How much resolution do I really need?


gfurm

Link Posted 23/07/2015 - 15:16
Last week there was great deal on poster prints on Snapfish, with 75% off, so I couldn't stop myself from ordering one. 30"x40" for 8.30 delivered. Well, I do know how much 30 inches is but I really didn't appreciate the size until it came today. The thing is massive.

Now back to topic question: It was printed from K-5II file cropped to 3x4 proportions. That means print was at about 109dpi, well short of the ultimate 300dpi print. Shot at ISO 3200, printed at 109dpi and I can still see fine details, eyes sharp, single strands of hair visible, good contrast and plenty of detail.

Being this big you're not really supposed to look at it from 10 inches but the quality and detail still blew me away. Sure, if you go at it with magnifying glass you'll probably find pixels but it's gonna hang on my wall when I manage to find affordable clip frame for it and it will look smashing.

That made me realise that I don't have to pixel peep for ultimate sharpness and that cropping half of 16MP file won't hurt print quality.

Greg
Pentax K-3 II, DA 50/1.8, Sigma 18-35/1.8, DA* 300/4, 1.4x HD DA Converter
Last Edited by gfurm on 23/07/2015 - 15:16

McGregNi

Link Posted 23/07/2015 - 15:42
These services use pro-grade interpolation software to effectively boost the resolution of your file ...a bit like commercial advertising when they create massive road-side posters, although for close viewing you need to keep pixel density I think. I've used Foto.com for posters 100x70cm (from k7 files) and the quality is superb ... At comfortable viewing distance they look no different to the 5x7 prints.
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

1stEverPentax

Link Posted 23/07/2015 - 16:24
On the subject of large prints and viewing distances are there 'recommended' viewing distances for a given size of print assuming wall hung. I know with large screen TVs its supposed to be so many times the screen diagonal etc. I appreciate that domestic lighting or lack of may affect things as well.

bwlchmawr

Link Posted 23/07/2015 - 17:38
A few years ago I had printed some very nice poster-sized prints from my K100D (6mp). As you say, view large prints at a "comfortable" distance and it's amazing how good they look. I don't print at all now but I expect all modern APSC DSLRs would produce stunning photographs with those from a K3 or one of the cameras with 35mm size sensors even better.
Best wishes,

Andrew

"These places mean something and it's the job of a photographer to figure-out what the hell it is."
Robert Adams
"The camera doesn't make a bit of difference.  All of them can record what you are seeing.  But, you have to SEE."
Ernst Hass
My website: http://www.ephotozine.com/user/bwlchmawr-199050 http://s927.photobucket.com/home/ADC3440/index
https://www.flickr.com/photos/78898196@N05

pentaxian450

Link Posted 23/07/2015 - 18:04
McGregNi wrote:
These services use pro-grade interpolation software to effectively boost the resolution of your file ...a bit like commercial advertising when they create massive road-side posters,

They don't boost resolution for billboards. You never get close enough to see the dots, and most of them are printed on large flatbed silkscreen machines that don't really like "fine screens".

If you could get close enough, you'd how large the dots are.
Yves (another one of those crazy Canucks)
Last Edited by pentaxian450 on 23/07/2015 - 18:04

McGregNi

Link Posted 23/07/2015 - 18:13
Yes, you're right ... Get close and you just see huge circles ... It's amazing how quickly it transforms into a nice image as you step back.

But it they don't increase resolution for these bill-boards, there must be. some sort of optimisation being done. We couldn't just print out our files that big straight from the camera and get those results, surely?
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

Snappyhoffy

Link Posted 23/07/2015 - 23:14
I had a really nice shot from my early *ist DS (6 Mb) of an early winters morning that I had on a large canvas print (100 x 70). By using the canvas and mounting behind museum glass it masked the lower resolution and gave a great image (even though I say myself)....... but I still went ended up with a K3 (it's infectious!)
'Life looks simple through a viewfinder'.....then I went Digital!
Keith
K3, DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, DA* 300, AF360

Daronl

Link Posted 23/07/2015 - 23:55
I think these days these answer is nothing to do with prints as very few of us go above A2/3 which in film days was a little challenging but with todays sensors it is not .

I have completed a sporting gallery of several hundred framed display prints (A4, A3, A2, sizes) over the last year for two clients, with both a K5IIs and a K3, using good primes; it has been a revelation in terms of quality from both cameras

Additionally however, with resolution comes "Cropability" and frankly speaking I can't have enough of that, but whether it requires anything above 24 mp is a good question.

