i just tried an experiment to see if the FZ20 has what it takes to make large prints. i know it will do beautiful 11x14's with nothing more than basic cleaning up of noise, etc., but i wanted to try something larger. as a test, i sent one of my files to an online photo printing house that offered 16x20 posters for abut $8. before i sent the file, i upsampled itabout 20%, to about3100x2300. because the file had been saved multiple times, and upsampled as well, i didn't expect much in the way of results.
about a week later, i got the poster in the mail. it's not done on photo paper (hence the $8 price tag), but even so,i was simply amazed at the clarity and quality of the image. there were a few artifacts in some solid-color areas, mainly due, i suspect, to the multiple saves the file had undergone (i pulled the file up on my monitor, and could see them there also, when viewed at full size), but from more than about 24" away, even those were not noticeable. obviously, printing on poster paper won't produce as good a result as on photo paper, which means a photo-paper print at 16x20 would be even better... and in any case, few people look at a 16x20 print from 2 feet away!
after seeing how good these results were, i went back into my archives and dragged out the original uneditedimage (which had not been saved and resaved multiple times), applied the same tweaks to it as i'd done to the first print version, and compared the finished file to the one i'd just had printed. in the "new" file, no artifacts were noticeable, even after upsampling to 3100x2300 when viewed at full size, so i invested another $8 to get this file printed at 16x20 as well. if, as i expect, it comes back with even better image quality than my first experiment,i'm gonna splurge for a really nice frame and hang that sucker on my living room wall over the fireplace!
so, for all you FZ20 owners (FZ5 too) out there, in case you were wondering, the 5MP Lumixes WILL produce superior images, even when upsampled a bit and printed at sizes most of us won't ever attempt! and for those considering making big prints with the FZ5/20, i can tell you, if you have a good image to start with, and do some judicious editing and upsizing, you will be rewarded with a VERY nice, large-size print that will look good on any wall in your home. or in someone else's, for that matter...
just for reference, here's the image i used for my experiments. this pic is really impressive at 16x20! :G