20 x 30 inch prints from D700

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by stan_dvorak|1, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. I just bought a Nikon D700 and when examining photos with a loupe at 100%, I noticed that the details were a bit soft. That brings me to the question, Can I get 20" x 30" prints at an ISO of 200? I use the following lenses with a tripod: 17-35 mmf2.8; 28-70 mm f2.8 and the 80-200 mmf2.8 lenses. Iwould appreciate any feed back. Thank you.
  2. I get really good 13x19 prints with a D70s (6.1 mpx, Dx crop sensor) and a Canon i9900 printer. I would expect a D700 to look great at 20x30.
  3. I want to add that I shoot Raw 12 Compressed and JPEG Large fine for my images. Anyone with experience with 20"x30" prints?
  4. Maybe you should mention the purpose of your final prints... or the ammount of detail you`re looking for. A 20x30" print hanged on a narrow corridor will look extremely soft at a viewing distance of 8", but could be perfectly feasible on a large showroom.
    As a standard, my favourite lab recommend to print at 200ppi via Lambda. It means a 14x21" print. I bet it will be soft for many.
  5. all Bayersensors produce soft details, you have to sharpen the images.
  6. I sell prints to Interior Designers for homes, Offices, and exhibit at Art galleries. Also I would like to mention that I have used the sharpening tool in the camera.
  7. Can I get 20" x 30" prints at an ISO of 200?​
    Yes, indeed, I'm sitting at my desktop PC looking at a pair of magnificent 20x30 prints hanging on the wall to my right. I captured these with my D700, handheld in near waist deep water with the 17-35mm AF-S.
    You need to add some post process sharpening, I find this even to be the case with tri-pod shots using M-up and much care to ensure all is still. It's a matter of fact more than a failure of equipment or operator, no matter how consciensious you are with stability and stationary subject matter.
  8. Using in-camera sharpening alone will do much less for you than the kind of multi-step, post-capture sharpening that many photographers currently use. It seems particularly important with the work you do. See this photo.net tutorial. It might be very helpful. Also, search for photo.net sharpening threads. There have been many, rather recent, I think.
  9. If you shoot RAW, in-camera sharpening has no effect. It's for the jpgs only.
    Any digital image (which by design is bandwidth limited) must be properly sharpened for the intended output. Sharpening for print in a magazine or for a print to be showcased on the wall is entirely different, though, so you must add the sharpening at the final stage when the file is processed and its destination (and print size) is known.
    I have gallery prints 1 x 1.5 m from my D3/D3s that appear very sharp.
  10. I am just curious as to why you are viewing photos with a loupe. Once the image is printed it should really be viewed by eye. Trouble with making large prints is everybody has different standards. Some people will take into account viewing distance and are happy that as long as the print is viewed at a reasonable viewing distance the print looks good and sharp, others wan't to get really close to a large print and see the smallest of details.
  11. You need a good sharpening workflow to get the most out of the files and a high quality upressing algorthm in yoru software.
    Everyone has different standards for large prints, for me the D700 will not get close to a 20x30 that stands up to critical viewing but shooting film I would not enlarge 6x7 slides to that either. Could you get an acceptable looking print to view from a distance on a wall? Certainly.
    Prints of that size are in the realm of stitching, medium format digital or 4x5 for me. I routinely stitch 8-9 D700 files for landscape shots.
  12. Right. Stan mention "... prints to Interior Designers for homes, Offices, and exhibit at Art galleries... " which is pretty extense...
    Time ago I used to made photographs (prints) for decoration that I have seen hanged in homes, offices and restaurants. Not in art galleries, sadly.
    My personal approach is as follows: as my photography (at least that prints) didn`t have any interesting visual message, artistic quality or so, my goal was to offer extremely sharp, contrasty, eye catching, more-or-less beautiful images of very specific subjects. I never used to print bigger than aprox. 12x12" from 6x6 to 4x5" negatives, mostly b&w. In 35mm format, never bigger than 8x10". As you can see for that purposes I prefer "reasonably" smaller which I believe are also way easier to be accepted, instead of larger prints in places where I can rest my nose over the print for inspection. Anyway, people doesn`t use to carry loupes in their pockets... :)
    Also, I personally tend to get close to the print if after a first sight I suspect there is something interesting on it, while I stay at a a reasonable distance if the print is big. I think textures, finishing quality, signature, passe-partout, frame quality, etc. are more important on small to medium sized prints. Bad wine served in good glass is still bad, but looks much better.
    I currently like to have at home smaller prints (mostly family portraits), my favourites in sizes around 8x10" and even smaller, many of them from 4x5" negatives, even a 8x10" contact print... they cannot be technically sharper, thought, as the media is overkill for the final product.
  13. Nobody's done the maths yet?

