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andreas_thomsen

M9 18 mp prints A2 format

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As for the M9 being launched in September: yes, when Christmas and Easter fall on the same day in 2009, that's when the M9 will be launched.

 

Bernd, I think the September release of the M9 is pretty much an open secret at this point. Even my local Berlin dealer has more or less admitted it, without saying so directly.

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I disagree with the M8's pixel count being sufficient for perfect A3. It cannot be, considering a 300 DPI print needs 100% MTF up to about 5000 pixels which is pretty much impossible to achieve with all current 35mm and smaller sensors, including Sony's 24MP model (plus some commercial printing gets up to 350 DPI).

 

A3 is very good but not perfect with a 5D2's 21 MP. A4 images look slightly sharper when both prints are viewed from ~20 cm (laser prints from a Fuji lab in this case).

 

So why this fascination with numbers and dpi/ppi as a way of measuring the qualities of a photograph? And especially in light of what some of us used to do in the darkroom?

 

Simple.

 

Why do dogs lick themselves? Because they can.

 

Why to some people spend so much time measurebating their digital output? Same answer.

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I disagree with the M8's pixel count being sufficient for perfect A3. It cannot be, considering a 300 DPI print needs 100% MTF up to about 5000 pixels which is pretty much impossible to achieve with all current 35mm and smaller sensors, including Sony's 24MP model (plus some commercial printing gets up to 350 DPI).

 

A3 is very good but not perfect with a 5D2's 21 MP. A4 images look slightly sharper when both prints are viewed from ~20 cm (laser prints from a Fuji lab in this case).

 

Of course at normal viewing distances, the M8 is good enough for A3 and the M9 will be for A2.

 

Then you and the OP are doing something wrong.

Here are 2 images of 2 12x18 inch prints printed on 13x19 (B+) paper made from M8 files on a HP B9180 using Qimage.

These are straight out of the camera and then made into JPG's using my normal action for posting to this forum. In my eyes they are spectacular and if I had a bigger printer I have no doubt I could print them even bigger without any problem.

 

 

 

Maybe you and the OP need to take a class in printing or get a better printer or print service.

 

Oh by the way the images of the prints were made with a M8, 50 Lux ASPH, using a Leica SF58 flash bounced off my front door with the prints laying on my living room floor hand held at 1/125s f/4.

 

For comparison here are the 2 shots the print were made from.

 

 

Edited by Shootist

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M8 images have the advantage of fewer digital artifacts because of the absence of AA filter. After that, it's all in the workflow. I consistently print 14x21" on roll paper & am fairly often asked which MF system I work with (once by Mary Ellen Mark, no less).

 

Going back to the OP's issue: we'd need more info about his workflow to understand why he can't produce a first-rate A3 print. Not much point discussing further without this info.

 

Kirk

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Then you and the OP are doing something wrong

Not really. Insufficient resolution to fill A3 remains insufficient resolution, no matter how you bend and turn it. You'd need a high MTF value at ~5300x3500 pixels for 30x45 cm at full 300 DPI, meaning you'd need something like an 18 MP Foveon sensor. The 5D2 reaches 80-100% MTF in most cases up to about 240 DPI for 30x45 and 0% at 280. This is very good, but not perfect.

 

Just like the calculations suggest, I can see the difference to an A4 print at 15-20cm distance. I know that this is not a normal viewing distance and that it's nitpicking, I just wanted to say there is a value in higher pixel counts for A3 and you don't necessarily need giant poster sizes to see it. I also know that artistic value is independent of image sharpness.

 

As for your low resolution examples of prints, I don't know what they're supposed to contribute to a discussion about print resolution. Scan A3 and A4 prints of the same image with a flatbed and we'll be able to see the difference..

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The technical details and intricate calculations are not so interesting. The important part is that if you print an M8 photo on A3 well, it looks great.

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Not to mention the fact that the guy does not know that 300 DPI is the resolution roughly nbeeded for A4 seen at reading distance and that the bigger the format, the lowest it is.

 

And that image sharpness is not judged by scanning but by human eye. If not, watch any format under a microscope and you will see it is not sharp but made of little color dots.

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LOL>.. Bernd, I did NOT start this discussion..!

 

I had film images from italy on display 20 years ago at this print size, never realized they did not hold up (neither did the gallery owner).. and was just now looking at some B3 prints from last week... even with my nose in the print, its still very satisfying. though normally I view images from at least enough distance to see the entire image.

 

Robert Frank's images was scrumptious, very grainy but wonderful and great. the M8 beats the quality of the media he was shooting on, hands down.. its all about taking some meaningful images with the camera and forget the rest.

