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Digital Photos Resolution Problem?

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Bought digital photo package on the Explorer of the Seas.  We wanted to get one of the pictures done on board blown up to 20x30in canvas.  The Walmart website is warning that the resolution isn't good enough and another website best canvas is saying it's fine.  The file size is 1.79MB the company provided me with this info:


Below you will find more information on the file sizes and resolution we supply to our guests.

All images supplied meet our standards of resolution and DPI which have been confirmed at a minimum of 2000×3000(resolution) and 300(Dots per inch) these have been our standard specifications for images for many years and meet the requirements for printing both onboard with our shoreside vendors as well as all common photo printing retailers.

We often find that there can be occasional confusion between what resolution is and how this relates to the image file size (in Megabytes). We use high quality compression settings onboard that allow us to keep both specs of the images high, but also allow us to control the MB size of images keeping them to a reasonable MB size to ensure the speed of transfer from the ship to our guests on various media and printed products that we supply ou r photos on.

Additionally please note, the images come as they are seen onboard, with borders and templates that cannot be altered, there is no additional version of the photo stored.

Thank you

Kind regards,
Our Cruise Photos Support


No I don't understand compression so can I print a 2k/3k resolution image up to 20x30inch canvas?  The file size of the image is only 1.71MB but it has a lot of white?


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You _can_ print it 20x30, but if the quality will meet your expectations is unknown at the moment.  My guess at the moment is it'll be pushing it, you'll absolutely see some quality loss up close, but if you take viewing distance into account, it might be ok.


You can try upscaling it yourself (20x30 at 300 dpi is 6000x9000) and looking at it on your monitor at scale, that'll give you a decent idea of what the print quality will be like, but to get a better answer I'd recommend linking a full res copy of the file for us to see.

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If you look at the EXIF you can see the actual file size in pixels. With compression, it's impossible to say what your actual pixel resolution is.

You don't have to print at 300dpi... larger prints can look fine at 240dpi, as you're less likely to get super close to the print. Even 200dpi is fine for a larger print.

But you don't really want to go below 200dpi..


So you need 24 megapixels -- Basically 4000x6000 resolution, to get a 20X30 print at 200 dpi. 

Below that, you'll really start to notice lower image quality.


Sounds like you might need to stick to 13X19 type or range.

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While the file size (and I'm speaking resolution or number of pixels right now) is an important aspect, it's not the only one to take into consideration.  You also have to look at what the photo is of (number and location of fine details vs larger shapes), the quality of it (focus, amount of compression, exposure, etc), the intended print medium, and intended viewing location / distance.


To go a little deeper into that:


Photos with fewer file details are going  to be able to be enlarged more before you start to drastically notice the breakdown in the file.  I'm going to guess this is a portrait of them but we'd likely get different results from enlarging a headshot vs a full length portrait.


Quality wise, I'll take a well exposed, in focus, uncompressed 6MP photo over a poorly exposed, slightly out of focus, compressed 24MP photo to enlarge.  I've done 30x40+ sized prints from a huge variety of sources in the last 15 years, from a 6MP canon 10D, 4x5 film scans, and currently a mix of APSC and medium format digital cameras.  Give me quality over size any day (well, really give me both).  While you will see a sharp quality decrease up close (unavoidable unless it's a more abstract photo), the next two items can help address if that's going to be acceptable.


What are you planning on printing this on?  A canvas print for instance will hide a multitude of quality sins.  The texture of canvas and way they're printed means that a lot of the fine details are going to be obscured anyways.  Something like a glossy paper is going to more easily show any defects.


And finally (well, not really but I don't think anyone here wants to really dive into a masterclass on printing), where will the print be hung and what's the distance you're planning on having people view it at?  The standard recommended viewing distance for a 20x30 is around 5 feet and if it's over a couch for instance, that helps to enforce that people won't be shoving their faces into it.


The long and short of it is, there's just too many variables for someone to say one way or another for sure, if you post a copy we can give you an idea of what to expect but the final say would be what you consider acceptable.  Or you can just try ordering one and see if you like the results.  The printer I use a lot right now (nations photo lab) is running a sale, a 20x30 on lustre paper is $13.80.

Edited by joshgates

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Thanks for the info.  It is a family of four portrait with a white background.  Printed on canvas and hung over a desk. 

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one suggestion, if you are going to res the image up yourself do it is small steps. Never go up more that 10% of the original size in any one step.  The more you ask your software to think and do at one time the more chances for it to fail. 

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