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Largest print size with OMD

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Foster2380, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. Foster2380

    Foster2380 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 6, 2012
    Hello all, I am comfortable enough with the OMD now to start contemplating selling my 5D2 and substantial investment of lenses. There are two things that keep me from selling it. The first I don't want to address in this thread (continuous autofocus).

    The second issue, which i would appreciate input on is print size/overall image quality. I've looked around online at various articles that attempt to answer the question of print size for a given number of megapixels and get similarly varied answers on it. When I go on vacation I like to use one image and make a large print with it. With the 5D2 I can print large without hesitation, 20"x 30" for example.

    What do most feel is the reasonable limit in print size of the OMD? I know there are things to consider like viewing distance ect...I'm just trying to get a feel for what folks have had success with.
  2. ahendarman

    ahendarman Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 9, 2012
    Agoura Hills, CA
    I have printed 20x30 from OMD and it looks great.
    I use this chart from BH as guideline and I found it generally true.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I've printed 20"x30" from E-P1 and it looks great.
  4. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Why not get a 20 x 30 print done from one of your own OMD files? That way you can be sure of the file quality and judge the result first hand yourself. :smile:
  5. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    You can print to any size you want, including covering the side of a building. It depends on ppi and viewing distance.
  6. brettmaxwell

    brettmaxwell Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2012
    I wouldn't hesitate to print 20x30 from an OMD. I've done 28" wide from a 12mp D3 file that was an album spread, so it gets looked at from about 2 feet away, and it looks great.
  7. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
  8. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    This depends on many factors, including your personal standards for print quality, the intended location of the print (and therefore viewing distance), and image content. My own feeling is that--assuming good capture technique and reasonable ISOs--16x20 (17x22 paper) is the largest size that I can routinely print images that depend on high levels of detail and will be viewed closely. At this size, EM5 prints are roughly equal to my old medium format film prints, which is my basic quality standard. I'm less confident when going up to 20x30.

    That said, I am currently considering having a 30x40 print made of a foggy scene, where the print will be hung in a location that isn't subject to minute inspection. Making sample prints is the best way to test this, but if you don't want to spring for a 20x30 test print, try making a smaller print of a cropped section of an image that would produce 20x30 if printed uncropped.
    • Like Like x 4
  9. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    ^^^ What he said.

  10. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    I print up to 24x36 inches from the E-M5 but like most here the "routine" size is 16x20 inches.

    Edit: A riddle: When is 16 megapixels not 16 megapixels? Answer: when your lens and technique produce an image with less acuity than that due to misfocus, lens sharpness, aberrations, shake, etc. So, it's not just about your sensor size. An inferior lens and technique that really doesn't make an image with more than about 6 megapixels of "apparent" information won't print large no matter what the sensor resolution. This is why DXO has gone to their new "perceptual megapixels" standard to help make clear what you are actually getting relative to your sensor.

    Some images DEMAND high detail to be nice to look at and some don't. This one I have printed 24x36 inches is this one and it looks great -- but it's more about a feel and color and less about detail for sure -- though I was surprised by how detailed it was when I got it back from the printers.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Remote Weather Station by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 7
  11. Foster2380

    Foster2380 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 6, 2012
    Thanks everyone. A lot of great input and John that's a great picture.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    Upthread, I mentioned that I was doing a 30x40 print from an EM5 image. I just got the print back today. (In the end, I had it done at about 28x38). I have to say, it looks pretty great. That size definitely wouldn't work for every image, but this photo--a foggy, "painterly" scene printed on a moderately toothy watercolor paper--definitely won't cause viewers to think that I should have used a bigger camera.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    I was wondering what viewing distance you were using for acceptable quality ?

    I'm considering printing both a landscape and a portrait larger than 20X30 ~ actually going to 30 x 40. I was considering using Blow up to upsize the image first. Have you tried this plugin and did it help you achieve a bigger size?



