Sorry, ANOTHER Megapixel Thread (Printing and Megapixels)

Started Aug 1, 2014 | Discussions
JayWhyOkay Junior Member • Posts: 47
Sorry, ANOTHER Megapixel Thread (Printing and Megapixels)

I'm aware that megapixel counts don't really offer much in terms of digital and screen viewing. Somewhere around the 8MP count is pretty much the ball park at least, or something like that. But that's not really the point of this thread. I'm concerned about the relationship to megapixels and printing.
I've never really gone deep into printing photos, but I heard for small prints that it kind of reflects the digital viewing. However, I wanted to know this: for small prints (maximum size would be something like 4in x 6in), does the same logic apply to small prints? Would there be a good difference between a 12 MP, 16 MP, and 24 MP picture in terms of printing? Or would it just be negligible and be one of those cases where it just increases the resolution? These prints are going to a local scrapbook competition, so quality is a bit more of the concern here (and yes, a good printer would also matter in this case, but don't worry about that).
I want to know what you guys have to say about this. Is 24 megapixels in small prints just unnecessary? Would a higher concentration in pixels actually reduce the print quality? Sorry, but I'm not really the printing guy.

PenPix Senior Member • Posts: 3,261
Re: Sorry, ANOTHER Megapixel Thread (Printing and Megapixels)

The industry standard for photographic printing is 300 pixels per inch. Anything above this is unnecessary. IF you submit a 24MP photo to make an 8x10 print, the software will downsize the photo to 7.2MP before sending it to the printer. (8"x300x10"x300=7,200,000 pixels)

Some of the early dye sublimation printers I worked on only had a 160 dpi resolution. Some inkjet printer could have a dot density of 300 dots horizontal x240 dots vertical.  And a Noritsu laser printer will lay down 600Hx300V, although it extrapolates this from files with the standard 300dpi vertical and 300dpi horizontal resolution.

Unless you're heavily cropping, you have more than enough pixels for a high quality scrapbook sized print.  Anyway, I wouldn't worry about this since you're submitting a print.

Good luck!

Ed B
Ed B Veteran Member • Posts: 9,182
Re: Sorry, ANOTHER Megapixel Thread (Printing and Megapixels)

JayWhyOkay wrote:

I'm aware that megapixel counts don't really offer much in terms of digital and screen viewing. Somewhere around the 8MP count is pretty much the ball park at least, or something like that. But that's not really the point of this thread. I'm concerned about the relationship to megapixels and printing.
I've never really gone deep into printing photos, but I heard for small prints that it kind of reflects the digital viewing. However, I wanted to know this: for small prints (maximum size would be something like 4in x 6in), does the same logic apply to small prints? Would there be a good difference between a 12 MP, 16 MP, and 24 MP picture in terms of printing? Or would it just be negligible and be one of those cases where it just increases the resolution? These prints are going to a local scrapbook competition, so quality is a bit more of the concern here (and yes, a good printer would also matter in this case, but don't worry about that).
I want to know what you guys have to say about this. Is 24 megapixels in small prints just unnecessary? Would a higher concentration in pixels actually reduce the print quality? Sorry, but I'm not really the printing guy.

I'm sure there are people who will disagree with me but if you're printing at 4X6 (even 8X10) you won't be able to tell the difference between 12 and 24mp.

I used to shoot weddings/portraits with a 6mp camera (Canon DSLR), print all day long at 8X10 and never had complaints.

Naturally, a good lens is probably more important than megapixel count.

OP JayWhyOkay Junior Member • Posts: 47
Re: Sorry, ANOTHER Megapixel Thread (Printing and Megapixels)

PenPix wrote:

The industry standard for photographic printing is 300 pixels per inch. Anything above this is unnecessary. IF you submit a 24MP photo to make an 8x10 print, the software will downsize the photo to 7.2MP before sending it to the printer. (8"x300x10"x300=7,200,000 pixels)

Some of the early dye sublimation printers I worked on only had a 160 dpi resolution. Some inkjet printer could have a dot density of 300 dots horizontal x240 dots vertical. And a Noritsu laser printer will lay down 600Hx300V, although it extrapolates this from files with the standard 300dpi vertical and 300dpi horizontal resolution.

Unless you're heavily cropping, you have more than enough pixels for a high quality scrapbook sized print. Anyway, I wouldn't worry about this since you're submitting a print.

Good luck!

I actually didn't even know there was a distinct printing standard. Wow o.o
Thanks so much for this info!

