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Author Topic: Canon 10D and Large Prints  (Read 9246 times)

tgphoto

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Canon 10D and Large Prints
« on: March 16, 2006, 08:23:31 am »

Hi,

I have decided to pursue photography full time and have recently been in discussions with two dedicated print labs for outsourcing my larger print orders (16x24 and larger).

I wanted to get an idea from the forum as to the upper limits of the Canon 10D for large prints.  I tried printing to 12x18 and was pleased with the results.  But I'd like to go bigger if possible.

I'm wondering, from your own experiences, what is the largest sized print that can be made from a Canon 10D Raw image without a noticeable (read: unacceptable) loss of quality?

Thanks!

Tim
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bob mccarthy

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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2006, 11:00:10 am »

Quote
Hi,

I have decided to pursue photography full time and have recently been in discussions with two dedicated print labs for outsourcing my larger print orders (16x24 and larger).

I wanted to get an idea from the forum as to the upper limits of the Canon 10D for large prints.  I tried printing to 12x18 and was pleased with the results.  But I'd like to go bigger if possible.

I'm wondering, from your own experiences, what is the largest sized print that can be made from a Canon 10D Raw image without a noticeable (read: unacceptable) loss of quality?

Thanks!

Tim
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Tim, not trying to be glib,  but the only way to know is to try. Much of percieved sharpness/quality is based upon the subject matter and how you present it.

In my opinion you are walking the edge with 6mpxls, but for some subjects it will work fine. A film camera and the DSLR were at near equality during the 10D time frame. You could concider medium format film to get started.

If this doesn't get you there other alternatives are available. Do you have access to a 1Dx, used or rented. They've gotten cheap (relatively) since it's successor (1DxmkII) and a budget Canon FF is out (5D). I;m assuming your committed to Canon. If not, other great cameras are out there to look at with advances over 10D technology.

Good luck

bob
« Last Edit: March 16, 2006, 11:03:45 am by bob mccarthy »
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Sheldon N

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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2006, 11:08:23 am »

I've printed large from the 10D, but it was a stitched panorama made of 5 vertical shots stacked horizontally, then printed to 20x64. It really is jaw dropping, with great detail. Since the long dimension of a single frame is 20 inches, I'd say that you could get a decent 16x20 with good technique and the best lenses. I used a 70-200mm L zoom mounted on a tripod for my shots.

Hope this helps!

Sheldon
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2006, 11:44:20 am »

Of course a lot will depend on your technique. Sturdy tripod with mirror lock-up and careful focusing is likely to allow for greater enlargement that anything hand-held (even with IS).

But subject matter can make a difference, too. I discovered years ago using film that I could print 11x14" prints from 35mm negs of certain subjects and viewers (experienced photographers) would think I had used a 4x5" view camera (which I did, sometimes). I learned eventually that the prints that worked big were ones in which the finest important detail was just a little bigger than grain clumps size, so the grain was hidden. Blank skies were a real no-no.

I now shoot with a 10D (hoping to add a 5D someday before long, or else upgrade to a 20D or 30D). In my own work I am happy with 10x15"prints from any good shot, and perhaps 30 or 40% will also successfully work at 12x18". My printer is an Epson 2200, so 12x18" is the biggest I ever do.

I'm also in an apparent minority these days in my views on desirable print sizes. In exhibits I almost never show anything bigger than 10x15" in 16x20" frames.

But, as they say, YMMV. I hope this helps.

Eric
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Gary Ferguson

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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2006, 11:46:00 am »

Tim, there's no precise limit. An image doesn't go from being sharp at 8"x12" to unsharp at 9"x13.5". Furthermore, big enlargements are easier with some subjects than others. Shoot a tight head and shoulders portrait and as long as you show individual eyelashes and the structure of the eye then you can enlarge as large as you like, there's no expectation on behalf of the viewer of more detail than this. Conversely if you shoot a landscape and keep enlarging there comes a point the viewer thinks, subconsciously or consciously, "that tree on the horizon is a reasonable size now, shouldn't I be seeing branches and leaves?"

