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Old Aug 27, 2004, 4:22 PM   #1
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I have a HP 850, I was wondering what is the maximum print size I can get If I went in a store to have it print.

I also want to know how does it work: is it the resolution or the Mega pixel that determine the maximum size of the photo!

Thank you

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Old Aug 27, 2004, 6:15 PM   #2
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The megapixels generally determine how large you can print. The resolution the camera takes the picture at is meaningless.

Your 4Mp camera will generally do a decent 11 X 14 print. There are a lot of variables. Some subject matter can be blown up more than others. If you take a shot in limited light you might get some motion blur that doesn't show up that much viewed onscreen but will be apparent in a large print.

I have read posts by people who had 2Mp images printed at 16 X 20 and were pleased with the results. You usually view a larger print at a greater distance so loss of detail isn't as apparent. But 11 X 14 from 4Mp is pretty good from any distance if the original image is sharp.

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Old Aug 27, 2004, 7:29 PM   #3
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I usually "humbug" the usual comments folks make on this subject. My old Canon Pro90 (2.6 MP) has produced some wonderful 13 X 19 pictures that hang on my walls today. I matte them to 16 X 20 frames.

I have had a lot of success with "rezzing up" smaller files with Genuine Fractals or Photoshop Elements. Pictures hanging on the wall look great... the viewing distance and printer quality are important factors. MegaPixels ain't everything.
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Old Aug 28, 2004, 2:53 AM   #4
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The megapixels generally determine how large you can print. The resolution the camera takes the picture at is meaningless.
The "megapixel" count and "resolution" is exactly the same thing, and is one of the most important specifications to determine how big you can print your pic, along with JPEG compression. Your camera has an effective megapixel count of 3.9 (or 3.9 million pixels captured for each image). The resolution is 2272 pixels by 1712 pixels. Do the math, 2272 multiplied by 1712 equals 3.9 million, it is the same thing, only dimensioned.

A high resolution print is 300 dots (pixels) per inch, or dpi. Again, if you do the math, at 2272/300 by 1712/300 equals 7.6 inches by 5.7 inches. This is the biggest you can print at a high resolution. Bigger prints do not need to be at such a high dpi because they are generally viewed at a greater distance, and such a high resolution is not necessary. For an 8x10 or bigger, 200dpi is a good rule of thumb.

Generally, at 4 megapixels, an 8x10 is easy, even with some cropping. Bigger than that is also usually possible, but may take some creative digital enhancing.
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Old Aug 28, 2004, 2:57 AM   #5
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I hesitate to comment Slipe, as I know you have good knowledge about digital things, and you've been very helpful. However, while I agree that, as you say, the megapixels determine the image size, the comment that resolution is "meanlingless" disturbs me.

I've learned much on forums like this, and now understandthat resolution is the total megapixels of an image. There is much confusion about this. Especially concerning DPI. PossibilityDPI is what you had in mind when referring to resolution. A different thing. AFAIK DPI is not a function of a digi image, but is only involved when printing, scanning, or displaying on the monitor.

When printing, the DPI available will be the pixels dimensions divided by the number of inches you select to print.

What say Slipe, have I got resolution correct, or is it meaningless ?

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Old Aug 28, 2004, 6:34 AM   #6
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Digital cameras are classified by their resolution. The megapixel value is derived from multiplying the pixels found on the photo sensor as a function of (height x width).


2-megapixel digital cameras - 1600 x 1200

3-megapixel digital cameras - 2048 x 1536

4-megapixel digital cameras - 2272 x 1704

Now, you can change the camera resolution as a means of user selectable options. Thus, you can take smaller photos with less detail saved. Your camera still records the same image as with the highest resolution, but does some internal compressions resultingin a smaller and less detailed photo.

Thus, higher megapixel cameras do capture more details which results into higher file sizes. These files can be enlarged to a greater extent without showing artifacts compared to a lower resolution camera or a lower resolution photo taken by the same higher resolution rated camera.

Now, printers do make the difference and should never be overlooked for a digital photographer.

You can have a very good high resolution photo..and if you have a poor printer...your output will look like junk. So photo printers are needed. Less so the argument that DPI are as important. I have taken some 170DPI photos with a 3.3 Coolpix 990 and enlarged them to 11x14 with really good results. In fact, I have a staff photo that now hangs at work of this size.

Furthermore, if you plan on passing your photos through an offset printer, you will have to decrease yourDPI to around 72, otherwise the screening will destroy your images as they have too much detail for that media...making them look muddied.

Many have said that a DPI of 300 is ideal...and it may be so for specific usages, but I have a hard time seeing the difference between 300 and 170 DPI on an average 8x10. My opinion is that if I have to take out aMagnifyer to see the difference (and who walks around inspecting photos like that unless your working in the industry), then there is practically no difference worth mentioning. DPI via the printer interface does affect your end result somewhat...but not as much as you may first surmise.

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Old Aug 28, 2004, 7:18 AM   #7
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I personally can't see any difference in quality or detail once you get up to around 200 Pixels Per Inch. You can either calculate PPI yourself, or use this handy chart. Personally, I try to maintain a minimum of 150 PPI for my prints after cropping. I can see a noticeable improvement going to around 200PPI. But, after that, I am unable to see any increase in detail or quality at closer viewing distances.


Now, you can use less than this at larger print sizes (because you are viewing them from further away). However, keep in mind that it takes 4 times the resolution to maintain the same subject detail in pixels per inch, each time you double the print size.

Some of the services specializing in Poster Size prints do have excellent interpolation algorithms designed to prevent pixelation at larger sizes. However, interpolation only adds pixels based on the values of adjacent pixels, and can't increase the detail captured.

I know someone that recently had a 2MP image printed at 20x30", and they were pleased with the results at further viewing distances. However, their subject was a mountain range without much in the way of fine detail like foilage. Subject type can make a big difference in perceived quality.

Lin Evanshas the best explanation I've seen of why subject type makes a difference when you enlarge. See the Lin's post in this thread:


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