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Thread: Large prints

  1. #1
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Large prints

    One of my goals as a photographer is to be able to produce a large quality print of one of my images. My camera specification states maximum print of 20"x30" up to ISO 400. With the use of the program shown below I have been able to produce decent prints at a larger scale, granted they upsized from a 1MB file at 300 pixels. Pasting the sections together is a bit of a chore but I don't plan to make this printing method a long term hobby.

    http://posterazor.sourceforge.net/

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    Re: Large prints

    Thanks for the link, John. My own photo printer will do 19x13 max, and I have been interested in going a little larger. Will check this out

    Kevin

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    Re: Large prints

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    My camera specification states maximum print of 20"x30" up to ISO 400.
    John,

    There's really 2 things going on here ...

    One is overcoming the physical limitation of a printer, and

    The other is image quality for a given file size (in terms of pixel dimensions)

    If one needs to chop up an image to overcome the limitations of their printer then there's no way around that (short of having it printed elsewhere) (so I won't comment further on that), but my real issue is with the 2nd part - especially where you say "My camera specification states maximum print of 20"x30" up to ISO 400"; this is just plain WRONG ...

    ... you can print as large as you like - from any quality source - and at any ISO; it's simply a case of "what will the minimum viewing distance be before the degradation in image quality becomes visually obvious".

    I hear this 300PPI bandied about all the time and it's just crazy crazy crazy. If one prints a file much larger - so that the effective PPI drops to say - 200 PPI then you'll have a much larger image - which will then normally be viewed from further back - where your eyes won't be able to resolve the retail.

    The short answer is - just print the darn things as large as you like - forget what the "specifications" say - and stop looking at them up-close with a magnifying glass.

    If your wife asks you to vacuum the lounge, when she comes to check on how well you've done it, would you expect her to stand at the door and look, or would you expect her to pull out a magnifying glass and go over every square inch "up close"?

    Same for photos!

  4. #4
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    Re: Large prints

    Mine is an ex wife for a reason Colin. lol However I agree. Early on I accidently sent the wrong file to print a 12X36 at 72ppi....it is hanging on my wall and gets a gasp from everyone whom sees it.
    Last edited by jeeperman; 2nd October 2012 at 01:20 AM.

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    Re: Large prints

    Quote Originally Posted by jeeperman View Post
    Mine is an ex wife for a reason Colin. lol However I agree. Early on I accidently sent the wrong file to print a 12X36 at 72ppi....it is hanging on my wall and gets a gasp from everyone whom sees it.
    LOL.

    I just print them out at whatever they happen to be -- on one hand there's no point in throwing away data so I don't down-sample, but on the other hand, we can't "invent" data where there isn't any, so it really becomes a moot point.

    I'd far rather have a large print that looks great from 2m, but has slightly visually obvious degradation at 1m, than to not have the print there in the first place.

  6. #6
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Large prints

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    John,

    There's really 2 things going on here ...

    One is overcoming the physical limitation of a printer, and

    The other is image quality for a given file size (in terms of pixel dimensions)

    If one needs to chop up an image to overcome the limitations of their printer then there's no way around that (short of having it printed elsewhere) (so I won't comment further on that), but my real issue is with the 2nd part - especially where you say "My camera specification states maximum print of 20"x30" up to ISO 400"; this is just plain WRONG ...

    ... you can print as large as you like - from any quality source - and at any ISO; it's simply a case of "what will the minimum viewing distance be before the degradation in image quality becomes visually obvious".

    I hear this 300PPI bandied about all the time and it's just crazy crazy crazy. If one prints a file much larger - so that the effective PPI drops to say - 200 PPI then you'll have a much larger image - which will then normally be viewed from further back - where your eyes won't be able to resolve the retail.

    The short answer is - just print the darn things as large as you like - forget what the "specifications" say - and stop looking at them up-close with a magnifying glass.