 

 

.

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Not really. Insufficient resolution to fill A3 remains insufficient resolution, no matter how you bend and turn it. You'd need a high MTF value at ~5300x3500 pixels for 30x45 cm at full 300 DPI, meaning you'd need something like an 18 MP Foveon sensor. The 5D2 reaches 80-100% MTF in most cases up to about 240 DPI for 30x45 and 0% at 280. This is very good, but not perfect.

 

Just like the calculations suggest, I can see the difference to an A4 print at 15-20cm distance. I know that this is not a normal viewing distance and that it's nitpicking, I just wanted to say there is a value in higher pixel counts for A3 and you don't necessarily need giant poster sizes to see it. I also know that artistic value is independent of image sharpness.

 

As for your low resolution examples of prints, I don't know what they're supposed to contribute to a discussion about print resolution. Scan A3 and A4 prints of the same image with a flatbed and we'll be able to see the difference..

 

Oh sure we will: we'll be able to see what your flatbed scanner does through a browser LOL!!

 

Are you for real? Do you actually make anything like prints for a living or something?

 

To me, anyway, your calculations are immediately off because you're talking about dots per inch as though they're discrete points of ink or grain; and you don't seem to be taking into account the fact that any modern print mechanism you're printing with uses actual paper (coated or not) and what gets laid down gets that way through a driver and a hardware translation (dithering mechanism). Consequently, there are not many pictorial media that would actually resolve anything like the MTF you're calling for (and very few printing mechanisms to boot).

 

There is no difficulty whatsoever printing A3 with an M8. 30 * 40 inch prints don't look too bad either. And I'm loathe to trot this out again, but I honestly wish some people would use the search function from time to time:

 

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m8-forum/9022-30-x-40-inch-m8-prints.html

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m8-forum/27254-david-adamsons-graciousness-skill.html

 

And though you never know for sure, I suspect David Adamson knows more about large photographic printing than anyone else on this forum

If you're having trouble printing small-ish from the m8, then you don't know how to print, IMO.

 

Again, IMO, the M9 will be marginally better at 18MP; I've also worked with the 5d2 and it produces very nearly indistinguishable prints from an M8 (or from a 5d, for that matter) on something like a Durst Lambda printer up to 42 inches wide.

 

When you've got a Canon 28 mm lens on a 5d2, of course, they are noticably worse than an M8 with a Summicron

Edited by Jamie Roberts

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If it is really true that an M9 will be released in September, my "pusher" will have one ready for me I'm sure. I may have to run to A Leicaphiles Anonymous meeting because you guys certainly are as bad as hanging out with Courtney Love to get off drugs.

 

Seriously, of course I'll buy it if there are any significant improvements. And by that I mean, better high ISO performance by at least a stop or 18-20mp resolution. And I want either of these without compromise of the things the M8 did well. I will not go for an internal IR filter with decrease in image sharpness etc. If it is an M8.3 in disguise, I'll just say no!

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There's a lot of confusion about print resolution for photographs, and a print resolution of 300 dpi is spoken about as if it's some magic number: it's not.

 

By the way, as Jamie correctly points out, keep your dpi's and ppi's separate: use the former when talking about prints, the latter when discussing image resolution. You can print a 72 ppi image at 300 dpi, so mixing ppi and dpi is not only wrong but confusing. As far as an image is concerned, it's the size of the image in pixels that's the important factor, as that dictates how large the image can be printed before a viewer discerns a loss in print quality.

 

 

300 ppi: the ‘standard’ resolution. Or is it?

 

The human eye cannot resolve much more than about 500 dots per linear inch when looking very closely at complex patterns of dots with indistinct borders between abstract shapes of different tints/shades (e.g. photographs). In practice, most people will probably not notice any difference if the dot spacing is reduced to as low as 300 dpi, however close they are to the image – and definitely not at a viewing distance of 30 cm or more. For this reason, 300 dpi has been the resolution used for decades in the print industry when printing halftoned* photographs in books.

 

[* Halftone. A short digression... It's helpful to know what a halftone is for this discussion. Most printers (inkjets, laser, printing presses) have inks of only a few colours, so a process known as halftoning is used to produce new shades: tiny dots of ink are printed very close together or overlapping, and, as these dots are so small, the human eye blends them together to give the appearance of new colours. If you look at a photograph in a book using a magnifying glass, you can see these individual dots of ink.]

