How Big Can I Print My Image?

November 04, 2016

How Big Can I Print My Image?

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 -MegaPixels Pixel Dimensions Image Quality - Excellent Image Quality - Very Good Image Quality - Meh
3 1536 x 2048 Up to 5x7 Up to 8x12 Up to 12x18
4 1800 x 2400 Up to 8x12 Up to 11x16 Up to 16x24
5 1932 x 2580 Up to 8x12 Up to 12x18 Up to 16x24
6 2016 x 3040 Up to 8x12 Up to 16x24 Up to 24x30
7.1 2304 x 3072 Up to 11x16 Up to 16x24 Up to 24x30
8.3 2336 x 3504 Up to 12x18 Up to 20x30 Up to 30x40
10.2 2592 x 3872 Up to 16x24 Up to 20x30 Up to 30x40
12.4 2912 x 4368 Up to 20x30 Up to 30x40 Up to 30x45
16.2 3328 x 4992 Up to 20x30 Up to 30x40 Up to 36x48
17.9 3456 x 5184 Up to 24x36 Up to 36x48 Up to 40x60
21.0 3744 x 5616 Up to 30x40 Up to 40x60 40x60+
30 4480 x 6720 Up to 30x45 40x60+ 40x60+
36.3 4912 x 7360 Up to 40x60 40x60+ 40x60+
50.6 5792 x 8688 Up to 40x60 40x60+ 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.

 

Camera Image Size - MegaPixels
iPhone 7 & 7 Plus 12
iPhone 6s & 6s Plus 12
iPhone 6 & 6 Plus 8
iPhone 5 8
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 12
Samsung Galaxy S6 16
Canon Rebel T5 18
Canon 5D Mark IV 30.4
Canon 5D Mark III 22.3
Canon 80D 24.2
Canon 5DS 50.6
Nikon D3300 24.2
Nikon D810 36.3
Sony A6300 24.2
Sony Alpha 7RII 42.4




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