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BIG enlargements from M8?

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Thanks for the clarification (wysi-what?) and the reference to Bruce's book. I'll look at sharpening again.

 

Bill, sorry for not explaining. WSYIWYG is an acronym for What You See Is What You Get. The term comes from the IT industry, when the first All Point Addressable printers come. That technology was developed by Kodak and IBM, further enhanced by Xerox, and later, some disgruntled employees left to create Adobe. The rest, is history...

The holy grail for printing has always been the idea that you can see on a screen what the final print will look like. We have gone a long way, but there is a road ahead.

Joel is right in his observation that the inherent sharpness (I rather use the work accutance) of the M8 practically renders capture sharpening unnecessary. That is not the case with other dSLR like Canon's or Nikon's, mainly due to the presence of the AA filter. Nevertheless, Bayer de-mosaic of the raw file generates some softness due to the color interpolation. Some images do not need it, others might benefit from it, specially if you plan to enlarge to 200%.

Take a look again at sharpening, and make sure you evaluate your print on screen at 25% magnification, or 50% magnification. Pixel peeping (100% mag) is only relevant for certain retouching, not for print evaluation on screen.

Let us know your experiences with sharpening from now on...

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Well I differ a bit...

 

FIrst, you can should do capture sharpening to maximum potential, but not over-sharpened. While the M8 file is sharper than a typical DSLR with Bayer filter, it can benefit further from PROPER capture sharpening --- also, the raw converter used will have a significant impact on final file accutance. (And yes Virginia, since Adobe acquired Pixmantec, ACR is actually now a bit better in this department than C1 --- which was not always the case.)

 

Next is not sharpening in the traditional sense, but what I refer to as "detail extraction," and I do this step in photoshop at the native file size and evaluate it at 100% view regardless of my intended output --- IOW this step is done for every file, whether it's a print at any size or web. Final step is the output sharpening step, which is different for each version output.

 

For some help, if you toggle on the magnifying glass tool in Photoshop, you will notice three size selections at the top of your screen; 100%, fit to screen, and print size. If you set your print dimensions WITHOUT resampling, AND have calibrated the "print size" setting to your monitor's dot-pitch, you can use it to get a very accurate preview of what your final print will look like detail-wise with the native size file, and in fact is pretty accurate up to about 400% larger than native file size! If you want more information on calibrating you rmonitor for this "print view" option, Google it and you should find several resources that explain how to do it.

 

In re setting the image resolution prior to sending it to the RIP... I agree that if you are sending the file to a (real) RIP, no need to do much of anything unless you are looking for more than say a 200% increase in native size. However, if you are using your print driver, it is a desireable step to set the image resolution to your printer's native resolution regardless of the size print you wish to output. The final result while not earth-shatteringly better will be notably better on close inspection.

 

Cheers,

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Gus, I add my thanks to those of Chris. Your contribution is very helpful.

 

I am curious -- in Image Print, I am asked to choose the nominal resolution for printing, and I always choose 360, because it divides evenly into the 2880 printer resolution.

 

I always wondered what was really happening when I created a crop of an image and its total pixels added up to something that didn't divide evently into the printer resolution.

 

I guess the RIP and the printer do what they want?

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Gus, I apologize for doing an Americanism. I do know what wysiwyg is. My comment wysi-what was intended to mean that if the screen image does not represent the printed output when working with sharpening, then the wysiwyg isn't wysiwyg. That's a much better way of putting it than the way I did.

 

Thanks,

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Well I differ a bit...

 

FIrst, you can should do capture sharpening to maximum potential, but not over-sharpened. While the M8 file is sharper than a typical DSLR with Bayer filter, it can benefit further from PROPER capture sharpening --- also, the raw converter used will have a significant impact on final file accutance. (And yes Virginia, since Adobe acquired Pixmantec, ACR is actually now a bit better in this department than C1 --- which was not always the case.)

 

Next is not sharpening in the traditional sense, but what I refer to as "detail extraction," and I do this step in photoshop at the native file size and evaluate it at 100% view regardless of my intended output --- IOW this step is done for every file, whether it's a print at any size or web. Final step is the output sharpening step, which is different for each version output.

 

For some help, if you toggle on the magnifying glass tool in Photoshop, you will notice three size selections at the top of your screen; 100%, fit to screen, and print size. If you set your print dimensions WITHOUT resampling, AND have calibrated the "print size" setting to your monitor's dot-pitch, you can use it to get a very accurate preview of what your final print will look like detail-wise with the native size file, and in fact is pretty accurate up to about 400% larger than native file size! If you want more information on calibrating you rmonitor for this "print view" option, Google it and you should find several resources that explain how to do it.