 

Back to the main discussion... It is pointless having a resolution above this 300 dpi limit, as the typical offset printing press is unable to use the greater detail: all that you’re doing is creating a large file that is unwieldy and wastes space. I know you're wondering why I'm banging on about printing presses instead of talking about inkjet printers - but bear with me! (Incidentally, shapes with more defined structure need to printed at higher resolution, e.g. text in books, is usually printed at a resolution of at least 1200 dpi, to ensure that the characters look crisp.)

 

In a traditional offset printing press, the dots in a halftone are regularly spaced, and we assume a direct numerical correlation between pixel density (ppi) and the printer output resolution (dpi), i.e. each ink dot represents a pixel. So, when a photograph is to be printed in a book or magazine using an offset printing press, we need a digital photograph with a resolution of 300 ppi, to meet the 300 dpi requirement.

 

This 300 ppi figure is widely, but erroneously, assumed to hold true for inkjet printers: although offset presses are designed to print photographs at 300 dpi, many inkjet printers aren’t, and require a different resolution to achieve the best quality print. Printing at a non-ideal resolution can cause a loss in sharpness and produce artefacts such as moiré.

 

Before continuing, it’s helpful to understand how an inkjet printer works. A pixel is represented using several overlapping ink droplets. In addition, the size of these ink droplets varies, and the printer uses a regular grid pattern when printing these droplets. There is thus no obvious direct correlation between dots of ink and image pixels, as there is with the offset printing press. So, what resolution should a digital image have?

 

Epson inkjet desktop printers typically have a resolution of 2880 × 1440 dpi. However, this refers to the total number of ink droplets printed, and is thus not the printer resolution: as discussed, these droplets are printed in a grid pattern, and it is this grid that actually defines the printer resolution – so, the huge 2880 dpi ‘resolution’ is just marketing hype! Inkjet manufacturers don’t tell us is what the true resolution is, presumably because it will seem disappointingly low. However, by not using files with a resolution matching that of the printer, print quality is degraded, because the print driver resamples the image during printing, affecting sharpness and tonal range, as there is no longer a 1:1 correspondence between pixels and ink dots. For most prints, this degradation is minimal and may not be discernible – but why accept lower print quality?

 

We thus need to find out the resolution of this aforementioned grid of grouped ink droplets. It makes sense that it would be close to the 300 dpi ‘standard’, to match the resolution of the human eye. Also, it has to be divisible into 1440 dpi. That gives us a choice of 240, 288 and 360 ppi. Tests show that 288 ppi consistently gives the best results, regardless of printer settings. So, the native resolution of Epson printers is 288 ppi.

 

Canon inkjet printers have a resolution divisible by 300, and use the traditional 300 ppi resolution.

 

For the rest of this post, I’m going to use resolutions suitable for Epson printers, since that's what I use.

 

 

Maximum print sizes from digital images

 

The Leica M8, a 10 MP camera, produces an image of 2600 x 3900 pixels, sufficient for a 9 x 13.5 inch print at 288 ppi. An A3 print is not much larger (11.5 x 16.5 inches), so an M8 will make prints that size without noticeable degradation in quality.

 

For non-critical prints to be viewed at a typical reading distance, the 288 ppi criterion can be lowered to about 180 ppi. This quality corresponds, roughly, to that of photos in expensive coffee table books. If you think about photographs that you've seen reproduced in high-quality publications, it’s apparent that this resolution is capable of producing what, too most people, is excellent print quality.

 

At 180 ppi resolution, an M8 image can thus be printed at about A2 (16.5 x 23.5 inches), but the photographs must be technically perfect, i.e. with minimal noise, without sharpening or JPEG artefacts, etc..

 

For viewing at greater than reading distance (i.e. for prints larger than A2), the resolution requirements are less stringent, as viewers will be further away: fine-art prints for wall display are usually viewed from a distance of at least 2–3 feet. A resolution as low as 120 ppi can still produce arresting images. This means that most people would be impressed by an M8 image as large as 20 x 30 inches, as long as they were viewing it from a few feet away.

 

Viewing a photo on-screen at 50% magnification will give an approximation of the appearance (sharpness, etc.) of the printed image.

Edited by RichC

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My 3 grosze.

The actual resolution of lens/camera combo is ca 2600LPH in the case of M8. (LPH=lines per picture height). Thats close enough to D3x, 5d2/1D3, a900 2700LPH. Best primes used in each case for testing. At print height of 10 inches you get 260-270 ppi of real resolution in each case. Anything bigger is interpolated detail, whether by the printer driver or your best uprezzing software.

