Question about printing 6MP images to larger sizes such as 16x24 inches. I know many of us had the D100s and D70s form years ago, and there were some great images made. How do you prepare images from those cameras for prints up to 16x24? Is it better to try and upsize the image in photoshop, or to try and print it in the native pixel dimensions? I have this photo of the golden gate bridge (attached) and someone wants a 16x24 print of it. The dimensions are 3008x2000 from the D70 from years ago. My fear in upsizing is that the fine details in the bridge cables will have noticeable fringing artifacts, or white edges from the upsizing. Can someone guide me how to print this one large?
#1. "RE: printing larger sizes" In response to Reply # 0
I have always loved this image, you nailed this one!
It is amazing where we are today with the latest cameras. I remember spending hours with the NEFs from my D100 working with the earliest versions of ACR trying to get the right color and tone and seeing how far I could push the limits of an early 6mp sensor. The bottom line is that I have few D100 images that I would print at 16x24 today. Back then I accepted a little softness but today it just doesn't cut it. I have a 16x24 framed print that faces me in my digital darkroom because it hangs on the wall opposite my desk that was shot with the D100 and is probably the best example of a sharp image. It's of Antelope Canyon and I can say that on this one everything fell into place.
Anyway, I didn't mean to ramble on but I think you should give it a try and see what you come up with. If you have Photoshop CS 5 or CS 6 you have all you need to get a quality upres. You don't need to take the stair step, multi-pass approach either. Just a single pass is all you need. Set the resolution you need for the printer to be used (360 ppi for Epson printers, 300 ppi for Canon, HP, or a commercial mini-lab) and set the print dimensions in inches. Make a copy and try Bicubic smoother with one and Bicubic sharper with the other. Inspect the images at 100% zoom side by side. Then determine which retains detail the best. In my experience it is best to compare both algorithms since I have found that based on the subject matter in the image one may work better than the other even though Photoshop recommends smoother for up sizing and sharper for downsizing.
#2. "RE: printing larger sizes" In response to Reply # 0
As you have mentioned and others will probably emphasize, it's the picture resolution, not the device which limits enlargement size. With pixel dimensions of 3008x2000 you should have no problem enlarging up to at least 20x30 inches.
As mentioned by another responder to your msg, PS does a pretty good job of sharpening images. Here's one I've used in CS5: bring up the shot to the desired size in PS> create a duplicate (CTRL +J)>filter>other>high pass (crank the radius up to ~35-50 pixels (but watch out for creating edge glow)>image>hue/sat and move the sat slider to 0, i.e. complete desat>blend mode>overlay and adjust the % to what you desire (you may also want to try some of the other modes, e.g soft light, etc). When you're satisfied with the sharpnesss, flatten the image (e.g. CTRL+SHIFT+E)and your are ready to make a sharper print.
By the way, Costco does a very good joy of printing photos for a very reasonable price and the turn-around-time is way less than one day (usually about 3-4 hours). If you do give them a try (on-line is an easy way), their on-line software review will give you a "resolution warning" (but I have no idea what criteria they use). If you wanted to, you could go all the way up through the order--just short of commiting to buy--get the "resolution" review and still cancel the order. My guess is that you'll have no problem.
#3. "RE: printing larger sizes" In response to Reply # 0
First, remember that viewing distance for a 16x24 is probably not eight inches or a foot, where you'd actually see the stair-stepping. I find it amazing what our brains do in visual perception. As an example, at my airport, there's a picture from one of the grand buildings, obviously shot digitally and blown up WAY past where any of us would be willing to do. The image is literally about 6 x 8 feet - 72 x 96". A step or two from the surface, it's obvious that there are giant blocky stair-steps - but from two or three paces away, it amazingly works pretty well. I'd guess that this was printed from about a 2-3mp file.
I've made some pretty good 24" wide prints from my 4mp D2h, including a Lotus 51 Formula Ford at speed. Nobody's ever complained about that one, and realistically, nobody would without sitting down to LOOK for the problems. On the wall, I seriously doubt anyone would notice. There is NO room for error when doing this, though. Just a little miss on the capture technique and it's toast at 24". I have another frame, taken the lap before, which looks essentially the same in LR's loupe, but it does NOT print nearly as well. On the other hand, you know in this case that you nailed the capture, so this shouldn't be a problem.
My advice is to follow the recommendations above. It will probably turn out very nicely. If it's a close but no cigar result, my last resort would be to print it via QImage. It's a piece of software whose interface I really detest, but to be blunt it will make some big prints that I cannot do any other way. The Lotus 51 above was done via QImage, for example. I keep a Windows virtual machine on my main image processing computer EXCLUSIVELY for running QIimage in the once every year or two that I need it. I suppose that if I had more frequent need, I'd probably look into one of the other packages that will run native on my Mac, such as Alien Skin BlowUp or Fractal Design's equivalent, but I just don't need it enough, and QImage does do wonders in the extreme cases.
I've been at that spot many times, and I've never managed to see the beautiful conditions. And you nailed the exposure and especially composition! Great image!
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
#4. "RE: printing larger sizes" In response to Reply # 3
San Francisco, US
I bought "Perfect Resize" on a special a while back. I don't use it often, but I have had excellent results. I did a 16x24 with an image from my D200 that is hanging on my wall. It's probably not worth buying for one image, but might be worth it if you need it regularly. I also helped a friend who was preparing an art presentation and could not find high-rez images of some of the artist's work. I was able to upsize some lower rez images to make them useful in her presentation.