OP JayWhyOkay Junior Member • Posts: 47
Re: Sorry, ANOTHER Megapixel Thread (Printing and Megapixels)

Ed B wrote:

JayWhyOkay wrote:

I'm aware that megapixel counts don't really offer much in terms of digital and screen viewing. Somewhere around the 8MP count is pretty much the ball park at least, or something like that. But that's not really the point of this thread. I'm concerned about the relationship to megapixels and printing.
I've never really gone deep into printing photos, but I heard for small prints that it kind of reflects the digital viewing. However, I wanted to know this: for small prints (maximum size would be something like 4in x 6in), does the same logic apply to small prints? Would there be a good difference between a 12 MP, 16 MP, and 24 MP picture in terms of printing? Or would it just be negligible and be one of those cases where it just increases the resolution? These prints are going to a local scrapbook competition, so quality is a bit more of the concern here (and yes, a good printer would also matter in this case, but don't worry about that).
I want to know what you guys have to say about this. Is 24 megapixels in small prints just unnecessary? Would a higher concentration in pixels actually reduce the print quality? Sorry, but I'm not really the printing guy.

I'm sure there are people who will disagree with me but if you're printing at 4X6 (even 8X10) you won't be able to tell the difference between 12 and 24mp.

I used to shoot weddings/portraits with a 6mp camera (Canon DSLR), print all day long at 8X10 and never had complaints.

Naturally, a good lens is probably more important than megapixel count.

Perfect! This is just what I wanted to hear. So essentially, MP's don't matter when printing small, right? Thanks for the feedback! As you can tell, I really have no experience with photoprinting ._.

skyglider Veteran Member • Posts: 4,653
Re: Sorry, ANOTHER Megapixel Thread (Printing and Megapixels)

JayWhyOkay wrote:

I'm aware that megapixel counts don't really offer much in terms of digital and screen viewing. Somewhere around the 8MP count is pretty much the ball park at least, or something like that. But that's not really the point of this thread. I'm concerned about the relationship to megapixels and printing.
I've never really gone deep into printing photos, but I heard for small prints that it kind of reflects the digital viewing. However, I wanted to know this: for small prints (maximum size would be something like 4in x 6in), does the same logic apply to small prints? Would there be a good difference between a 12 MP, 16 MP, and 24 MP picture in terms of printing? Or would it just be negligible and be one of those cases where it just increases the resolution? These prints are going to a local scrapbook competition, so quality is a bit more of the concern here (and yes, a good printer would also matter in this case, but don't worry about that).
I want to know what you guys have to say about this. Is 24 megapixels in small prints just unnecessary? Would a higher concentration in pixels actually reduce the print quality? Sorry, but I'm not really the printing guy.

Jay,

The way to calculate the MP required for optimum prints is to use pixel resolutions.

As another poster said, 300 dpi (dots per inch) is the industry standard for optimum print quality. Places like Costco, Walgreens, Walmart, CVS and other mainstream print labs all use 300 dpi for their prints. (I verified this a long time ago by visiting them or calling them up.)

Knowing this, it's easy to calculate the pixel resolutions of your images for the different print sizes.

4 x 6 inch prints: (4" x 300 dpi = 1200 dots) (6" x 300 dpi = 1800 dots) So your image needs to be 1200 x 1800 pixels or larger. Larger is OK since the print lab will resize down to 1200 x 1800 pixels before printing. ... Note that 1200 x 1800 = 2.16 MP.

5 x 7 inch prints: 1500 x 2100 pixels = 3.15 MP

8 x 10 inch prints: 2400 x 3000 pixels = 7.2 MP

So a 7.2 MP camera can produce images for 8 x 10 inch prints or smaller.

But it's good to have more MP to allow cropping of the image since every picture will not be perfectly composed. So a 12 MP camera will do very nicely for 8 x 10 inch prints.

Do the math for larger print sizes.

Also note that modern resize algorithms are very good. So it's possible to take an image from a 7.2 MP camera and make a print larger than 8 x 10 inches and still have the print look quite good.

Here's a wikipedia link that has standard print sizes with the image resolutions for optimum print quality:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photo_print_sizes

Sky

mike703 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,686
Re: Sorry, ANOTHER Megapixel Thread (Printing and Megapixels)

JayWhyOkay wrote:

Is 24 megapixels in small prints just unnecessary? Would a higher concentration in pixels actually reduce the print quality? Sorry, but I'm not really the printing guy.

Yes it's way more than you need, but don't worry about it.  If you have a 24MP image that you want to print at 4 x 6, go right ahead, it will look fine.  No need to adjust the file before your print it - the printer software should handle that automatically.

Best wishes

D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 20,331
Re: Sorry, ANOTHER Megapixel Thread (Printing and Megapixels)

24 Mp is not needed for little prints like that.

High resolutions show their value in large prints, say A2 size or bigger. They will look good on the 8K TVs which we will be using in ten or fifteen years (if there isn't a collapse of civilisation).

So I see the higher resolutions of today's cameras as an investment for the future. When I look at the photos I shot 30 years ago, I wish they had better resolution -- or that I had shot them all on medium format rather than mostly on 35mm.

Wally626 Senior Member • Posts: 2,312
Re: Sorry, ANOTHER Megapixel Thread (Printing and Megapixels)
1

JayWhyOkay wrote:

Ed B wrote:

JayWhyOkay wrote:

I'm aware that megapixel counts don't really offer much in terms of digital and screen viewing. Somewhere around the 8MP count is pretty much the ball park at least, or something like that. But that's not really the point of this thread. I'm concerned about the relationship to megapixels and printing.
I've never really gone deep into printing photos, but I heard for small prints that it kind of reflects the digital viewing. However, I wanted to know this: for small prints (maximum size would be something like 4in x 6in), does the same logic apply to small prints? Would there be a good difference between a 12 MP, 16 MP, and 24 MP picture in terms of printing? Or would it just be negligible and be one of those cases where it just increases the resolution? These prints are going to a local scrapbook competition, so quality is a bit more of the concern here (and yes, a good printer would also matter in this case, but don't worry about that).
I want to know what you guys have to say about this. Is 24 megapixels in small prints just unnecessary? Would a higher concentration in pixels actually reduce the print quality? Sorry, but I'm not really the printing guy.

I'm sure there are people who will disagree with me but if you're printing at 4X6 (even 8X10) you won't be able to tell the difference between 12 and 24mp.

I used to shoot weddings/portraits with a 6mp camera (Canon DSLR), print all day long at 8X10 and never had complaints.

Naturally, a good lens is probably more important than megapixel count.

Perfect! This is just what I wanted to hear. So essentially, MP's don't matter when printing small, right? Thanks for the feedback! As you can tell, I really have no experience with photoprinting ._.

You can do a simple calculation to figure out the resolution you need. You need between 100 dots per inch to 400 dots per inch (dpi) for printing. Most normal printers top out around 300 dpi but there are some specialty printers that will use up to 400 dpi. 100 dpi is OK for printing if you are not looking at the image too closely, 200 dpi works well for most prints, 300 dpi for close inspection. So for small prints any camera made today will have plenty of pixels. I would always save images at the cameras native pixel resolution as you never know when you might need a larger print but there is no reason to buy a new 24 or 36 MP camera if all you do is 4 x 6 prints.

TTMartin
TTMartin Veteran Member • Posts: 7,304
Re: Sorry, ANOTHER Megapixel Thread (Printing and Megapixels)

Please read this!

Printing > Which Resolution?

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tedolf
tedolf Forum Pro • Posts: 26,053
For a 4 x 6" print.....
2

JayWhyOkay wrote:

I'm aware that megapixel counts don't really offer much in terms of digital and screen viewing. Somewhere around the 8MP count is pretty much the ball park at least, or something like that. But that's not really the point of this thread. I'm concerned about the relationship to megapixels and printing.
I've never really gone deep into printing photos, but I heard for small prints that it kind of reflects the digital viewing. However, I wanted to know this: for small prints (maximum size would be something like 4in x 6in), does the same logic apply to small prints?

printed at 300 dpi (dots per inch) you only need 2400 x 1200 pixel sensor [6 inches x 300 dots/inch by 4 inches x 300 dots/inch). That is about 3mp.

300 dpi is a very high quality print. Now a 4" x 6" print isn't very big so people tend to hold it up close so printing at 300 dpi is justified.

Would there be a good difference between a 12 MP, 16 MP, and 24 MP picture in terms of printing? Or would it just be negligible and be one of those cases where it just increases the resolution? These prints are going to a local scrapbook competition, so quality is a bit more of the concern here (and yes, a good printer would also matter in this case, but don't worry about that).
I want to know what you guys have to say about this. Is 24 megapixels in small prints just unnecessary? Would a higher concentration in pixels actually reduce the print quality? Sorry, but I'm not really the printing guy.

Now, what we were have been trying to tell you, and which you still seem to be resisting is that as the print (or whatever the media is) gets larger, people hold it farther away so the dpi (printing resolution) can be lower. let's say you make an 8" x 10" print. People are not going to hold it as close as a 4" x 6" print. So maybe you can print at 200 dpi. At that print resolution you only need 2000 x 1600 pixels (10 inches x 200 dots/inch by 8 inches x 200 dots/inch), about 2.4mp.

Let's say you pint really big, say 20" by 30". Now people are going to stand back maybe 5 feet from that print. You could easily get away with printing that at 150 dpi. So you need a sensor about 4500 x 3000 pixels, or about 13.5mp. Some would say 100 dpi would be OK. In that case a 12mp sensor is more than enough.

Here is an exercise for you. Let's say you want to make a 2' x 3' print and you are going to print it at 75 dpi. How big of a sensor (MP) do you need to have a pixel for every printing dot (maximum resolution)?

Now you know why the Nikon D4 only has 16mp.

