How Big Can I Print My Image?

jim_tarpos_40x120_pano

Any image can be printed as large as you want. It just depends on your expectations. From the fact that you’re reading this article on this website, I’d have to guess that you’re a more discerning person than the average Joe. So, I’m going to assume that you want an excellent quality print without any visible artifacts, jagged edges or pixelization. This will depend on two factors: viewing distance and image size (measured in quantity of pixels).

Viewing Distance
Viewing distance is very important because due to the limitations of human vision, the resolution (ppi – pixels per inch) requirement goes down as you get farther away from the print. And, since larger prints are meant to be viewed at farther distances, the required resolution of larger prints are less than smaller prints. For an extreme example, an optically clear 4”x6” print requires 300 ppi at about 2 ft away while an average billboard requires about 10 ppi at hundreds of feet away. Your large print probably falls closer to the 4×6.

You geeks can find more in-depth discussion about resolution and viewing distance here, http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/print_viewing_distance.html

Once we considered the viewing distance of prints and file size, we came up with our subjective guideline below.

Image Size -MegaPixelsPixel DimensionsImage Quality - ExcellentImage Quality - Very GoodImage Quality - Meh
31536 x 2048Up to 5x7Up to 8x12Up to 12x18
41800 x 2400Up to 8x12Up to 11x16Up to 16x24
51932 x 2580Up to 8x12Up to 12x18Up to 16x24
62016 x 3040Up to 8x12Up to 16x24Up to 24x30
7.12304 x 3072Up to 11x16Up to 16x24Up to 24x30
8.32336 x 3504Up to 12x18Up to 20x30Up to 30x40
10.22592 x 3872Up to 16x24Up to 20x30Up to 30x40
12.42912 x 4368Up to 20x30Up to 30x40Up to 30x45
16.23328 x 4992Up to 20x30Up to 30x40Up to 36x48
17.93456 x 5184Up to 24x36Up to 36x48Up to 40x60
21.03744 x 5616Up to 30x40Up to 40x6040x60+
304480 x 6720Up to 30x4540x60+40x60+
36.34912 x 7360Up to 40x6040x60+40x60+
50.65792 x 8688Up to 40x6040x60+40x60+

Image Size
If you have any interest in cameras, you’re familiar with the term, megapixels—the single most boasted technical spec on every digital camera. It’s the measurement of the amount of detail that can be captured by the camera. In short, the more megapixels you have, the larger you can print your image.

Here’s a list of common cameras and their image file sizes.

CameraImage Size - MegaPixels
iPhone 7 & 7 Plus12
iPhone 6s & 6s Plus12
iPhone 6 & 6 Plus8
iPhone 58
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge12
Samsung Galaxy S616
Canon Rebel T518
Canon 5D Mark IV30.4
Canon 5D Mark III22.3
Canon 80D24.2
Canon 5DS50.6
Nikon D330024.2
Nikon D81036.3
Sony A630024.2
Sony Alpha 7RII42.4
Sam Yu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *