How far can I crop before losing resolution on a 4x6 print ?

Started Nov 4, 2012 | Questions thread
skyglider
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Re: How far can I crop before losing resolution on a 4x6 print ?
In reply to plautoq, Nov 5, 2012

plautoq wrote:

Dear Experts..

I have to crop quiet a bit on some pictures as my longest zoom lense is a 70-200L, and this is not long enough for taking pictures of some of the kids games I'm shooting (just my son's soccer team). Any suggestions ? Any treads that I can get this info from ? I'm using 'smugmug.com' services and I'm afraid that some of the prints would not look good if someone try to print some of the photos.

I'm shooting at 22.3Megapixel (Canon 5D MK III). I'm planning on a 100-400L soon and I hope this problem would be resolved.

Thanks again for sharing your expertise.

Hi plautog,

If the photos are to be printed by a photo processor like Walgreens, Costco or CVS, the "optimum" resolution for a 4x6 inch print is 1200 x 1800 pixels. Reason is because those photo processors print their photos at 300 dpi (I confirmed this with all three processors in our area). (For beginners, 4inchesx300dpi=1200pixels, 6inchesx300dpi=1800pixels)

As far as cropping to that resolution "without any resizing", if you don't have Photoshop you can do it very easily using the free Faststone Image Viewer. (While viewing a picture full screen, drag the mouse cursor to the left side and options will pop up. Click on the "Crop Board" option.) (BTW, drag the mouse cursor to the top, left, bottom and right to see different options.)

Faststone has an option that allows you to enter the cropping resolution in pixels, so you would enter 1800 x 1200 for landscape orientation or vice versa for portrait orientation. When you do that, a cropping rectangle at that resolution will appear on your image. Just drag that rectange to frame what you want to crop and click the CROP button.

In Faststone, you can also crop by aspect ratio. In this case, select the "Paper ratio" as 3:2 which is the same thing as 6:4. Then drag a corner of the rectangle and it will change size but retain the 3:2 aspect ratio. Cropping to about 1/2 size (900 x 600) should still look pretty good. To do this, watch the pixel values displayed at the left side while dragging. ..... To crop in portrait aspect of 2:3, first select the 3:2 aspect and then check "Flip Ratio".

Check your current image editor to see if these options are available.  To download a free copy of Faststone, enter "Faststone" in Google's search box.

Sky

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