However, there are some guidelines you could usefully juggle with,

1. For quality printing you should aim at 300 pixels per inch of paper, you can usually drop to 240 for larger prints, but that's really the limit for fine quality. And rezzing up won't add any detail, it'll only surpress the jaggies.

2. The depth of field assumptions that are commonly used were laid down in the 1930's and really relate to about x4 or x5 enlargements. You can usually stretch a point and get away with about x6 or even occasionally x7. But if you want near to far sharpness then you will run out of DOF very quickly. Stopping down will only help to a point as you'll start to run into diffraction problems. With a really good lens you can just start to see this by f11, by f16 or f22 you'll see it for sure in big enlargements.

3. I'm assuming you're using a tripod. The old adage about when handholding use the reciprocal of the shutter speed is okay in smaller prints, but you'll have to raise the bar accordingly with big prints.

4. There's a theory that says enlargement doesn't matter, that the viewer always steps back to a distance roughly the diagonal of the print. I can believe this for prints bigger than about 20"x30", although even here there's something about a photograph that invites nose to the print inspection. Below this size the viewer tends to hold the print in their hands and view it from the same distance, big or small. For example you don't hold a large newspaper further away than a small magazine.

Put all this together and I'd argue that you're really pushing the envelope with 12"x18" prints from a 10D, you'll get some shots that'll work at these dimesions, but equally you can't guarantee every shot will print up to this size. And you will always be risking your shot being put next to a print made from a 5D or 1Ds mkII, when with large prints the differences will suddenly become very obvious.

Do you really have to print this big? A good shot can look exquisite at A4 or 10"x8", especially if carefully matted with a substantial border.
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sgwrx

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Canon 10D and Large Prints
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2006, 10:49:27 pm »

tim, i have a 10d and recently got a epson r2400. i've made only a few prints so far, 10x14 to 13x19. i've been pleasantly surprised! i haven't been able to print and compare different subject matters, landscape vs. a close up of a flower, so i can't help there. but it was definitely worth getting a printer for this size of print. with all the learning via forums and sites like LL, i'm sure i'll be able to consistently take and make good photos at these sizes.
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madmanchan

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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2006, 07:39:46 am »

It really depends on the subject matter.  Some subjects "demand" to be inspected by people with their nose in the print, others don't.    About a month ago I visited Frans Lanting's gallery in Santa Cruz, CA.  He has a large print (48" x 72") of this image there:

https://www.lanting.com/fp_slideshow/dp-009.html

Yes that's right -- 48" x 72" coming from 35 mm film.  And it looked great ... it's one of those images where you step back and take in the grandeur instead of sticking your nose in it.  It's very effective in that size, not to say it wouldn't be effective in something smaller.

Eric
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Eric Chan

tgphoto

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Canon 10D and Large Prints
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2006, 10:28:19 am »

Thank you all for the insightful and informative responses to my post.  I guess I am really torn as to what to do now.  I was hoping I could go bigger than say 13x19 since a lot of the landscape photo work I see on the net is offered in print sizes up to and beyond 16x24.  

At this point I am trying to justify the purchase of an Epson Stylus Pro 4800 over an R2400.  My wife and biggest fan of my work thinks I should go with the 4800 now and then upgrade my camera in a few years.  My thought is if the stuff I've gotten back from the labs at 16x24 isn't that impressive that an R2400 will do me just fine until I have the scratch to upgrade both camera and printer.

Is there any real advantage to getting a 4800 over a 2400 given my camera's limitations?
« Last Edit: March 21, 2006, 10:28:58 am by tgphoto »
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DarkPenguin

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Canon 10D and Large Prints
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2006, 10:50:02 am »

If you know you won't upgrade for a couple years get the 2400.  Canon and HP are stepping into the big print market so you'll have more (and probably cheaper) options in a couple of years.
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2006, 10:56:18 am »

Quote
Thank you all for the insightful and informative responses to my post.  I guess I am really torn as to what to do now.  I was hoping I could go bigger than say 13x19 since a lot of the landscape photo work I see on the net is offered in print sizes up to and beyond 16x24. 

