Largest print size with 6/8/10/12 MP camera

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by chasfs, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. chasfs

    chasfs Guest

    I usually make prints 24" x 30", or 24" x 36" using a medium format
    film camera, scanning the film at 3200DPI, touching up in Photoshop and
    printing on an Epson 7600. My final images are about 50 MP, and this
    doesn't require much up-rezzing. I've been seriously considering
    switching to a digital camera, but am concerned that the image quality
    will suffer. My quesion is: does anyone make prints this large from
    digital and if so, which camera do you use?
    chasfs, Feb 2, 2006
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  2. chasfs

    rafe b Guest

    I've made 20x30" prints from a Canon 10D, and
    nobody asks what camera they came from.

    One of these is nicely framed, in a room with
    two other prints of mine. Of the other two,
    one is from MF (645) and one from 35mm.

    Since you're in the area, give me a call and
    I'll be happy to give you a tour of the prints,
    any time.

    rafe b
    rafe b, Feb 3, 2006
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  3. chasfs

    Sheldon Guest

    If you don't press your nose up against the print it should look fine. I've
    seen excellent 16x20's from 5 megapixel cameras, and using special software
    you can add pixels to really bump up the size of your prints. Why not
    borrow a digital camera and play with the images. Even if your printer will
    only print 8.5 x 11, you can crop and enlarge the photo to show what a
    larger print would look like.

    It sounds like you have some experience, so you are probably already aware
    that it's not just the number of pixels that makes for good prints. Let us
    know what you discover in your search.
    Sheldon, Feb 3, 2006
  4. Unless the digital "camera" you're considering is one of those very pricey
    medium format digital backs, I think, at those large print sizes, you'll
    be greatly disappointed with the results from conventional digital
    cameras, even Canon's full frame, 12MP 5D. Of course, you could borrow or
    rent a 5D to test or download a 5D TIFF, and print the results. Then
    you'll know. Ditto for the medium format backs. Real testing and not
    personal opinion is the only path to true enlightenment.

    For now, I'd recommend sticking with your current setup, but that's just
    my opinion. ;-)

    Stefan Patric, Feb 3, 2006
  5. D2x, iso 100-400 and 20x30 prints are amazing.
    mine are photo printed on Fuji crystal archive.
    to me, they look like ISO 100 film prints, only better.
    better color, better gamma.

    in film terms, they would be lab or custom prints
    judging by the print quality.

    20x30: $15-$25, depending on source.

    I got a test t shirt and a 20x30 print.
    they really matched.

    I was so impressed that I sent a photo
    of the t shirt and print in the same shot to my provider.
    bob crownfield, Feb 3, 2006
  6. Take a look at Hasselblad's H-1.

    Not a problem....

    "I have been a witness, and these pictures are
    my testimony. The events I have recorded should
    not be forgotten and must not be repeated."

    -James Nachtwey-
    John A. Stovall, Feb 3, 2006
  7. chasfs

    Marvin Guest

    You can easily figure it out. You will get all the resolution possible in a print with at
    least 250 to 300 pixels per inch. Some people, like me, don't see a difference between
    250 and 300 pixels per inch. And one may also take into ocnsideration the viewing
    distance, You might make an excellent poster with 150 ppi, if it is never viewed lcoser
    than a few feet.

    As someone else has already suggested, see the comparison of cameras at
    Using just the number of Mp for a camera doesn't take into account the lens quality, and
    camera makers sometime find it better (for them) to upgrade the sensor without upgrading
    the lens.
    Marvin, Feb 3, 2006
  8. chasfs

    rafe b Guest

    Don't ask me how, it's a mystery to me. That old rule of 300 dpi
    at the print just doesn't seem to hold for good digicam captures.
    You can get away with far less.

    Viz., the 10D makes images 2048 x 3072 pixels. Printed at 16x24",
    that's only 128 dpi. And yet... the images are sharp, at any reasonable
    viewing distance, printed on my Epson 7000, using only Photoshop's
    bicubic upsampling, nothing fancy.

    And not just on-print. I've compared "old" Canon 1Ds captures,
    uprezzed to match 645 (MF) film scans from an LS-8000. Again,
    the Canon captures hold their own, when viewed at 100% in
    Photoshop -- even after a linear upsampling of more than 2:1.
    In that case we're comparing 11 Mpixels from the Canon, versus
    about 55 Mpixels from the Nikon film scan.