    If your wife asks you to vacuum the lounge, when she comes to check on how well you've done it, would you expect her to stand at the door and look, or would you expect her to pull out a magnifying glass and go over every square inch "up close"?

    Same for photos!
    Colin,

    "My camera specification states maximum print of 20"x30" up to ISO 400"; is probably Nikon's way of saying "follow these parameters and you should get a good quality image:, anything beyond that and other elements will play a part in the output. Additionally, there are also suggested print sizes for best quality given for specific lenses, the SQF data will also state that quality diminishes beyond a certain image size.

    The 300 ppi was the suggestion on one of the poster enlargement sites. That and the size of the file (1MB) was included in my original post as additional info.

  7. #7
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Large prints

    Quote Originally Posted by jeeperman View Post
    Mine is an ex wife for a reason Colin. lol However I agree. Early on I accidently sent the wrong file to print a 12X36 at 72ppi....it is hanging on my wall and gets a gasp from everyone whom sees it.
    Colin and Paul,

    My home printer can only print up to 11"x17" so this is the best I can do before I send anything to a printer. This is my way of testing the limits of my gear and I hope I am not limited to what the manufacturers claim. As I stated in my original post, my goal is to be able to produce a large printout of one of my images.

  8. #8
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Large prints

    Quote Originally Posted by jeeperman View Post
    Mine is an ex wife for a reason Colin. lol However I agree. Early on I accidently sent the wrong file to print a 12X36 at 72ppi....it is hanging on my wall and gets a gasp from everyone whom sees it.
    Paul,

    Was the 12x36 a stitched panoramic view?

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    Re: Large prints

    .
    Thank you for the link, John. I have downloaded PosteRazor, installed it, and tried it out - printing an approx. A2 picture of this image of Brixham -

    Large prints

    The software is very easy to use, and printing is simple. The only difficult part I found is cutting the edges of the four A4 prints accurately. Although I use only a standard HP MF inkjet printer, the result is quite pleasing.

    Cheers.
    Philip

  10. #10
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    Re: Large prints

    Quote Originally Posted by MrB View Post
    .
    Thank you for the link, John. I have downloaded PosteRazor, installed it, and tried it out - printing an approx. A2 picture of this image of Brixham -

    Large prints

    The software is very easy to use, and printing is simple. The only difficult part I found is cutting the edges of the four A4 prints accurately. Although I use only a standard HP MF inkjet printer, the result is quite pleasing.

    Cheers.
    Philip

    Philip,

    Glad you found the link useful. It is a bit of a chore but worth the effort as a form of quality control before anything gets sent to a printer.

  11. #11
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Large prints

    Quote Originally Posted by kdoc856 View Post
    Thanks for the link, John. My own photo printer will do 19x13 max, and I have been interested in going a little larger. Will check this out

    Kevin
    Kevin,

    My pleasure, hope you enjoy the program.

  12. #12
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    Re: Large prints

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I hear this 300PPI bandied about all the time and it's just crazy crazy crazy.
    I believe this is a confusion with the requirement to SCAN at a minimum of 300dpi for image reproduction (at the same size as the original) in glossy magazines using a halftoned four colour process.

    It's a few years since I’ve had to produce halftone separations for process printing so this may not be absolutely correct!

    A high end image setter would have a print resolution equivalent to 2400 dpi, which would allow for a ‘cell’ (each dot in the halftone screen) of 16x16 'pixels' at 150 lpi, a high enough screen frequency for a decent quality print. The 16x16 cell allows for the reproduction of 256 'shades' for each of the four colours in a CMYK process print, providing an accurate colour rendition of the original artwork or photographic print.

    Because of the image resampling required when rotating each of the four halftone screens it was generally recommended that for a digital workflow that all artwork should be scanned at 1.5 to 2 times the frequency of the halftone screen that would be used for printing. So for a typical glossy magazine printed at 150lpi a scan with a resolution of 225 to 300dpi would be required, with 300dpi giving optimum results.

