How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

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HenrilensUK Junior Member • Posts: 43
How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

In this case it would be a picture to hang at home, so it needs to be able to be examined from a few inches. There seems to be a fair debate on line with confusion between DPI and PPI. Guys, I came to DPreview for a definitive answer. Thanks if anyone is able to help resolve this.

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romfordbluenose Veteran Member • Posts: 5,042
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
12

Your question is non-sequitur. Size of picture is irrelevant if looking at it from a few inches and you haven't described the level of detail you need at a few inches. Also do your eyes allow you to look at something from a few inches?

In terms of picture size from a D700 with no cropping and no extrapolation then the size you should expect is described in the manual.

Specifically the sensor size of a D700 is 4256x2832 pixels so at 200dpi (considered good enough for most prints) then the print size is 21x14 inches.

At 300 Dpi it will be reduced to 14x9 inches.

You asked about ppi vs dpi. Dpi is the measurement used for printing which is printing dots per inch ( A printer prints in ink dots.). Ppi is the image equivalent normally used , for example, for the size of a picture on a TV.

A 4k TV is 3840x2160 pixels. So you can work out how many ppi it is depending on the size of a TV. Not many people view a TV at a few inches. A full HD TV is only 1920x1080 inches and there a lot of 60 inch HD TVs in circulation which will show your D700 pictures just fine from a normal viewing distance.

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LaRocque Forum Member • Posts: 53
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
1

You as an individual will have your own standards for what's acceptable for your particular photo, so I suggest printing a few tests with various dpi at your local print shop and see for yourself what you can tolerate. In the US, we have a few high volume photo print labs, like Costco, where we can submit a number of cropped tests at various dpi and get the results within the hour for a few dollars. Does the UK have a similar print lab you could submit some tests to be printed? Theoretically, if you have a print lab in mind, and they have reasonable prices for smaller prints, you could also color proof at the same time.

Good luck!

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James

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OP HenrilensUK Junior Member • Posts: 43
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

LaRocque wrote:

You as an individual will have your own standards for what's acceptable for your particular photo, so I suggest printing a few tests with various dpi at your local print shop and see for yourself what you can tolerate. In the US, we have a few high volume photo print labs, like Costco, where we can submit a number of cropped tests at various dpi and get the results within the hour for a few dollars. Does the UK have a similar print lab you could submit some tests to be printed? Theoretically, if you have a print lab in mind, and they have reasonable prices for smaller prints, you could also color proof at the same time.

Good luck!

Thanks but actually I had wanted to save the cost of doing prints by asking a question. You may think that's stupid but personally I don't.

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bikinchris
bikinchris Forum Pro • Posts: 21,606
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
2

HenrilensUK wrote:

LaRocque wrote:

You as an individual will have your own standards for what's acceptable for your particular photo, so I suggest printing a few tests with various dpi at your local print shop and see for yourself what you can tolerate. In the US, we have a few high volume photo print labs, like Costco, where we can submit a number of cropped tests at various dpi and get the results within the hour for a few dollars. Does the UK have a similar print lab you could submit some tests to be printed? Theoretically, if you have a print lab in mind, and they have reasonable prices for smaller prints, you could also color proof at the same time.

Good luck!

Thanks but actually I had wanted to save the cost of doing prints by asking a question. You may think that's stupid but personally I don't.

I don't think he is asking you to make full sized prints of the entire image. You can crop a section and have it printed. A 4x6 print costs pennies. You can crop different sizes of a section and have them printed to see what amount of detail is desired.

SO, you can crop on the long axis for 100, 200, 300, 400, 600 dpi in the print and compare. If you find they are all fine, then make whatever sized print you want. If you find only prints above 300dpi are acceptable, then you can use math to see what size print you want or start uprez work to step your image to the number of pixels you need.

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calson Forum Pro • Posts: 10,504
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
3

Printers print at 240dpi so file resolution greater than that is lost. With inkjet printers there is dithering used so the dots overlap which makes for greater apparent resolution.

Paper type is another consideration as a "canvas" print is not going to show the level of detail of a print made on a Kodak Endura metallic paper.

The image or scene is also important as a woodland scene or a landscape shot with a sharp foreground is going to be different  than a seascape.

I was initially struck when looking at famous pictures taken during the 1930's and 1940's how lacking they were in sharpness compared to pictures taken in the past 30-40 years. Some of this may have been the developer and the type of paper chosen by the printer but it was also due in part to low ASA film and the slower shutter speeds needed to compensate.

I can only see viewing an image at a distance of inches if it is for medical diagnostic purposes.