    Chasfs is shooting 6x7 MF format, and that's still out of reach with
    a 5D or the old 1Ds. But possibly matched by the new 1Ds MkII,
    and almost certainly by any of the MF digital backs.

    rafe b
    rafe b, Feb 3, 2006
  9. chasfs

    Al Dykes Guest

    High end printers have "RIP" software that can do wonders given a very
    sharp digital image of modest size.

    I saw a hands-on demo of a HP DesignJet printer that printed a
    gorgeous face portrait printed at 16x24 that I help up close and saw
    no evidence of pixilation. Lots of nice hair. I asked the guy doing
    the demo. ISTR that it was a 3000x2000 jpg.

    The picture was, of course, razor sharp and selected to make the RIP demo
    look good, but it *did* look good.
    Al Dykes, Feb 3, 2006
  10. chasfs

    chrlz Guest

    Don't ask me how, it's a mystery to me. That old rule of 300 dpi
    The widely varying comments show that there is more to this than meets
    the eye. To me there are 3 main factors:

    1. Image content. If the image does not invite close inspection, eg
    portraits, snapshots, most macros, etc, then 80-200 dpi can look fine.
    A lot of images simply don't have detail that *needs* the resolution,
    and those images may look - and *be* - perfectly sharp.. However, if
    it is a distant city landscape where you want to get up close and read
    the signs, or a large group portrait where you want to see the
    expression on Aunt Wanda's face, or even if it is just a landscape with
    fine details (grass/leaves..), anything less than ~240 dpi will look
    quite mediocre.

    2. Quality of pixels. Prosumer pixels are not as 'individually' sharp
    as DSLRs, although there is also much variation within categories, of
    course. Post processing, sharpening technique, JPG vs RAW/TIF, etc
    also makes a difference.

    3. Standards of the viewer... If someone has never seen a razor sharp,
    finely detailed, 20" x 30", then a slightly soft one (or one that is
    'sharp' because of item 1) will still be mighty impressive. And if you
    have only seen these sizes from 35mm before, you certainly have *not*
    seen a sharp one! Such images are surprisingly rare, and are generally
    only seen in the 'high-end' photography stores and galleries. But
    you'll know it when you see it.
    chrlz, Feb 3, 2006
  11. chasfs

    Scott W Guest

    I believe it is always a good idea to do tests to get an idea of what
    you would be looking at using different cameras.

    I agree with what others have said, some subjects enlarge very well
    using digital cameras. The low noise and lack of grain is what allows
    this. But there are also time when the extra resolution is a real
    asset to the look of the print, mostly when there are textures that
    would be loss with a lower resolution photo, or when the photo will be
    view for closer then 3 feet.

    You can use this as a test case if you wish, it is from my 20D and is
    about as sharp a photo as I get from the 20D.

    If I want more detail then I stitch. Here is the same shot as above
    but with close to 7 times the number of pixels this file is about 8 MB btw

    For those who do not have high speed internet here is a crop from both
    images, I have resized the one from the 20D to match the size of the
    stitch image.

    At 300 ppi the stitched photo would print at just over 20x30 inches and
    be tack sharp at that.
    To print the photo from the 20D at that size would require printing at
    about 115 ppi, this would look fine from a distance but not very good
    close up. If you print the crop.jpg image at 300 ppi you can see what
    a difference this will make.

    A 6 x 7 MF photo will be somewhere in between my two photos, more
    resolution then the 20D shot but less then the stitched photo.

    Scott W, Feb 4, 2006
  12. I just had some A1 (roughly 23x33") prints made up of my initial shots
    on the Canon 5D and I am well impressed with them, even at close up
    viewing - I would never be happy with 35mm film printed at that scale,
    not even Pan F! My prints were all shot at ISO100 - maybe I would have
    been less impressed at higher ISOs, but probably just as impressed for
    other reasons. ;-)

    Obviously in raw resolution terms they won't compare to 5x4" originals -
    the Canon prints at that size with 133ppi (at no cropping), whilst a
    decent 5x4" can get well above the eye resolution limit for close
    viewing, which is around 250ppi or higher if a lupe is used. I am sure
    that I have obtained marginally better resolution from film than the
    Canon delivers, but resolution isn't the whole story. You don't get the
    same degree of lost contrast with resolution on digital as you do with
    film (ie. the MTF of the camera systems is better, at least up to its
    Nyquist limit) and you don't get a noise floor that increases with
    resolution (ie. grain) either. So the end result can be surprisingly
    good by visual comparison against film - easily making up for the 13Mp
    to 50Mp difference in many images.