At this point I am trying to justify the purchase of an Epson Stylus Pro 4800 over an R2400.  My wife and biggest fan of my work thinks I should go with the 4800 now and then upgrade my camera in a few years.  My thought is if the stuff I've gotten back from the labs at 16x24 isn't that impressive that an R2400 will do me just fine until I have the scratch to upgrade both camera and printer.

Is there any real advantage to getting a 4800 over a 2400 given my camera's limitations?
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In your position I would go with the 2400 now and hope to upgrade my camera sooner rather than later. From all I hear, if you ever need to switch between matte black and glossy black inks, the change is much less expensive on the 2400.

As I mentioned earlier, I seldom print bigger than 10x15" on my 2200 from my 10D. Once I have the shekels for a 5D I'll start worrying about 2400 vs. 4800 to replace my 2200. Just my two cents.

Eric
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Tim Gray

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« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2006, 12:31:11 pm »

Uprez to the size you want to check out and crop back to 12x17 (or whatever the largest you can presently print) and have a look.

The technology trajectory for printing vs digital SLRs favours buying the camera now and waiting for the printing technology to mature a bit.  Both Canon and HP have very interesting technology on the way to production.  IMO the 4800 (nothwithstanding the phatte black option) is a stopgap.
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bob mccarthy

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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2006, 01:02:35 pm »

Starting out is always a series of compromises. We never start out with enough capital do we!

Both cameras and printers have horrendeous depreciation curves, likely 30-40 % per year so neither can be viewed as a good investment, but as an expense of the business

Cameras for "landscape" have fairly high resolution/pixel requirements. You want to compete with others offering equivalent product so concider how to get there. Letting someone else taking the depreciation hit is often the economic way to go. A used 1Ds is probably close to the sweet spot. If your Nikon inclined, the D2x is equally capable and is getting cheaper as the D200 is capturing a lot of Nikon buyers attention as well as the camera may be upgraded at year end.

As for printing, if you are printing on matte, then Epson is your printer. If you want glossy or satin then the HP designjet is the better way to go. And a bargin to boot compared to the Epson. My 90 was roughly $1000 US. And prints 17" wide. I've gotten some beautiful work from it.  I am not a HP fanboy as I own the Epson 7600, the 2200, the 1800 as well as the HP.

As one aspiring to do "landscape" work, pixels count, if you want to print large! Other types of photography are less demanding.

Hope this helps.

Bob
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blangton

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« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2006, 02:19:32 pm »

Tim...

If your original file is sharp and well exposed, you can get great prints up to 20"x30" from a 6mp file.  Granted - they might not stand up against a larger format file with your nose against the glass, but hung on the wall - viewed from an appropriate distance for a print that large, they will look great.  

Unless you are planning on making "lot's" of huge prints, get a 2400 (or similar) and outsource your larger prints to a lab.  There are dozens of image labs online and locally that can output 20"x30" prints for around $25 a piece - shipped to your door.  You could afford a lot of those for the price difference in the 2400 vs. the 4800.  The best way to tell if you are satisfied with the results is to order one.  Look at Mpix, EZ Prints, Shutterfly, etc for more information.  Hell - even some local Costco's can go to 20"x30" and they each have customized, downloadable ICC profiles for softproofing before you upload.

Be sure to look at the materials costs when comparing as well.  The 220ml inks for the 4800 cost a fortune.  A full set is almost as much as the 2400 itself.  Then add in large rolls of paper, etc and you can very easily rack up a huge amount of money.  

For the 10D, get a 13"x19" printer and send out your larger prints...

Good luck...

