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Landscape photography - D610 versus EM1

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by cdecurtis, May 27, 2014.

  1. cdecurtis

    cdecurtis Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Sep 6, 2012
    Marietta, Georgia, USA
    I have been commissioned to create a field guide which will require many landscape shots. The overall field guide will be of a standard format size but I have been asked to be able to produce large prints for museum level displays. They are thinking 20 by xx and maybe a larger panorama size (obviously stitched).

    I only have micro 4/3rds equipment and have never doubted the ability to produce nice prints. But, I have also never printed anything above 16x20. And have no means to do so now. In fact, my printer is limited to 13x19.

    So, I was asked by a friend if I should consider a FX camera such as the D610 (one she considers reasonably priced) with a top line wide zoom or a few hq prime wide angles. I pose this question to the folks here because I do rely on the advice found here when making decisions regarding my kit, etc. I have read the reviews of the 610 and it is obviously a fine camera but am not sold on this idea. I have always thought my EM5, EM1 and GX7 more than sufficient but, then again, I have never thought about huge format prints. She introduced a bit of doubt. Any suggestions or advice?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
  2. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Your E-M1 is more than capable of producing large prints. I was printing 17" x 22" (A2+) prints taken with my E-1/E-3/E-5 and printed on my IPF5000, which I often displayed outside my office, and no one ever commented on them for lack of quality (that included some avid photographers). If you put the effort into taking a quality photograph, making sure that composition etc is right, you can print well above A2+. It's only if you need to crop that a higher MP camera can be an advantage with the leeway that it can provide, but it can also become a crutch, making people lazy and not putting enough effort into technique.

    If you buy a D610, remember that you're also going to need lenses etc and so you end up duplicating a system for no real material gain.
  3. cdecurtis

    cdecurtis Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Sep 6, 2012
    Marietta, Georgia, USA
    Thank you Ray. I think I will stick with my original plan to use my current equipment. I always wonder about these questions from those that are invested in Canikons. I am sure she had good intentions with the question but I wonder how much is based on her bias of the FX/DX versus 4/3rds?!
  4. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Most of it is due to lack of understanding and actual experience with 4/3s and/or m4/3s. Pretty much all of those that I've known that put the system down, don't really have anything special to show regarding their own work with their Canon/Nikon cameras.

    If you get a chance, see if you can get someone to do a large print of a good photo (even if it's only an el-cheapo print on thin paper from some office depot) to give you an idea of what you can expect. I think that should convince you that the likes of the E-M1 is not lacking when it comes to doing big prints.

    I also forgot to mention that very often, regardless of the camera used, most files are increased in resolution using special programs, like Qimage, which are designed to improve the native resolution when it needs to be exceeded for really large prints. The results can be unbelievable.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2013
    My advise to you is to ask your client rather than asking people here. People here aren't paying you to commission the work, so therefore their opinions and inputs while helpful aren't going to be helpful for what your real client wants. You also need to find out what are the expectations in regards to museum level displays. Right here in our gallery, museum level displays start with a Nikon D800 minimum and 6x6 scanned film (again minimum) in a gallery setting. The large prints wholesale wise go for $1000/each. But I've seen museum quality taken with a 10 or 12MP camera as well. You may not be sold on the idea of a high resolution camera, but your client may be so you NEED to find out your client's true expectation and have yours and him be in sync.

    Once you know the museum quality prints your client expects, then pick an image in your portfolio and then do a test print larger than 16x20 to gauge the output quality. If the quality is there, then you can proceed. If not, can you not rent a Nikon D600 or D800 with a few lenses for your project? Renting is cheaper than buying the full kit, unless you expect a lot of jobs coming after this.
    • Like Like x 3
  6. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013