    You can download some full resolution jpgs from a 5D at the dpreview
    samples gallery, print them up to the size you like and see if you are
    happy with the results.

    Beyond that, you are looking at a 16Mp Canon 1Ds-II or a large format
    back (of limited frame size) - both of which are several times the
    Kennedy McEwen, Feb 4, 2006
  13. chasfs

    babalooixnay Guest

    My local Ritz lab has a framed 24"x36 that is a joint advert for a
    Nikon D50 (6Mp) and Ritz's Fuji printer and Crystal paper You can pick
    it up and stick your nose right in it. i'd swear it was medium format
    if it was film and that camera's at the lower end of the scale. They
    had the full power of Nikon, Fuji and Ritz behind it but it shows that
    it can be done
    babalooixnay, Feb 4, 2006
  14. chasfs

    chasfs Guest

    Thanks very much. I made a couple of prints and find that the
    20d_50mm is not anywhere close to what I'm looknig for. The stitched,
    on the other hand looks quite nice. How many images did you stitch
    together, and what techniques and/or software did you use?
    chasfs, Feb 4, 2006
  15. chasfs

    Scott W Guest

    The photo was stitched from 45 photos, but what I posted was a crop
    from a larger photo, I cropped it to match the FOV of the 50mm shot. I
    also down sampled in the stitching process to get a sharper image.

    I used PTGui to do the stitching, which is a pretty amazing program.
    The stitched photos were taken with a Canon 28-200 mm zoom at the 200
    mm point. This is a bit of over kill but it is just computer time so
    what do I care.

    I use a good panoramic head to take the photos, which is the key to
    keeping one sanity when taking 45 photos. The head indexes which makes
    taking the photos fast and it allows me to rotate the camera around the
    nodal point of the lens, which avoids parallax problems.

    Scott W, Feb 4, 2006
  16. My local Ritz lab has a framed 24"x36 that is a joint advert for a
    Just curious, what is the picture *of*? Are there textures, grass,
    leaves, far away small objects and detail? Because if *I* get to
    choose the picture, I can do wonders with even a 4-5Mp image.... (O:
    Advertisers are not without similar skills in this area..
    mark.thomas.7, Feb 4, 2006
  17. chasfs

    Al Dykes Guest

    Photoshop CS has a nice stiching facility. I've never done it for more
    than two pics.
    Al Dykes, Feb 4, 2006
  18. chasfs

    babalooixnay Guest

    Sure, it's a no brainer. A swimmer in water with lot's of abstract
    looking bubbles, splashes, etc. probably taken, from my memory, with a
    medium telephoto. What struck me was that I recently got into digital
    with the same camera and had assumed all along that 8x and if
    stretched, 10x was the largest reasonable print that could ever be done
    in digital SLR. I bought the D50 to try digital knowing I could always
    use it as a down payment on an F6 if the digital thing didn't work.
    After a few months of playing with digital I'm now convinced I'll never
    go back to film. As a non professional I'd always wanted a medium
    format because I admired a great number of photos that had been done in
    medium format. I believe that digital SLR technology has already
    broken into the medium format area and will make more inroads in the
    not too distant future, and, that digital MF will far surpass film MF
    and take the place of big box cameras.
    babalooixnay, Feb 4, 2006
  19. since i don't have the money for the digital panorama camera i'd
    like to have, i'd like to know which head you use, and if
    possible, where you bought it and how much it cost.

    just post in the group. thanks.

    Gravity. It's The Law.

    Dennis P. Harris

    Always looking for old Alaska photos (especially panoramas) &
    Dennis P. Harris, Feb 5, 2006
  20. chasfs

    Scott W Guest

    This is the head I use
    A Bogen / Manfrotto 303SPH QTVR Spherical Panoramic Head Kit

    It cost a fair bit of money but less then one good wide angle lens.
    The thing is a joy to use. You will need a set of legs to go with it
    but those are a lot cheaper then the head.

    Scott W, Feb 6, 2006
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