View Full Version : 6MP prints A3?

10-23-2005, 08:31 PM
Hi All - this is my first post.

I've been an enthusiastic user of a Pentax MZ5 since they first came out. I only have the one lens a Tamron 28-200 which I find is great since I mostly take photos while travelling, and I find a tripod is worth carrying and less fragile than taking extra lenses. Generally I may take 10-20 rolls of film while on holiday, from which I like to put together an album of maybe 50-100 shots I like, and then enlarge 3 or so favorites to A3 which I frame (behind glass).

I love the idea of digital - the flexibility, the cost saving of not printing mediocre photos:o , and I like to image edit in PS. I have seen some great shots taken with the *ist on this forum, but my question is ... will I be happy with 6MP - will I get nice prints at A3 with the *ist?


10-23-2005, 09:47 PM
Well, you can pretty much decide for your self.
A3 is 297 x 420 mm (11.7 x 16.5") and the max resolution on the ist is 3008 x 2008 which would five you about 182 pixels per inch and it will not be true A3 thanks to the 3:2 scale.
Obviously you can interpolate in PS but that will not give you any more detail, so I guess it depends on the viewing distance.
Try printing out an image in 182 dpi and see how it looks. I did a quick rescale of a flower (http://www.coltess.net/postedPictures/A3_test.jpg) (same as image below only bigger of course) for you if you want to try and print it out in A3.

10-24-2005, 01:24 AM
Great - thanks for that

Was your photo taken with a *ist at 6MP? Also was it in RAW or JPG ? Oh and have you made any A3 prints yourself and were you happy with the results?

10-24-2005, 06:22 AM
I did print some on A3 (45x30cm, 167dpi) and they came out better than I thought, but then again I've never seen A3 prints from some decent film SLR. However, I believe that 6MP sensor in DS meets the sharpnes of consumer zoom lenses.
I'm defenitely printing some more A3 shoots.

10-24-2005, 06:50 AM
Of course you can print A3 or bigger. You do not print big to stand with your nose on it, you print to see it from a distance. A screen is between 75 and 100 dpi most of the times, and you have not too much objections about looking at photos on your screen, I guess.

I dare say that you can print on A0 and still be happy about the results (if the printer is any good of course ;) ). If you look at small photos printed at 300dpi in your hand at 30cm from your eyes, A0 at 1.5 meters will still look fine.

10-24-2005, 07:16 AM
thanks that sounds encouraging. I'm a bit confused though, my monitor is 17" and displays 1280 X 1024 (1.3MP). 17" is a fair bit bigger than A4 yet no one seems to believe you could print A4 from a 1.3 MP camera ... right? With this logic a 3MP should print A3 nicely!

Admittedly the monitor isnt as sharp as my A4 and A3 prints from my MZ5 (not even close), but it's good enough to look at from 2 feet away. So why the obsession with multi-megapixels ? I mean "point and shoots" often have 8MP these days.

10-24-2005, 08:14 AM
The picture came from my KM A200.

Compare this picture to the one above.
It has the same size, but a lower resolution. If you stand futher from it then it will look fine, but the closer you get, the worse it looks. That's why MP counts keep increasing (and it is an easy thing for people to understand when buying a camera, like GHz on a computer) and why you want more than 1.7 MP for an A4 print.

10-24-2005, 09:42 PM
OK it all seems pretty subjective, I dont sit there with a magnifying glass looking for grain in my prints, and I dont expect to stare at digital prints from 6 inches away either. But by the same token I dont want to take a nice pic blow it up to A3 and then have to say "yeah I know it's a bit fuzzy, step back a bit".

Maybe I sound paranoid, but digital would be mostly about convenience for me. I'm not going to be happy unless my end result prints look as good (at least on general casual inspection) and they do from film at A3. So really this brings me back to "how many of you DSLR users print at A3 ?" and "are you happy with the results ?"

Thanks, and look I know you all use DSLRs so you must be happy with them. I'm not trying to be a PITA, but are you happy with them only because you dont make prints bigger than A4?

10-25-2005, 01:57 AM
I promise you, printing on A3 with any DSLR witha decent lens will give you GREAT results on A3. What coltess showed was not what 6mp will look like on A3 but what 1.3mp would look like. Do not worry, you will be very pleased with the results. (if you have a good A3 printer of course, like a Canon 1800 which uses inks that do not fade due to light and chemicals in the air)

10-25-2005, 03:39 AM
Thanks for the reassurance coldrain.

Do you folks generally print your own images, or get them done at a lab ? Anyone care to comment on the quality differences ?
Also if I bought the *ist body, should I keep my old 28-200 tamron or sell it with the MZ5. I'd really like to still have that focal range rather than the 42-300 range it'd give me with the conversion.

Cheers, greg

10-25-2005, 05:14 AM
Thanks for the reassurance coldrain.

Do you folks generally print your own images, or get them done at a lab ? Anyone care to comment on the quality differences ?
Also if I bought the *ist body, should I keep my old 28-200 tamron or sell it with the MZ5. I'd really like to still have that focal range rather than the 42-300 range it'd give me with the conversion.

Cheers, greg
Get a Sigma 18-200 instead, it will give better image quality and it will give you the focal range you now have plus the extra 200-300 range.

10-29-2005, 06:02 AM
I have taken night football shots at 1600 ISO, and they look perfectly fine on 11x14 prints.

I see that A3 is actually 11x17, closer to the ratio that comes out of the camera. Where, in the US, could I have the A3 size printed?

11-01-2005, 10:31 AM
I print almost exclusively at 13X19, a fact which would not be true if the image quality at that size was not pleasing.

I use the Epson Stylus 1280. It's a large format that prints 13 X 19 as a maximum size (the 13X44 panoramic is relatively useless to me as I don't shoot panoramas). I've been very happy with my prints, even when examining them from point blank range. 6MP is plenty of resolution, and I even get away with a bit (small bit) of cropping.

The paper seems as important as the printer. I've played with a variety of papers (more than 20) and have come to the conclusion that the best papers for this printer are Ilford. I don't really have a favorite, the best paper differs dependent upon the mood of the photo. I admit that I use more Ilford satin finish than any other though.

The best economy paper I've found has been the Staples 13 X 19 glossy. It gives the traditional lab appearance and seems pleasing to general audiences. It's about 40% less expensive than the Epson equivilent, and other than the Staples logo on the back, seems to be the same paper.

I have found that the print quality is dependent upon photographer ability. Using optimal settings when shooting results in better images; I've noticed the quality of my prints is improving with time. For example, I used to take most pictures at ISO 200 and sometimes noticed they lacked sharpness (on screen and in print). I've since adapted my style to the power of the camera and take the majority of shots at ISOs 400 or 800. The result of the faster film is that the faster shutter captures a more crisp image. Of course, it looks better in print.