor. I
    know that because some of it is very good. Most of it is either over or
    under exposed, and a lot of it is blurry.
    I have too. But most of what I've worked with is lacking.
    Gives me headaches. I like it where it is.

    Printer has better resolution and better dmax.
    The (smaller) monitor is probably lacking in contrast too.
    My reality isn't that far off from your assumptions: 5mp image 20"
    screen at 1600x1200. I use another computer with a 19" monitor at
    1024x768. I quite obviously use different zoom levels on the two.

    bob, Feb 24, 2005
  20. oink

    Owamanga Guest

    Stick to the thread Rafe, DSLR vs Consumer Image quality. The OP
    didn't ask about large format, that's a different ball-game entirely.
    You are in the 0.1% who feel it's mandatory to use fine-grain LF for
    6x4's.. whatever.

    ...count me with the 99.9%.

    Having taken a quick look at your gallery, I'd be more worried about
    exposure and composition if I were you. You honestly trying to tell us
    that you bothered to shoot that stuff on MF or LF?


    Get a tripod.

    I bet you sell a lot of this one eh?
    (I agree with your wife by the way)

    And this one, needed MF did it?

    And this one, what's up, couldn't capture the lens flare and the green
    murk properly with a 35mm camera?

    What's this one with half eaten leaves all about then? Did the
    caterpillars work faster than your LF camera?

    You looking at everything at 200% explains a lot (except how you
    missed the caterpillar holes), try zooming out once in a while and see
    the big picture.

    <Belt line... lower... lower.... KICK!>

    <Big Grin>

    <Hides under a table>
    Owamanga, Feb 24, 2005
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