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Author Topic: How much quality do you really need?  (Read 44616 times)

BJL

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How much resolution do we need? For "normal" viewing maybe 4K or 12MP?
« Reply #180 on: March 20, 2016, 04:34:56 pm »

So all you guys that print small, do you still watch TV on your 13" sets?
No; and we view today's larger TVs from far further away then we view a 10"x8" of 14"x11" print or a smaller TV.  In fact, we almost always view TV's from a distance greater than the screen width.  The desire to watch TV while sitting down is one big differentiation from how we usually view photographic prints, disposing us to greater viewing distances and thus the desire for bigger images.

But one thing in common is the typical ratio of image size to viewing distance: as with TVs, most people view prints, most of the time, from a bit further away than the long dimension, for a so-called "normal" viewing angle. And for either TV or prints, viewing in that "normal" way limits resolution needs to about 4000 pixels in the long dimension, regardless of the size at which the image is displayed: about "4K" in the digital video world; about 12MP in the jargon of digital still cameras. (Aside: I prefer the "linear" resolution measures use with video!)

But of course "most" is not "all"; many of us occasionally indulge in abnormally close viewing, a.k.a. "print sniffing" – especially when a photographer or friend has gone to the effort of producing, hanging, and carefully lighting a huge print.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 04:38:51 pm by BJL »
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chez

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #181 on: March 20, 2016, 05:56:42 pm »

Here's a perfect example of what I just posted above. How can your attitude towards your photo work possibly be different to mine? There must be something wrong with you (because, of course, I am the norm).

-Dave-

Perfect example of someone jumping to conclusions. I'm just asking the question as to why someone would not want to show off their art? Is there really something wrong with that?
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chez

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #182 on: March 20, 2016, 05:59:10 pm »


Do you examine your girlfriend with a magnifying glass?

Rob C

Yep...sometimes. So Rob, do you have a big screen TV...bigger than say 20" and if so why? Do you have external speakers as well...if so why?

Seems you love to ask the stupid questions...maybe answer some yourself.
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chez

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Re: How much resolution do we need? For "normal" viewing maybe 4K or 12MP?
« Reply #183 on: March 20, 2016, 06:06:50 pm »

No; and we view today's larger TVs from far further away then we view a 10"x8" of 14"x11" print or a smaller TV.  In fact, we almost always view TV's from a distance greater than the screen width.  The desire to watch TV while sitting down is one big differentiation from how we usually view photographic prints, disposing us to greater viewing distances and thus the desire for bigger images.

But one thing in common is the typical ratio of image size to viewing distance: as with TVs, most people view prints, most of the time, from a bit further away than the long dimension, for a so-called "normal" viewing angle. And for either TV or prints, viewing in that "normal" way limits resolution needs to about 4000 pixels in the long dimension, regardless of the size at which the image is displayed: about "4K" in the digital video world; about 12MP in the jargon of digital still cameras. (Aside: I prefer the "linear" resolution measures use with video!)

But of course "most" is not "all"; many of us occasionally indulge in abnormally close viewing, a.k.a. "print sniffing" – especially when a photographer or friend has gone to the effort of producing, hanging, and carefully lighting a huge print.

Thanks for your attacking comments...glad to better know you... Personally you can keep this garbage to yourself.

As far as looking at large prints up close...I see it all the time at galleries where people look from far away to take in the whole scene and then come up close to see the details in the prints. I see it with paintings as well...people come in close to observe the brush strokes.

It really depends on the type of photo that is displayed. Many landscapes have great fine detail that just cannot be seen from your described optimal viewing distance and are observed closely. An image of a building or portrait which contains little to no fine detail might not be viewed close as there is nothing there to be seen...but an image of a rainforest loaded with detail would benefit from looking closely at the details.
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chez

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #184 on: March 20, 2016, 06:50:09 pm »

Mr chez,

I've spent my working life, day in, day out, making images. The last thing I want to do when at rest is to have to look at those images.

So you look at someone else's art? I love looking at my own images...brings back memories, smells, sounds etc... Looking at my images reveals to me more than the pretty picture...it reveals a memory. That for me is MUCH more cherished than having some other static art without any memory hanging on a wall.