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bflood Senior Member • Posts: 2,107
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
1

A friend of mine has a wonderfully sharp 6 mp image of some columbines on a forest floor printed 16X20. I have several 20X30 10 mp images I shot with my D80 some years ago. I think you can get good 20X30 or even 24X36 out of your D700 images (assuming no or minimal cropping).

I followed my friend's recommendation and up-sized my images to get to the 20X30 image size. There is specialized software for doing this that apparent can upsize an image pretty easily. However, if you use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (like me), adjust the image size larger using the Image Size option in the menu. Select percent as the units, and change the size from 100% (the default starting point for each size change) to 110%. Keep repeating this upsizing in 10% increments until you get to the size you want. If you increase the image size in larger increments or from its original size to the desired size in just one step, the process will introduce visible pixelation that I expect you won't like. Confining the resizing to small increments minimizes this. It's a little tedious, but I need to do this so seldom it's a non-issue.

You can test this fairly easily - go through the upsizing ritual to 24X36 using one of your D700 shots and then get a print from the cheapest printer around - near me it's Walmart. Don't expect the color balance and paper quality to be the sort you want for the print you plan to display, but it will show you if the upsizing produced a finished image that can live up to your hopes. And if it works at 24X36, it'll work at 20X30 and 16X20. If you find it successful, then use the upsizing technique and invest in prints from a good lab to get the display images you want.

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incrediblehark Regular Member • Posts: 387
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
1

I print 8x10 and 13x19 (12x18) all the time with my D700 files.  They look fantastic.

Cheers,

-Adam

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PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 17,251
Surprisingly large
5

If you look at actual results rather than formulae, you might be surprised to see just how huge you can make a detailed D700 print. Go look up Roman Johnston's work. He's been around these forums for years. Might want to search out the 60x90 prints he made from a 12mp D300.

He has used a D800 for a few years now, but his early work is just as stunning.  I think he did this in 2012.

https://www.lumas.com/pictures/roman_johnston/under_the_canopy-1/

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Antal I Kozma
Antal I Kozma Veteran Member • Posts: 3,361
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
3

HenrilensUK wrote:

In this case it would be a picture to hang at home, so it needs to be able to be examined from a few inches. There seems to be a fair debate on line with confusion between DPI and PPI. Guys, I came to DPreview for a definitive answer. Thanks if anyone is able to help resolve this.

Hi,

Even if it is at home, it shouldn't be viewed from a few inches. One should look at art prints from a comfortable viewing distance. Depending of the size of the artwork it could be as close as a couple of feet or as fart away as you can get from it in the room.

Always keep a fly swatter close by and spank those who start pixel peeping.......

I have prints from my old D3, technically the same as your D700 as sensors go, in my small gallery. They are printed 24"x36", my Epson is 24" wide and I like printing my own prints. Anyway, I received several "likes" from friends and visitors alike.

Best regards, AIK

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swalkeratvail Junior Member • Posts: 32
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
3

I have been shooting with a D700 for over 10 years. It is still my primary camera.

I have printed up to 20 inches x 30 inches to hang in my house.

Based on the results I have seen, I would not hesitate to go larger. 20x30 is large enough for my needs, though, so I don't have any experience with anything larger.

I don't really do much special. I shoot in raw, lightly process in Capture NX2. Typically just a quick global color adjustment, and rotate. If necessary, I will crop, but I have not printed a significantly cropped image at 20x30. I also load the color profile for the specific Costco printer I use.

I then save the image as highest quality JPG and upload to Costco for printing.

The prints cost about $10 each and I have been happy with the results.

Steve

StillLearning
StillLearning Veteran Member • Posts: 4,406
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

I have great a 13X19 I have printed for a customer. Depends on how the digital file is processed. I also didn't have the D700 when I stared using a professional service for print. I've heard of some insanely large prints from the D700. Though having more pixels does make it easier. Have a great shot of the Grand Canyon 24 X 36 from my D810 hanging on my living room wall. I expect I could have enlarged to 40 X 60 without too much trouble.

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waloshin2015
waloshin2015 Contributing Member • Posts: 569
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
2

I gave printed a wonderful face portait at 13x19 omfeom my Nikon D40.

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OP HenrilensUK Junior Member • Posts: 43
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
  1. incrediblehark wrote:

I print 8x10 and 13x19 (12x18) all the time with my D700 files. They look fantastic.

Cheers,

-Adam

Thanks. Very useful.

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OP HenrilensUK Junior Member • Posts: 43
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

bflood wrote:

A friend of mine has a wonderfully sharp 6 mp image of some columbines on a forest floor printed 16X20. I have several 20X30 10 mp images I shot with my D80 some years ago. I think you can get good 20X30 or even 24X36 out of your D700 images (assuming no or minimal cropping).

