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03-17-2015, 11:58 AM   #1
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How much can I zoom and still expect sharpness?

Ok, I suddenly realized that my computer lets me zoom into a photo as much as I want.... and eventually it's going to look bad. How much can I zoom on a photo taken with a K-50 and still expect it to look sharp?

03-17-2015, 12:03 PM   #2
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Well, that depends on many factors including the lens, the shooting conditions, the camera settings, etc. I think it will depend on what you consider acceptable.
03-17-2015, 12:05 PM   #3
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Zooming past 100% will blur the image.

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03-17-2015, 12:13 PM   #4
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I normally check images at 100%, if they are sharp there then all is good. For really critical areas you can look at 200% but it will not be sharp.

Keep in mind that for any normal size print 100% is way overkill.

03-17-2015, 12:28 PM   #5
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I believe to about 40-50% in daylight images should be fine.
03-17-2015, 12:34 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zephos Quote
How much can I zoom and still expect sharpness?
Now see if you were to use a prime lenses... the limitation is, how far you can walk.

Sorry I could nae resist that one.
03-17-2015, 12:35 PM   #7
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100% is pixel peeping (1:1 mapping of pixels as captured to pixels as displayed). Anything more than that is a waste of electrons.


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03-17-2015, 12:35 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zephos Quote
Ok, I suddenly realized that my computer lets me zoom into a photo as much as I want.... and eventually it's going to look bad. How much can I zoom on a photo taken with a K-50 and still expect it to look sharp?
If you print and consider 150ppi acceptable then you can do some math to figure out the acceptable limits. The K-50 shoots 4928x3264. So at its largest, you could make a 32.9 x 21.8 inch print. That's with no zooming. Alternatively, if you print a 4x6 at 150ppi, then you'll need 600 x 900 pixels. An 8x10 at 150ppi requires 1200 x 1500 and so on.

Some people prefer their prints closer to 300ppi which changes things

03-17-2015, 12:44 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zephos Quote
How much can I zoom on a photo
That depends on the medium you view the image on and the conditions you view it under, especially the distance between your eyes and the image.

That's not a helpful answer, but if you are viewing your photos taken with a K-50 on an LCD computer monitor, you will probably notice any upsampling of the original 4928 x 3264 pixels image. At 72 pixels or dots per inch (the original standard for Apple/Macintosh systems, the entire image will cover 68" x 45", but most modern LCD displays will be between 100 and 120 PPI, so expanding the image beyond 41" x 27" is not going to look good. That's a baseline, you can view the image on monitors with higher PPI values, but a 240 PPI display doesn't mean you can zoom twice as much and have the image look as good. Your brain can't distinguish individual pixels at higher than 120 PPI, but it can do a better job of blending adjoining pixels with a higher PPI display, so there is value to higher pixel density displays, but not as much as you would expect.

The maximum resolution of your display device should be where images will look their sharpest, and 100% crop or 1:1 zoom should be the maximum for viewing. On a 1980 x1080 display, the screen will only show about one-ninth of the entire image at 1:1. Depending on the composition and contrast of the image, you might be able to zoom in even more than that and see a sharp image, but that is a result of the post-processing your brain does. You can also upsample the image to a higher resolution with software, and depending on the characteristics of the image, you may not be able to tell the difference.

Bottom line: If you get your eyes close enough to the display to see individual pixels, and each pixel in the display represents a single pixel in the photo, you won't be able to see any more detail.
03-17-2015, 08:33 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
100% is pixel peeping (1:1 mapping of pixels as captured to pixels as displayed). Anything more than that is a waste of electrons.


Steve
Except, of course, when you are working on an image. When I'm trying to clone out something or select a specific object, I often zoom to 200% or sometimes higher to see the very fine details (like pixels slightly off in color) that are otherwise invisible but detectable.
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