Pity you feel that way of your years of hard work.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #185 on: March 20, 2016, 07:10:45 pm »

... I'd no more display my own work on my walls than I would my genitals.

How about someone else's? Imagine that printed 5-6 feet tall in a, say, dining room ;)

BJL

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Re: How much resolution do we need? For "normal" viewing maybe 4K or 12MP?
« Reply #186 on: March 20, 2016, 10:20:01 pm »

Thanks for your attacking comments...glad to better know you... Personally you can keep this garbage to yourself.

As far as looking at large prints up close...I see it all the time at galleries where people look from far away to take in the whole scene and then come up close to see the details in the prints. I see it with paintings as well...people come in close to observe the brush strokes.

It really depends on the type of photo that is displayed. Many landscapes have great fine detail that just cannot be seen from your described optimal viewing distance and are observed closely. An image of a building or portrait which contains little to no fine detail might not be viewed close as there is nothing there to be seen...but an image of a rainforest loaded with detail would benefit from looking closely at the details.

What attack? You seem to have completely missed the point of my last sentence: I was agreeing with you that some prints, some times can invite, get and even deserve closer-than-normal scrutiny, so that my previous comments about normal viewing would not be misinterpreted as a claim that "12MP is all that anyone ever needs".  Note that I said that I myself do a bit of "print sniffing"!
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NancyP

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #187 on: March 21, 2016, 01:09:43 pm »

Well, I will not be putting my "for work" photographs on the wall in my home......   :o  There's something seriously wrong with the body part if I am photographing the surgical specimen (for conferences).
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Rob C

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #188 on: March 21, 2016, 03:18:00 pm »

Well, I will not be putting my "for work" photographs on the wall in my home......   :o  There's something seriously wrong with the body part if I am photographing the surgical specimen (for conferences).

In that case, Nancy, you won't be buying any Joel-Peter Witkin any day soon?

(Neither will I!)

Rob C

razrblck

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #189 on: March 22, 2016, 01:08:37 pm »

It feels good to have my pictures hanging in other people's homes, even if it's just friends. The biggest I printed was a 70x30cm (28x11") from a 16MP image.
There's plenty of detail even for close viewing, so I assume I could print that file up to 80" on the long end and still be good looking at normal distance for such a huge picture.
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John Koerner

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #190 on: March 22, 2016, 03:44:52 pm »

Assuming you are limited to a 17" printer, how far can you go in terms of meaningful improvements in quality by upgrading cameras.

I realise that newer sensors usually improve on Dynamic Range, but I still wonder how much of an improvement people have found moving from say a Nikon D700, to a Nikon D800.  Not pixel peeping on the computer, but looking at real prints.

When I used film, I was never happy with prints from 35mm. Roll film was OK, but I tried to use 5x4 whenever I could. With digital there doesn't same to be the same urgency to chase image quality the way there once was, as we now seem to be well past a "threshold" of acceptable quality with digital.  The number of people who have dropped sensor size to use Fuji x cameras may be evidence of this threshold being reached.

I know everyone needs to make their own judgment on print quality, but its still comparative and we all still want to make the best of the tools available.  I well remember all the "grain free"  20x 16s that people used to proudly display, which looked unacceptably grainy to me because I was used to seeing grain from roll film and sheet film.

So, if someone is still plodding along with a D700, making 17" prints that they are happy with, would they want to throw all those prints away once they saw how much better prints from a D800 or sony a7 were, or would it not make any meaningful difference.  Have we really passed a threshold in quality, or are new sensors still giving us important improvements in quality (in terms of the landscape photographer).

I would be very interested to hear what people with first hand experience of this think, as I'm not sure many camera reviewers who comment on quality actually make prints.

Thanks,

Graham

It's a conundrum of sorts, really: "When is enough, enough?"

And because individual needs vary, I suppose individual responses will vary.

Me? I think I took better images 3 years ago, simply because I had the time to take pictures all day/all night, as well as the environment in which to do so (even though I had a Canon 7D + an outdated macro lens).