 

In re setting the image resolution prior to sending it to the RIP... I agree that if you are sending the file to a (real) RIP, no need to do much of anything unless you are looking for more than say a 200% increase in native size. However, if you are using your print driver, it is a desireable step to set the image resolution to your printer's native resolution regardless of the size print you wish to output. The final result while not earth-shatteringly better will be notably better on close inspection.

 

Cheers,

 

Jack, you are correct on most accounts. All the ideas given here should be taken not as the FINAL WORD, but as the experience of this exciting new technology that is digital printing. I guess the readers will like the different approach and styles and will find their own way to better printing.

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Gus, I add my thanks to those of Chris. Your contribution is very helpful.

 

I am curious -- in Image Print, I am asked to choose the nominal resolution for printing, and I always choose 360, because it divides evenly into the 2880 printer resolution.

 

I always wondered what was really happening when I created a crop of an image and its total pixels added up to something that didn't divide evently into the printer resolution.

 

I guess the RIP and the printer do what they want?

 

Thanks Bill. The RIP and the printer driver do a very complex process, guided by perceptual knowledge and complex algorithms. Basically they set up the output space in the paper in a dot matrix, and calculate the adequate amount of each ink needed to generate the best looking image, considering the color information coming from the input image sent to the RIP/Driver. Then they try to minimize the amount of head movement.

Just consider that going from RGB (image color space) to CMY (note the missing K) is a one way conversion, but to CMYK is not. There are several metameric equivalents in CMYK to a RGB value (consider the different techniques like UCR and others to replace CMY with some amount of K). If you add K, Lk, LLk, C, M, Y, Pm, Pc, etc.... you get the idea of the complexity of the solution. While the input resolution is indeed relevant, the concept of being a multiple of 240 or 120 (12 x 120 = 1440) --while useful-- is not really that relevant any more. The algorithms consider blocks of nearby colors, they do edge detection (I will stop here short of revealing trade secrets, under NDA still...) and other sophisticated stuff. The linear mapping of a RGB pixel to a set of dots is rarely used any more, except for large areas of the image, like the sky. It is a very fascinating and complex subject.

Of course, we love simplicity, so the answer to work with a 'multiple of the printer's native resolution' is still given. As a matter of fact, there is no native printer resolution, just dot placing algorithms....

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Surely someone with your qualifications would not consider making such an expensive purchase on the recommendation of strangers' opinions on a public forum, and who have a vested interest in the M8 having already purchased. IMHO the more one expects from a camera the more urgent it is to do a hands-on before buying.

 

I trust David Adamson's opinions on print quality a great deal.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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He felt they were very close to what he gets from MF film, drum scanned. I am not sure they are that good but it was very comforting to hear something like that from a professional.

 

Wilson

 

 

Hmmm...where have I heard that comparison before? <G>

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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I've been a working pro for 22 years. I am thinking of adding an M8 system to my Canon DSLRs (5D, 1DsMkII.) Here are my concerns. Your input appreciated.

 

Since a good part of my business is fine art I need to be able to make big enlargements. My most common sizes are 50X40, 40X30, and 30X20. I do my own printing in-house and am very picky (compulsive :-) ) about quality.

 

I've owned Leica RFs in the past (M4-P, CL) as a complement to medium, large format. And normally I wouldn't even consider 10MP to be adequate but I've read a lot from folks about the M8 far exceeding what one would expect and "better than a 5D" at lower ISOs. I would consider a 5D to be the minimum requirement- in fact it is only a back up body.

 

Thanks.

 

I started this thread a couple weeks ago and wanted to provide an update. I would like to thank all of you who provided your input and those that sent me sample files.

 

To date I have closely scrutinized many files. And I had to make a couple prints as well since the files can't tell me as much as the final print. I printed up to 36X24. (90X60cm) The large print I made was beautiful. I could pick out a few small things that no one would see at normal viewing distance. But given the subject and printing a full frame I could be happy with this.

 

Overall and as expected I was pretty impressed by the quality of file produced by the M8. Not too surprising my preliminary assessment is that if I want to go any bigger than 30X20 (75X50cm) it will be subject dependent. I know some of you gave a similar assessment but print "quality" is subjective and I needed to print something myself from a file technically representative of what I shoot.

 

This much done I've determined, of course, that I have the classic conundrum- I have to get a system and use it before I can decide for sure if I want to get a system.

 

Soooo I ordered an M8 and a few lenses. I'll use it for a bit and see what percentage of my work I can do with it. Although I have to admit a nostalgic aspect from my fond memories of using Leica and other RFs during my film days- in the end it will be a business decision whether I keep the M8 system or start asking all of you who wants to buy a nearly new system. I do hope that the M8 will find its place. Time will tell...