    Hipstagram – 0.3MP, quality doesn’t really matter anyway
    Social media/ facebook/ twitter/ etc – 800x800px: 0.64MP
    Dedicated photo sites/ flickr etc – 2000x1500px: 3MP
    6×4″ minilab print, 144dpi – 864x576px: 0.5MP
    Single page newsprint ~20×15″, 72dpi – 1440x1080px: 1.5MP
    HDTV playback – 1920x1080px: 2.1MP
    18×12″ print, 240dpi (upper limit for most hobbyists and a lot of pros) – 4320x2880px: 12.4MP
    Double page A4 magazine spread 16.5×11.7″, 240dpi – 3960x2808px: 11.1MP
    8×12″ Ultraprint, minimum 500dpi, ideal 720dpi – 4000x6000px to 5760x8640px: 24-50MP
    Very big billboard 40x20m, 5dpi – 7874x3937px: 31MP
    Large fine art print, 36×24″, 240dpi – 8640x5760px: 50MP
    10×15″ Ultraprint, 500-720dpi – 5000x7500px to 7200x10800px: 38-78MP
    16×20″ Ultraprint, 500-720dpi – 8000x10000px to 11520x14400px: 80-166MP (!)
  7. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz



    In fact, I just remembered that I once did a test to see how a print from an E-5 image would look if I only printed a quarter of the frame on a 17" x 22" sheet, using Qimage to up-rez appropriately and the result even surprised me. There have been times that I've been tempted to repeat that and frame the prints as if it was a window.
  8. val

    val Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2013
    As you said it would be stitched, a lot of my panoramas end up in the 9000-10,000 wide range which is usually five-six shots panning left to right with my GX7. if you want pixel density then you could always use a slightly more telephoto lens and do a 10 horizontal, 5 vertical rectangle which would give you lots of detail and data for enlargements
  9. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    People were making huge prints from 6mp files just a couple years back. A M43 camera with 16mp should be more than adequate!
  10. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    The only real reason for me to use a D610 for landscape photography would be to pair it with the Nikon 14-24, possibly the best ultrawide lens ever.

    That said, neither the Olympus or Panasonic 7-14 are lagging very far behind the Nikon.
  11. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Olympus made the best ultra-wide lens ever, before Nikon, with the ED 7-14mm f4. :biggrin:
    • Like Like x 1
  12. jonlong

    jonlong Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 25, 2013
    Depending on how long the shoot will take, remember that renting equipment is always an option and will be cheaper than investing in gear you don't plan to use much. Also, if you're doing serious landscape work, I'd skip full frame and use a medium format.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  13. Mohun

    Mohun Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 19, 2012
    As one who has never produced an image for a museum, but uses a D610 (and, previously, other Nikon DSLRs and film cameras before them [Nikon F and several Leicas]), uses a GX1 and used a GF1 before it, and, further, may move to one of the Olympus Ms (10, 5 0r 1) to use not in substitution for but in concert with my DSLR where the shooting situation calls for it, have to agree that the commissioner or curator for and of the images should and most likely will make the call. If this question is also asked on, say, Nikonians, the natural, and understandable, point of view of the group will almost always influence a predominately subjective response to the question, and objective opinions will be few. Try the same question on a Canon forum and that same understandable subjectivity will pervade the universe of answers/opinions.
  14. cdecurtis

    cdecurtis Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Sep 6, 2012
    Marietta, Georgia, USA
    More detail. This is a field guide of rivers, streams, and other important waters for a region of the USA. Photographs will be used extensively for associated plant communities, unique features (such as falls, springs, etc.), cultural interest, and the water bodies themselves (headwaters, reaches, falls, etc.). The format will be most likely something at or below 8x12 inches with 1/4, 1/2, and full page photographs throughout. It will be a rather large work and the debate is whether or not to break it into volumes. The large format photos will be used for introduction tours at various museum venues. I appreciate all of the comments. Regretfully, medium format is beyond my means and I would rather stick with the gear on hand. But, I will do what I need to do.
  15. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 18, 2012
    Ciaran Reilly
    Not that I have the experience, but I would get a feeling that if the large prints are going on tour and not for a specific venue, it will probably be up to you how they are presented, with regards to DPI etc. at least. Also, the quality of the composition, light, image processing, printing and printing materials will probably have a massively larger impact on the end result than the camera used. I'd say go with what you know.
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