    "Soft", in the sense of "detail matches the resolution the eye can see", depends mostly on angular resolution, assuming decent lighting and eyesight. A big print will be sharp if viewed from far enough away, just as a small print will be soft if you look at it closely enough. In moderately ideal viewing conditions, a D700 sensor roughly matches the resolution of the eye with a field of view equivalent to a roughly 60mm lens; for a D3x, it's about a 40mm lens (this was discussed in a thread a while back - I won't reproduce the maths here). If you're producing large prints because you want to cover a wall with them, then the D700 is fine. if you're producing large prints because you want to fill the field of view, not so much. However, the ability of the eye to see resolution also depends on perfect conditions - I have a 24mm shot from a D700 blown up to 30x20 and it's fine from a reasonable distance, but probably wouldn't be if I put a spotlight on it. Put your nose close enough to match the field of view of the original scene (the reason I got a large print made) and no, it's not perfectly sharp. I put it behind a sofa so you can't get that close to it.

    Some image processing tools can help - Genuine Fractals tries to preserve sharp edges; for longer distances, deliberately over-sharpening can help. The D700 does have an aggressive antialiasing filter, and images do benefit from some sharpening, but there are hard limits on how good a huge print is going to look just because of the limits to the detail a sensor can capture. That's why people still use view cameras and 80MP medium format systems, or tile images. You wouldn't do much better out of a 35mm slide. All this is before we worry about the limits of the optics.

    Not that I have much experience of large prints (just the one, so far), but I hope that helps. FWIW, I remember there being some articles on large printing at northlight-images.co.uk that seemed helpful to me.
  14. Your D700 can print photos large enough to print on a billboard. 20x30 inches should be fine. Will it be as sharp as a D3x
    image captured with the same lens and technique? No, but it should still be fine. When Nikon introduced the D3 they put
    out a poster of a motorcycle racer that was larger than 20x30, and it looked great.

    I would suggest however that you leave the sharpening to the techs at the lab where you make the prints. Sharpening is
    tricky business when you're dealing with large prints for critical purposes. Give them your raw NEF file and an
    unsharpened TIFF version and let them sharpen it. You can destroy an otherwise wonderful image if you sharpen it
    improperly. For now leave it to the pros. Let them proof a portion of the image for you to determine whether it looks right
    to you and offer your suggestions, e.g. I'd like the eyes to be a little sharper. That's the best way to get the results you
  15. I have a 24" printer so I can print up to 24x36" in 1:1.5 aspect ratio. If it's going to be successful or not I think it depends largely on the subject matter. And as already mentioned - the shooting technique, the post processing technique, the viewing conditions and the client expectations but I won't rehash that.
    If the scene doesn't have fine detail the camera and print doesn't need it either.
    Best thing is to make a test shot and a test print. If it looks good enough, it is good enough.
    PS. Luminous-landscape has a "from camera to print" tutorial for making fine art prints that you might want to look into.
  16. Dan- I am new to digital photography( I just now converted to digital from film ) I bought an Apple MacBook Pro to work with my images with Apeture 3. So what you are saying, is to leave the sharpening alone in the camera and let the Lab do the sharpening for me? I want my larger prints to be sharp from a "normal" viewing distance. However, I have really nice 16 x 20" prints from negatives, for which I am very satisfied. I am hoping for the same results with my D700. When I was working in Apeture 3, I thought I would check my Large JPEGs Fine with the loupe and I was surprised to see how soft they were at 100%. I think a 20 x 30" print probably would be increased to about 25% and again this might be acceptable for me. I'll have to make a trial run print to find out. I am sure a Lab will be helpful here. Thank you everyone for your feed back. - Stan
  17. I usually apply an unsharp mask of about 150% to images being printed at 20x30" on our epson large format printer. They come out looking great! Have made a couple prints from D300 captures that look outstanding.
  18. Yes- easily! But the person doing the sharpening, up-rezzing, and printing needs to know what they're doing.
  19. Stan, I hear you and I can sympathize with your introduction to the bold new world of digital photography. There is a lot to
    learn. That's why I recommend that for now you leave the sharpening stage to experienced technicians.