I followed my friend's recommendation and up-sized my images to get to the 20X30 image size. There is specialized software for doing this that apparent can upsize an image pretty easily. However, if you use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (like me), adjust the image size larger using the Image Size option in the menu. Select percent as the units, and change the size from 100% (the default starting point for each size change) to 110%. Keep repeating this upsizing in 10% increments until you get to the size you want. If you increase the image size in larger increments or from its original size to the desired size in just one step, the process will introduce visible pixelation that I expect you won't like. Confining the resizing to small increments minimizes this. It's a little tedious, but I need to do this so seldom it's a non-issue.

You can test this fairly easily - go through the upsizing ritual to 24X36 using one of your D700 shots and then get a print from the cheapest printer around - near me it's Walmart. Don't expect the color balance and paper quality to be the sort you want for the print you plan to display, but it will show you if the upsizing produced a finished image that can live up to your hopes. And if it works at 24X36, it'll work at 20X30 and 16X20. If you find it successful, then use the upsizing technique and invest in prints from a good lab to get the display images you want.

Thanks. Very useful info.

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OP HenrilensUK Junior Member • Posts: 43
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

StillLearning wrote:

I have great a 13X19 I have printed for a customer. Depends on how the digital file is processed. I also didn't have the D700 when I stared using a professional service for print. I've heard of some insanely large prints from the D700. Though having more pixels does make it easier. Have a great shot of the Grand Canyon 24 X 36 from my D810 hanging on my living room wall. I expect I could have enlarged to 40 X 60 without too much trouble.

Very useful. Thanks

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LaRocque Forum Member • Posts: 53
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
8

Thanks but actually I had wanted to save the cost of doing prints by asking a question. You may think that's stupid but personally I don't.

Asking questions is never stupid.

When I want to print one of my photos at a large size, I can create cropped prints of that photo at 4x6 of varying resolutions and print them for $0.19 each. I can print 5 of these tests for under $1.00. If that cost is too great to bear in your case, maybe you can search your couch cushions, or bum some money from a friend. In my opinion, it is money well spent.

My point that you chose to ignore is that you are your own best reference. What someone on here deems as acceptable might not look good to you, and you won't know it until you pull the trigger. How much does it cost to fully reprint your image 2 or 3 times as you learn that you are more or less resolution tolerant than someone else on this forum?

Your stance is of the person in class copying the answers on the test without actually learning how to solve the problems. This practice only takes you so far.

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James

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TheGrilledCheese Regular Member • Posts: 110
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
2

As far as scaling is concerned, I highly recommend Photoshop's native "Preserve Details 2.0" when upsizing. No need to pay for a specialized product.

Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 16,368
Large prints
4

HenrilensUK wrote:

In this case it would be a picture to hang at home, so it needs to be able to be examined from a few inches. There seems to be a fair debate on line with confusion between DPI and PPI. Guys, I came to DPreview for a definitive answer. Thanks if anyone is able to help resolve this.

As others mentioned, viewing the print within a few inches is far beyond what's found even in quality printing. Maybe your eyesight is poor like mine, and without glasses, I can focus as close as 5-½ inches. With glasses, I focus on my computer monitor at arm's length. But even if you plan on examining the print from that close (I define "few" as three), be aware that if your eyesight has good acutance, you'd see the dots that are put on the paper by the printer, and so the illusion of a photograph would disappear.

Daguerrotypes, which were early large format photographs with ISO values of something like 0.05 (!!!), had such fine detail that magnifying glasses were often used to see closer. Generally, film negatives and their contact prints have enough detail for inspection with a loupe, so perhaps you'd rather explore 8x10 inch film photography. But with any given film size, a sensor of the same size can typically make much larger prints with decent quality.

Civilians typically view images from a bit less than arm's length if holding them in their hands, or if wall-mounted, from far enough back so that they can clearly see the entire image. By the second criterion, if you view a print from a distance equal to its diagonal width, no matter the print's size, then according to popular measure for human vision, you need only about one megapixel to make a tolerable 3:2 aspect ratio print, assuming you don't view it any closer.

With your 12 MP camera, you could stand about 1/3rd or 1/4th of the diagonal width away from the print and get a similar visual quality. You could view an 8x10 inch print from three or four inches away and still get good visual quality.

If you are viewing an image from farther away than one diagonal width, then you need even fewer pixels, which is why billboard photography does not demand lots of megapixels. Also, if your print won't be hung in bright lighting, then the resolution demands are even smaller.

