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05-12-2009, 11:56 AM   #1
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Camera vs. print size

I'm sure that "megapixel vs. print size" has been asked before, but I have been reading about the image quality of the 6 megapixel Pentax bodies. How big of a print can be made from a file from a K100? How about a K10?

05-12-2009, 12:02 PM   #2
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the print size is not just relevent to the MP count, but also viewing distance.

If you view a 6 MP print printed at 72 dpi it will be roughly 42 x 28 inches

this would be a 72 inch diagonal TV screen, but at 3 times the resolution of HDTV

close up, you will see the pixels, but far away it will look fine
05-12-2009, 12:14 PM   #3
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I have printed 20x30 from my K100D with excellent results. I'm sure it can be pushed even more.


Thanks,
05-12-2009, 01:33 PM   #4
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So then how much bigger can you go with a K10? I own both a K100 and a K10, but I might need to sell one. I'm thinking that the K10 might be the one to sell.

05-12-2009, 01:36 PM   #5
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Let me ask this a differnt way. Is there a noticeable difference in print quality at 16x20?
05-12-2009, 01:48 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
Let me ask this a differnt way. Is there a noticeable difference in print quality at 16x20?
You probably have to define "noticable". If you're looking at the exact same picture in 6 vs 10 megapixels, and looking very carefully up close, there is perhaps a "noticable" difference. For prints hanging on the wall and normal viewing distance, hardly. You would do well in printing a few pictures from each camera and judging the difference with your own eyes before deciding which to keep. A minute difference that is significant to someone might be utterly inconsequential to another. Let's just say we're not talking dramatic night and day differences here, at any rate.
05-12-2009, 02:30 PM   #7
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The biggest I print usually is 16x20 so I may not be the most helpful here. I see a difference in the fine details from prints made from my K20 over those made from my K10 (that I no longer have). However, I have to get in really close to see those differences. At normal viewing distance I can't tell them apart. Both blow away my old *istD even at 12x18.

There is also vector based upsizing. With this technology, which has been around for quite a while, you can print any size from any size original. Theoretically. Within reason. Obviously, the more information you start with the more you will see in the end result.

I would recommend keeping the K10. It's fine camera that makes stunning prints. You will have more pixel data and will have better detail in large prints.
05-12-2009, 05:00 PM   #8
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In my opinion, for all practical purposes there should be little difference at 16x20, assuming both pictures are properly focused and exposed, and then properly printed. However, there is an advantage in cropping. The more pixels the more you can crop and still be able to blow it up considerably.

Thanks,

05-12-2009, 05:07 PM   #9
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I've been thinking a little about this topic, but with a slightly different tilt. How much does it matter if you shot in RAW v jpeg? What's the largest size I should feel comfortable printing?

(By the way, I don't want to threadjack, so let me know if this is too far off topic and I'll make a new post.)
05-12-2009, 07:54 PM   #10
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If you don't do any PP, then it won't matter at all, because your RAW file has to be converted to the equivalent of JPEG in order to display or print it. The more PP you do, the more shooting RAW matters.
05-12-2009, 11:39 PM   #11
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ismaelg - Did you just print an image or did you have to change DPI and so fourth. Great image BTW
05-12-2009, 11:45 PM   #12
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There is a difference between processing JPEG in camera and taking a RAW file, not even making any adjustments, and converting it to (preferably) a lossless format like TIFF, or even a JPEG.

There are differences in the way a standalone RAW converter processes an image vs. the way the camera processes the image. The camera needs to take a lot of shortcuts to optimize the JPEG encoding -- the camera has relatively little processing power and needs to be able to save at least three JPEGs a second -- obviously this takes a toll on quality. When you have a powerful desktop PC and a standalone RAW converter, you will get consistently better quality even if all you do is save down a JPEG straight off Camera Raw, or whatever.

For example, the *istDL and DS series had very poor in-camera JPEG processing compared to what the sensor could deliver in RAW -- the K100D series is much better despite having the exact same sensor, but Camera Raw is better still. All JPEG processing is not the same.

There are also subtle differences in the way different RAW converters interpret the data.

In a print the difference may not be visible, but if I pixel peep I can easily see the difference in fine detail between a RAW file and a JPEG processed in camera.
05-13-2009, 07:27 AM   #13
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Rhizo - Thanks! The image was printed straight from the SD card without any PP. It was shot in JPEG mode. The guy at the photo lab did some minor cropping.

Thanks,
05-13-2009, 07:40 AM   #14
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I've printed 13x19 from a 1500 pixel wide 35mm film scan with entirely acceptable (to me and anyone I've shown them to) results. I did up-scale in PS and do some other print-specific sharpening stuff.

Note also that just a couple of years ago 6mpix dSLR images were all most pros had, and these were printed poster and larger size.

Of course, armed with a magnifying glass to peep at the ink dots, one can see differences due to every step along the image path, from lens/exposure/sensor/conversion/processing/print driver/paper profile/state of nozzle/quality of paper....

And it all does make a difference, but value judgements about the importance of these differences is another thing.
05-13-2009, 08:19 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
I'm sure that "megapixel vs. print size" has been asked before, but I have been reading about the image quality of the 6 megapixel Pentax bodies. How big of a print can be made from a file from a K100? How about a K10?
The simple answer is that (for prints viewed at a constant distance and the same observable resolution and same size sensor) the maximum allowable print size will vary with the square_root of the pixel count.

This is usually a statement of upper limit & because of other physical factors the actual extra enlargement due to pixel count may be smaller than predicted.

Hence the K10D's print might possibly be enlarged about 30% more than the K100D's (given good enough light, lens, etc.)

BUT in practice it may not matter much. People do not *expect* a large print to look good close-up.

Here's an example of an "overly enlarged" image of a clown's nose. The crop on the right was derived from the crop on the left by mathematically adjusting the pixel count two times in each direction- no new information was added.

A typical viewer will like the up-sized print better*. This level of fuzziness is probably not objectionable on a huge print but would be unacceptable on a crop of that print.

Therefore much depends on how the print will be presented.

Iowa Dave

* A typical viewer will like the up-sized print better when viewed close up - from a distance, both look the same...check it out by moving your head back from your monitor.

Last edited by newarts; 05-13-2009 at 08:24 AM.
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