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Old Aug 4, 2004, 10:19 AM   #1
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My girlfriend bought one of the older Sony Mavicas - not even 1.3MP back in 2001 & we took some pix with it set at the lowest setting (unknown to us)at a Junior College reunion. Now one of theclassmates is deceased & I would like to get some decent prints from a couple. (after that, she got a better Mavica & now has the A80)

Problems are:

#1. They are all at about 42 to 65 kb file size

#2. The flash was not turned on for a couple of pix.

I know we are stuck with Marginal 4 X 6's - it's a shame the Digitals didn't start at 3 MP instead of 1.3! (Too bad the A80 wasn't around back then)!

The only saving grace so to speak - I took a lot of pix with my 35mm film camera! Thank goodness for that. But some of the images from the Digital are us cutting up & some are just plain serious pix that were not duplicated on film.

Any suggestions?

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Old Aug 4, 2004, 12:01 PM   #2
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I know we are stuck with Marginal 4 X 6's - it's a shame the Digitals didn't start at 3 MP instead of 1.3!
Actually, 1.3 Megapixels is plenty for 4x6" prints. After cropping for a 3:2 Aspect Ratio (ratio of width to height of a 4x6" print),or shooting in the 3:2 Aspect Ratio mode (for models like the Sony MVC-FD87 that had this setting), this leaves you with an image size of 1280x848pixels.

This works out to 213 pixels per inch for a 4x6" print size.

Even 150 pixels per inch can produce good quality 4x6" prints. But, you can usually see a noticeable increase in detail going to 200 pixels per inch. However, after 200 pixels per inch, you'd be hard pressed to see any difference in a print, unless looking at it very closely (I can't see any difference at all, going any higher than 200 ppi). Some users have said that they can't see any improvement in quality, once you get to around 180 pixels per inch.

Chances are, you were shooting at 640x480 resolution, which is not high enough quality for 4x6" prints.

If you would have shot at the full resolution of a 1.3 Megapixel Camera like the Sony MVC-FD87, your file sizes would have averaged closer to 200kb (versus 42-65kb).

If you don't believe a 1.3 Megapixel Camera can produce as good (or even better) images at 4x6" size, compared to a 3 Megapixel or higher resolution model; then download some sample photos from Steve's review here. Make sure you are downloading the full resolution images, not the smaller images you see on the samples page. You can get to the full resolution images by clicking on the smaller one. Or, simply "right click" on the link underneath the photos to download the full resolution pics, using the "save as" option from your browser.

Then print them at 4x6" size and compare the results to photos downloaded and printedat the same size from models with a higher resolution:


Any suggestions?
Well, you may be able to improve them a little using software to interpolate them to a larger resolution for printing. Interpolation adds pixels to an image, based on the values of adjacent pixels. Thiswill help reduce pixelation (where the individual pixels begin to become visible, with"jaggies", etc. in your prints).

However, this will not increase the detail captured by the sensor (which will depend on the resolution the original imageswere captured at).

One productthat can do this is irfanview.It has an available Lanczos based interpolation algorithm. You'll findit under the Image, Resize/Resample menu choice.

It's downloadable from http://www.irfanview.com (it's free). Make sure to download the free plugins, too.
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 12:12 PM   #3
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If you are into image editing there are some things you can do to help a low resolution image.

First you want to upsize the image using stair interpolation. It is the best method I have found for getting a little more pseudo-detail in the image. http://www.outbackphoto.com/workshop..._08/essay.html This is a comparison I did a couple of years ago. It is only about 5% of the frame, so it represents a very small image. You can see that SI did a lot better job than a single bicubic step. I've run comparative tests and can't see any difference between bicubic and Lanczos – they are both good. You could just as easily do the stair interpolation with Lanczos.

Once you get the image upsampled you need to smooth it out and sharpen it. Neat Image is very good for smoothing an image. It is a versatile tool based on your settings. You can try the demo free: http://www.neatimage.com/ Smart blur in Photoshop can also make some images look richer. I suppose most editors have something similar but Neat Image is more sophisticated.

I find that after upsizing a small image some extra saturation helps. The richer colors give an impression of sharpness that isn't really there. That will be especially true after you lighten the images where the flash failed to fire. If the image editor has an auto-contrast that can help also. You can't overdo saturation and contrast but a little can help.

You finally have to sharpen the image. Any image editor has sharpening tools. Whatever image editor you are using you can find sharpening tutorials that go into more sophisticated methods you can use.

I have found that a tweaked up small image looks best printed on matte paper. Spray paint it with some clear paint and it has an interesting finish, which brings out the color.
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