Bill
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« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2006, 02:19:34 am »

The 4800 ink cost (due to the cheaper price/ml of the 220 cartridges) is less than 50% of the 2400.
So in the end a 4800 might cost as much as a 2400 if you inklude ink usage (which you should)

Do your math and if you print alot..then a 4800 will probably be cheaper in the end (with the possibility to print bigger)
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Jonathan Wienke

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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2006, 11:24:48 am »

Maximum print size for any given megapixel count depends on your level of technical nitpickyness, technique, lens, subject matter and viewing distance. Obviously, the farther the viewer is from the print, the less detailed it has to be to still look "acceptably sharp", whatever that is.

Subject matter makes a big difference as well. Simple geometric shapes shouded in fog require far fewer megapixels to render well than a landscape scene with many trees, flowers, branches, and leaves that demand a high level of detail to render well. Images that work well with soft focus (typically glamourous/romantic images) can get by with fewer source pixels as well. So if you intend to produce wall-sized landscape prints that need to look good at arms length or closer, Michael's P45 kit might be the bare minimum unless you want to get into stitching. But if you're primarily doing soft-focus glamour portraits, a 6MP DSLR like the 10D might be more than adequate.

Lens and technique are also very important. A poor lens, improper focus, or small amounts of camera shake can "dumb down" a 12MP image to the 6MP level or below pretty easily. The more megapixels you have, the easier it is to fail to use them to their full potential. If you upgrade the camera, but fail to obtain lenses that can resolve as much detail as the sensor, you're mostly wasting your money. The same is true of cheap, flimsy tripods (save your money and buy a good one the first time around; it's much cheaper in the long run) and your own skill level. More megapixels demand greater focus precision, smaller apertures (DOF gets narrower because higher sensor resolution decreases the capture circle of confusion), and faster shutter speeds (motion blur at a given shutter speed becomes more apparent as the overall capture resolution increases). If you can't get a sharp image with a 10D, don't bother upgrading until you've mastered photography to the point you can, unless the problem is due to the equipment itself.

My personal rule of thumb is that most technically well-executed images from my 1Ds (11MP) can go up to about 24x36" before they start falling apart under close inspection. For the 1D-MkII (8.2MP), the limit is about 20x30", and for the 10D, it's somewhere around 16x24". But again, that's not set in stone, and varies considerably depending on image content and capture technique. I've shot many 1Ds frames that start falling apart at 5x7" because I screwed up some technical thing while shooting. YMMV.
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JB Liles

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« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2006, 10:30:08 am »

I have produced some beautiful prints in 20 X 30 inch size with my 10D using Genuine Fractals from lizardtech to "res" up the files. I have done this with both Raw and camera jpeg. Of course you have to start with a good sharp pic. I've produced some excellent prints using the 100mm macro and the 70-200mm 2.8LIS.
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tjcafe

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« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2006, 12:42:36 am »

I get wonderful 16x24's using good technique, tripod and L lenses. Even have to 20x30's that hold up really well. Good sharpening techniques in PS make a big difference also.


Quote
Hi,

I have decided to pursue photography full time and have recently been in discussions with two dedicated print labs for outsourcing my larger print orders (16x24 and larger).

I wanted to get an idea from the forum as to the upper limits of the Canon 10D for large prints.  I tried printing to 12x18 and was pleased with the results.  But I'd like to go bigger if possible.

I'm wondering, from your own experiences, what is the largest sized print that can be made from a Canon 10D Raw image without a noticeable (read: unacceptable) loss of quality?

Thanks!

Tim
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eatstickyrice

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« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2006, 06:36:12 am »

Just a thought, equipment prices will be changing a fair bit as the new releases come out just before the Fall Photokina event. The 5D might be a really good choice considering what you are doing, but it may drop in price another $500 if a replacement is announced. Stores will have to reduce prices to clear their stocks for the new invetory. Perhaps you could take a few quick and easy jobs that wouldn't require the large prints as a means of saving up some cash for the Photokina releases or current products at reduced prices. Do note that new releases often take several months to hit the streets after Photokina.

Rick
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