For the arm's length criterion, a commonly quoted value is 300 pixels per inch, but please note that this is requirement is for text and line art. Apple Retina screens, which are designed to have pixels invisibly small for the typical viewer, use resolution values of around 225 pixels per inch for viewing from 20 inches, up to about 400 pixels per inch for viewing from 10 inches away. But this is again is for good text quality: photographs need far less resolution, a minimum of 86 pixels per inch when viewing at arm's length.

By the arms-length method at 86 PPI, your D700's 4,256 pixels x 2,832 pixels could go up to 49.5 x 33 inches, and since arm's length is approximately 20 inches, please note that the viewing distance for this print size is about 1/3rd the diagonal width, and so nearly match what I mentioned earlier. You could restrict the print size to 14 x 9.5 inches by the overly-restrictive 300 PPI value, but I don't think this would be necessary for a photograph.

I've read that a 10% pixel count difference is a "just noticeable difference" in images, or more precisely, if a group of people compare two images side-by-side, identical in every way except for the number of pixels, only half will detect a difference if the pixel counts are off by 10%. But if you view an image all by itself, and another image with 10% more pixels much later on, I would guess that virtually no one would be able to reliably identify the higher megapixel image; it would have to be much higher. Don't take the specific 10% value too seriously, but instead consider how people would evaluate an image hanging on the wall: without something much better or much worse to compare it to, they may not appreciate minor quality changes, but only really big ones.

Suppose you can't help yourself, and you still want to pixel peep a huge print; you can get away with even less resolution if the image is processed and printed well. One thing which harms pixel peeping is image artifacts not found in the original scene; certainly you'd want to eliminate fringing due to chromatic aberration, so be sure to use a good lens or at least good software correction.

Noise is a digital artifact that can harm large prints, and so shooting at base ISO and overexposing as much as you can without harming your most significant highlights can help, as well as avoiding lifting shadows. Suppose you can get away with overexposing by a stop (as is often the case with raw capture); you can then lower exposure by a stop for the print and obtain lower noise then if you exposed correctly in the first place.

You can effectively lower ISO to whatever value you want by taking multiple exposures, and then blending them together: for example, ten photos at ISO 100 becomes ISO 10 after blending, and you'll triple your dynamic range. High Dynamic Range photography or HDR can work well by putting more exposure to the shadow areas, or you can use panorama stitching to effectively get a larger sensor, with more megapixels and greater dynamic range as well. Having a clean image should be a main technical goal for making large prints.

In-camera JPEG sharpening, or capture sharpening in raw processors, can be visually distracting if you can actually see the sharpening haloes in a large print. What some print makers suggest is to *not* do this sharpening but rather perform it much later in the workflow, after you know exactly how large you are going to print and how close you are going to view the print. One suggestion is to upsize or resample your image to the exact pixels per inch required by the printer driver (for example, on my printer, that is 360 pixels per inch), so that one pixel on your image maps to exactly one pixel on the printer. Once the image has been resized, then you can add sharpening.

The method used for this upsampling is quite important, and it ought not introduce any noticeable artifacts. The Mitchell interpolation method produces smooth results, as does the similar Lanczos method, found in some advanced software. The common Bilinear method, found in some software, will produce noticeable artifacts. There are some Fractal and Artificial Intelligence (AI) software for resampling that does a good job: they do create fake detail, but often plausible detail.

JPEG compression, especially if high compression values are used, can produce visible artifacts that will punish pixel peeping.

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Dots per inch or DPI is rarely directly useful for general photography, as it usually describes specific implementations within a printer and its driver software. "DPI" and "PPI" roll off the tongue similarly, so confusion is to be expected, even among those who do know the difference.

Printers come with a set of inks: with cyan, magenta, and yellow being used on the cheapest color printers; most all other ones use black also, and adding other inks are useful for getting a wider gamut of color. The printers do not mix the inks, and they can only send dots of pure ink to the paper; but these are small dots, placed side-by-side with minimal overlap. Using multiple ink dots in close proximity will give you the visual impression of a wide range of colors, but only if you don't look too closely. There are a multitude of ways of patterning these dots to give you a range of colors, and they vary with printer models and driver settings.

So DPI doesn't tell you much, except that you can know that DPI will always be greater than PPI, with the exception of printers which can only print black dots and no grayscale, such as we find with old fax machines. Desktop printers often have a DPI value that is four times the PPI maximum resolution, so each pixel will be printed with a block that is four dots on a side, or at most 16 dots total.

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The Davinator
The Davinator Forum Pro • Posts: 24,498
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

If you are examining close...12-18 inches, then 16x24 inches is about it...maybe 20x30.  Yes, you can print huge, but much beyond 30” and you’ll find softness in the detail

You didn’t say what the subject matter was though.  Landscape can be demanding...portraiture not so much.

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