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D700 - Largest acceptable print size without stitching?

glxman

South Australia, AU
6651 posts

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glxman Moderator Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008
Thu 06-Nov-08 02:08 AM

Hi Guys,

I am getting a new D700 for Xmas, the wait is unbearable of course!

"Mother Santa Claus" says I will have to be content using my primes until well into the new year so I have dragged out the old FE to get back into practice, after shooting medium format for some years I have become slack at cropping, hence the FE!

How big can you print with this FX? and how close is it going to be to 35mm? I know it would be hard to beat the slow fine grain stuff but most people appear to use 200-400ISO, this would be a generalized benchmark for comparison,

Regards,
Gary

I used to have a photographic memory but never got it developed

j3ff

Sandgate, UK
111 posts

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#1. "RE: D700 - Largest acceptable print size without stitching?" | In response to Reply # 0

j3ff Registered since 30th Jan 2006
Thu 06-Nov-08 06:59 AM

Print as big as you like

This is an earlier thread -
https://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=226&topic_id=5284&mesg_id=5284&page=2

Incredibly happy D700 user

www.j3ff.co.uk

glxman

South Australia, AU
6651 posts

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#2. "RE: D700 - Largest acceptable print size without stitching?" | In response to Reply # 1

glxman Moderator Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008
Thu 06-Nov-08 09:31 AM

Thanks for the link!

Yes, pretty much answered my question, I was unable to watch the video but from the thread it appears that at "consumer" speed films, the D700 has the edge,

I am up for some new gear as well and a new printer is one of the urgent items, looks like an A3 printer would be an advantage,

Regards,
Gary

I used to have a photographic memory but never got it developed

tomp

QUEENSTOWN, US
1254 posts

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#3. "RE: D700 - Largest acceptable print size without stitching?" | In response to Reply # 0

tomp Basic Member
Thu 06-Nov-08 07:26 PM

I am printing 13x19 on an Epson R1800 that look great! The attached photo was printed that size. If you do the math on the native file size of 4256x2832 @300 PPi you would get a print of 14x9.4, so at 13x19 the ppi is approx 222 ppi on the long side but the prints look great. I have a friend who is a pro and he resizes images in photoshop then has them printed at Millers in kansas at 20"x30" and they still look great at normal viewing distance. So If you are going to use a desktop printer, I would second the other reccomendation, "print as large as you like"
TomP My Gallery

Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)

klrbee25

Naples, US
1386 posts

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#4. "RE: D700 - Largest acceptable print size without stitching?" | In response to Reply # 0

klrbee25 Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jun 2006
Thu 06-Nov-08 10:02 PM

Your maximum print size depends not only on the image resolution (camera megapixels) but on the viewing distance as well. While 300dpi is the 'standard' for photoquality at approximately 12" viewing distance, you can use much lower resolutions if you're further away. Thus I've printed 20"x30" images at 150dpi, and these shots look great from a few feet away. If you're a real 'stickler', you can use a program like Genuine Fractals to increase image resolution while preserving detail better than CS3 alone can. I've done this with D50 images and printed at 20"x30" and 240dpi. The resulting prints look incredible.

As a rough estimate, I'd guess that a full-resolution D700 image can be printed at 20x30 with little loss in quality even WITHOUT up-resolution. If you apply Genuine Fractals, I'd imagine you could easily get to 30"x45" and still have a great quality image at 1-2 foot viewing distances.


-Alex Rosen
www.flickr.com/photos/klrbee25/

glxman

South Australia, AU
6651 posts

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#5. "Thanks Guys," | In response to Reply # 4

glxman Moderator Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008
Thu 06-Nov-08 11:00 PM

>Tom
Looks like I might have to learn a lot more on PP regarding resizing and get a handle on producing the required output for printing,

I will have a look at printers again today, initially, I was going to replace my current printer with an R800, will have a look at the R1800 as well

>Alex
Thank you for the heads up on the Genuine Fractals, will google that one, sounds interesting!

I might have to brush up on my math and get up to pace calculating PPI and DPI,

Regards,
Gary

I used to have a photographic memory but never got it developed

mwmbjones

Boise, US
211 posts

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#6. "RE: D700 - Largest acceptable print size without stitching?" | In response to Reply # 0

mwmbjones Registered since 30th May 2006
Fri 07-Nov-08 08:12 AM

I don't have the D700, but my D200, D2X, and D3 all deliver stunning prints at the 13x19 size (btw, I wish this were a more standard format; it's an impressive size, and a very minimal crop of the sensor's native 2x3 ratio). I routinely enlarge to 20x30 with either the D2X or D3, and lately every portrait customer has come into the session asking for a 24x36 up front. No problem, but the margin for error does begin to get very small once you go beyond doubling the file (roughly 19x28").

