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D70 print sizes
Old 07-14-2004, 01:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Can someone direct me to a definitive resource on file size/type/quality = print size?

I'm finding debates about how large a digital "negative" has to be to get quality 11x14 and 16x20 prints.
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Re: D70 print sizes
Old 07-14-2004, 01:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've seen prints as large as 16x20 from a 4 megapixel camera. I was told or read somewhere that you could go up to a 30x40 with a 6 megapixel camera. I think somewhere around 20x30 would look great. Just a thought.
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Re: D70 print sizes
Old 07-14-2004, 02:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I regularly print great 13"x19" (Super B) images from my Nikon D100 6 megapixel using the high resolution JPEG setting, but only after I tweak the images in Photoshop. I've supplied images for about a half dozen 30"x40" posters where I shot the main images in RAW mode (main image is about 50% of the total poster size). The poster images held up perfectly. I say go for it.
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Re: D70 print sizes
Old 07-14-2004, 02:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Greetings! You should get anywhere from 25MB-30MB TIFF file in 8 bit from your RAW files. I believe that's close to 35mm film format, so 11x14 should be a clean print. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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Re: D70 print sizes
Old 07-14-2004, 02:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If they do, get an autograph, because you've just talked to God in disguise.

For only He could provide such a thing. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

There just isn't one. It's SO subjective, so dependent on environment and individual characteristics, that any such guide would immediately be invalidated by dozens of counterexamples both higher and lower. Not that people don't try: I've seen various systems proposed, many of which varied quite markedly from each other, and all of whose advocates swore they were the One True Answer to the question of Life, the Universe, and Resolution.

The only rule of thumb I've seen that holds up, at least most of the time, is to calculate your desired printing DPI, and compare it to your PPI with the appropriate conversion factor (usually it's 3 to 1: if your target printing DPI is 300, 100 PPI will produce a print of quality acceptable to almost any viewer.) And even that one is more of a guideline than a rule.

M
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Re: D70 print sizes
Old 07-14-2004, 06:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've never heard this. I do, however go by the graphics industry standard of 1.5 to 2 times the line screen of the method you are printing. So, assuming you were using the photo for a design printed on a press running @ 150 line screen, it would require a 300ppi image. So whatever phisical size the image ends up being @ 300ppi would be the max size you'd get. Now, an actual photo print is not the same, so I'm not sure what the max size would be if you just took the raw file to a photo lab and said "make me a poster of this".
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Re: D70 print sizes
Old 07-15-2004, 10:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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That's the right conversion factor for a press. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

With inkjet photo printers, you have to know how the DPI rating of the printer translates to pixels. The rule of thumb for most of them is that three dots make a pixel, so if your printer's max DPI is, say, 1200, then sending it anything more than 300PPI equivalent will not produce any further increase in quality.

This breaks down a bit at the hyper-attenuated "picoliter" dot sizes used by really high-end inkjets, when you find that in most cases you still don't get much better results using more than 360 to 420 DPI.

In any case, as I was trying to point out, generally speaking there is some appropriate DPI-PPI conversion factor for *your printer,* or whatever your output method is, and you need to know it. Once you do, it's fairly straightforward to determine what PPI will produce the maxiumum practical print quality. Whether the maximum practical print quality is not good enough, or is overkill, is again a subjective judgment. "Never print X" x Y" prints at less than Z PPI" is not a realistic standard.

D
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Re: D70 print sizes
Old 07-15-2004, 12:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Wow I'm so confused... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]I guess thats why I pay some body to do most of my PS! Ed I've got to tell you that I shoot the Nikon D-70 exclusively and have been since the first of April and I/we regularly make prints as large as 16x20 and 20x24 with minimal PS work.

For what its worth...

Michael
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Some specific examples...
Old 07-15-2004, 02:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Let's do what the young kids refer to as a "story problem," that is, a mathematical exercise with numbers that actually refer to something real. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

My EOS 300D is a 6MP camera. It produces an output file at 3072 x 2048 pixels.

My Epson Stylus Photo 2200 prints at 2880 x 1440 dpi. My calculated Maximum Practical Output Quality ratio for this printer is 3:1 based upon what I know about how this particular printer works. (How I arrived at that number is by reading about it online and some experimentation of my own.) I also use the lower number (1440 DPI) because in my experience when you have a printer with an asymmetrical print ratio you might as well just use the lower number. You will not notice any particular increase in quality using the larger dimension.

So my maximum practical output quality (MPOQ) is at 1440 DPI. At 3:1, that means my MPOQ will be reached if I send the printer 480 PPI.

So dividing my MPOQ PPI number into my camera's maximum pixel output gives me a result of 6.4" x 4.3" (rounded.) That's right: if I am trying to achieve my printer's MPOQ I will only get a 4" x 6" print! (Or a little larger.)

Obviously, this is ridiculously rigorous. I find, again with this particular printer, that an image printed at 120 DPI produces output which is satisfactory in almost all situations. That's four times fewer DPI than my example, or a conversion factor of 12:1! Dividing my PPI number into my camera's maximum pixel output now produces dimensions of 25.6" x 17.1" (rounded.) I have every expectation that I could print an image from my camera at this size, with no extrapolation, and that it would be quite faithful to the image as shot.

Well, except that the printer won't accept media larger than 13" in its smallest dimension. Another beautiful hypothesis slain by an ugly fact. Anyway, with this particular printer, I try to hit a DPI level of 150 - 200 DPI. Anything more than that is gravy.

I have printed 13x19" prints from a 5MP image which were satisfactory in every way. This works out to 140DPI, and there was no observable loss of quality from the original image to the printout. I have seen *enormous* prints from a Fuji digital SLR at 6MP (I want to say they were 2' x 3', but I don't remember) which were extrapolated using only Photoshop. (I don't think they even had Genuine Fractals.) They looked great.

In our advanced class, we will compare output from 8MP point-and-shoot digicams with output from 6MP dSLR's (with much larger sensors) at equivalent PPI settings. The class is Intro To Digital Output 102: "Why All Pixels Are Not Created Equal." Signup sheets are on the door.

M
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Re: Some specific examples...
Old 07-15-2004, 02:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I inquired a few photo labs about printing a poster from a large fine jpg taken with my 300D, and was told 100 ppi would produce photo quality. That equates to a 30x20 print. One lab told me he had a 4' poster above his desk, taken with a 10D, that looked good from about 6 feet. I'm sure thier printer interpolates, I haven't sent any in yet, but I have had 12x18 printed and they look great.

My $.02,RonC
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