Tedolph

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tedolf
tedolf Forum Pro • Posts: 26,053
The problem was...

D Cox wrote:

24 Mp is not needed for little prints like that.

High resolutions show their value in large prints, say A2 size or bigger. They will look good on the 8K TVs which we will be using in ten or fifteen years (if there isn't a collapse of civilisation).

So I see the higher resolutions of today's cameras as an investment for the future. When I look at the photos I shot 30 years ago, I wish they had better resolution -- or that I had shot them all on medium format rather than mostly on 35mm.

that the 35mm film you were using 30+ years ago was crap (unless you were shooting ASA 64 film or slower).  The films in the 1990's were far superior in grain structure and high ASA use.

Tedolph

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mike703 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,686
Re: For a 4 x 6" print.....
2

Excellent point.

The 'standard' 300 dpi comes from the fact that that is the most resolution a perfect human eye can resolve at a distance of about one foot - i.e. someone with perfect sight could just about distinguish 150 dark/light line pars per inch with each one 1/300 inch wide.

That scales linearly with how far away you view it from.  So if you view a big picture from a yard away, 100 dpi resolution would be enough and then an A0 print would only need around 12 MP.  Of course if it is the sort of image that invites you to look close up - like a group photo where people try to pick out faces - then you'd need more resolution.  But in my experience most pictures are the sort that people prefer to take in all at once, and any standard DSLR has more than enough resolution for any realistic print size when you factor in normal viewing distances.

Best wishes

tedolf
tedolf Forum Pro • Posts: 26,053
Re: For a 4 x 6" print.....
1

mike703 wrote:

Excellent point.

The 'standard' 300 dpi comes from the fact that that is the most resolution a perfect human eye can resolve at a distance of about one foot - i.e. someone with perfect sight could just about distinguish 150 dark/light line pars per inch with each one 1/300 inch wide.

That scales linearly with how far away you view it from. So if you view a big picture from a yard away, 100 dpi resolution would be enough and then an A0 print would only need around 12 MP. Of course if it is the sort of image that invites you to look close up - like a group photo where people try to pick out faces - then you'd need more resolution. But in my experience most pictures are the sort that people prefer to take in all at once, and any standard DSLR has more than enough resolution for any realistic print size when you factor in normal viewing distances.

Best wishes

you said it better than I did.

Anyway, I think that the OP just can't get past the concept that all this Megapixel stuff is just marketing B.S. and that 8mp is more than enough sensor resolution for anything that an amateur photographer is likely to do. That, and the fact that there are a few people on this board that are confusing the issue.

My camera has a 12mp sensor.  I keep it set at 8mp for JPEGs because I never print bigger than 8.5" x 11".  That is as big as my home printer goes.  If I think I might print bigger than that or do a whole lot of cropping (something I try to avoid by composing the shot properly) then I shoot RAW + JPEG.  Now I have an 8mp JPEG and a 12mp RAW if I really need it.

Tedolph

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TTMartin
TTMartin Veteran Member • Posts: 7,304
Re: Sorry, ANOTHER Megapixel Thread (Printing and Megapixels)

D Cox wrote:

24 Mp is not needed for little prints like that.

High resolutions show their value in large prints, say A2 size or bigger. They will look good on the 8K TVs which we will be using in ten or fifteen years (if there isn't a collapse of civilisation).

IMAX digital cameras are only 4K (under 10 megapixels)

So I see the higher resolutions of today's cameras as an investment for the future. When I look at the photos I shot 30 years ago, I wish they had better resolution -- or that I had shot them all on medium format rather than mostly on 35mm.

Yep, if you want more resolution a larger sensor / film is the answer.

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Leon Wittwer Forum Pro • Posts: 13,278
an additional wrinkle...

The above responses assume that camera sensor "pixels" are the same as printer "pixels."  Assuming a Bayer sensor, the resolving power is approximately 1.4 times the pixel spacing.  A printer resolution is approximate the pixel spacing.  Thus, to get 300 ppi on a printer, you need approximately 424 ppi from the camera sensor.

To be fair, I have seen very few images where the difference between 424 and 300 dpi (or smaller) is apparent in a real print viewed under normal conditions.  You also need very good PP to see the differences even when the image would allow it.

Leon Wittwer Forum Pro • Posts: 13,278
Re: For a 4 x 6" print.....

mike703 wrote:

Excellent point.

The 'standard' 300 dpi comes from the fact that that is the most resolution a perfect human eye can resolve at a distance of about one foot - i.e. someone with perfect sight could just about distinguish 150 dark/light line pars per inch with each one 1/300 inch wide--

Actually, you are describing someone with 20-20 vision, not perfect vision.  There are those, particularly if young, that can see rather better than 20-20.  They are good prospects for being pixel peepers.  

Leon
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