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Old Mar 15, 2006, 10:12 AM   #1
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Hello. I've been observing here for some time but this is my first post as I'm about to upgrade, and seek advice if it's ok.

I've been using a Sony DSC-S75 for a few years and it's great for snapshots and prints up to 5x7 inches, but I'm getting serious with my hobby and will have need via work, to do very good and very sharp 11x14 prints.

I know people who own both a Canon 10D and a Nikon D70, and both are nice cameras with maybe the Canon I think making slightly better prints, but I have also seen 11x14 prints from both of these and the details are not quite as good as we're going to need. I need for fine details like grass, hair, etc, to be really nice and sharp. Both of those above cameras did very well up to 8x10 samples I saw, but after that while still good, those very fine detailed items started getting that digital mush appearance you read people talking about in here.

At first we were looking at the 20D and then the 30D was announced, but I've also read comments from people saying that the 20D isn't as detailed as they like in larger prints, so maybe the difference between 6 and 8 megapixels isn't enough for what we need (?). The Canon 5D looks good and gets rave reviews from users, but at $2900 it's a little more than we wanted to spend. The Nikon D200 looks promising, but the banding problem I've read is a concern. Some of our work will be indoors with no flash, so speeds of 400 to 800 might be needed and still get a decent 11x14 print out of that.

Suggestions are welcome on which route to go. Again, the primary top goal is for large prints where super fine details are visible and not mushy. thanks.
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Old Mar 15, 2006, 10:34 AM   #2
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Well, we can probably figure out what you need since you list the 8x10 as good and 11x14 as unsatisfactory, from two different 6mp cameras.

The resolution for both those cameras is about 3000x2000 which at 8x10 is about 250ppi (cropping 1" off each side, due to aspect ratio differences). With 11x14 its 180ppi, and your cropping 1.2" off each side.

So, if you want as much detail as you see in the 8x10's you need about 250ppi. With 11x14 that works out to 2750x3500, or actually (since the sensor is 3:2 aspect ratio) 2750x4125. Thats about 11 megapixels.

The difference from 6mp to 8mp is very marginal. You may not actually need that much resolution though, since there are more advanced ways to upsample your image before printing... but I'll have to defer to someone withe more expirience on that matter.
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Old Mar 15, 2006, 11:46 AM   #3
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What do you shoot that you need to see all that detail in only 11x14 size prints which is quite small. Folks print much larger sizes from 8MP cams. A lot depends on what lense you you. Put piece of crap on 1dSMk2 and it not going to show you more detail.

I would be more worried about which camera to buy based on what I need not if I can do 11x14 prints which any of 6MP would do very easily if using proper interpolation. Do you shoot sports, wildlife where high fps and crop fatcor matters, then 20D/30D are good choices. 1dMK2 is best for that category even though at 1.3x crop. If you shoot potraits then 5D with full-frame snsor is awesome. if you can swing $7000, then get 1dsMK2.


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Old Mar 15, 2006, 6:29 PM   #4
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I think this is my first post here.

I use a D70s and I talked with my color lab about sizes. They prefer files set to print out at 250 DPI.

At the same time they also said that the D70s with uprez (on there end) of course will produce a very good 16x20. I have to go with what they say. They are a Professional Portrait Color lab. 16x20 is thier threshold so to speak with the D70s.

Good point to bring up lens. At the same time since this is digital it is also important to have someone print for you that knows what they are doing.



Thank for your time.
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Old Mar 15, 2006, 7:04 PM   #5
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I've made 12x17 prints that look great with the D50 and d70 both of which are 6mp. Alot depends on the lens and focus is critical. Also, exposure needs to be spot on in order to print at these sizes...underexposure results in increased noise asnd loss of detail. I don't think 8mp would increase my quality all that much.
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Old Mar 15, 2006, 10:20 PM   #6
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Thank you for the replies. The photos are construction site related, and glass in particular, with sometimes very detailed etchings or patterns in the glass that need to be shown. We generally give customers a framed 11x14 image of the completed job or work/item, and they like that. The 11x14 once matted and framed just appears nicer than an 8x10 since it's not the most common of sizes.

The 30D with a nice lens could be a choice. The 5D would be stretching the budget quite a bit, however, I know someone who has a Canon 50mm macro lens he said he would trade for some glass work, and we don't absolutely have to have a zoom lens right now. The 50mm would allow us to do what we need, and from some of the posts I've read on other forums, that 50mm fixed lens should yield better results on the 5D than a standard priced zoom lens, right?


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Old Mar 15, 2006, 10:39 PM   #7
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It depends. In general, prime lenses are considered sharper than zoom lenses, but there is always exceptions*cough* EF 50mm f/1.4 *cough*. Butthe canon 50mm f/1.8 would be a good choice.
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Old Mar 15, 2006, 10:57 PM   #8
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If your thinking of making the jump from a D30 do a 5D, which is a really big jump, you might want to have some example pictures printed at 11x14 from both cameras.
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Old Mar 15, 2006, 11:38 PM   #9
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tmoreau wrote:
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If your thinking of making the jump from a D30 do a 5D, which is a really big jump, you might want to have some example pictures printed at 11x14 from both cameras.

You must have misread my post. I never mentioned anything about a D30. I looked that up and it is a very old model. I said in my original post that we've been using a Sony DSC-S75. We were considering a 30D, not D30. The 30D is new. Or a 5D.



To Homer - the lens we might get from that guy I know is the Canon 50mm and he told me it says "Canon EF 50mm Macro 1:2.5 and 1:4 on it and ran around $350.00. If this is the one you were coughing at I'm not sure, but I've seen some shots from his 10D using it and it takes incredible shots up to 8x10. He has taken shots of insects and you can see every single hair on them in detail.
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Old Mar 16, 2006, 7:52 AM   #10
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richardj30127 wrote:
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To Homer - the lens we might get from that guy I know is the Canon 50mm and he told me it says "Canon EF 50mm Macro 1:2.5 and 1:4 on it and ran around $350.00. If this is the one you were coughing at I'm not sure, but I've seen some shots from his 10D using it and it takes incredible shots up to 8x10. He has taken shots of insects and you can see every single hair on them in detail.
Lens, lens, lens.

If you can frame twice as tight, you'll have 4 times as many pixels representing your subject (not twice as many).

So, if you needed to crop a 12 Megapixel image to make it look like you were twice as close, or using a lens twice as long, you could have just as much detail using a 4 Megapixel camera with the right framing, as long as the image processing and lens quality were equivalent.

Even my 2 Megapixel Nikon Coolpix 950, which can "fill the frame" with a subject as small as 2/3" across, could capture more detail (pixels representing the subject), compared to an 8 Megapixel model that could only capture an area 2 inches across, if the subject was smaller (less than 1 inch across).



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