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Thread: Solutions to printing big photos with low resolution image files

  1. #1

    Default Solutions to printing big photos with low resolution image files

    Hi People,

    Let's say I started out with a Canon 300D and the maximum resolution photo I got was 6mp one.

    Along the years, I want to print it big to hang on the wall. When I say big is maybe 50 inches or more across.

    The only solution I read so far is to step down the dpi, which would compromise the quality probably when print below 300dpi.

    My thoughts are:

    Can we print the 6mp file at 300dpi and then scan it through the scanner @ 2400 or higher dpi. Print it @ 300dpi and scan it again @ 2400dpi. Rinse and repeat process till you get a file that can print a photo 50 inches @ 300 dpi?

    Any other solutions?
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  2. #2
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solutions to printing big photos with low resolution image files

    Quote Originally Posted by Mercy77 View Post
    Hi People,

    Let's say I started out with a Canon 300D and the maximum resolution photo I got was 6mp one.

    Along the years, I want to print it big to hang on the wall. When I say big is maybe 50 inches or more across.

    The only solution I read so far is to step down the dpi, which would compromise the quality probably when print below 300dpi.

    My thoughts are:

    Can we print the 6mp file at 300dpi and then scan it through the scanner @ 2400 or higher dpi. Print it @ 300dpi and scan it again @ 2400dpi. Rinse and repeat process till you get a file that can print a photo 50 inches @ 300 dpi?

    Any other solutions?
    the more scanning steps you go thru, more deterioration of the images will be.

    you can enlarge the image by interpolate it, however, you can get the resolution you want, but it will not add any details if there isn't any to begin with, it just preventing pixelation.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Solutions to printing big photos with low resolution image files

    for every scan and print cycle, the image will degrade. you simply cannot produce details out of nothing... like catchlight mention, you can interpolate your image, but this has a limitation as well.

    My solution? get a camera with enough megapixel to print at that size.
    Playing with M43.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Solutions to printing big photos with low resolution image files

    What you're suggesting is a sure way to end up with a terrible image. Try photocopying something through several generations and you'll see what I mean.

    There are 2 broad solutions to your dilemna:

    1. Don't bother about the 'low resolution' - just print the image as you have it now.
    Printing a 3000 x 2000 pixel image to 50" (long side) would give you a print resolution of 60dpi. While that sounds bad, the proper viewing distance for a poster this size is 2-3m away, so it doesn't really matter. If the viewer gets too close, he will see the dots of course (there are people who do that - in the digital world, they are called pixel peepers), but IMHO it would be strange to examine a 50" photo from 30cm away. I have printed as low as 30+dpi for commercial banners (ok, it was ard 8-10 years ago, but the point is the same -- we're spoiled by the resolutions available today).
    As a comparison, computer screens used to be ard 72 dpi. Nowadays ard 100dpi. SPH (Straits Times etc) print at ard 100lpi

    2. You can interpolate to a higher resolution in software. This does not increase the information on your photo, but will reduce the appearance of jaggies esp in diagonal lines. I've done it a lot for commercial work, when supplied a low res photo -- the most recent images were 3m across. Interpolating reduced the jaggies in the Sydney Harbour Bridge, for one.

    There are also software solutions (e.g. http://www.ononesoftware.com/products/perfect-resize/) but I have not tried them so can't really vouch for them.

    If you want, send me a copy of a 6MP image and I will try to show you what it will look like printed at 50". My email is listed in my site (below).
    Last edited by Edwin Francis; 13th February 2011 at 06:22 PM. Reason: Corrected contact details

  5. #5

    Default

    What about using AlienSkin Blow Up or OnOne Genuine Fractals?

    Really, innocent question

    If the details havent been captured in the RAW file, then no hope. But Edwin is right, more often than not, it should come out pretty okay if you're printing to a large canvas, as long as you're not expecting perfectly sharp output. The last time I asked a similar question to a friend of mine from the advertising industry, he said that if I wanted to print that big in the first place and expect sharpness and resolution, i should consider a Hasselblad or shoot in film instead :P
    Last edited by ghoonk; 14th February 2011 at 12:40 AM.
    Nikon // Hasselblad // Mamiya // Fujifilm // Sony

  6. #6

    Default Re: Solutions to printing big photos with low resolution image files

    Edwin, good reply you gave there. Mercy77....don't be too bothered by the 300dpi. I think only the publications are obsessed with that. I have to submit images at this resolution when I shoot for them. I shot for the YOG Games exhibit with my 5D Mk2 at 21 Mpix and the banners are nearly 2-storey high: http://www.photographybyeulee.com/blog/?s=yog. It's almost impossible to shoot athletes with medium format so I have to make do with 5D Mk2. Turned out good...at least for most people.

    If you're too concerned about Mpix, can try using Genuine Fractals to up-res. I'm no expert in the printing area but I think the output was pretty good.

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