At what size of print out of D700 will show the same quality as that of D600.

Started Mar 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
calson Veteran Member • Posts: 8,966
Wrong question

The larger the print the greater the normal viewing distance. I have my face a lot closer to an 8x10 print than I do for a 20x30 print of the same scene or subject. I will have the 8x10 at a distance of 2-3 feet and the 20x30 print will be viewed at a distance of 6 feet or more.

So it is not a simple matter of pixel density or even pixel data processing effectiveness. I did a series of test shots using the same 70-200mm f2.8 VR II lens on both a D300 12MP camera and the D3 12MP camera and both with RAW capture. The D300 lacked the detail and tonal gradations of the D3. It was an eye opener for me when I saw the substantial difference on my monitor. The D3 had a better sensor and better processing chips and this showed clearly in the files it produced.

The D610 is two generations more advanced than the D700 so having a theoretical gain of about 50% in potential resolution is not relevant but what is relevant is the ability of the sensor to capture information coming through the lens and the ability of the in-camera processors to work with that data to produce a RAW file. Some Sony cameras have used the same sensor as some Nikon cameras but there were significant differences in the files produced by the Sony and Nikon cameras.

What I was quick to notice with my D800e is that a JPEG from this camera could hold up very nearly as much enlargement (without using Adobe's engine or that of a third party to process the image) as I could achieve with a D3 RAW image file. That to me is indicative of the amount of data in the file.

Making a print is very different for many reasons. With Adobe or other software files have been created with the D2h and sent to labs who used interpolation with their printers to produce gallery quality 20x30 prints. If you are making a print this interpolation does smoothing between the pixels or dots that allows for deficiencies in the digital printer technology but also means that there is not a simple calculation that can be done in terms of the maximum print size.

One only needs 140 dpi for posters and 110 dpi is commonly used for billboard pictures - back again to viewing distance. It also depends on the amount of detail in the subject material. I need more resolution for a landscape scene than I do for a portrait. For my wedding photography 12MP was more than enough and the only time a higher resolution might have been helpful was with a group picture of 30 or more people. This applies to landscape prints as well were a D800e is the minimum camera needed to completely replace a 4x5 camera with a high resolution digital back and making extremely large prints, prints that are much larger than 99% of photographers will ever have cause to make and require a $8,000 printer.

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