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Making prints from Fuji X-Trans files


rsimko
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Hello all,

I wanted to open this thread to discuss printing from Fuji X-trans files. I don't have too much experience. So far I only made Blurb book 12x12 inch. It came out pretty good but I am more interested about big wall prints. How far you can push the size, how big you can go to retain reasonable detail, quality of print on different surfaces etc. If you have any experience please share. I know there are general rules about print sizes but I have seen prints that defy them. I mean prints that are bigger you would expect from 16mpix file while retaining details visible even from reasonable close inspection.

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I think this is a questions with many answers and the possibility of interpreting things is a different way. Much also depends of the printer that you will be using too.

 

Perhaps this link will help you make up you mind about the output quality and the size that you want to print, the calculator is rather easy to use but the way you interpreter its criteria might not be univocal.

 

https://photographyicon.com/enlarge/

 

As you can easily understand, much depends on the definition of “ maximum achievable print quality” that you will be choosing to work with.

 

Although some folks would immediately go for the maximum possible printing resolution (therefore achieving a comparatively small print size), you will quickly find that the difference with lesser printing resolutions (producing larger prints) will be, to some extent, compensated by the fact that large prints are viewed from afar rather than from close-by and that this will still render an acceptable quality picture to the viewer at that distance rather than one viewed at the same distance where a smaller print would be viewed.

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I have printed a nice sharp image that was approx 8 - 10 megapixel as a 2ft x 3ft stretched canvas.  I have a few of them from yester-year.  They all look excellent.  Canvas is a more forgiving medium to print on.  Remember, viewing distance (optimal) is at least 2x the vertical size of the print.  Its ok for an image to not be perfectly sharp or noise free ... it is the subject matter that people will notice and the large 'wow factor' from it being nice and big.  Only you will be the one to notice and give a care about the technical details.  People can print larger than they think from just listening to others on the web.  I have found from experience that I can print twice as large as what a print shop recommends and still be quite happy with the results. 

 

What people don't realize is the image needs to be pre-sharpened before printing and the pre-sharpening needs to be stronger than they would think it should be.  It may look oversharpened on your screen, but it will print great.  Your screen and print material (paper, canvas, metal, etc) show the image different, so if it looks oversharpened on the screen, it will probably be just right for print.  But trial and error and experimenting is without a doubt the best approach.  Have fun!

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Few people ever gather the necessary know how to produce the optimum results when printing anything above and beyond the capabilities of their home printers. Only few people, after all, own the expensive systems allowing for very large prints.

 

So, if one is using a printing service, it is worth asking them what kind of adjustments would be best being applied and the level of adjustment which they might be routinely be making (and in that case avoid performing potentially damaging operations twice).

 

They generally have these descriptions on line ( this is the first one I’ve found and simply explanatory of what I mean by instructions).

 

http://www.fineprintimaging.com/print_services/photo_prints/preparing_your_files.htm

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I have been on Fuji event in Singapore couple of weeks back and they had quite big prints there which I examined quite closely. They looked excellent even if I was standing very close to them while quite big (some at least 1, in width). Unfortunately there was none around who could tell me something more about the prints.

Thanks for input though.

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well, the only consolation would be that if there would have been anyone to tell you about THOSE prints he or she would have told you about those prints made by them in Singapore but chances are that if you live somewhere else the information would have been of little use to you the moment you would have stepped into someone else’s shop to have prints made since they would have used a completely different se up.

 

There is no doubt that you can have X trans files printed at very large sizes with very good results.

 

The best thing to do is for you to go to the nearest or best printing service available to you and, after a preliminary discussion on what to do (or NOT to do) with your files and how they want them to be given to them to assure the best results  to have a test made.

 

This could be even a portion of the file but in that case remember to look at it from the appropriate distance that the whole of the print would be looked at.

 

This article explains the concept in detail

 

http://www.photokaboom.com/photography/learn/printing/resolution/1_which_resolution_print_size_viewing_distance.htm

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I have printed most images at 13" x 19" with no up-rezzing.   However, I have one image that I printed 24" x 18", also without having to up size or rez up.  It looks amazing!  It was taken with the Zeiss 12mm F2.8 Touit, Tripod, 2 second timer, F8.0

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I have been on Fuji event in Singapore couple of weeks back and they had quite big prints there which I examined quite closely. They looked excellent even if I was standing very close to them while quite big (some at least 1, in width). Unfortunately there was none around who could tell me something more about the prints.

Thanks for input though.

I would LOVE to know what Fuji did to get a print that big; what methodology they used...

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Yeah. I am going to try to find out. There is  Fujifilm showroom in Singapore with some prints displayed. I will ask.
Here are some examples I shot at Fijifilm event with my mobile phone. Unfortunately I have no size reference but still, you can sense these are big prints.

2015-05-31%2015.09.03.jpg

2015-05-31%2015.11.27.jpg
2015-05-31%2015.08.04.jpg

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Nice size ( my guess is that they are 50 x 60>70cm?)  but, that is not what I would qualify under my definition of “ large prints” , these are decent size prints which will be used in a home environment. A large print, to me is something way above even 70cm x 100 cm ( which is about the largest size used in an home environment)  and the X trans files should be able to deliver.

