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

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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 20,819
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
1

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.

Why examine from a few inches?

Those who are not photographers or pixel peepers tend to view images at the minimum "comfortable" viewing distance - or from further away.

A "comfortable" viewing distance is considered as being able to see all 4 corners of the image without having to swivel your eyes to do it.

The minimum comfortable viewing distance is equal to approximately the diagonal of the picture - or about 1.5 times the length of the longest dimension of the image.

If you make or have a big print made the viewing distance should be more than a few inches. For this 12 MP is usually enough.

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Leonard Shepherd
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threw the lens Senior Member • Posts: 2,760
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
1

Remember that from middle age, people typically can't focus closer than 18 inches anyway due to presbyopia.

I don't know where the criterion from "a few inches away" comes into it. Even if you hung a picture behind a chair in the living room and I turned round to have a look at it, I wouldn't be closer than 1 foot away. Looking closer than that is not a normal distance for most people.

yray
yray Senior Member • Posts: 2,273
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

I printed any number of 12x18 from D700 and D300 (same res), they looked great at any viewing distance. I also printed quite a few 12x18 from the D200 (10mp), and they looked just as good in my opinion.

I printed once a 24x36 from the D300, and it is good at a reasonable viewing distance, but not a few inches. But why would you examine a 24x36 print from a few inches anyway?

The bottom line, I wouldn't hesitate to print 12x18 from 12mp under any circumstances, beyond that, it depends.

anotherMike Forum Pro • Posts: 10,111
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

I agree. On a vast majority of subjects (exceptionally detailed landscape shots maybe the exception), 12x18" is not a difficult bar to cross with a 12mp camera (assuming the shot is sharp, well exposed, etc) at any reasonable viewing distance. Beyond that, it is *highly* dependent upon scene structure and amount of fine detail.

Years ago, when I was shooting the D700, I went to a large photography show and saw 20x30, 24x36 and 30x40 prints from D700 images and D3X images in the Nikon booth, of subjects from reasonably detailed industrial stuff to highly detailed landscape. Frankly, the D700 shots looked horrid in comparison. At these print sizes, with those subject matters, the lack of resolution was immediately apparent even at very "loose" viewing distances. So in the end, there is no one universal answer, because each situation, each matrix of viewing distance, print size and subject matter are different. But for 12x18 - yea, not much of a problem at all.

-m

chambeshi Senior Member • Posts: 2,581
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

https://www.dslrbodies.com/cameras/camera-articles/image-quality/how-big-can-i-print.html

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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 20,819
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

anotherMike wrote:

in the end, there is no one universal answer, because each situation, each matrix of viewing distance, print size and subject matter are different. But for 12x18 - yea, not much of a problem at all.

Interpolation may need to be considered.

A lot of PP software interpolates (estimates) missing data when the file contains insufficient detail for a larger size print when viewing at around 15 inches.

With solid blocks of colour; interpolation is extremely successful.

When there is lots of fine detail, perhaps in foliage in a landscape, interpolation is less successful - and generally does not perform as well as using a significantly higher MP camera before viewing a large print from about 15 inches.

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jebo1 Regular Member • Posts: 312
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
1

I was also curious. So I ordered a print of 40 cm (16 inches) X 60 cm (24 inches) from a good picture taken with my 50 mm AI f 2.0 + D700. These had to be printed on inkjet paper according to the shop because of the size. When I received the print the quality was outstanding far better than the prints I got from a 24 mpx Canon 80 d.  I think I could have doubled the size with no problem. The question of how large can you print seems to focus on the number of megapixels.  To print that large obviously requires a very sharp photo with sufficient contrast. If you are using zoom lenses it will be hard to achieve these results. It is easier to print a very large picture with a D700 with a quality prime lens than with a D850 with a standard (or any) zoom lens. Motion blur also needs to be avoided and so on.

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The Davinator
The Davinator Forum Pro • Posts: 24,486
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
3

jebo1 wrote:

I was also curious. So I ordered a print of 40 cm (16 inches) X 60 cm (24 inches) from a good picture taken with my 50 mm AI f 2.0 + D700. These had to be printed on inkjet paper according to the shop because of the size. When I received the print the quality was outstanding far better than the prints I got from a 24 mpx Canon 80 d. I think I could have doubled the size with no problem. The question of how large can you print seems to focus on the number of megapixels. To print that large obviously requires a very sharp photo with sufficient contrast. If you are using zoom lenses it will be hard to achieve these results. It is easier to print a very large picture with a D700 with a quality prime lens than with a D850 with a standard (or any) zoom lens. Motion blur also needs to be avoided and so on.

