How big can you print with a m43 camera?

Started Sep 1, 2016 | Questions thread
Tommi K1 Senior Member • Posts: 5,111
Print Sizes

kvnsn wrote:

I recently got back from a holiday with the family and took some very nice photos, courtesy of the Oly EM10MK2. I would love to print and hang up some of the photos, but would like to find out what's the best paper size to print the pictures out on without the quality suffering. Thanks for any replies.

The basic rule of thumb is viewing distance = 1.5x of the diagonal for photographs. If you want optimal "experience" based to THX movie theater experience, then viewing distance is 0.84x of diagonal so that the 16:9 format fills 40% of your field of view (this is with televisions, so example 58" TV is optimally viewed from a 69" distance.

But in photography the standard for image quality review is done with 8x10" print, viewed from a 12" distance. And 8x10" is print size that is easy to hang on the walls so you get multiple on one space. 11x14" is already fairly big and offers just couple/few to be hanged. 20x24" is so big that it is already difficult to find a place for such photo.

And 24x30" or 30x40" prints are so huge that you actually just get one or two hanged in your home or you want to spend money for such size high quality prints.

Imaging-resource review of E-M1 print quality:

  • Excellent 30 x 40 inch prints at ISO 100/200;
  • a good 16 x 20 at ISO 1600;
  • a nice 8 x 10 at ISO 6400;
  • and a good 4 x 6 at ISO 25,600.

ISO 100/200 produces excellent 30 x 40 inch prints, with sharp detail and vibrant colors, and wall display prints possible at 36 x 48 inches.

ISO 400 prints look nice and crisp at 20 x 30 inches, with good wall display prints possible up to 30 x 40 inches.

ISO 800 also yields nice 20 x 30s, with only mild softening in the red channel and minor luminance noise in some flatter areas.

ISO 1600 shots look amazingly good at 16 x 20 inches, a large size indeed for this ISO.

ISO 3200 prints well up to 11 x 14 inches. All contrast is now lost in our target red swatch, and there is minor noise in shadowy areas, but still a nice print.

ISO 6400 images have good color and nice detail at 8 x 10 inches, with only minor issues similar to the 11 x 14 at ISO 3200.

ISO 12,800 has become our new benchmark for image quality at high ISOs if the camera can yield a good 5 x 7 here, and the E-M1 joins this small club with a nice print.

ISO 25,600 prints at 4 x 6 have amazing color for such a high ISO.

With its latest offering, the OM-D E-M1, Olympus has followed in the hallowed footsteps of the E-M5 and taken the quality yet a step further. Prints from the E-M1 are a joy to look at, and can yield sizes ranging from quite large at and near base ISO all the way to a good 4 x 6 at ISO 25,600. A very solid performance from a very respected offering. Again, please note that default JPEG sharpening in the E-M1 is less aggressive than in the E-M5, but the images are quite similar in RAW comparisons, so take that into consideration when doing your own comparisons of in-camera JPEGs.

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