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11-09-2018, 04:18 PM   #1
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How many of you have done it? I have seen murials and the cover of Sgt. Peppers, and Richard Scary books where the object is to look around at close quarters at what is presented. Has anyone shot for this reason? Would love to see and hear why.
The reason I ask is the pixel peeping trend. The eye can see 300 ppi. (Why ppi not ppcm?) At 20" it's down to 170 ppi. At 20" my eyes can see about 10" in reasonable focus and maybe 5 in good focus.
This means that sharp beyond this is all about viewing a photo piece meal.
I am sure some good points can be made pro and con. To be pro throws composition out the door. To be con introduces all sorts of rendering factors.
I do believe from my thoughts that a bad lens will force better composition to get a good picture.

11-10-2018, 02:41 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
The reason I ask is the pixel peeping trend. The eye can see 300 ppi. (Why ppi not ppcm?) At 20" it's down to 170 ppi. At 20" my eyes can see about 10" in reasonable focus and maybe 5 in good focus. This means that sharp beyond this is all about viewing a photo piece meal.

Centuries before photography was invented artists had already realised that people tend to look at any image from a distance roughly equivalent to the diagonal of the frame. The great masters relied on that to get their perspective effects. You mention that the human eye can only resolve about 170 ppi at 20", and 20" is close to the diagonal of a 12"x18" print, so in the real world even a print from a 6 MP camera made at 150 dpi (or upsampled to 300dpi) comes close to the limit of what most viewers can resolve a normal viewing distance. And funnily enough I've got several 12"x18" prints on my walls shot with 6 MP cameras, and nobody, not even other photographers, has ever mentioned any lack of detail.

I think that a photograph deliberately intended to be seen bit-by-bit in close up would have to be printed at a size large enough that it doesn't really give viewers much chance to get far enough back to see it from the diagonal distance. I suppose Andreas Gursky is the obvious example of that approach. With a 15 foot wide print there seems to be an instinct to move in closer to look at the details, while with smaller prints the tendency is to stand at a distance where you can take in the whole. The reason why Gursky's photographs look like nothing much on a computer screen is that they were never intended to be viewed that way.

Which raises the obvious question: At what size does a print make that transition from being seen to its best as a whole, to being seen at its best as an assemblage of close-up details?
11-10-2018, 04:23 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dartmoor Dave Quote

Which raises the obvious question: At what size does a print make that transition from being seen to its best as a whole, to being seen at its best as an assemblage of close-up details?
That is not so obvious as a Wheres Waldo book is not big.

People have known about perspective and distance for ever. Take the ancient Nazca Lines and more recently Pointillism.

I guess group photos are meant to be seen both piece meal and as a composition now that I think about it.

As to the question of At what size does a print make that transition from being seen at its best as a whole, to being seen at its best as an assemblage of close-up details? This would seem related to the intended viewing distance. A large picture in a small space like a hallway. Or a smaller space lie underneath bed covers with a flashlight. The cover of a comic has lots of details where each panel is small and emphasizes a single thing like the Hulks fist.
11-10-2018, 05:09 AM   #4
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Illustrations in a book and even covers are very different from framed photos in viewing distance expectations. I'd say the same might be true of books of photos - the tendency to hold a book closer is natural.

11-10-2018, 10:17 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
How many of you have done it? I have seen murials and the cover of Sgt. Peppers, and Richard Scary books where the object is to look around at close quarters at what is presented. Has anyone shot for this reason? Would love to see and hear why.
The reason I ask is the pixel peeping trend. The eye can see 300 ppi. (Why ppi not ppcm?) At 20" it's down to 170 ppi. At 20" my eyes can see about 10" in reasonable focus and maybe 5 in good focus.
This means that sharp beyond this is all about viewing a photo piece meal.
I am sure some good points can be made pro and con. To be pro throws composition out the door. To be con introduces all sorts of rendering factors.
I do believe from my thoughts that a bad lens will force better composition to get a good picture.
In the good old analogue days I have printed many images exceeding 10 foot wide (maximum about 30 foot). The largest needing to be joined when mounted due to the limits of photo paper, IIRC about 52" wide maximum roll, length 12’ (darkroom limits). Those images not intended necessarily to be viewed as a whole unless you could stand far enough away (viewing distance calculated at 1.5 - 2.0x the diagonal). So it was necessary to view images a section at a time. Of course in those far off days the issue was one of granularity of images when viewed close up.

