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How many megapixels are needed?
Sorry, if this question has been asked a million times, but I would like to enlarge pictures to 11x14 or maybe even 16x20 and I wonder how many megapixels are needed to have a quality result. For example, how large can I go with an 800 mg, or 600 mg or 400 mg? Thanks for your patience...

Comments (14)

Depends on the camera IMO and expereince. I have wonderful 24x36 prints from a 6mp EOS 10D DSLR from back in the day. I have beautiful 11x14's from my 3mp Nikon 995 from nearly 10 years ago..

It all depends on the quality of the sensor, lens and camera used. Also, the quality of the image....ie was the image properly exposed, ISO low or high, etc...

More MP's will help, but only if the lens and camera can really make best use of them..

Not trying to complicate it for you...but if you have an idea of the camera you're looking to use, or range of what you want to buy, we can chime in with a bit more information..

CNIDOGS wrote:.

Sorry, if this question has been asked a million times, but I wouldlike to enlarge pictures to 11x14 or maybe even 16x20 and I wonderhow many megapixels are needed to have a quality result. Forexample, how large can I go with an 800 mg, or 600 mg or 400 mg?Thanks for your patience..

TimNW Columbus/Dublin, Ohiohttp://www.pbase.com/pdqgp..

Comment #1

RE>an 800 mg, or 600 mg or 400 mg? <.

These numbers puzzle me. Are you sure these are what you mean, since you question heding mentioned megapixels..

3 MP for 8x104 MP for 11 x 14 work out to pretty good prints..

6MP gets you very nice 13 x 19 / 12 x 18 prints..

Bigger than this, it makes a difference what the subject is. A group shot of twenty people, for instance, draws the ey into look very carefully at each face. A portrait of one person causes the viewer to step back a step and take the whole scene in at once..

BAK..

Comment #2

CNIDOGS wrote:.

Sorry, if this question has been asked a million times, but I wouldlike to enlarge pictures to 11x14 or maybe even 16x20 and I wonderhow many megapixels are needed to have a quality result. Forexample, how large can I go with an 800 mg, or 600 mg or 400 mg?Thanks for your patience..

I doubt that it's been asked a million times on dpr...several thousand is prolly closer..

It's a simple mathamatics problem. The missing pice of data is the necessary pixel density. Most people think that somewhere between 150 dpi and 300 dpi is the right number. Another factor is that as the pic gets bigger, people don't want to get as close as with a small pic. I'd SWAG that an 11x14 needs about 200 dpi and a 16x20 needs about 150 dpi. Do the math and you'll get 2200 x 2800 for the 11x14 and 2400 x 3000 for the 16x20..

However, those two formats don't match any known camera! You will have to crop a bit. Cameras come in two aspect ratios: 2:3 and 3:4..

The real pixel dimensions are 2200 x 2934/3300 and 2400 x 3200/3600. In both cases the "N/M" horizontal value is for 3:4/2:3. Multiplying these out we get 2200 x 2934 = 6.455 MP and 2200 x 3300 = 7.26 MP for the small print and 2400 x 3200 = 7.68 MP and 2400 x 3600 = 8.64 MP..

These numbers say that if you buy a compact (P&S) camera with a 3:4 aspect ratio, you need 6.5 MP for the small print and 7.7 MP for the big print. If you buy a dSLR with a 2:3 aspect ratio, you will need 7.3 MP for the small print and 8.6 MP for the big print..

You can't really find cameras with "funny" MP values like the above. You'd be safe to get a camera with 6 to 10 MP..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #3

Thanks for all your replies. I didn't realize this was so complicated. Let me try to explain better. I took a picture with my 6mp camera (Fuji 6000) and after cropping I was left with a photo that was 1924x1540 (523KB). How large can this photo be printed without losing the quality of the image?..

Comment #4

CNIDOGS wrote:.

Thanks for all your replies. I didn't realize this was socomplicated. Let me try to explain better. I took a picture with my6mp camera (Fuji 6000) and after cropping I was left with a photothat was 1924x1540 (523KB). How large can this photo be printedwithout losing the quality of the image?.

The simple answer, "without losing the quality of the image", is 5"x7"..

The complicated answer is "it depends". You probably could get a very nice picture in 10"x14" range. You could even go larger depending on the subject matter and the distance at which you expect the photo to be viewed..

Here's a very good writeup done by a professional photographer on this subject. At the end of the article is a table showing the various sizes depending on the print resolution. The one thing the article doesn't deal with is the possibility of making the photo larger in a photo editor, like photoshop. This may degrade the quality of the photo, but then again, depending on a variety of factors, it still may look very nice..

Http://www.design215.com/toolbox/print_guide.php.

Simon.

Http://scpics.smugmug.com/..

Comment #5

CNIDOGS wrote:.

Thanks for all your replies. I didn't realize this was socomplicated. Let me try to explain better. I took a picture with my6mp camera (Fuji 6000) and after cropping I was left with a photothat was 1924x1540 (523KB). How large can this photo be printedwithout losing the quality of the image?.

