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jarvis Mar 25, 2006 10:29 PM

Most coffee table books start out with a film-camera, typically a 4X5 format.Are digital cameras good enough now to to get the kind of resolution you need for 4 color press work?Does anybody know where I could go to find out what would be needed by a printer for this kind of book?Thanks in advance,Jarvis

Wildman Mar 25, 2006 11:46 PM


I have several "Coffee Table" books. Rosolution isn't the major issue. The qualiy of the pictures is. The books I've bought contain great photography. When you get to this level of photography, it's art.

Any modern DSLR should be able to produce photographs of the quality required to produce what you're trying to do. Ansel Adams could have produced true art with a pin hole camera, a Polaroid or a Canon 20D.

Don't get hung up on hardware. Work on technique and you'll get great results.

eric s Mar 26, 2006 12:05 AM

I would agree with everything but the statement that any DSLR could make a coffee table book.

For certain subject matters that would be true. But I would bet for landscapes, where detail is very important, only the absolute best DSLRs or digital backs on medium formats will do it. You will need stunningly sharp images.

A quick bit of searching turned up this description:
800x800 DPI using 4-color (CMYB) half-tone printing process done at 24-bit color

At 11x14 that would mean 8800x11200 pixels. (Assuming a 1 "dot" = 1 pixel.) It is true that you can interpolate images well, if they are really sharp. But if you have to crop before you enlarge it becomes much harder.

Why not contact some printers and ask them?
And other places. I am not recommending any of these, just pointing them out.


ChrisBrewster Mar 26, 2006 12:53 AM

"At 11x14 that would mean 8800x11200 pixels."

That's on the order of 100 megapixels. That would indicate that no current DSLR is even in the ballpark to do this photography.

eric s Mar 26, 2006 12:17 PM

Medium Format are fairly high... let me look...

No, it doesn't have a 45 Megapixel chip, just like the current P25 doesn't have a 25 Megapixel chip, rather being 22MP. The P45 does though have a 39 Megapixel (usable) chip, making it the highest resolution single-shot imaging device ever made. This produces a 112 Megabyte file in 8 bit mode, and a 224 Megabyte file in 16 bit mode. Yes – almost a quarter Gigabyte file from a single one-shot frame. Using Phase One's IIQ Large lossless file format each image will occupy approximately 47MB in the CF card. (Don't even think of opening a quarter gig file in Photoshop unless you have at least 2GB of RAM in your computer).
What else is known about this remarkable device? The chip size is the same as that in the previous P25 and other "full-frame" 645 backs. It's almost full-frame. A magnification factor of 1.1X over film is seen. Image size is 7216 x 5412 pixels.
It would certainly be easier to get it that large when starting with a file from one of these cameras.

Now, are my numbers right? I don't honestly know. I just found those numbers while poking around on the web. It's all a question of standards, really. You can always make an image fit on 11x14 paper. It's just a question of if it will look good to you. I have a printer that can print much larger than that and I've printed 13x19 images from my 20D and I think they look great. But I have very few that I can print that size and my Epson 4000 printer is not as good as what they use to publish books with. And standards are quite high for books.


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