We already know from recent tests posted via PU regarding K3 II vs a Nikon D810 FF ( on test) that it is not a given that FF will out-perform the K3 II APS sensor on IQ

I also think that the low light capabilities of an FF sensor might not not blow a 16mp APS out of the water considering the suze of individual photocells ; so it is still somewhat of conundrum.

My first digital was a 2mp Olympus compact and I produced many standard A4 images off that with very good IQ; even an Iphone on a good day produces images that make really good A4 prints ; do many people print bigger than A4 other than specialist pros ?

Read the article still posted on PU entitled "Why An Image With Technical Merit Won't Always Cut It Any More" and that will definitely add sense to this discussion.

The answer to the original question re "How much resolution do I need" ; I would say 16mp will do it for most of us but having said that I would still buy as many pixels as I can afford because the ability to selectively make large crops brings so much more flexibility to the table.

Regards
Daronl

1stEverPentax

Link Posted 24/07/2015 - 00:29
Very good post Daronl.

regards

Karlo

bwlchmawr

Link Posted 24/07/2015 - 08:34
Yes, the point about being able to crop is valid. I often just take out a camera with one wideish prime lens. I found I can crop quite heavily with 18mp and still get a decent result.
Best wishes,

Andrew

"These places mean something and it's the job of a photographer to figure-out what the hell it is."
Robert Adams
"The camera doesn't make a bit of difference.  All of them can record what you are seeing.  But, you have to SEE."
Ernst Hass
My website: http://www.ephotozine.com/user/bwlchmawr-199050 http://s927.photobucket.com/home/ADC3440/index
https://www.flickr.com/photos/78898196@N05

womble

Link Posted 24/07/2015 - 08:39
As I am addicted to square images I'm often cropping a third of the image away before I even start thinking about other things. Being able to crop heavily is certainly a bonus. I've only ever printed to A2 and have never really had a problem with any of my digital SLRs (K10/20/3).

K.
Kris Lockyear
It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head. Henri Cartier-Bresson
Lots of film bodies, a couple of digital ones, too many lenses (mainly older glass) and a Horseman LE 5x4.

My website

Unlocker

Link Posted 24/07/2015 - 10:51
Personally, if you're printing large then I'd say as many (high quality pixels) as you can afford, more pixels for the same size will produce a better detailed print.

Daronl is spot on about the cropping too, gives you more choice when editing.

Large K-3 prints do have more detail than prints from a K-5, obviously, but how much this matters depends on the user and the quality of print you would like to achieve.

I'm always striving for more / better now that I do print large, however you should see the look on photographers faces when they play "guess the kit" when looking at them. This framed print is on fine art matt paper with anti-reflective glass (not diffused!), print size is 32" x 24" and is printed at around 150dpi from a K-5 image.




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gfurm

Link Posted 24/07/2015 - 14:32
Thanks for all comments.

For me the bottom line is: I don't have to look at 16MP or 24MP image at 100%, cropping is fine and doesn't degrade IQ if printed at normal sizes and ISO 3200 file from K-5II blown up to massive size still looks great.

I have few photos of my kids that are slightly out of focus when viewed at 100% but look OK on 5x7 print, so for this size pixel peeping doesn't really make sense.

Making large print opened my eyes to what my camera is capable of. I'm sure the photo I had printed at 30x40 was taken with 645z would have much more details but I'd probably not see the difference at comfortable distance.

Greg
Pentax K-3 II, DA 50/1.8, Sigma 18-35/1.8, DA* 300/4, 1.4x HD DA Converter

Daronl

Link Posted 25/07/2015 - 11:08
After all is said above, an interesting point, particularly from the point of view of the modern day wedding photographer, given the image sizes needed for the modern "storybook" album formats and the latest superfast primes, would be the availabilty of a 16-18mp Pentax FF; flash might become almost obsolete ?
Daronl

McGregNi

Link Posted 25/07/2015 - 20:28
I don't think so .... Flash is not only about increasing the light levels in order to avoid high ISO. In its creative guise flash is mainly about contrast control ( such as backlit HSS fill-in situations) and balancing out high dynamic range scenes ....softening the quality of light, spreading it, funnelling it, controlling its temperature .....It goes on and on.

No amount of high ISO sensor performance is going to help one little bit with any of that.

(Daron, I know your point was more limited in scope than all that .......)
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
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