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Thread: Best print resolution for 15 megapixels?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2003

    Best print resolution for 15 megapixels?

    I recently took a very nice picture of a big horn sheep with a Canon EOS T1i 15 megapixel camera. I thought I would ask here for the best advice on getting nice prints from it. Moderators may move this thread if they feel it is in the wrong forum.

    It seems very hard to find what quality of printers online services use. The image turned out well with no cropping needed at 4752 x 3168 pixels, 80mm, f4, 400 ASA. I can adjust pixels per inch in the GIMP to see relative print sizes. 600ppi = approximately 8x5 inch picture, and 150ppi = 31x21 inches etc. Would any local printing shop have reasonable prices and a comparable printer to online services? Is there an online service that has really high quality with a good price? Are all the papers about the same? I may get 5-10 made if the cost is low enough for bulk images. I can do my own framing. Any helpful knowledge would be nice to get the best visual size and quality for costs.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    I went into a photography store. They have a nice 300dpi printer. It makes a nice 20x14" print for $35CDN, unframed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Hi, Pinemarten. Seems I'm too late to assist with your choice, but here goes anyway...

    The rule of thumb is that for a person with average-good vision, 200 ppi is close to the resolution limit for normal viewing of a photographic print, so that is a good 'don't go below this' recommendation.

    However.. it really depends on several things:
    - the content of the picture - does it invite close inspection, and does it have fine detail? If so, 300 ppi should probably be your limit. If it is a soft-focus portrait, however, then even 150 ppi or less might still look fine.
    - the printing process - some printers work best at their native resolutions, eg 240 or 360 ppi used to be common. This is less of a problem nowadays than it used to be, but it is worth asking the printer operators.

    BTW, to truly resolve something, you need a couple of pixels (Nyquist). So some would argue that you need to double those numbers. But I think that factor has already been built in..

    Finally.. Many print processes simply ignore any ppi recommendations in your print file, and simply interpolate the pixels in your file to fit whatever print size you have asked for. In which case you may as well just supply the full-size file no matter what size print..

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Back when I was running a graphics studio for a catalog company,
    150dpi was considered magazine resolution.
    300dpi is more than good enough for anything.

    Any more than that and you're just wasting pixels or just throwing them away.

    So yes any print up to 21x32 or 12x16 will be fine.

    As to what shops will give you the 'best deals in your area'.... well YOU are going
    to have to do that legwork as this is the WORLD-wide web. ;-)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Thank you both, and you are not too late. I was travelling when I stopped and asked. I am back in Edmonton now and still haven't set up prints yet. I will ask about ppi and dpi as well as the native resolution of the local printers. Some printing companies on the net say they have a native 360dpi(?) and can achieve 14,440 dpi on multiple 'passes'. It is very fine detail. You can see the reflection of the truck in the pupil of the sheep's eye, so I would like to pay for the best print possible to 'reflect' that (pun intended). I will put the original jpg with exif(?) data in an ftp for you two to see what I mean in the next 1-2 days.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    When I printed one of my astro images I first tested various resolutions (75-300 dpi) using cropped images and inexpensive 3x4" prints before ordering the much more expensive fullsize version.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    I put the full size uncropped, watermarked jpg in an ftp if anyone would like to see it. I am hoping to get a discount or free prints if the printing company wants to try and sell a few. I may trust their advice on how many dpi to print at.

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