It is going to depend on the viewing distance, which in turn (as someone suggested above) depends on the subject..

300 pixels per inch is generally taken to be the maximum necessary for close-up viewing of photos: your eye cannot resolve more detail than that. That gives you a print of 6.4 x 5.1 (call it 7 x 5 inches)..

But... the bigger the print, the further back you stand to look at it. if 300 dpi is more than enough resolution viewed from one foot away, then if you stand three feet away to look at the picture you only need 100 dpi (each pixel will occupy the same proportion of your field of vision). That gives you 21 x 15 inches..

If you had a 21 x 15 inch print on your wall most people would probably admire it from about three feet away, so it would look perfectly fine. if they stared at it close up, they would notice the limitations. Some types of photo (groups of large numbers of people; landscapes with a lot of detail) seem to invite people to stare at them close up to pick out a small face or look at a bit of detail in the distance. But for a portrait of one person, people will stand back to take it all in at once..

Just to add to the fun, it also depends on the quality of the image - not in terms of pixels, but things like sharpness (how good was your lens?) and noise (what ISO were you using?). Software can do a lot to minimise noise and the 'unsharp mask' tool on photoshop can be surprisingly good if used carefully..

A simple test you can do is print out a portion of your picture at 6 x 4 inches at the chosen resolution. SO set the resolution to 100 dpi which will give you a 21 x 15 inch image, then select using the crop tool a 6 x 4 inch portion (an important part of the pic, like a face). Do noise reduction, sharpening, and print it out. how does it look when viewed in your hand? How does it look from three feet away? That will give you an idea of what to expect..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #6

Nt.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

How many megapixels you need from a camera:http://www.bhphotovideo.com/FrameWork/charts/resolutionChartPopup.html..

Comment #7

Youll get lots of answers; some technical, some scientific and some practical; here is a practical one..

If you simply resize any image without adding pixels via interpolation (the process that software uses to add pixels), your print quality will begin to degrade as you drop below 150ppi - though Ive gotten away with a few 8x10s at 125ppi on certain subjects when I began shooting digital years ago with a Nikon 3.4MP 990 - but that is really pushing it. You want to be above 150ppi and ideally between 180ppi and 240ppi on most late model printers. Some will tell you almost in almost militant tone that you need 300, but thats bunk. I print 18x24" at 240ppi from a 12MP camera all the time and get wonderful results. Now, if you do have an editing or resizing program that can interpolate when you resize the image, have it also add pixels at the same time. Now since I dont see any appreciable difference in my large prints resized between 240ppi and 300pp at these sizes, I limit my interpolation increase to 240 from a 12MP image.

Now there are limits here and if you crop a 6MP image to 2MP and then interpolate, there is a limit to the percentage you can push it  youll just have to experiment what the limits of interpolation are before significant degradation; I've not seen a chart anywhere on what the practical limits of inerpolation are based on various starting sizes but it would be interesting - most of the charts just show practical print size limits based on the final ppi..

Regards,Mike..

Comment #8

For 3MP and up, I think you're right..

But I do have photos from an old 1.3-megapixel Olympus, and in that case I think megapixels would have made a difference..

See the first photo on this page:.

Http://ourdoings.com/brlewis/2008-05-14..

Comment #9

True, there are limitations. On your shot, remove a bit of Chroma noise visible and smooth out the Luma just a bit and you'll be fine..

I've gotten nice 5x7's back in the from a very old 1.3mp Fuji..

Http://www.pbase.com/pdqgp/image/9680590is one of my favorites reminding me of a great trip several years back..

Brlewis wrote:.

For 3MP and up, I think you're right..

But I do have photos from an old 1.3-megapixel Olympus, and in thatcase I think megapixels would have made a difference..

See the first photo on this page:.

Http://ourdoings.com/brlewis/2008-05-14.

TimNW Columbus/Dublin, Ohiohttp://www.pbase.com/pdqgp..

Comment #10

To the many great info already posted: I use a Nikon D1H and can print good quality 8x10's and usable (at least for me, I am no pro) 11 x14. For reference, the D1H is a 2.7 MP camera..

Hope this helps..

Good luck!.

-Doni.

...in matters of grave importance, style not sincerity is the vital thing - Oscar Wilde..

Comment #11

Look. Almost 50% of my images need some form of cropping or the other. That takes away a lot of pixels. So, have as much pixels as your budget and your camera allows without compromising on quality. Anything around 5-6MP is good..

Also, please note that there is no significant difference on print between 5MP and 6MP camera. 5MP vs 10MP is a good improvement. So don't fuss too much about MP unless you are doubling them..

Akhil.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Http://www.pbase.com/akhil80..

Comment #12

But it depends on how complessed the file is, too. (the KB number you included seems low to me, but I have not done the math)..

Comment #13

Tim is correct , not surprising with a name like that!.

It depends on many factors as mentioned..

Regards.

Tim Hughes..

Comment #14

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