    You may set your in-camera sharpening to any value you wish. It does NOT affect your raw files, although it changes the
    way that the raw files are displayed in Nikon software such as View NX. When the techs at the print shop open up your
    raw files in Photoshop, no sharpening will have been applied by the camera. They will be free to choose whatever settings
    they see fit. What they select will depoend on several factors including the print size, the type of paper used, they type of
    printer used, and the subject matter. That's why there's no one size fits all sharpening recipe that we can give you and
    why you should leave the details to experienced printers.

    However, you should review the proofs and give the techs your input. If it doesn't look sharp enough to you, or if it looks over
    sharpened, tell them and have them make adjustments until you are happy with the look of the prints. Also notice whether the prints look too light or too dark or whether the colors don't look right to you. You might want to bring along some reference photos for comparison.

    Going forward, you should use the 14-bit raw file setting to maximize the camera'.s potential.
  20. Well I am new too and have been following this I a wanting to print the same size but from a raw files from canon 5dmii. And not to start a new thread when this should be about the same thing, where can you find a lab that does this kind of work? Any suggestions I have never sent any thing out before for print. Sorry didnt want to steal Stan thread just thought I would ask.
  21. I live in San Diego, California and we have a number of fine labs here. Like some others I have to find a technician that I feel comfortable working with. Just go to the phone book and if you live in a fairly large city finding a lab should not be a problem. Finding a technician may not be as easy.
  22. You will never know until you print one and decide for yourself.
  23. The D700 can produce outstanding 20" x 30" prints, however I would not use the default ISO 200. I have better results with mine by using LO1.0 (ISO 100). Of course when making an enlargment that large, correct focusing is an absolute must. To that end, I don't think it is necessarily that good an idea to let the camera do the focusing; rather manual focusing will ensure what you want in sharp focus will be.
    Btw, looking at an already enlarged print with a loupe, assuming you are using a 10X, would not be a good way to judge sharpness. You are way enlarging it further. The only magnification you need at that enlargment is the 1X provided by your eyeballs, and keep in mind for a print that large, your viewing distance should be around 24" or more +/-.
  24. All prints are designed to be viewed from a certain distance - 6x4's you hold in your hand and pass around your friends, 8x10's you frame and stick in the mantlepiece, 20x16's and bigger you can stick on the wall. ALL of them will look soft if you stick your eye and a magnifier up close. All of them will also look soft when viewed on a Computer screen with a loupe tool - a) because the images are made up of pixels and b) because of the way screens produce their images. "In the old days"... I used to make 6ft x 6ft prints from cropped 35 mm film negatives - usually Pan F - just to prove to myself and some camera club friends we could do it. - They looked fine from the distance they were intended to be viewed at BUT go in close and the grain looked awful. All prints have an optimal viewing distance due to the fact that the human eye cannot discern anything more than about 300 dpi. Your D700 will produce superb prints at 20x30 and larger - mine does. For me this is the old problem.... BEWARE of pixel peepers. I also agree that enlargements like these are best left to a good professional print centre - give them the RAW and leave it to them. I too would use the ISO 100 setting.
  25. I have in front of me a 27x40" print, processed by a lab technician, Dibond mount, UV protection film, etc. It looks great, colourful and really sharp.
    Needless to say that it cost a little fortune... I wonder how many prints this size can be sold with enough margin to make profit. Lab technicians charge per time used, and are not cheap.
    I`d start looking for a good lab that hear you patiently and follow your requests. This is what I find really difficult. After that, I`d calibrate the monitor, buy a good book and start processing your own files...
  26. I have printed many and sold quite a few at 20"x30" from a D300 dx sensor using Genuine fractals and I am delighted with the Quality.
  27. I've had images I shot with my D700 appear on billboards. Here is one sample.
  28. There are a lot of good answers and I hope you read all of them and are comforted by the combined wisdom and expertise available to you. I also hope you make your own decisions after doing a bit of your own research ;-)
    With proper technique your camera and lenses should perform very well.
    Here's my story, one I tell everytime this discussion comes up.

