How big and sharp are your M43 prints?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by utahlasvegas, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. utahlasvegas

    utahlasvegas Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 19, 2013
    Hello everyone! I've been mostly a lurker on this forum since May, but I finally got an Olympus E-P5 in July and also bought a 12mm f2 and the 45mm 1.8 to go with the 17mm 1.8 kit.

    I also own a Canon 1ds Mark iii, but it's now on Ebay. I'm just not using it anymore, and I feel like it's going to drop in value continuously, and I should try to get what I can for it. Honestly, the E-P5 is the most enjoyable camera that I've ever owned, and I've had some good ones (Leica M6, Mamiya 7 Rangefinder, Nikon F5, and a few different DSLRs).

    There's one thing that I'm kind of worried about, and that's making large prints. I participate in about ten art fairs a year and have been reasonably successful selling prints of landscapes. I'm usually making 16x24s and 12x18s, but I have sold some 20x30s and 48x32 canvas prints. Not too long ago, I used Perfect Resize to up an Olympus file to 16x24 at 300dpi, and I think it turned out just fine.

    I'm also a part-time photography professor at a community college, where I teach a black & white 35mm darkroom class and intro to digital photography. For the 35mm class, I'm just using a Nikon FM2 and a 50mm 1.8, but I'm trying to decide what to do with the money from selling the Canon gear. I think my heart says to get another m43 body and a couple lenses, but my head is saying that I need to try to get a D800E and some fast Nikon primes. I do have a nighttime in Nevada project right now and have received quite a bit of positive feedback and sales from those images. However, the live bulb mode on the E-P5 has really served me well so far with the few times that I've used it. If I could figure out how to post images here, I'd show you all.

    Anyway, I think the need for somewhat large prints is the only thing that's holding me back from not using a DSLR ever again. What do you all think? I read Guy Tal is making 24x32 prints from his OMD, and that's bigger than 95% of what I'm making right now with the full-frame Canon.

    Thanks for all suggestions!
  2. oldsweng

    oldsweng Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 21, 2011
    I used Perfect Resize for a 20"x30" canvas of the following image. Both myself and my customer were really happy with it. Using Perfect Resize to convert to larger sizes and then printing a crop on smaller paper would give some idea how well it will resize.

  3. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2013
    Oahu, gathering place of many cars
    Real Name:
    Peter Gunn
    For me, it depends on the subject matter. Assuming of course good technique, low ISO and sharp optics, I've been happy with portraits I've printed at 11x14 and 16x24 with my 16MP GX1. However, the landscapes not so much. The more busy and detailed landscapes tend to look more smeared and noisy than I'd like and thus I greatly prefer landscape large prints from my 5D MKII. Only you can decide if your E-P5 files rez up well enough for you taste and use. I'm guessing the E-P5 16MP sensor is a little cleaner than the GX1 16MP sensor, so it should be a little better in terms of noise at least.

    Nice capture Patrick. The Columbia Gorge is one of my favorite places to shoot.
  4. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Real Name:
    Howdy, Utah!

    Check out the article by Ctein on creating a large print from a "mere" E-P1.

    The Online Photographer: How I Made the $19.95 Print

    Ctein relates:

    "I printed the finished photograph out on my Epson 3880 printer as a 17x22-inch (15x20" image area) print. The printer settings were 16-bit output (I've never seen this make any difference in a print, but I figure it can't hurt), 2880 dpi with high speed off, and finest detail on."

    The detail of the rivets on the photographed bridge is...impressive :thumbup:.

    I don't think I could pull that photo/print off, but then I'm not Ctein :biggrin:.


  5. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Real Name:
    I bought one of those prints. It seemed like a cheap way to compare what a master printer can do to what I can get (I also have a 3880). It's a very nice print but the scene isn't exactly packed with fine foliage detail. There's a lot of blue sky there.

    From my own experiences I would be happy doing high detail shots to 22" with the EM5. I have printed significantly larger, but only portraits/environmental portraits where super fine detail isn't critical. I think I could get an EM5 file to 30" at a pinch.

  6. tanngrisnir3

    tanngrisnir3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    I've gone 20x30 with a GH2, and most all (but not all) looked great.

    No one has ever asked for/purchased anything bigger than that from me, so I have no idea how it would hold up over that.
  7. I do believe I recognize this site and affirm one can get a most excellent ice cream cone there, on a lower landing of course.
  8. cswinton

    cswinton New to Mu-43

    Aug 24, 2013
    I've printed some 20x30 prints from my OM-D E-M5 that look great. I had printed some from my old 20D / 30D which had half the megapixels of my current camera. As mentioned above, upscaling can help in some cases as well. I've also stitched multiple exposures to get really big files on occasion.
  9. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    Real Name:
    John Griggs
    I print up to 36x24" and my prints are currently hanging in one public space where I live and about to be the exclusive art at a local concert venue.

    I have photos up from a G5, and E-M5 as well as 24x18" prints from a Fuji X100.
  10. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Real Name:
    From 6MB images I've made 30 x 40 prints that are sharp when viewed from 48". The quality of the initial image and the post processing can make or break large prints.

    Comparatively, a D800 or 800E is a very expensive alternative for large prints. Not only do you need the body but lenses suitable for full frame images as well.

    OTH, The D800 is the finest camera I have shot with. Using 1990's Nikon pro level glass I've had photos made up to 60" without issue.

    It also seems to me that many of those that change between Nikon and Canon, or vice versa, go back the brand whence they started.

    It is not the camera that can make great large images, but the photographer and how the images are post processed.
  11. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    I have an Epson 3800 printer, and I regularly make 16 inch wide prints from OMD files. My experience is that it's pretty easy to get excellent prints at this size even with images that demand good detail. For example, I just made a 15x20 inch print of a Grand Canyon shot (taken with the lowly Olympus 14-42 kit lens) that has tons of small details that invite very close inspection. It looks great. The largest I've gone with an OMD file (taken with the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens) is 30x40 inches. Admittedly, that image is a bit less detail dependent that the Grand Canyon image. Nevertheless, it's hanging in my house and get tons of complements, including from serious photographers who look at it up close. No one has ever questioned the image quality. Still, I doubt I'd try having the Grand Canyon shot printed at that size.

    So, I think it depends on the image. Up to 16 x 20, no problem. Above that, OK with the right image up to 30x40 (or possibly even bigger, I haven't tried). To give you some idea of my quality standards, for many years the Mamiya 6 was my main camera, and I was never happy with enlargements over 16 inches wide. That 30x40 inch print is the largest one I've had made in 20 years of serious photography. I think the OMD reaches medium format film era quality, and that's good enough for me.
  12. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    One more thing I forgot to mention: it is, of course often possible to get larger prints by stitching. I think of this as "large format mode" since it takes a similar amount of fussing. While I've experimented with it, I haven't really been tempted to use the technique on serious images, since the quality of a single omd shot is so high.