No, it is not easier to print with the D700 than D850.  The D850 with a half decent zoom will look far better than the D700 with a prime at 16x24.  I remember comparing 16x24 on my Epson 3800 from my D700 and D800.  Immediately obvious the D700 could not compete

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JohnnyLuddite Senior Member • Posts: 1,412
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
5

jebo1 wrote:

....... To print that large obviously requires a very sharp photo with sufficient contrast. If you are using zoom lenses it will be hard to achieve these results. It is easier to print a very large picture with a D700 with a quality prime lens than with a D850 with a standard (or any) zoom lens. .....

If I can make a suggestion - I'd draw back from statements like that, because you seem to be comparing with things you don't have experience of.

Zooms have come a long way and are extremely competitive with primes, and obviously have the advantage that you can crop to where you need to be. Likewise, they gain from VR which few primes have. A lot of the older primes also have worse coatings and aberration control.

Likewise, people with D850s (or other modern FF cameras) find it in themselves to print large with outstanding levels of detail. Additionally, cropping to a wide aspect ratio or 1:1 is straightforward without fretting too much about losing sufficient resolution. The D700's a good camera in its envelope - no need to go down the exceptionalism route.

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jebo1 Regular Member • Posts: 312
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
1

Okay I apologize but on topic, is it possible to print large enough with a D 700. Yes, providing you have good light and a good lens. My observation was based on a comparison that a friend of mine with a Canon 5 d Mark2 and 24-70 l series made with the pictures of my D700 and a 50 mm of the same object at the same time. He was shocked: Why are the D700 pictures so much better, he asked I have more megapixels and a professional zoom lens. If you would enlarge those pictures of the Canon and compare them to the D700 with primes, it was obvious to him what gives the best results. He is now also using primes. Better results of course D850 with primes Or fuji GFX and so on.

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anotherMike Forum Pro • Posts: 10,111
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
4

There's a lot of factors that go into it.

The first is to realize that there is a long list of "things" that conspire against us that take away resolution. So there is the maximum resolution potential of the system - the camera/lens (and in cases like the D700 vs considerably higher resolution bodies, the camera itself is clearly (mathematically and subjectively speaking) the limiting factor in this) and we have the maximum *potential* resolution of any given scenario. The two might be quite different, as there are these pesky things that conspire against us.

So, let's think of some:

Say you've got Nancy and Barb shooting the same overlook at some national park, one has 12mp, the other has 24.

  • Both have the same tripod, same ballhead, have focused absolutely precisely.
    • The atmosphere that day is amazingly clear, and both are shooting at, say, F/7.1 on very good lenses.
      • The 24mp will win
    • The atmosphere on that day is okay but not amazing, and both are shooting at F/11, on very good lenses.
      • Diffraction is setting in on the 24mp body now (an 'item'), and the atmosphere is not great (an 'item'). Depending on the scene, you might not have such a clear cut preference over one or the other.
  • One has a better ballhead and tripod, the other does not, and it's windy.
    • Now the motion blur - however slight - of the support system comes into play - and might be a strongly influencing factor in reducing the "potential" max resolution. If you did your own test chart tests for lenses and handheld the camera and then went with a tripod, you'd see a substantial difference. Tripod/Ballhead quality matters - a lot - when we're chasing the max in resolution.
  • Both shoot at F/16.
    • Now diffraction is the predominant element that conspires against us. Might not be so easy to tell the prints apart.

It also can get into much finer granularity than that where the lens *does* matter. Say you've got a guy shooting 42mp and a guy shooting 46mp. You'll struggle mightily to see the difference with identical lenses. The magnitude of difference is too small. Now take a guy shooting 46mp and 60mp. The 60mp guy has a zoom, the 46mp guy has the very best prime. Now - in some specific circumstances, it's quite possible that the aberrations of the lens conspire against us (poor corners/edges) and we prefer the print from the 60mp shot, even at fairly large sizes. But now let's go to the next largest size - maybe it doesn't.

At the end of the day, it's complex, but in general, the more data you have that is pristine (not affected by the things that conspire against us), the bigger/better your print will be.

-m

Edit: A few years ago I was putting 4 85mm lenses in Nikon mount through my usual exhaustive, thorough, multi-day real life testing. I had done about 5 comparitive runs on them now, and had reached by then a pretty good idea of what was what. But I kept on. This time, this run, the images, in print and on screen, didn't show the differences I had seen on most of the other runs. Why? The day was slightly hazy and I was shooting at distance across a lake. It wasn't foggy, it just wasn't as good an atmosphere. The conditions themselves were the "filter" that prevented the test from being accurate. I have my old saying: "Nothing can be more potentially misleading than an incorrectly done, or incompletely done, test" and I would ask you think about that seriously with regards to what you've see so far yourself. Evaluating gear properly for comparison is actually a royal PITA, as it's time consuming and you have to try and root out all issues that invalidate your tests.