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I've seen a couple of Damien Lovegrove's images printed out to gallery dimensions at trade shows; I can't say I got out a tape measure and noted down how big they were exactly, but they must have been at least 4' across if not more. Looked fine to me.

I generally disagree with the idea that bigger prints don't have to be as sharp, as in my experience people do walk right up to them and peer at every little detail. For that reason, I don't really like printing my Fuji files any larger than A2 or more commonly 24"x18". Even then I find they're only just acceptable by my standards. 16" on the long side—around A3—is the largest I usually choose to print at.
That said, my subjects are a little different compared to the likes of Mr. Lovegrove's, and absurdly fine abstract detail never holds up to printing as well as a traditional portrait or landscape. If my images weren't scrutinised as heavily and as closely then I would probably be more comfortable with the A2 prints and would risk the occasional much larger print from a Fuji file.

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I am yet to print anything from my XT1/X100S but we are moving into a much bigger house and therefore planning on making some wall prints. From what I am reading, to I should have no trouble printing landscapes at A3 size or slightly larger and retaining detail etc, is that fair to say?

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Did a bunch of testing a number of years ago. 360 vs 720 ppi—no visible difference, nor is there any visible difference down to 240ppi.

At 180 vs 360 ppi you could see a slight difference at reading distance, which vanished at arm's length. Below 180 ppi, the difference becomes more easily visible, but only if there is a substantial difference in resolution. There is simply no point when it falls apart. Even a print at 90 ppi looks sharp and detailed as long as there is not a high-res print next to it. At 90 ppi, you could print 54" × 36" from an X-camera exposure. 

 

The main factor in very large prints is your eye. At a distance where you can see all of the print, they eye is VERY forgiving. For decades Kodak had 18' × 60' photo-murals high above the concourse of New York City's Grand Central Station. Some were even shot with 35mm cameras. Close up, the dye-clouds were tennis-ball size, but from the floor, the picture was sharp and clear. In my own case, with my first bridge camera, I shot an excellent portrait of a Macaw and a friend wanted a print. This was a 3MP Coolpix 990 with a resolution of just 2048 ×1536. He had it printed at 24" × 36". No one would mistake it for an 8×10 contact print, but even close up, it was quite detailed—remarkable since it was down to only about 57 ppi. One could easily see the fibrous nature of the feathers when eyeballing the print.

However, don't just take my word for it. Test for yourself. You do not need to make huge prints to test. In my comparison tests, I printed 5×7s side by side on a letter-sized piece of paper for easy comparison. 

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At a distance where you can see all of the print, they eye is VERY forgiving.

While true, this is the stumbling block for me: when stuff I do is printed, it is not looked at as an overall image at a distance anywhere near as much as it is peered at up-close; I have people literally pulling out magnifying glasses when looking at my work. But of course, not everybody has to suffer that scrutiny. I vividly remember when I was young, seeing my father's 35mm shots blown up to 7' high and nobody back then was ever asking for a reprint from a larger source.

 

This is an area where you simply can't make generalisations about what resolution, what PPI and DPI to use for any print size. It all depends on the subject of the image, the reason it is being printed and the people who will be looking at it.

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This is a great question. I remember when I first started making "large" prints (2 feet x 3 feet, or larger) I had the same questions before sending them off to the printer. With the 16MP in the Fuji, I have no issues making a 2'x3' print that is perfectly fine for my viewing. I don't crop though which is something to consider. These large prints are usually for home use and aren't used for pixel peeping, just for me and my families enjoyment. I have created some nice 2'x3' prints from a 10MP camera (the Nikon V1) using this software from Alienskin http://www.alienskin.com/blowup/ which worked very well (I have no affiliation with Alienskin.) They had a free trial that you could download to see if it will work for you.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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It would depend upon the amount of processing involved, the size of the print and the viewing distance.

 

All cameras natively shoot RAW. The internal processing engine applies the camera settings(12-14-bit), then converts to 8-bit JPEG. RAW converters let the photographer apply the settings AFTER the fact and save the image, in any format that is desired. Thus, you can print directly from the 16-bit workspace that Lightroom or Photoshop provides, without every saving as a JPEG.

A JPEG is always limited to 256 steps in red, green and blue from zero to maximum luminance. All processing of JPEGs is somewhat destructive, so errors become visible much more readily than with non-destructive editing of RAW with 65536 steps. It is possible that you may not see a difference, or the difference will be great. An accumulation of circumstances.

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It depends on a lot of factors, but I often had problems with posterization when making very large prints from jpegs. I made a series of architectural and landscape prints for one of our offices and the images with large patches of sky showed it most clearly. If you know bit about how jpeg compression works, this makes some sense. I fixed it by outputting a 16 bit TIFF at the correct size from the RAW file. Go EASY on the sharpening until the very last step! I also made the final color/exposure adjustments on the TIFF. I got good 24x36 prints from a 6mpx Nikon RAW file by this method. Much easier to work with 36mpx files from a D800 nowadays - but I still work from big 16 bit-per-channel TIFF files when I need to print large.

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