What is largest possible print size with a GH3 1 and 12-35/f2.8 (without loss of Quality)

Started Apr 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
Guy Parsons
Guy Parsons Forum Pro • Posts: 30,838
A simple way to calculate....

A simple way is to use the following rules (it has worked for me for years with different digital cameras, starting with 3 MP models).

♦ The basics, if you can print a sharp 8x 10 inch then that same file can be used to print to any size as long as you view it at the proper distance of 10 inches or the diagonal measure of the print, whichever is longer. But to get "sharp" prints, follow these rules....

♦ Find the pixel width of the image that you want to print. Not an interpolated number, the original count of pixels from the camera, be aware that it may be cropped, so get the actual finished pixel count......

♦ For truly sharp print that really satisfies nose against it looking then divide the pixel count by 300 to get the maximum possible inch width, say 4608 pixels wide, divide by 300 to get 15.36 inches wide.

♦ For general viewing that appears to be "sharp enough" for casual examination use 200 as the divider, so 4608/200=23.04 inches wide.

♦ With careful treatment of the image and non critical viewing then maybe the absolute lower limit of that divider is 180, so 4608/180=25.6 inches.

♦ Most times huge prints are hung on a wall and never ever expected to be nose up against it viewing so the divider can be way smaller but when you get to 150 or lower it does look soft up close but perfectly good at the proper view distance. Example 4608/150=30.72 inches wide. So if a print like that is hung on a hall wall people can get close to it so can see it is soft, if hung say over the bed where people cannot walk closer then 150 or lower is perfectly good, remember the "ideal" view distance should be the diagonal of the print.

All the above assumes proper printing and sharpening methods, with interpolating the file size to higher "pixel" counts to avoid jaggies in the final print. I always use Qimage Ultimate for printing and that program interpolates your image file up to the requirements of the particular printer in use (Epson 720 dpi, Canon 600 dpi and strange numbers if full bleed borderless printing) and also auto sharpens the image to suit the print size. The results always look better than using say Photoshop to print. Qimage can of course create a proper file to send to a print lab.

People will try to tell you that clever interpolation programs allow you to print to any size, but all they do is smooth the result and maybe enhance edges in a clever fashion so the large print may look sharp but on close examination there's an absence of fine detail, like an overblown image of a bird, you see the bird and its beak looks sharp, but where did all the feather detail go?

Anyway, remember that people have been printing large (often way "over size") for a long time and with a good camera and lens combination you can print to any size you like as long as you are aware of what to expect and how it will be displayed.

Regards...... Guy

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