Prosumer cameras and enlargements

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ibclc2, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. ibclc2

    ibclc2 TPF Noob!

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    I've posted some questions about DSLRs versus "prosumer" cameras like the Canon G10 or Lumix LX-3 and whether you can build an amateur photography hobby around a prosumer camera.

    This time I just want to ask whether a prosumer camera can produce results that can be enlarged to 8x10 or 11x14 to show off photos I'm proud of. Or do the limitations of prosumer cameras (sensor size etc.) make it difficult to produce results that can withstand that kind of enlargement and still look good. Is a DSLR a must for consistently creating larger prints to hang on a wall and feel good about?

    Thanks for your comments.
    :D
     
  2. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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    Not to be flippant, but I wouldn't consider anything that isn't a DSLR to be "prosumer". Prosumer is generally Canon 40D and the like.

    You can print large enough from them if conditions are perfect but I would be more concerned about other limitations than print size.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  3. ibclc2

    ibclc2 TPF Noob!

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  4. mrodgers

    mrodgers No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    These "prosumer" cameras are now in the 10 mp range. At 10 mp, you should be able to print a very large photo.

    I print 8x10 with my little 7 mp Fuji S5700. The quality printed at 8x10 is superb in my opinion.

    I wouldn't consider 8x10 or 11x14 to be "enlargements". Enlargement to me would mean printing out something larger than the photo would allow. You can google for photo sizes and see the relative resolution you need for a particular print size.
     
  5. Dubious Drewski

    Dubious Drewski TPF Noob!

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    I bought a Konica Minolta Dimage A2 back in the day when 8Mp was a very big deal. It was a very fancy bridge camera for its time(And a small few of its features still rival whats offered in todays equivalents). The problem was the lens was quite mediocre. Sure it was 8MP, but with the relatively terrible IQ of the glass in front, I might of well have been shooting with a 5 MP camera.

    What I'm trying to say is this: The Mega Pixel count is most definitely not the defining factor in deciding how large you can print. I'd even go so far as to say that it's not very near the top at all.

    From what I know about digital cameras, I'd say the list of requirements for large prints, from most to least important is this:

    1. Physical size of the sensor
    2. Lens IQ/sharpness
    3. Megapixels
    4. etc

    That's a very strange point of view. As a guy very familiar with photo labs, I can tell you that "enlargement" simply refers to a print larger than the average. The threshold is usually about 8x10 or so. The term has nothing to do with the print size potential of the image.
     
  6. Jklersy

    Jklersy TPF Noob!

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    I used to have a kodak "prosumer" that was 8MP and had a 10x magnification. I took a pic and had it enlarged to 16x28 and it looks great. I did have it professionally done and it cost me about $50 US, and i still havent gotten it framed.... Anyways the final image disk size was about 300mb and it took the pro cannon roll printer forever to print it (I'm impatient). I guess what im saying is, its way easier to "enlarge" a dSLR image then a "prosumer" image. and after looking at my print again years later, it could definately be better....
     
  7. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I wouldn't print portraits really huge, but you can print really HUGE sizes with 10MP, like... The biggest they got at my local Ritz...
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    No. Recently there was an article at Luminous Landscapes where pros were asked to compare similar landscape photos (I think the prints were 12x18ish) from the new Canon G10 and a medium format digital Hasselblad, and guess which was which. Apparently it was pretty tough to decide. But a DSLR does have many potential advantages over a compact digital. Here are a couple that really stick out in my experience.

    Pixel size has a lot to do with high ISO quality and dynamic range. A compact camera will perform best in bright light, and if dynamic range isn't too much of an issue in the scene, low ISO compact camera photos will compare well to DSLR photos. Once you get to ISO 400 and above though I think it's pretty easy to see the difference in large prints. Compact cameras start showing a lot of noise even in well exposed ISO 400 shots, while DSLRs (at least the Canon's I'm using) have almost no noise at ISO 400. Once you go higher than that compact digital camera image quality really tanks, while ISO 1600 from a DSLR often still looks better than ISO 400 on the compact camera.

    The tiny format and super zoom lenses in most compacts make it difficult to get a shallow DOF. If you never use shallow DOF then no big deal, but I like having the option.

    When deciding whether you feel good about a photo I say who cares what camera was used. Let your eyes and mind judge the finished photo. It's either good, bad, or mediocre, and being shot with a DSLR isn't going to save a bad or mediocre photo.

    Another consideration is taste and style. We're all sort of taught that photographs are supposed to be sharp, and detailed, and an accurate representation of reality. Study up on the history of photography, and visit some art museums. You don't have to stay in that box; many, many photographers have ventured out of it in the last 150 years, and have created wonderful and famous photos. The key is to understand the strengths and weakness of your tools, and do your best to use them to your advantage.

    On another note brought up in this conversation: there are pretty much contact prints and enlargements. If the photograph is larger than the actual film or sensor then it's an enlargement. Most wallet size prints are enlargements, unless they are medium format film contact prints (which would be a huge pain in the butt).
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008

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