 

Cheers.

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Thanks for the clarification (wysi-what?) and the reference to Bruce's book. I'll look at sharpening again.

 

Hey Bill, it's been said before, but in addition to the great advice here from Jack and others, the Photokit output sharpener is a pretty good all in one plugin. The Nik sharpening tools are interesting because they let you take into account viewing distance, but I still like Photokit for a final sharpen (though the M8 needs less of that than most other cameras, I find).

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... I still like Photokit for a final sharpen (though the M8 needs less of that than most other cameras, I find).

 

...which can be easily adjusted, since Photokit sharpener works on a separate layer.

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I have also been using Photokit for several years, although not done much printing from M8 files.

 

In general I find their presets more agressive than I like. However by reducing opacity of Light channel layer, it is easy to suit individual needs of each picture, although most by std amount neatly incorporated into a Photoshop action, along with layer flattening. IMO Dark layer needs no adjustment.

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Guest WPalank

I'm a big fan of the Photokit Sharpener and have found that I have to adjust the opacity as well for the M8 files as it is a bit aggressive.

I just took a class with Jeff Schewe (one of the Pixel Geniuses) at Photoshop World and he suggests (as we all should know) sharpening only when the image is at 100%. But, to get a better idea of what the image will look like when sent to an Inkjet Printer, he suggests you zoom out to 25%.

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For an exhibition I have made prints 80cm * 54cm. They have been exposed on Lamda machines and laminated to Alu Cobond. Perfect!

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For those interested in commercial printing with chemical laser printers, these are the resolution values generally used:

1.- Fuji Frontier up to 10x15 inches (multiply by 2.54 for cm) use 302 dpi

2.- LaserLab from 10 inches up to 30 inches, use 254 dpi

3.- Durst Lambda from 20 inches and up, use 200 dpi

4.- Lightjet printers use fixed resolution of 304.8 dpi

5.- Epson large format inkjet do good with 180 dpi, better with 240 dpi

 

M8 images (properly taken with the usual precautions for such enlargements) can do very good up to 20x30 inches. Going to 30x40 is a stretch, and experience printing that large for relatively close viewing distance (no pixel-peeping allowed) is desirable.

Make sure you understand that sharpening for output with laser chemical printers is VERY different than inkjet, mainly due to ink diffusion.

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Gus, I add my thanks to those of Chris. Your contribution is very helpful.

 

I am curious -- in Image Print, I am asked to choose the nominal resolution for printing, and I always choose 360, because it divides evenly into the 2880 printer resolution.

 

I always wondered what was really happening when I created a crop of an image and its total pixels added up to something that didn't divide evently into the printer resolution.

 

I guess the RIP and the printer do what they want?

I use ImagePrint 6 with an Epson 7600, and I'm pretty sure IP doesn't resize, scale, or resample. If you tell it the file is 180 dpi, that's what it'll print. Ditto 360 dpi. For moderate size prints I set the size and dpi (typically 180) in C1 Pro. JH Chrome Space. Although I'm considering switching to LR.

 

The 2880 dpi resolution isn't actually directly related to the smallest point size, since that depends on the particular ink channel, color, and paper. Rather, it's the precision with which the droplet can be positioned relative to other droplets. (I.e. phase accuracy.) With MK and Moab Entrada 300 I'm hard pressed to tell the difference between 180 and 360 using IP 6. Probably because the paper can hold more ink, so can hold higher density for a richer tonal scale, but conversely might diffuse/bleed a little more. Ah, tradeoffs.

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Can I take this OT slightly whilst the optical calculation experts are here ?

 

The lens crop factor for the M8 is 1.33 given 24x36 reduces to 18x27. Personally I prefer to apply this to the lens diagonal field of view as this removes those 28mm = 35mm arguments.

I am looking at a Phase One P20 back for the 'blad now the refurbs are getting to realistic prices. This is a 36.9 chip giving a 1.4 crop factor.

Now am I correct in looking to compare a scene shot from the same pov using a 50mm lens on the M8 = 35 degree diag FOV with a 50mm Zeiss on the 'blad giving a 36 degree FOV ?

Also, I will expect the shallower depth of focus with the larger imaging chip. I know it will be 18 versus 10 on pixel count but that is the point of the comparison how much more detail will I see in real life prints ?

This combination seems closest given the choice of Leica 28,35,50

Zeiss 40,50,80,100,150

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I Just sold several large (130X90) M8 images on the fall exhibition here in Norway, the images got a lot of attention and the comments "it's good to see someone still uses film" came up more than once, hahaha... :-)

 

Here's one of the images sold... (small version of course)

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