Now, while I may have the Nikon D810, and the finest macro/prime lenses in their class, the images I'm taking are not as good as what I used to take. However, this is not because the equipment I am using, it is simply because my lifestyle has changed, and my time is now limited, not to mention my location is no longer optimal.

When I had lower-level equipment, I was living on a 50-acre spread in the middle of gorgeous Florida wilderness, and I had wildlife opportunities all around me, from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep. I was able to take better pictures simply because I had full access to innumerable opportunities + all day long to capitalize on them.

Now, living in a suburb of L.A., I may have "better equipment," but because I work 240 hours a month, and have to drive at least 1-hr just to get to a natural setting, the amount of time I have to actually utilize this "superior equipment" is minimal.

Therefore, IMO, because most modern equipment is able to deliver fine images, the greatest "quality" to concentrate on for your results at this point is your time + opportunity, being where you need to be, not on your equipment.

That said, I am glad I have the upgraded equipment that I now have.
I can take crops from what I have and produce better images than what I could with a full-frame shot with my prior equipment.
And, when I get a comparable shot full-frame, the difference is definitely noticeable.
My opportunities, however, are simply few and far between.

I believe at this point, most of the available high-end options are all anyone ever needs to secure quality images, provided they have the time, and position themselves in the place, required to capture image worthy of printing.

Mention was made of Thomas Mangelsen, and his situation (pardon the pun) "bears" testimony to the above: Mangelsen didn't capture the images he did, and acquire his deserved fame, because of the "quality camera" he had ??? No, Mangelsen produced the images he did ... because he was there ... in a blind, all-day, all-night ... for days/weeks/months/years out in the wild ... and so was in the position to capture images that captured people's fancy.

You can have the best, most modern equipment in the world, but if you're sitting at home admiring your purchase decisions, you will never captured the same images, or produce the same quality prints, as the man who may have a lesser camera than you … and perhaps not the printer either ... but who is "out there," where it matters, capturing the images that people want to buy.

Jack
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Rob C

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #191 on: March 22, 2016, 03:47:08 pm »

Indeed, John, and that can be applied to all types of photography.

Rob C

Isaac

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #192 on: March 22, 2016, 04:04:59 pm »

… I had the time to take pictures all day/all night…

I imagine you might have somethings to say on that different topic about the recent LuLa article - Improve Your Photography by Staying Longer
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John Koerner

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #193 on: March 22, 2016, 05:24:05 pm »

Indeed, John, and that can be applied to all types of photography.

Rob C

Absolutely.
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John Koerner

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #194 on: March 22, 2016, 06:09:04 pm »

I imagine you might have somethings to say on that different topic about the recent LuLa article - Improve Your Photography by Staying Longer

What a wonderful article.

"Staying longer" doesn't just give you more opportunity, it gives you more knowledge of your terrain.

Part of the benefit of being "on-site" all the time (be it nature photography, or any kind of photography) is a complete knowledge of when events typically happen.

When I lived in the Florida wilderness, for over six years, I knew when each species was likely to be found, where I needed to be to find it, etc.
My own property had everything I wanted to photograph: frogs would visit at night, toads too, moths, all forms of nocturnal arthropods, etc.
In the morning, birds were everywhere, lizards/snakes came out to sun themselves, all forms of butterflies were floating in the flower garden, etc.
Merely walking out onto my front porch, and down the steps, was all it took to create opportunities for myself.
I could also just look out the window and see if the light was right.
I could walk out and take a hike, instantly, anytime I wanted to.
The deck was stacked in my favor.

Now, I pretty much have to wait for the weekend.
When the weekend comes, it takes me 1 to 2 hours to get to anywhere meaningful, and then my duration of time out there is minimized.
Where as, before, in Florida, the deck was stacked in my favor, now, by only by only affording myself a minimal of time out in the field.
The deck is now stacked against me.

Barring serendipity, the person who is out there the longest, and who has the most intimate understanding of the land and ecosystem, will get the best shots.
It is more than just the likelihood of "being there at the right time," it is also the acquired knowledge of the land that goes with it.

