Oversized digital prints
September 3, 2009 10:07 AM   Subscribe

Need clarification on getting oversized prints from digital photos.

My wife has taken some great photos on a 5MB Canon Powershot SD500 and she'd like to blow them up for framing. Some are quite sharp, taken in bright sunlight but others were taken at ASA 400 in low natural light (and showing sort of a multi-coloured granularity). I've read a few previous AskMes with talk about different home printers, good quality (regular sized) prints and the term "giclee" but I was hoping someone here could help us avoid a lot of expensived trial-and-error.

We'd like to know:
1) the largest size they could feasibly blown up to (we're hoping 18"x12"-ish?)
2) which paper and inks we should be asking for
3) and if anyone can recommend a printer in the Toronto area where we might get the best results with the minimum amount of trial and error.
posted by bonobothegreat to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Online places like Shutterfly or Snapfish will print large format prints for you, fairly cheaply. As far as how big a print you can make off a 5MP picture (sure it's not 7MP? the SD500 will do 7MP), that depends on the resolution you want to print at. If you're going to be looking at the photo with a magnifying glass, than sure, 8x10 might be a reasonable size. But I would guess you are going to be looking at this from a longer distance, like hanging on a wall in your room. In that case, you shouldn't have any problem with it printed at 18"x12".
posted by fings at 10:23 AM on September 3, 2009

Adorama.com will sometimes have sales on larger sizes.
posted by lockestockbarrel at 10:47 AM on September 3, 2009

This handy tool says that the max size for a typical photo-quality print (second last row) from a 5MP original is indeed just about 18x12 inches exactly.

And that passes my sense of rough guess, too. I wouldn't try to get bigger than that without deliberate posterizing.

As for paper, ink and print shops: visit and touch some samples. You cannot choose this well over the phone. Choose from samples.
posted by rokusan at 11:06 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm a very happy customer of perfectposters.com. They will let you size your photo as big as you want, and warn you when it's getting too big to look good. Twice they have made me a giant poster of a fairly small photo and both look great. Good prices too.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:26 PM on September 3, 2009

I'll weigh in for perfectposters.com too. Cheap and excellent quality.
posted by merocet at 2:48 PM on September 3, 2009

I've successfully printed 6 MP photos much larger than you're asking for. So long as you (or your printer) uses Photoshop to size the picture up you should be happy with the results. I have one picture that I cropped and resized to 5 feet by 3 feet and it hangs in my livingroom.

Most Black's shops will do it and it's not expensive at all. The 5x3 photo was maybe $120. They're generally staffed by photography students who are knowledgeable and eager to help. Drop by with your picture on a disc or usb memory stick and have a chat with them (I've had all of mine printed at the Black's at the Atrium on Bay - on n. side of Dundas just west of Yonge).
posted by ChuckLeChuck at 4:18 AM on September 4, 2009

Thanks everyone. I'll start with Blacks and then try the online places. I didn't know the business about re-sizing the .jpg in photoshop to the desired dimensions.
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:26 AM on September 4, 2009

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