View Full Version : how many pixels for decent quality prints

19th Jun 2016, 22:21
yesterday I put one of my snaps into a photographic competition at our local horticultural show, printed out at 7X5 inches. It happened to come not only first in the "bird" photo section but also best photo across all 3 subject classes, "birds", "tree in bloom" and "on the water. They're going to engrave my name on a new trophy. I would like to print off my picture a bit bigger than 7X5 and wondered if there is a rule of thumb for the minimum number of pixels per inch below which the picture quality suffers?


19th Jun 2016, 22:31
In reality, with a good quality digital photo (see below) - 200 PPI will achieve photographic quality in print - so even if they ask for 300 PPI, if you have a photo with 200 PPI it will most likely print just fine as long as it is a good quality digital photo. A good quality digital photo is one:

Printing images - what file size do you need (http://www.urban75.org/photos/print.html)?

Loose rivets
20th Jun 2016, 01:04
I like all the squares filled in with Crap

I take it, it's a modern technical term. :p

A very handy page. I've saved it to Photography Bookmarks. :ok:

20th Jun 2016, 06:54
My first digital camera was an Olympus E-1. It took wonderful pictures, and I have seen pics taken by very good photographers that were simply outstanding- using the same camera.

It only has 5 mega pixels.

20th Jun 2016, 07:19
I blew up a 5mp photo I took on a scottish loch to A3 size and printed it on the digital printer at work. I can not see any pixels or any evidence as to whether it was originally digital or film.

20th Jun 2016, 08:38
I was advised by a professional photographer a couple of years ago that you needed a minimum of 5 mp to print poster-sized good quality.

20th Jun 2016, 09:16
A top quality lens is more important than 10s of megapixels imo. The first digital camera I had (Pentax Optio 70) was only 3.2MP but the shots would enlarge to A4 and still look good. The next two cameras were 8MP and 14.1, and my Sony phone can do a ridiculous 20.7, but none of them will be as good enlarged cos the lenses aren't as sharp.

20th Jun 2016, 10:21
Of course, it would also depend on the printers capabilities.
Much like a set of loudspeakers, it doesn't matter how good the woofers and tweeters are, if your ears are shot ...

20th Jun 2016, 20:53
nice find G-CPTN, if it is correct I should be good for poster size (not billboard perhaps) as my camera does up to 14M pixels.

The "Crap" in most of the table probably reflects the way most of my photos have turned out. I have struggled with my camera ever since I have had it as I assumed that it would make a decent job as long as it was set on auto, auto, auto. Wrong! As it was supposed to select aperture, shutter speed, focus and film ISO to suit the conditions I was having difficulty figuring out whether the focus was out or I didn't keep the camera still enough or whether the focus point was not on the subject or maybe the moon was in the wrong phase. Most of my pictures came out reasonably exposed but just not properly sharp. Diagnosing the issue was not helped by the subjects most often being moving. Perhaps my panning is poor? I also had a tendency to grab and shoot and expect perfect results.

So, we got ourselves on a one day digital camera course. The course cost a lot less than either of our cameras and had the bonus of being held in a training room at Pickering station on the North Yorkshire Moors steam railway. This location gave easy access to scenery, moving trains, moving and stationary water, people engrossed in operating the railway (for candid portraits) and some tricky lighting shots (black steam engine under a dark canopy in the station platform). We learned about features in our cameras that we didn't know were there, features described about 200 pages further into the manual than we were ever going to read. It all makes sense now and I have a few nice pictures between the crap, including the prize winner on Saturday.

Should have done it sooner.

Thanks for the info from those who have replied here.

20th Jun 2016, 21:03
And congratulations on your 'best in show'! :D:D:D