I will be making 17" wide prints and I'm trying to decide which camera to buy. The canon 5d mark II has 21mp compared to the nikon d700's 12mp. I know megapixels are not everything but I'm concerned about print size. I'm also aware of the other differences such as points of AF and exposure compensation. Which camera is better for the size of a print that I want, Nikon d700 or Canon 5d mark II?
For ultimate quality...
Do not use anything with an Anti-Aliasing filter.
Use an Epson printer @ 360 original camera pixels per print inch.
I expect you could buy a used MFB that would give you 360 original camera pixels per print inch on a 17 inch wide printer... but would this cost more than a new 24 Mpx DSLR? ... If you are contemplating Canon or Nikon, I presume that you do not hope to upgrade you camera without buying a set of lenses?
I think you would need about 30Mpx for 12 * 17 inches @ 360pppi, but if your budget would not run to that, you could use a lower res back and print at 240 pppi. You could print close to 17 inches at 360 pppi with a 24 Mpx camera, and it would be interesting to see 17 in wide prints
24Mpx pixel to pixel DSLR 9 (with border) along side
21Mpx scaled DSLR and
30Mpx MF pixel to pixel pictures.
For 18 * 24 print I will use a Hasselblad H4D-60 and an Epson 7900 (with ColorBurst RIP), or 24 * 36 @ 240pppi... this kit is an order of magnitude or two more expensive, and I hope it will produce much better prints.
For panoramic 24" * 40 or more inches I hope to shift-and-stitch, and print @ 360 pppi.