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Old May 5, 2004, 10:21 AM   #1
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I have a lot of marker renderings approximately 16x20 and I would like to copy them, format in Photoshop and then print them out 14x17 for my portfolio. I used to use a film SLR and I would like to buy a digital camera to this now. My price range isaround 500-600. Are some better than others to do this and what type of lighting should I use. I currently havea large copy standwith 500 watt photoflood bulbs. How much mega pixel camera should I get?

Thanks for any help.

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Old May 5, 2004, 11:21 AM   #2
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Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
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For closeup viewing, I'd suggest at least 150 pixels per inch for a print that large.

At your desired print size (14x17"),that equates to 2100 x 2550 pixels (more than a 5 Megapixel Model will provide), after cropping for the aspect ratio used.

200 pixels per inch has noticeably more detail to my eyes. This would mean you'd need a camera capable of 2800 x 3400 pixels (more than 9.5 Megapixels).

This will be well over your budget.

Now, to be practical, larger prints can still look pretty good from a 4 or 5 megapixel camera. Many printers automatically "rez up" the image when printing (via internal interpolation algorithms).

You can also interpolate the images using software. Photoshop has a bicubic algorithm built in. I personally use irfanview's Lanczos Algorithm for interpolating (downloadable free at http://www.irfanview.com ). It does a decent job.

Interpolation adds pixels (which allows larger prints without pixelation). But, it will not increase the detail captured.

The quality of the pixels is also important. The best digital cameras are DSLR's (outside of your budget). They have larger sensors, with lower noise, and better dynamic range, compared to non-DSLR models. The two lowest cost models are the Canon Digital Rebel and the new Nikon D70. They start at around $900.00 and $1,000.00 respectfully, without any lens. Both are 6 Megapixels.

However, since you subject will be evenly lit, you will probably be able to get by with a lower cost (non-DSLR) model.

You'll want to keep ISO speeds to a minimum to reduce the appearance of noise in larger prints, and select a model with lower than average noise characteristics.

Check out Steve's "Best Cameras" list here. Some of the 5 megapixel "Enthusiast" choices may just "squeeze in" to your budget (thanks to price drops, since newer 8 megapixel models are now shipping):


JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 5, 2004, 7:00 PM   #3
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You should also make sure that your cameras is perpendicular to the plain of the picture when you do it. If not, you could get funny perspective skewing... and at worst part of the picture out of focus. Not what you want.

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