The eye can actually see more than the rumoured 300 ppi often quoted, or perhaps more accurately stated perceive a difference between a 300 ppi or less image vs a 600 ppi (or more!) images of the same subject (assuming detail is available in the capture). So viewing a large image from a distance of up to 2x diagonal will reveal the whole image getting closer one may be able to see greater detail in certain areas providing it is contained within the image data.

Clarkvision: Printer detail and ppi

Last edited by TonyW; 11-10-2018 at 12:57 PM.
11-10-2018, 07:51 PM   #6
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I don't understand this part."One arc-minute corresponds to 0.003 inch at a distance of 10 inches. The inverse of 0.003 = 344, but it takes at least two pixels to resolve something, so double this number and we get about 700 ppi ats the resolution of the eye at one arc-minute. "
To me it seems that what is said is I can distinguish between the 344 pixels. That is more than "at least two pixels".
11-11-2018, 02:11 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
I don't understand this part."One arc-minute corresponds to 0.003 inch at a distance of 10 inches.

The part I don't understand is why anyone would ever look at a photographic print from ten inches away. When there is a lot going on in a photo that viewers need to be able to make out in detail, that photo is usually printed big enough that the detail can be seen from a comfortable viewing distance. Would anyone ever really make a print in the belief that the ideal viewing distance for it is ten inches? Apart from the sort of gear-obsessed photographer who only takes photos of brick walls and test charts?
11-11-2018, 03:02 AM   #8
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Not even books are comfortable to read that close. I reserve seeing at 10" for threading needles.

11-11-2018, 06:32 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
I don't understand this part."One arc-minute corresponds to 0.003 inch at a distance of 10 inches. The inverse of 0.003 = 344, but it takes at least two pixels to resolve something, so double this number and we get about 700 ppi ats the resolution of the eye at one arc-minute. "
To me it seems that what is said is I can distinguish between the 344 pixels. That is more than "at least two pixels".
There is actually enough evidence to dispel the myth of 300 ppi being the optimal and that we cannot see more. Probably came from the magazine printing industry. Depending on who you listen too (and your own testing under your particular circumstances with your printer !!) there is reason to believe that we (assumption 20/20 vision) can certainly perceive a difference for images printed at 300 ppi and 600 ppi or 360 - 720 ppi dependent on subject matter. Further some reaserch suggest that maybe 900 -1000 ppi may be about the limit. On images that I have printed above 600 ppi on my Canon printers and 720 ppi on my Epson I do not see any benefits - YMMV

---------- Post added 11-11-18 at 06:48 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Dartmoor Dave Quote
The part I don't understand is why anyone would ever look at a photographic print from ten inches away.
It is no surprise to me and if you have attended galleries and exhibitions you may observe the phenomena; an image gets the interest of an observer and that observer moves closer to examine in more detail ROI's. If that observer happens to be a fellow photographer the viewing distance will be limited by either nose or belly

QuoteQuote:
When there is a lot going on in a photo that viewers need to be able to make out in detail, that photo is usually printed big enough that the detail can be seen from a comfortable viewing distance.
Usually is not always and commercial clients may well specify prints no larger than 10"x8" where the difference in higher PPI may well be appreciated.

QuoteQuote:
Would anyone ever really make a print in the belief that the ideal viewing distance for it is ten inches?
No but a professional may well take into account that within the viewing area for the size of print viewers will be tempted to take a closer look!

QuoteQuote:
Apart from the sort of gear-obsessed photographer who only takes photos of brick walls and test charts?
The comment is far from the truth for some and obvious to anyone who has worked in the photographic industry supplying clients in the areas of Industrial, Commercial and advertising work.

