Printing Photos

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by cardonalj, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. cardonalj

    cardonalj TPF Noob!

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    I've been considering printing some of my photos to hold into a Portfolio of sorts or hang on my wall. How big of a picture can I "make" with 10.1 MP before it starts to look grainy?
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Depends on what you think of as "grainy". First, know that printed image quality is measured in DPI (dots per inch). DPI is for all intents and purposes the sames as PPI (Pixels per inch, which is how your images are measure. ie When you camera manual refers to an image which is 2500x2000 (or whatever is the case) it's referring to PPI).

    Optimal photo-printing is done at 300DPI, so, using the example image size above, that would produce an image of 8.3 x 6.6". With modern high-resolution printers, you can achieve near-photo-quality images at resolutions as low as 220DPI, so that would give you an image of 11.3 x 9".

    Assuming that you will be viewing the image at a reasonable distance, you can probably go as low as 125-150DPI, which would yield an image in the area of 20 x 16. Bear in mind that all those sizes are based on the example original image size I picked out of the air.

    What I would suggest is to take an image which you think might be suitable for such enlargement and then resample it to the resolutions suggested and print off a 5x7 or similar size chunk and view it from whatever distance you have in mind to determine if it meets your quality standards.
     
  3. cardonalj

    cardonalj TPF Noob!

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    Ahh thanks a lot tirediron. Ive been shooting my shots a 3888x2592 (max settings on my camera in both RAW and JPEG). 300 DPI seems perfect but I see what you mean in sacrificing DPI to blow the image up. Thanks alot.

    I'm assuming this is all for JPEGS. What about RAW files? Do people send the "negatives" to special labs?
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Size & resolution...aren't dependent on file type. Jpeg or RAW, it doesn't matter.
    Shoot in RAW, edit as TIFF or PSD, then save to JPEG for web or sending out to print.

    Also, the size you can blow up an image depends on lots of factors. A very sharp image will look better when enlarged. So use a tripod and mirror lock up. It would also help to have good quality lenses and use optimum apertures.

    And of course, you need to consider how far away you will looking at the print. Billboards look great from the road, but don't even look like photos when you get up close. Same thing applies in you house. A 24 x 36 print may not look great when your nose is pressed up to it...but stand back 6 feet and it's probably pretty good.

    A rule of thumb I heard a long time ago...is that if an 8x10 looks good at arms length, then it's OK.
     

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