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Old Jan 1, 2006, 6:34 PM   #1
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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


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Old Jan 1, 2006, 6:47 PM   #2
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Good to know. I actually had no doubt about it. I print quite a few 13x19 on my Canon i9900 and the quality is superb. I even have some 20x30 from 3MP pics I took with my first digicam a few years ago, and even they are fine unless you press your nose against it to find flaws.


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Old Jan 1, 2006, 6:48 PM   #3
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Squirrl

Thanks for the info on that ! The largest I printed out was an A3 print from a black & white shot I took of Mr.B and was amazed how well it cam out - no noise at all. I didn;t sample up at all, although I was printing to a Xerox A3 full calibrated Colour Laser printer. I have tried printing at that size since.

Cheers

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Old Jan 1, 2006, 7:33 PM   #4
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Squirl - Thanks for the info. Where did you get the $8 16x20? What method/software did you use for the upsampling and why did you choose 3100x2300?
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Old Jan 1, 2006, 8:24 PM   #5
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fmoore wrote:
Quote:
Squirl - Thanks for the info. Where did you get the $8 16x20? What method/software did you use for the upsampling and why did you choose 3100x2300?
Fred,

the place i got the first poster done was called Discount Photo Gifts (http://www.discountphotogifts.com/). they offer 16x20 posters for $8.95, with $4.95 shipping. for comparative purposes, i ordered the second poster from another site called Winkflash (http://www.winkflash.com/) for $7.95, plus $2.99 shipping. Winkflash also has the best pricing I've found on the web for regular enlargements... 5x7's for $0.29 each, 8x10's for $1.99, and flat-rate shipping for prints of $0.99 per order. i haven't done anything with them yet in terms of "regular" prints, but at their prices, i'm planning to send them some work to print up as 5x7's and 8x10's. i'll post the results when i get the prints...

i used Irfanview for the interpolation, set for B-spline filter resampling. the only reason i picked 3100x2300 was because i didn't want togo much more than 20% over the original image size. interpolation does reduce image quality a bit, and i didn't want to introduce too much "guesswork" into the image. i suppose i could've gone larger, but this was an experiment, after all, and i figured i'd use that as a starting point. considering the results i got with the first print, i have no real reason to upsize the file any more...
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Old Jan 1, 2006, 8:54 PM   #6
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Thanks Squirl033

Once I must order some large print from my FZ20 too, before I pass to the FZ40
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Old Jan 1, 2006, 9:24 PM   #7
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Narmer, at the rate things are going, i won't even worry about the FZ40 when it comes out! the '20 is proving to be up to just about anything i ask of it, so unless the '40 offers some really significant improvement in image quality - not just size, but quality - over the FZ20, it'll be a long time before i feel the need to buy another camera...


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Old Jan 1, 2006, 10:24 PM   #8
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Maybe you are right, maybe not.

I don't need very large images (also for I shoot very much) but more Mp = better resolution which can be evident even in the resized screen size pictures.

Also flip HR LCD and F11 do count a lot for me (macros) as well as the fact that FZ30 seems far less prone to the fastidious color casts which affect FZ10-20.
These (and noise) are perfectly editable in PP, but this means more time to spend (although I like playing with Photoshop a lot).

On the other hand I'd like sharp and clear (noise free) pics at 100% frame size, not much for I bother removing noise but because it deteriorates the image which is far better when seen at lower size. And FZ30 100% crops are not so much better than FZ20: more res but also more noise and CA.

In a few words a further slight increase of CCD size on FZ40 should provide very good 5-6 Mp images but, at full frame,the same relative amount of noise as FZ20 at 5Mp and 30 at 8Mp.
So then we would be buying a good 6Mp cam, which is not bad.
But time will tell and I agree with you that camera (and other tools) muct be changed only when broken or really outdated.

Francesco


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Old Jan 1, 2006, 10:29 PM   #9
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Very interesting....Thanks fo the info. bentleysmom
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Old Jan 3, 2006, 2:58 PM   #10
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I shoot with the FZ20 and have gotten good 16x20 posters from http://www.kodakgallery.com.

They cost something like $18.95 (US), plus shipping. That's a tad pricey, but I only get poster-sized prints of a handful of really special photos each year. Kodak does a nice job. The website allows you to preview the photo exactly as it will print at the selected size. You can also use their "zoom & trim" option or shut it off. I usually crop & size my prints to exactly the ratio I want, so I don't use the zoom & trim option very often.

Thanks for the info on the other printers - I may try them out sometime.

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