None of this may be of importance to the individual just as any or all of these factors may mean zero to some:
Sensor quality and DR
Pixel shift - what a waste of space
Quality of lens- any old bit of glass may do
Diffraction irrelevant - always shoot at f/32 it makes sense for DoF
Add your own here

If any of the above are considered important then why do we still get some people throwing away IQ at the final print stage?

To be clear this has zero to do with image aesthetics and everything to do with mainting QC during the image making process. Arguing/discussing aesthetics is on a hiding to nothing. I may or may not agree with you what makes a good image. I do not like or see artistic/aesthetic value in a pile of bricks in the Tate gallery or an unmade bed or half a cow in resin exhibited as 'art', but that is just my view and I respect the right of others to have a different view

Last edited by TonyW; 11-11-2018 at 06:56 AM.
11-11-2018, 07:52 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by TonyW Quote
Arguing/discussing aesthetics is on a hiding to nothing. I may or may not agree with you what makes a good image. I do not like or see artistic/aesthetic value in a pile of bricks in the Tate gallery or an unmade bed or half a cow in resin exhibited as 'art', but that is just my view and I respect the right of others to have a different view
I went to the Tate about 13 years ago on a trip to London. There were a few pieces I liked but those are forgotten, the pieces that stuck in my mind are those that were absurdly presented as art and seemed far from it. It that respect I appreciate now how those might have seemed to be provocative and artistic, but I don't agree with that view. I, like you, don't care for most of the art there. I do try to maintain an open mind. I do think you can talk about aesthetics, hell I took philosophy courses on that very subject. But in the end it is pointless to try to change most people's minds about what they find likeable and pleasing.
11-11-2018, 08:35 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I went to the Tate about 13 years ago on a trip to London. There were a few pieces I liked but those are forgotten, the pieces that stuck in my mind are those that were absurdly presented as art and seemed far from it. It that respect I appreciate now how those might have seemed to be provocative and artistic, but I don't agree with that view. I, like you, don't care for most of the art there. I do try to maintain an open mind. I do think you can talk about aesthetics, hell I took philosophy courses on that very subject. But in the end it is pointless to try to change most people's minds about what they find likeable and pleasing.
Good points. In fact those that I mentioned stuck in my mind as lacking any artistic merit - perhaps that was the artist intent?
11-11-2018, 09:28 AM   #12
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Did you view the pile of bricks as a whole or as individual bricks?
Maybe the point was not to elevate art above ourselves. I don't know.
Thinking back on my experience I lean in on paintings painted with a heavy hand. The thickness of the paint and the blending are of interest but not what I see of the artwork. In pointillism I like walking in to see where it is a whole and where it breaks down. I remember specifically being fascinated with a Monet sea and how splashes of color created such an understanding of the sea.
I can't think of photographs I have really had a reason to look into excepting group photos, the where's waldo photos.
11-11-2018, 10:14 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by TonyW Quote
To be clear this has zero to do with image aesthetics and everything to do with mainting QC during the image making process. Arguing/discussing aesthetics is on a hiding to nothing.

As you say (and I agree) aesthetics always comes down to a matter of personal preference, but I can't personally see how the choice of resolution in a print can ever be anything other than an aesthetic decision.

(Talking about what an advertising and commercial professional would do is an argument from authority and a straw man at the same time. Darn, those straw men can get authoritative if you let them. )
11-11-2018, 10:54 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dartmoor Dave Quote
As you say (and I agree) aesthetics always comes down to a matter of personal preference, but I can't personally see how the choice of resolution in a print can ever be anything other than an aesthetic decision.
You have a native file resolution to work with and like it or not you are stuck with it! The only decision you can make is the size to print and what to do about sampling - leave it to the print drivers less than optimal or take charge yourself. I fail to see the aesthetic here. Are you aware that your image is not necessarily being printed at the resolution you think you sent it?

QuoteQuote:
(Talking about what an advertising and commercial professional would do is an argument from authority and a straw man at the same time. Darn, those straw men can get authoritative if you let them. )
Yes from an authority - me! Care to clarify your straw man stance?
11-11-2018, 11:42 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by TonyW Quote
Yes from an authority - me!

I'm going to bow out now, Tony. There's really nowhere I can go after a statement like that. All the best.
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