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Thread: Printing - How Often and What Size?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    Printing - How Often and What Size?

    1. How often do you print your images?
    2. What size do you typically print?
    3. Do you stick to the 300 DPI guide line or do you have a different approach?
    4. If so, do you interpolate the resolution to get enough pixels?

    My answers:
    1. Not a lot, but I've definitely printed more the past few years. My home office has 7 of my images hanging. I have a storage box with another 25 or so images in it.
    2. 11" x 14", I've never printed larger.
    3. Yes, I typically try to keep at least 250-300 DPI.
    4. No, most of my photo career has been with the original 6D. As long as I have not cropped significantly it is not a problem to create good 11x14s without needing to upres.

    Dave

  2. #2
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    I printed for many years. Many 11x17.
    I do not print enough anymore to keep my ink from drying out.
    I went with the standard and not even sure what you mean by interpolate pixels.
    The most important lesson I learned was to use the right paper with the right printer; and quality of paper matters more than one might think.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    I have never printed at home. I simply do not print enough to justify it, although I have considered doing more.

    So, for someone that prints occasionally at external labs (usually the former Adoramapix, now called Printique), I print one album (~200 prints) of 4x6's once a year. This is for my Grandfather-in-law. It started off as a way to get him an assortment of my family photos but has morphed into a "best of" collection for each year.

    I've printed the same for myself a few times.

    As for larger prints, the largest are 24 x 16. I have moved from printing on paper to liking metal prints. I worry more about 150 ppi, but try for 300 ppi.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    I've never printed from home either. I think almost all of my prints were ordered from Nation's Photo Lab. If you order when they have a promotion going you can do quite well.

    I need to research more about how many pixels are needed for what size. I see Imaging Resource for example says, "The Canon 6D prints superb images. Stunning 30 x 40s at ISO 50/100/200; an excellent 16 x 20 at ISO 1600; and a good 5 x 7 all the way to ISO 25,600.

    There aren't enough pixels to do that without resizing/upres quite a lot. If you're starting file size is 5472x3648 and you want to print 30 x 40 then you'd have to first crop to 4864x3638 and only have 121 PPI. I highly doubt that would look good.

    How would you make a 30 x 40 with a 20 MP camera and have it look good?

    Dave

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Throgmartin View Post
    How would you make a 30 x 40 with a 20 MP camera and have it look good?

    Dave
    I would mount the image on a wall behind a table so people can't get too close. Then keep other images that are 300 dpi relatively far away.



    I am actually fairly serious. While this is debated at great length, it is really is pretty subjective. I've heard some people go as low as 75 ppi, and that computer monitors are often 72 ppi (except for special Apple people with their Retina displays ). My monitor is right around your 121 ppi and I am viewing it from ~2 ft away. Doing the math on a $2,000, 4K, 31.5" photo editor monitor and it is ~140 ppi.

    But, for printing, I've seen different people state the human eye starts to resolve differences at 75 ppi, 150 ppi....then, from a discussion about a month ago, I saw a reference to where someone set up samples of 300 to 600 ppi and claimed that anyone he's had look at them can see the difference.

    But, is what the human eye can differentiate even the point? Or is it more of how the print will look in a particular setting. And that gets down viewing distance.

    So, how far back are people going to be? 5-10 ft, I have a hard time thinking 121 ppi is an issue. If closer, or if this is for a client that will look at it closely as they take it out of a box before mounting it, then interpolating will not give you additional detail, but it may provide a better viewing experience. I would probably interpolate until you have an image that is ~>200 dpi, maybe even 300 dpi. But, that is just about smoothness if someone gets really close.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayaker72 View Post
    I would mount the image on a wall behind a table so people can't get too close.
    That's exactly right! A lot of images can be blown up quite large, if they are meant to be viewed from a bit of a distance. I made a 6-foot wide print of an owl, from a 20 MP image that was cropped to about 10 MP, and I have to say it came out great. If you look at it right up close, of course it's a bit fuzzy, but you can't appreciate the image unless you're standing back so it really doesn't matter. On the other hand, a friend of mine who is a pro has a spectacular landscape shot that has all kinds of detail in it. It's meant to be appreciated both from a distance and also from up close, so it needs incredible resolution. He shot it with a medium format body (I'm guessing 50 MP), so he can blow it up to 8' wide and it's still absolutely tack.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Jayson's Avatar
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    I print every now and then from home. Usually 11x17 size because I have 3 photo frames I fill every year with my three boys around fall. I have a ton of photo paper I bought a couple years back when canon would do the buy 1 get 4 free sale but I don't print enough to keep the ink from drying out as well. I was going to print more often, but I can't find a 3rd party ink that doesn't clog my printer. I have the old canon pro 100. I would like to print more to send to my family, but just isn't worth the ink investment. I usually send a large print order with a mothers day book I make every year to Printique (formerly adoramapix). Have always been happy with their work. They have a 25% off deal going now so I may try to do some stuff that has been sitting in the print folder for a while.

    For bigger stuff over 20x30, if I have cropped too much or wasn't as crisp as I like it, I usually do canvas as that hides a lot of imperfections in your photos.

  8. #8
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    My printing experience is in two parts—pictures for the wall and pictures for photo books.

    ON THE WALL
    The few prints for the wall in recent years were sent to Adorama. Most recent was shot as 30 mp RAW, cropped somewhat, then converted to a TIFF that was 4500 x 3000 before submitting. That print is 24x16 in landscape orientation on a canvas surface. It does not look pixelated even up close, but the canvas surface texture would hide some of that. I do not know whether Adorama interpolated pixels. If they did not, the resolution would be 188 dpi. Another print a few years ago was a metal print night scene with harbor lights and fireworks. I think they may have interpolated pixels at some step, but the final result looks great.

    “OFF THE WALL”
    I have printed five books of past travel photos on double-sided photo paper using a Canon PRO-100. Many of these were shot with a Sony 6 MP camera the DSC-W50 with original 2816 x 2112 resolution. (Hey, it was hot technology in 2006 when we bought it.) Width of the picture on a page is 3-6 inches. At 6 inches that would be 469 dpi. The PRO-100 specs indicate that is actually printing at 2400 dpi. The conversion happens in the Canon Studio Pro software. Later pix were shot with 18,24 or 30 mp cameras.

    Each page contains a sentence to a short paragraph about the sight and about the experience on the trip. Photoshop allows flexibility in the layout of text mixed with various photo sizes that I could not find in a commercial printing web site.

    I would not have made time for this before I retired. I agree with Jayson that just buying all new Canon cartridges for the PRO-100 would be too expensive. So-- I learned how to refill cartridges. Learning to adjust pix for optimal printing, monitor calibration, printer maintenance, cartridge refilling, then binding and casing the books was enjoyable, but also very time-consuming.

    I have finished 5 books. Fortunately the process gets faster with experience. There plans for several others about family events and local photo sights.

  9. #9
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    I print fairly often and in multiple sizes

    When printing for my self my favorite is 13x19 and 16x20

    I print stuff for my kids all the time....usually 5x7 or 8x10

    I use an Epson 3880 and always Epson Fine Art Papers

    My digital files are generally jpegs @ 350 ppi and I usually set the printer to 1440 dpi

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