Just as an example, suppose I read "an article online," and drove to Arizona in the hopes of capturing some wonderful flora & fauna shots, over a mere weekend: my chances of success are nowhere near what a native Arizona photographer can accomplish, by seeing the landscape all day/every day, making multiple efforts over the course of many days/weeks/months. I essentially have zero knowledge of the land, and a very fleeting window of opportunity. By contrast, the native Arizonan has a lifetime of knowledge of the land + a lifetime of opportunities to take advantage of any "magic moments," as they occur.

Therefore, with the high-quality of today's modern equipment, (and, again, pardon the pun) the "focus" of any photographer who has actually purchased recently-updated equipment, regardless of his photographic discipline, would be better spent gaining knowledge of his subjects/terrain + spending as much time as possible in a position to capture those "magic moments" than he would worrying about whether or not he has the latest iteration or version of whatever camera.

This November, I will have the opportunity to go to Thailand to visit my fiancée's family. More than just "being in Thailand," it will be the contribution of knowledgeable Thailand natives that will contribute to my ability to get good nature photographs while in that region (+ the amount of time I put into it) than will whether or not I buy a new camera/printer.

Similarly, I have several Facebook friends who live in nearby Malaysia.
While I am in Thailand, I am going to take a brief flight over to Malaysia to meet these friends (whose photography I have admired for years), and they will escort me to several wild areas of their country where we will all take nature shots.
Obviously, being "in Malaysia" will assist me in taking Malaysian nature photography, but more than this, the local knowledge of the Malaysian photographers (+ my time spent out there) will be 100x more pivotal to the results I hope to take than will "what camera" (or printer) I happen to have at the time.

Time spent = knowledge gained = being in the right place at the right time.

Which (assuming any modern instrument) is more valuable than quibbling over equipment.

Jack
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #195 on: March 22, 2016, 06:41:51 pm »

Good comments! Thank you!

Best regards
Erik

What a wonderful article.

"Staying longer" doesn't just give you more opportunity, it gives you more knowledge of your terrain.

Part of the benefit of being "on-site" all the time (be it nature photography, or any kind of photography) is a complete knowledge of when events typically happen.

When I lived in the Florida wilderness, for over six years, I knew when each species was likely to be found, where I needed to be to find it, etc.
My own property had everything I wanted to photograph: frogs would visit at night, toads too, moths, all forms of nocturnal arthropods, etc.
In the morning, birds were everywhere, lizards/snakes came out to sun themselves, all forms of butterflies were floating in the flower garden, etc.
Merely walking out onto my front porch, and down the steps, was all it took to create opportunities for myself.
I could also just look out the window and see if the light was right.
I could walk out and take a hike, instantly, anytime I wanted to.
The deck was stacked in my favor.

Now, I pretty much have to wait for the weekend.
When the weekend comes, it takes me 1 to 2 hours to get to anywhere meaningful, and then my duration of time out there is minimized.
Where as, before, in Florida, the deck was stacked in my favor, now, by only by only affording myself a minimal of time out in the field.
The deck is now stacked against me.

Barring serendipity, the person who is out there the longest, and who has the most intimate understanding of the land and ecosystem, will get the best shots.
It is more than just the likelihood of "being there at the right time," it is also the acquired knowledge of the land that goes with it.

Just as an example, suppose I read "an article online," and drove to Arizona in the hopes of capturing some wonderful flora & fauna shots, over a mere weekend: my chances of success are nowhere near what a native Arizona photographer can accomplish, by seeing the landscape all day/every day, making multiple efforts over the course of many days/weeks/months. I essentially have zero knowledge of the land, and a very fleeting window of opportunity. By contrast, the native Arizonan has a lifetime of knowledge of the land + a lifetime of opportunities to take advantage of any "magic moments," as they occur.

Therefore, with the high-quality of today's modern equipment, (and, again, pardon the pun) the "focus" of any photographer who has actually purchased recently-updated equipment, regardless of his photographic discipline, would be better spent gaining knowledge of his subjects/terrain + spending as much time as possible in a position to capture those "magic moments" than he would worrying about whether or not he has the latest iteration or version of whatever camera.