dccberry Contributing Member • Posts: 802
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
1

jebo1 wrote:

I was also curious. So I ordered a print of 40 cm (16 inches) X 60 cm (24 inches) from a good picture taken with my 50 mm AI f 2.0 + D700. These had to be printed on inkjet paper according to the shop because of the size. When I received the print the quality was outstanding far better than the prints I got from a 24 mpx Canon 80 d. I think I could have doubled the size with no problem. The question of how large can you print seems to focus on the number of megapixels. To print that large obviously requires a very sharp photo with sufficient contrast. If you are using zoom lenses it will be hard to achieve these results. It is easier to print a very large picture with a D700 with a quality prime lens than with a D850 with a standard (or any) zoom lens. Motion blur also needs to be avoided and so on.

The D700 is not even in the same universe as the D850 for making large prints. Don't kid yourself.

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jebo1 Regular Member • Posts: 312
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

Very interesting and well-balanced answer indeed. The position of the sun and the clarity is obviously of great importance. You have put a lot of time into it. I am shooting in an environment where there are a lot of trees and foliage. I always found it very frustrating that most cameras that I did possess did not show the foliage in a clear way. These were all APS-C cameras sometimes with the more expensive zoom lenses. Out of curiosity, I have bought a D 700 and I have been using it with the old ai prime lenses. Now the foliage is shown very clear and I am happy with these results but there is always room for improvement. I am convinced that modern cameras are better in low light and so on!

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jebo1 Regular Member • Posts: 312
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

I agree completely!:-)

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D M Myers New Member • Posts: 5
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

In 2011, I used a D700 with a 50mm 1.8 AFD, considered to be the sharpest 50 at the time, for an exhibit I did for our local art museum.  We took portraits of 24 families casually posed in front of their homes.  The camera was on a tripod, and a remote shutter release was used.  I didn’t crop except to accomplish a 4x5 format.  In Photoshop, I converted them to duo tones.  There was no other processing or manipulation.  The images were printed at Corporate Color in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  They used a big Lambda printer.  The final prints were mounted on custom, wood frames.  The prints were 4’ x 5’, and were incredibly sharp... beautiful.  Could they have been made larger? Probably not much.  In 2011, the only Nikon option with more than 12 megapixels was the D3X, which was not in my budget.  I am now using a D810, which, if I was doing a project like this now, would be much easier.

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Dave

RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 30,182
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

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.

Why from a few inches? If it’s a big print you are standing feet away to view the image not 3 inches  🙄

There seems to be a fair debate on line with confusion between DPI and PPI.

DPI is based on the printer and PPI is based on number of pixels in the image and the size of the printed image, without upscaling.  That said print any image That’s 8 MP or more as big as you want.

Guys, I came to DPreview for a definitive answer. Thanks if anyone is able to help resolve this.

Rico Tudor Contributing Member • Posts: 829
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

Thanks if anyone is able to help resolve this.

In the class of D700 resolution, my old cameras are D300 and 1Ds although I currently shoot 24MP. I own the Canon Pro-2000 with 24" platen and prints for closeup inspection are fine at 125 pixels/inch linear. D700 images, therefore, can nicely fill 2'x3' uncropped. DPI isn't a useful measure in this realm.

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Nikon 79
Nikon 79 Regular Member • Posts: 391
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

2 x 3 ??

Rico Tudor Contributing Member • Posts: 829
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?
1

2 x 3 ??

Yup.

From Wikipedia: "The maximum angular resolution of the human eye is 28 arc seconds or 0.47 arc minutes, this gives an angular resolution of 0.008 degrees, and at a distance of 1 km corresponds to 136 mm. This is equal to 0.94 arc minutes per line pair (one white and one black line), or 0.016 degrees. For a pixel pair (one white and one black pixel) this gives a pixel density of 128 pixels per degree (PPD)."

Note that 128 PPD is a linear measure. By the way, I arrived at my own rule-of-thumb by run off some test prints, not by reading articles about acuity of the human eye. It's just interesting that the figures agree. Of course, if you view prints with a magnifying glass then all bets are off!

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bjn70 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,107
Re: How large a print can be made from an uncropped Nikon D700?

Viewing distance is the key.  I've seen large banners hanging from buildings, something like 5 stories high, that were supposedly made from iphone images.  Nobody can get very close to examine those.  I rarely print but I made a 20x30 print from a slightly cropped D750 image and looking at it up close it still has good detail.  Therefore the 12MP image from a D700 could probably do a reasonably good 16x20 that could be examined closely.  People say they have made good 24x36 prints from a D750 so you might be able to print up to 20x30 pretty well.  That's the best I can extrapolate from my experience, you should do some experimenting.

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