    I used to work for a major portrait studio and regularly sold 20x24 and 30x40 prints and canvasses to many fine and beautiful customers using a 5 megapixel camera with a zoom on a teleconverter. On jpg.
    I had ZERO complaints or returns because of image quality, it wasn't even an issue.
    You show up looking good and I will take a large number of your dollars for a very nice image of you.
    It's easily done. Go take some great pics! :Ð
  29. A lot will depend on subject matter. For portraits and subject matter where fine detail is not of primary importance (sunset shots, etc.), 20x30 from the D700 is not a problem. However if your subject matter requires the reproduction of copious fine detail, often the case with landscapes, then 20x30 would be pushing things.
  30. I just received a 20x30 which is excellent in my opinion. Made with D700 & 16-35 f4 Nikon. Tripod of course & mirror lock-up. A landscape of Pa Grand Canyon. Sycamores 800' below show sharp trunks.
  31. "The D700 can produce outstanding 20" x 30" prints, however I would not use the default ISO 200. I have better results with mine by using LO1.0 (ISO 100)."

    The base ISO of the D700 is 200 which is where an sensor works best, shooting at LO0.1 is exactly the same as overexposing by 1 stop and pulling it back in post, it's no a real ISO setting since the warning in the manual about lost dynamic range.
    Shoot it at 200 unless you NEED a slower shutter speed for some reason and have no ND filters
  32. I've printed a D700 image (made with a 85mm 1.8 tripod mounted, strobe and daylight, 1/40th @ f5.6) to a 28x40 (cropped off the long dimension only). Eyelashes were countable and finely rendered.
    Also used 180ppi for that print as anything higher is discarded by printer software. It's absurd to view a large print with a loupe, you are assessing the printer's sharpness and/or paper's dot gain at that scale, not camera/lens resolving power... t
  33. I had the same reaction when I first switch to shooting raw, from jpgs. My pictures looked kind of soft. Then I was told that raw needs to be sharpened, so now I always apply some sharpening to my images, as I import them in Aperture 3.
    I can't offer any advice about 20x30s though, never print at that size.
  34. Hi John,
    I am curious as to what you do for sharpening in Aperture 3. My understanding is the RAW converter in A3 applies sharpening so you must be doing something more.
  35. I regularly print to A3 from a D700, with no sign of the image quality falling apart. OK, 12" by 16" isn't 20"x30" but it's less than a factor of 2 difference, and I wouldn't be looking at a 20x30 as closely as I would at an A3. Even at A3 size, the D700 cruelly reveals any misfocus, camera movement, lack of lens quality and anything else other than perfect technique.
    Prime lenses and pro-quality zooms can be easily picked out from lesser optics with this camera, so a lack of pixels is obviously not the limiting factor. After all, an increase from 12 to 24 megapixels actually only gives a theoretical increase in resolution of 1.4 times, from around 60 to 84 lppmm. And there aren't many lenses available capable of giving that sort of resolution from corner to corner of the frame.
    I'm not sure why the OP is really asking this question after they've bought the camera. Surely the time to ask would have been before making the purchase? Also the issue is easily resolved by printing a section of a D700 image to the equivalent of 20 x 30. Print about a quarter of the frame to A4 and surely you've got your answer? Or half of the frame to A3.
  36. Further to the above, my technique did not improve by a quantum leap when I switched from film to digital, but the quality of my prints did! I will state quite boldly that the results I get from a D700 easily equal what I was routinely getting from medium format cameras using film, and far exceed what I could achieve with 35mm film. 20" by 30" prints look soft when you stick your nose against them, fact of life! Learn to live with it.
  37. Curt W - beautiful photo!
  38. In response to Rodeo Joe, I would like to say that, no I am not going to be viewing my 20 X 30" prints up close. What broght me to ask the origional question was as I was viewing my images on my laptop and decided to use the lupe to see at what point I lost resolution. I was curious if I could theoretically make prints this large with the D700. I have successfully mage prints as large as 16 X 24" from 35 mm negs from ISO 100 film. I was very pleased with the results. I do a lot of International travel whereby I go trekking in places like the Himalaya, the Andes of Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina and I want to avoid the hastle of subjecting film to possible e-xray damage( never any problem ). Digital solves this problem. I want to make prints as large to sell to my clients.
    I want to thanks everyone for their comments and suggestion.
  39. I've ordered excellent prints 20 x 30" made with my Bridgekameras SONY HX-1 and FUJIFILM Finepix HS10! For this prints size, an D700 ist not required!
  40. Another 20 x 30" image, made with the Fuji Finepix HS10!

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