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Andreas there are more factors than the numbers of pixels of course. Focus accuracy, shutter speed (tripod support?), correct exposure technique. Certainly a larger print will tell you all about your technique if you make mistakes. The 300ppi figure is commonly considered a standard for say, A4 size but it does not tell the whole story. Digital files scale completely differently to film scans.

 

Really there are two approaches if you are preparing an image for a large print. You can accept that a lower PPI is workable for larger prints or you can scale up the existing pixels if you feel you have to have a specific PPI. Try both and you may be surprised.

 

The M8 sensor with a Leica lens and good technique will certainly produce superb enlargements bigger than A3. The best examples I have seen are hanging on the wall at the Solms factory. They have a series of commercial prints to illustrate the Summarit performance and those are around one metre across. Even viewing them from abnormally close up they hold up extremely well.

Try for yourself, if you have the M8. Put it on a tripod with your best lens and make a careful exposure. Get it printed large commercially and take a close look. Remember too that viewing distance is meant to increase as prints get larger. That is the whole principle of the Circles of Confusion that are meant to be resolution benchmarks. Putting your nose up against the print or pixel peeking may tell you about theoretical limits but not what is real world application. Give it a try and tell us about your experience. Then if and when a 24x36 sensor arrives you will be ready to wow yourself with more prints too

i really be

lieve an M9 will be realeased in sept.

i only shoot in B/Wi

at iso 160 its oki but not great to print up to a3.

 

do you think the larger sensor will help to print great shots up to A2 format or is the sensor still to weak for that format.

 

cheers

andy

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All this discussion about resolution and image quality is well and interesting, but it completely bypasses the fact that for the impression of sharpness extreme detail is not the most important factor. The optical industry discovered in the 1960-ies that the human eye perceives a higher resolved low contrast image as less sharp than a lower resolution high-contrast image. That was the reason Leica and Nikon and in their wake all other optical companies started building high-contrast lenses from the mid-sixties onwards. The same holds true throughout the whole photographic process including printing.

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And, as Jaap implies, there's more to how large you can print an image over and above the pure quantitative - pixel dimensions of an image, print resolution (i.e. dpi), image quality (noise, lens resolution, etc.), etc.

 

The quantitative is a start, but you have to also consider the qualitative. For example, high contrast makes a photo seem sharper (as Jaap points out again). I'm sure most of you are aware, but when you're sharpening an image in Photoshop or whatever, all you're doing is simply increasing the contrast (at the boundaries between pixels of different colours, so making edges more distinct - what you could term "micro-contrast").

 

Another qualitative aspect, which I and others have mentioned, is viewing distance. Our perception of sharpness depends on how far we view a print from: no one sensible would look at a 1 m (3 foot) print at, say, the typical reading distance of 0.5 m (18 inches) - you'd probably be at least 1.25 m (4 feet) away, to take in the whole image. And viewed at 1.25 m, a 1 m image printed at 120 dpi will seem as sharp as an A4 (10 inch) print viewed at 0.5 m. No one would stand 0.5 m from a poster and complain it's not sharp!

 

And there's plenty of other things that affect how sharp we perceive an image...

 

So, print sharpness is a bit like those interminable arguments we have about depth of field: yes, aspects are constrained by physics and human physiology and easily defined as requirements that need to be met, but at the end of the day, the maximum size that someone deems acceptable for an M8 print can only be judged by printing a photo and looking at it, and will that limit will vary from person to person.

 

Anyway, what it all boils down to is that without doing anything special to a technically perfect M8 image, such as interpolating it using, say, Genuine Fractals, you can print that M8 image at any size you want, including billboard size, and it will be sharp, providing it's seen at a sensible viewing distance.

 

A 1 m print made from medium-format film can show more detail than a 1 m print from an M8, but unless you need to view the M8 print from a few inches instead of a few feet like any normal person, this difference in quality is meaningless in the reality.

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Now that you mention DOF, an image with a deep DOF will appear sharper as well, as the human eye is drawn to sharp parts of the image. And for resolution - if the brain does not know there is a fine structure somewhere, does it matter that the eye cannot discern it?

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Don't forget too, that the type of paper used for printing can have a very great effect upon how 'sharp' the image may appear to the human eye. Remember how textured 'matte' or 'satin' papers were used some years ago to help hide the shortcomings of holiday snaps?

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It's high resolution that allows big enlargements otherwise we could print sharp billboards with contrasty P&S. Depends on tastes a well. To me A2 is not acceptable with anything smaller than MF so far. Never tried 20+ MP DSLRs though.

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