The (in)significance of resolution

Started Apr 15, 2013 | Discussions thread
DaSigmaGuy Forum Pro • Posts: 12,308
Re: You haven't increased the resolution....

Lin Evans wrote:

DMillier wrote:

Hi Alf

What I did is shot a portrait orientation picture of my back garden (exciting subject!) with the NEX5n and a 24mm lens (so 36mm equivalent).

I then replaced the lens with a 65mm medium format lens (100mm equivalent) mounted on an Arax shift adaptor.

I took one frame unshifted, then two more shifted left and right.  These three frames were then flat stiched (effectively placed next to each other, although I think there is a bit of overlap)  to create a 3 frame composite.

Normally when you do this you end up with a 3:1 pano, which was not what I wanted.  So I rotated the shift adpator 90 degrees and got 3 landscape orientation shots which were then stacked into a tower which made them into a composite portrait orientation shot (if you follow what I mean).

The composite ends up something like a combined 33mm Field of view with 3x the pixels of the single shot.  I then cropped this (roughly, who cares about a MP or 2 here and there) to match the single shot.  The match was no where near accurate but the pixel count was so hugely different that any minor inaccuracy in field of view made no practical difference to the conclusion.

With my Epson R2400 K3 ink printer, printing on Permaject Matte Plus paper, printing a 42MP file produces no visible increase in detail over the vanilla 16MP single frame.  In fact it makes no visible difference in an A3 print either.

I could go all scientific and match the fields of view precisely, record the relative file sizes precisely and print a whole series of prints at different sizes to find out the minimum print size where a discernable detail difference appears but I already did that a while back using Mr Blissfly's Rx100/D800/DP2M comparison shots.

The bottom line for me remains unchanged: Somewhere betweem 10MP and 16MP completely maxes out the detail in an A3 print.  You could use a Gigapixel camera and it would look no different in an A3 print, those extra pixels are just wasted. High resolution cameras are needed to print huge prints but not for desktop printer sizes.

Lin disagrees on the print size this happens at and I'm not going to argue with his opinion, all I can do is report what happens on my setup.

Hi Dave,

I suspect that the "mat" paper might be the culprit here. Inkjet droplets "spread" on media. They spread more on some types than on others. Gloss paper generally produces better acutance than mat paper. I've not used plastic, but I would assume that the spread on that would be similar to that on gloss paper. The spread of droplets might be responsible for seeing no difference because you may have reached the limits imposed by the media - just a guess.

Best regards,


That would be my guess too.  Pixel peeping would quickly confirm which image has more detail, even if your printer can't actually render it.

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