As mentioned elsewhere in the thread, there are two ways to get to an enlargement. One is to simply lower the print resolution, thereby enabling the pixels you recorded to cover a larger area in a print. Deselect the "resample" button in PS's Image/Size menu, and changing dpi from the industry-standard 300 to 200 bumps your print output size from +/- 9x14 to 14x21. Conversely, of course, if you were to select a 24x36 output size, the program would automatically reduce your resolution to 118 dpi. In fact, if you send your out-of-the-camera file to a lab and request a 20x30 print, that's likely how they'll do it. After all, that's how we enlarged film before the digital era enabled us to manufacture pixels after the fact through interpolation. Note, btw, that sized the same way on your monitor, all of these resolutions will look the same, which is to be expected. You're not actually altering any pixels in the computer environment; you're just inputting a formula for stretching those same pixels during printing.

If you don't want to sacrifice resolution to gain size, the other way to create an enlargement is to uprez your file by interpolating new pixels. If you leave the "resample" button checked and fix your dpi at 300, when you want to increase the natural 9x14 print size to 24x36, obviously you're going to have to find some more pixels to fill in the spaces you've just created. You can use PS's built-in enlarger or a specialty plug-in like Blow Up or Genuine Fractals; I've tried them all, and, though there are minor differences, I don't know that the after-markets provide enough increased quality to justify their hefty prices. Other factors are far more important.

First, if your want to make clean 24x36 prints (or larger) you absolutely have to start off with a perfect exposure. If you overexpose, blown-out faces that escape detection at 8x10 will haunt you like pasty ghosts at the larger sizes. While you can always bump up an underexposure in PS, the increase in noise will become annoyingly visible in a big print. Watch your histograms, manage your contrast, and make sure your main subject is where you set your primary exposure.

It should go without saying that any problems with focus will completely ruin a nice 8x10 when it grows to 20x30. If you know you're going to make a big print, put it on the tripod, give yourself another stop down for leeway, and use a cable release. In these circumstances, even though I'm tripod steady, I'm also still careful to stay within the traditional focal-length-inverted shutter-speed guidelines for the lens. Obviously, I also crop exactly for the finished print in the viewfinder; this isn't medium- or large-format, and you can't afford to throw away any pixels to fix composition problems you should have noticed at the time of exposure.

The bottom line is, you're really stretching the capacity of your pixels when you enlarge past double-size, and the margin for error seems to shrink exponentially. Shoot RAW in Adobe RGB, and use all of those available 14 bits. I also apply as little processing of the file as possible in the camera. You want to save this for PP, because you want to be able to apply these settings to your finished size, rather than having to stretch your fixes after they're done.

In the RAW converter (I always use ACR), I never apply any settings I can save for PS, particularly sharpening. I color-correct, adjust black/white points, and then send the file to Photoshop. Even in PS, I save sharpening to the very last, after the file has been up-rezed to the output size. It pays, btw, to have a computer loaded with RAM; a 300 dpi, 24x36 file with a few layers active will slow things to a crawl and, eventually, crash your machine.

As others have mentioned, the apparent sharpness of your finished print is also a function of the viewing distance. OTOH, when I show the print to a customer, the first thing he does is put his nose next to the print to see how it looks "up close." Personally, I prefer not to have to explain that his print will look better if he stands back. I'd like it to look sharp no matter where he views it from so I don't have to sound like I'm making excuses for shoddy work.

That said, imho, the new-generation digital cameras have long ago bypassed 35mm film in quality. I don't know very many photographers from the old days who could routinely expect to get a sharp 24x36 print out of 35mm film. Most (including me) would tell you that 11x14 is already pushing 35mm quality. Every high-end wedding photographer shot MF, as did any respectable portrait studio. I can't imagine dragging a MF camera to a wedding these days when my D3 produces comparable quality. I compete handily in the frameable portrait market with MF houses in town, and my customers are delighted with the price and the quality. Recently, while vacationing on the Oregon Coast, I stopped in to a local landscape photographer's gallery and was astonished at the breathtaking quality of his 30x40 prints. When I asked him what he was shooting, he told me, much to my surprise, that he was using Nikon digital cameras, and that his current flagship was a D2Xs. I admit, I'm in awe of his ability, and I certainly don't have the nerve to offer 30x40 portraits to my customers with my current gear, but clearly the gear is not the limitation.

Hope that helps.

Bruce Jones
Writer, rider, shooter

glxman

South Australia, AU
6651 posts

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#7. "Very much appreciated Bruce," | In response to Reply # 6

glxman Moderator Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008
Fri 07-Nov-08 09:38 AM

I must thank you for taking so much time and effort in producing such a detailed and informative reply,

I have googled this subject with no real definitive answer,

I will shoot landscape now as a hobby, hope to hang a few in the future, I used to use pro labs but with the digital age, I am keen to have a go myself, (retired)

Your post has been a great help,

Regards,
Gary

I used to have a photographic memory but never got it developed

j3ff

Sandgate, UK
111 posts

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#8. "RE: Very much appreciated Bruce," | In response to Reply # 7

j3ff Registered since 30th Jan 2006
Fri 07-Nov-08 09:58 AM | edited Fri 07-Nov-08 09:59 AM by j3ff