  14. Highlander

    Highlander Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    USA, Northeast Coast
    Richard Correale
    I make giclee's for a living. That translates to reproductions of original paintings for artists. I have a large format (44" W) Epson inkjet printer and up until Dec. 2013 I've been capturing my images with a 21 mp full frame Canon 5D MKII. I've sold all my Canon gear and now use the OMD EM-1 for capture. The largest print I've had occasion to do so far with the Oly is 20" x 24" and I found it to look better than what I was getting with the Canon. It had less of that interpolated look and I'm not really sure why that is. I up size my files using a photoshop plug in that that I purchased from a photography related web site. I'm not sure if it's allowed to mention the name here so I won't. PM me if you want to know. I've tried many other interpolation products out there and have found the current one I'm using to be the best for me.

    I tell my clients as a rule of thumb, to measure the diagonal of the print, double that measurement and that's the proper distance to view the print from.
    • Like Like x 3
  15. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    If I want to make a large print, I don;t worry about the size of the original file. I crop it and get rid of any noise. Then I run it through Perfect Photo 8 Resize module. That is the former standalone product Perfect Fractals. You will amazed at how much larger you can make the file and not introduce noise or artifacts. Very easy then to print a large poster.
  16. Leif

    Leif Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 28, 2012
    Ming Thein had two interesting blog posts where he interviewed the guy who makes his fineart prints. It was a very interesting interview because he talked a bit how the post processing is often more important than the megapixel count because many people destroy too much information with bad sharpening techniques (highpass filter) and such things. The lens is also a pretty important part.

    I have even printed to 4.5ft on the longer edge from M4/3 cameras with impressive results at viewing distances under 5ft. Ultimately, larger sensors do not equate to better results – it is the system level comprises in optics, camera, technique, workflow that matter.

    • Like Like x 1
  17. broody

    broody Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 8, 2013
    Ming Thein claimed in his blog to have printed a few 50-inch images from his EM-5 for an exhibit. He thought they looked pretty good, not bad considering he works with a 39 MP Hasselblad and a D800E...
  18. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    I have trouble with the concept that there is a proper viewing distance for prints of a given size (and the corollary that you can increase print size at will because "viewing distance" increases linearly with print size). Unless the print is hung in a location that viewers physically can't approach, I find that they will sometimes want to view it closely. In that case, I'd rather that my prints look good up close. The print I was talking about in the post you quoted is hung in a location where it's likely to be viewed from a distance of 6-10 feet, but it looks fine on close inspection.

    I'm not certain what software was used to upsize the image. I had the printing done by a local printer (since my home printer can go up to only 17 inches).
  19. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    • Like Like x 4
  20. SteveJB

    SteveJB Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 5, 2012
    I think the B&H chart is probably a pretty good guide, as well as the advice of others in this thread. One more alternative would be to figure out the minimum resolution you need to print at. For photos at close viewing distance, the generally accepted resolution is 200-300 pixels per inch (AKA, dots per inch, or DPI). One thing that always trips me up is that 200-300 pixels refers to the length of an inch, not the total number of pixels in a square inch (40,000-90,000 in this case). 300 DPI (or 90k pixels per square inch) is considered "magazine quality" and about the limit of what our eyes can discern when looking closely, or so they say.

    Of course, for a 20x30" print at a reasonable viewing distance, 300 DPI is total overkill and 200 DPI is probably still overkill. That said, without any up-sizing, you'd need the following to make a 200 DPI 20x30" print:

    20 x 30 x 200 x 200 = 24,000,000 pixels, or 24 megapixels

    By the same math, without any up-sizing, a 16MP image printed at 20x30" would net you about 162 DPI (or 26,666 pixels per square inch). I think this would look fine at a reasonable viewing distance, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong here...

    I've printed 13x19" images from my old 12MP D700 (220 DPI) and they looked fantastic. I've also printed 13x19" images from my old 6MP D50 (156 DPI) and they still looked pretty sharp up close and great at normal viewing distance.

    I'll stop here, but if someone wanted to go crazy with this, a good follow up question would be, what is the mathematical relationship between print resolution and viewing distance? :eek: 

    Just my $.02.
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