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Printing Large: G3, D300, E-M5

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Replytoken, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I am gathering images for a show that I will be displaying this summer. In addition to my film and transparencies which can be scanned, I am considering images shot with my more recent digital bodies, a Nikon D300 and a Panasonic G3 (as well as an Olympus E-PL2). I was planning on printing 11x14's for display, which I believe that all of these bodies have provided files that would hold up well at that enlargement size (and the moderately close viewing distance that I have assumed). But, several people have suggested that I print some large images for high impact. Most of my printing has been limited to 20" (either dimension) or less, and I have tried to maintain 300-360 ppi as best I can. Assuming that I am looking at printing images between 20 and 36" on the long side, and my technique was held constant for purposes of this discussion, how do single raw images shot from these bodies and processed in Lightroom compare when enlarged to these sizes?

    I have added the E-M5 into this mix because I have been considering one, and could accelerate my purchase date if it produced images that were substantially superior to the other two bodies. I suspect that any future images that I shoot for this show will be at low ISO values, but possibly long exposures as I like to work at dawn and dusk if the lighting is dramatic. any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    --Ken
     
  2. Conrad

    Conrad Mu-43 Veteran

    You can print 3 by 4 meters. Seriously. The viewing distance scales with the print size. The 300 dpi rule is relevant for magazines, for stuff you have in your hands when viewing. And even then, good quality 200 dpi is very good as well.

    All prints on my wall are 40x50 cm (16x20"). My GF1 and GX1 files can be viewed up close very well on that size.
     
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  3. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    Absolute print size doesn't exist. It's too subject dependant and grossly affected by viewing distance. What are the subjects of the files you are printing?

    Gordon
     
  4. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Should be just fine, but how good any specific file will look depends somewhat on the paper and the file itself. My largest single photo print is a roughly 18 megapixel crop (from a 5D mark II) printed at about 36" on the long side, and it looks fantastic.
     
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  5. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Gordon,

    You are correct. I talked about viewing distances on a post that I made in another forum, and I apologize for being too brief in my post here. My personal preference, when possible, is to print images that hold up to close viewing/inspection. Having said that, and knowing that there are tables along the walls of the cafe, the most common viewing distance is going to be somewhere around 6' (2m).

    As for subject matter, I suspect that several images will be long-exposure dawn/dusk skyline shots. There will be other subjects as well, but these are the prime candidates for large prints. I suspect that noise will be a problem since these are 1-2 second exposures, and several of the images were taken in the early dawn hours when the light was very blue. Any other words of wisdom?

    --Ken
     
  6. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Noise is more an ISO issue than shutter speed, especially if you use the long shutter NR in the G3.

    I have printed significant crops of images taken with my GF1 at 13x19 and they hold up to my taste at handheld type distances. I think you are the only one who can answer this question, and probably only through printing some.
     
  7. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    This seems to be where the consensus of opinion is leading me. It looks like I will be printing some crop samples for evaluation.

    Thanks,

    --Ken
     
  8. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    With that type of subject matter I don't see an issue. If your cameras have dark frame subtraction I'd leave that on. Otherwise most commercial noise programs should do a good job on large areas of blue sky.

    I'm printing similar types of images to 22" at the moment and they're lovely. I haven't gone larger on the EM5 yet.

    Gordon
     
  9. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Quick update. I took a friend's advice and ordered a couple of 20x30's from Costco. I picked them up last night, and all I can say is "WOW!". I normally do not print that large, but I will be doing select images at that size when the situation calls for it. Costco prints on Fuji paper with an Epson 7800 series inkjet, but for under $10, it makes a great proof. Thanks for the advice!

    --Ken
     
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