This November, I will have the opportunity to go to Thailand to visit my fiancée's family. More than just "being in Thailand," it will be the contribution of knowledgeable Thailand natives that will contribute to my ability to get good nature photographs while in that region (+ the amount of time I put into it) than will whether or not I buy a new camera/printer.

Similarly, I have several Facebook friends who live in nearby Malaysia.
While I am in Thailand, I am going to take a brief flight over to Malaysia to meet these friends (whose photography I have admired for years), and they will escort me to several wild areas of their country where we will all take nature shots.
Obviously, being "in Malaysia" will assist me in taking Malaysian nature photography, but more than this, the local knowledge of the Malaysian photographers (+ my time spent out there) will be 100x more pivotal to the results I hope to take than will "what camera" (or printer) I happen to have at the time.

Time spent = knowledge gained = being in the right place at the right time.

Which (assuming any modern instrument) is more valuable than quibbling over equipment.

Jack
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NancyP

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #196 on: March 22, 2016, 07:05:09 pm »

+1000, Jack. Your previous place sounds wonderful - I hope to retire to something like this, a small house in the Ozarks. I too have the weekend syndrome because I live in the middle of the city, though I really ought to try to get out early morning (dawn, before work) on summer weekdays to the city park 3 blocks from my house for insects. I have thought about photographing "hospital critters" for fun - the bunnies out by the employee parking lot, the male house finch singing away on top of the hospital transformer (their feet have grade AAA electrical insulation!), the mourning doves nesting in the garage, on ledges, house sparrows diving for the crumbs left by people eating in the street, etc.
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NancyP

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #197 on: March 22, 2016, 07:12:04 pm »

I have been hiking in all sorts of weather, in crummy light, just to explore new trails and (mostly) to get fit and keep sane after a week in the office. Plus, there's always something new to learn about the ecosystem or even "under" the ecosystem (I am learning a little geology for beginners, having noted that there is some variety in sedimentary rocks around where I live, and even a few fossils). The local nature preserve offers a lot of adult education classes on observational ecology - wildflowers, mushrooms, soil types, etc. I haven't quite made up my mind to have a whack at mathematical ecology.
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razrblck

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #198 on: March 23, 2016, 03:54:03 am »

I fully agree on the time and opportunities.

I have been living in this place for six years now. I took more and more pictures since I moved because I had more and more opportunities. Now I not only have a decent garden, but I have plenty of fields, mountains and beautiful valleys just around my home. With all the experience I have I know exactly when and where to go for the right light to happen, and I know where all the various crops grow. This week has been full of blooming apricot trees that have beautiful pinkish flowers. There are plum trees as well with white flowers, and some early peach trees with bright pink ones. Getting access is a bit harder because many are fenced off, but if you can get the right combination of sunset light and very long tree lines, there's a great photo opportunity for ya. Throw in a model or two and you got a winner. I can get to such a place right now by foot, I'd just have to walk 300m or so!

I know many photographers that have never experienced this land, their own land, because they think they know it all. I used to think the same, and this was my excuse to never go out around where I lived just to see what was happening. I thought I knew it all just by being there, but I never truly observed what happened around me, so I never knew the amazing sunset colors after a heavy storm was dissipating, or the beautiful golden light projected on mountains at dawn.

Now I'm in the process of starting a manufacturing company, and I'm sure this will chew up all my free time. Though I'll try to not let this get too much in the way and actually use the extra money to open up better opportunities.

@Nancy: Since I started hiking a few years ago I never stopped. Even when the light is bad and the weather is even worse, I still find it incredibly useful. As you said, there's always something new to learn or experience. Besides, when the weather is not that good, very few people hike in the same place I do, so that's a plus if you don't want to clone out brightly colored shirts!
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Rob C

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Re: How much quality do you really need?
« Reply #199 on: March 23, 2016, 05:24:07 am »


Now I'm in the process of starting a manufacturing company, and I'm sure this will chew up all my free time. Though I'll try to not let this get too much in the way and actually use the extra money to open up better opportunities.



If you are referring to photographic opportunities: ain't nuttin' like optimism!

FWIW: concentrate on the business - leave photography for 'holidays' and/or retirement! It can wait. Real life, on which everything else depends, can not.

;-)

Rob
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