Well I've been selling this photograph - http://www.j3ff.co.uk/Cloud_Jeff_Hicks.jpg - for the past 4 years now, mainly as a 40" wide print. I have supplied it to 2 clients, printed on canvas, 79" wide.
One of the clients is the hotel opposite where this was taken (I get most sales from that one) They are absolutely stunning printed this big, the price is stunning as well Anyway, the point I'm heading towards is that this picture was taken with a 6mp D100, 2 shots stitched together. If people are buying this print, after seeing a huge canvas print, that's been enlarged 600%, the abilty to enlarge a 4,200 pixel wide shot is easily there. As I said earlier, it can now be enlarged to any size you like. Just that the bigger it gets, the further away you have to be to appreciate it. Hope this makes sense and eases your worries

Jeff

Incredibly happy D700 user

www.j3ff.co.uk

narc

UK
53 posts

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#9. "RE: D700 - Largest acceptable print size without stitching?" | In response to Reply # 0

narc Registered since 07th Aug 2008
Fri 07-Nov-08 10:49 AM

It depends on the use of the final print, how critical you are and the subject matter. Subject matter is important - distant landscapes and skies can be printed a much larger sizes than prints that depend on lots of fine detail. If you want the print on the wall and ae happy not looking at it close up than you can probably go to about 30" but if you are very critical and like razor sharp prints up close it will be much less.

I shoot large format and also don't really buy in to the bigger print size = bigger viewing distance, I want my prints of to be very sharp up close since the eye is easily drawn in close by a detailed print. I would not really want to print a D700 file above 13x19".

Len Shepherd

Yorkshire, UK
12722 posts

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#10. "RE: D700 - Largest acceptable print size without stitching?" | In response to Reply # 4

Len Shepherd Gold Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003
Fri 07-Nov-08 08:15 PM

> While 300dpi is the 'standard' for photo quality at approximately 12" viewing distance,
This is not right. 300 dpi is needed for magazine reproduction because the large dots that make up the image (which you can see through a low power magnifying glass) can show a moire effect if printed at a lower dpi.
Most monitors are 96 dpi and look sharp. For critical print quality 120 dpi can be OK - and few can tell the difference between an ink jet at 150 and 300 dpi.
As a guideline 150 dpi ink jet's have sharper object edges and 300 dpi has more fine detail between tones.
With a 12 MP 150 dpi gives a decent 20 inch wide print - WITHOUT interpolation.
As most decent software (Adobe and NX being examples) include bi-cubic interpolation you can print up to 400% (by area) bigger with good quality i.e. 40 inches wide at 150 dpi.
***
Unless you upgrade the lens 24 MP gives about 10-12% more resolution - not significant as regards print size though it does give more tonal detail - one reason why the "entry point" for fashion photography is currently around 30 MP.

Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.

Len Shepherd

glxman

South Australia, AU
6651 posts

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#11. "Thanks Guys," | In response to Reply # 10

glxman Moderator Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008
Fri 07-Nov-08 09:10 PM

I am starting to get my head around the mp thing, should be an interesting learning curve,

>Very specy photo Jeff!

>narc
I used to shoot 6x7, I nearly went down the 4x5 track for the same reason but I am amazed at the quality digital is producing now, I know where you are coming from, a pro shot my daughter's wedding with a D100 6 years ago, the quality of the prints were certainly not good enough,

>Len
Very reassuring, looks like 12mp, a decent printer and an educated work flow is going to do it!

NX2 and Light Room should get me started

Regards,
Gary

I used to have a photographic memory but never got it developed

mwmbjones

Boise, US
211 posts

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#12. "RE: D700 - Largest acceptable print size without stitching?" | In response to Reply # 9

mwmbjones Registered since 30th May 2006
Mon 10-Nov-08 07:34 AM

Well... to be sure, the quality of digital 35mm enlargements certainly isn't going to embarrass large-format, but 13x19 isn't even straining the format. If you work at it, a razor-sharp 24x36 portrait is a relatively easy achievement. I'm an old medium-format portrait guy; gallery-quality portraiture is an alchemist's conjuration of sharp-sharp resolution blended with selective soft focus, and in the film world, MF was the coin of the realm. I had my D3 less than a week when a new client called to schedule an extended-family portrait of 20 people, delivered as a 24x30. I gulped several times, and then assured him (based on my naive faith in professional reviews and in the opinions expressed in places like this) that we could handle it. I was extremely apprehensive all the way up until the moment I opened the print (made by Miller's) and gulped again at the exquisite detail and depth of color in my client's family picture. Every one of those 20 faces was sharp as a tack, as was every leaf in the trees backgrounding them and every blade of grass in the foreground. I'm still working on my digi-lab alchemy, but I no longer have any apprehensions whatsoever about the enlargement potential of Nikon's FX-series cameras.

For a sports-shooter's camera, the D3, at least, is one heck of a portrait/wedding machine. I don't shoot a lot of landscapes (I'd like to, but I'm just too lazy to get up that early, heh), but the ones I have taken have floored me as well.

Nikon really got this round right.

Bruce Jones
Writer, rider, shooter

glxman

South Australia, AU
6651 posts

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#13. "Very reassuring Bruce!" | In response to Reply # 12

glxman Moderator Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008
Mon 10-Nov-08 09:39 AM

Regards,
Gary

I used to have a photographic memory but never got it developed

G