    Of course as in photography all the numbers have fixed relationships with each other, so change one number and the rest follow. For example newspapers were printed on high volume, low fidelity setters using a halftone screen frequency of around 80 lpi, so if scanning a print for inclusion in a newspaper you would only need to use a resolution of 120 to 160 dpi. Whereas a high quality ‘coffee table’ book may be printed at a screen frequency of 200lpi, requiring a scan of 300 to 400 dpi, with 400 providing optimum results.

    In the time I spent doing pre-press the general practice was to assume reproduction at 150 lpi (glossy magazine) so artwork (including photographs) was always scanned at a resolution of 300 dpi for 1:1 reproduction.

    More importantly clients who were going to supply digital files for print were always told to do their scans at a minimum of 300 dpi in order to get ‘a good quality print’. So I do wonder if this is where the myth of ‘300 dpi for producing a good print’ came from.

    I would be interested to hear of any other theories and if I’ve misremembered the printing stuff please let me know!

    Cheers,
    A

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    Re: Large prints

    Quote Originally Posted by Ady View Post
    I believe this is a confusion with the requirement to SCAN at a minimum of 300dpi for image reproduction (at the same size as the original) in glossy magazines using a halftoned four colour process.

    It's a few years since I’ve had to produce halftone separations for process printing so this may not be absolutely correct!

    A high end image setter would have a print resolution equivalent to 2400 dpi, which would allow for a ‘cell’ (each dot in the halftone screen) of 16x16 'pixels' at 150 lpi, a high enough screen frequency for a decent quality print. The 16x16 cell allows for the reproduction of 256 'shades' for each of the four colours in a CMYK process print, providing an accurate colour rendition of the original artwork or photographic print.

    Because of the image resampling required when rotating each of the four halftone screens it was generally recommended that for a digital workflow that all artwork should be scanned at 1.5 to 2 times the frequency of the halftone screen that would be used for printing. So for a typical glossy magazine printed at 150lpi a scan with a resolution of 225 to 300dpi would be required, with 300dpi giving optimum results.

    Of course as in photography all the numbers have fixed relationships with each other, so change one number and the rest follow. For example newspapers were printed on high volume, low fidelity setters using a halftone screen frequency of around 80 lpi, so if scanning a print for inclusion in a newspaper you would only need to use a resolution of 120 to 160 dpi. Whereas a high quality ‘coffee table’ book may be printed at a screen frequency of 200lpi, requiring a scan of 300 to 400 dpi, with 400 providing optimum results.

    In the time I spent doing pre-press the general practice was to assume reproduction at 150 lpi (glossy magazine) so artwork (including photographs) was always scanned at a resolution of 300 dpi for 1:1 reproduction.

    More importantly clients who were going to supply digital files for print were always told to do their scans at a minimum of 300 dpi in order to get ‘a good quality print’. So I do wonder if this is where the myth of ‘300 dpi for producing a good print’ came from.

    I would be interested to hear of any other theories and if I’ve misremembered the printing stuff please let me know!

    Cheers,
    A
    Hi Adrian,

    You could well be right.

    On the other hand, I think that what is also part of the problem is that people seem to assume that that when they're asking the "how big can I print" question that it's a given that once the print is produced, that they should be able to inspect any tiny part of it "close up" an still not be able to detect any degradation, whereas in reality, folks are normally only interested in viewing the image as a whole - and from a distance.

    A couple of "isms" come to mind ...

    * Photographers often ruin the image whilst trying to save the pixels (eg not wanting to use a high ISO setting because of the "noise", and in the process kill the image due to camera shake caused by too low a shutter speed), and

    * With photographers, the minimum image viewing distance is limited only by the length of their noses!

  14. #14
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    Re: Large prints

    John, the 12X36 was a 3:1 crop from a landscape oriented image.

    Large prints

  15. #15
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Large prints

    Quote Originally Posted by jeeperman View Post
    John, the 12X36 was a 3:1 crop from a landscape oriented image.

    Large prints
    Thanks Paul. Nice image, great shot of the tower.

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