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Enlarging Images in LR6

Discussion in 'Digital Image Editing & Printing' started by PMurrell, Jun 10, 2020.

  1. PMurrell

    PMurrell Well-Known Member

    My camera is 12MP therefore there's no room for cropping without losing image quality. In the Export menu in Lightroom if I leave 'Don't Enlarge Image' unchecked after I have cropped would the enlargement of the cropped image lose quality?

    I guess various factors like the extent of cropping that tookplace and resizing of image would determine this?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    If images are only viewed on screens of small devices, a 2 or 3 mp image is probably more than adequate. It is when you want large prints done that the size of the cropped file become important, and when it is really is best to try to get it right 'in camera' and minimise cropping so that any many pixels as possible are available for the print.

    I don't know if the example below will help or confuse - I apologise if it's the latter.

    If the original 12 mp image is 3000 x 4000 pixels and you crop this to 1500 x 2000 (one quarter of the image), a print
    of the cropped image at 15 x 20 cm should have the same image quality as the original printed at 30 x 40 cm because both prints will have the same number of pixels per square centimetre. But the 1500 x 2000 image will look worse as a 30 x 40 cm print because it will have only one quarter of the number of pixels per square centimetre.

    Because there is an 'ideal' resolution for printing (sometimes quoted as 300 pixels per linear inch, or about 118 per centimetre), if the image you want to print will have a lower number of pixels than this some software will do clever things by generating extra pixels to raise the number of pixels to that 'ideal' required for a print. How good this looks will depend on the original image and how the software works.

    Having had prints done in various sizes up to 50 x 75 cm from both 10 mp and 16 mp an APS-C DSLRs, I have found that I prefer the results on large prints if I do not let any software 'resize' the image. The resolution might not be the 'ideal' 300 pixels per inch, but the print will be viewed from further away than a small print. I suspect that having the subject in focus, and the colour balance and contrast correctly adjusted, are more important than having the 'ideal' resolution for printing, but anticipate other opinions from Forum members.

    Have you tried various crops and 'enlarge' settings so that you can examine the results closely on your PC screen? (Always creating new images and saving the original, of course.) Perhaps you can then decide if you think the results are improvements, or not.

    Have fun.
  3. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    "My camera is 12MP therefore there's no room for cropping"

    Not entirely accurate as you are not taking in to account what your sensor size is
  4. PMurrell

    PMurrell Well-Known Member

    Full frame (D700)
  5. PMurrell

    PMurrell Well-Known Member

    Thank you Chester. This is really helpful and have answered my question to the T!
  6. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    It's often difficult to give a helpful answer to a question that involves a term like 'image quality' because this becomes a matter of opinion. The best and shortest advice is to always have as many pixels as possible when getting a large print done, but for small prints or small screens fewer pixels are adequate. Try to get what you want 'in camera' to minimise cropping later, even if this means you spend more time taking the picture.
  7. Stephen Rundle

    Stephen Rundle In the Stop Bath

    I have printed quality images from an EOS10D 6MP camera and you would not know it therefore I can not believe you have a problem with a D700 cropped, then again I rarely RARELY ever crop much at all, as C AP says "get what you want 'in camera"
  8. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    If you leave the "don't enlarge" unchecked it will just put the image out as cropped without interpolating pixels. As said above, it depends what you want to do with the cropped image. For display here for example 800 pixels on the long edge is the forum guide and is enough for viewing on a monitor or tablet. It is only when you come to print that it becomes important.

    My first digital camera was a 5D (12.8 MP) and my main sports camera is a 1Div (16 MP) and I crop hard from both.

    I've only ever used the LR resize command for direct printing on a Canon printer which likes integer multiples of 300 ppi so I'll resize to give the physical size* of print I want and use a 300 ppi output resolution to get the increase in pixels that I want. Seems to work well. I guess that the export command does the same thing. You can also save as a jpg from the print dialogue instead of sending to the printer.

    *In Lightroom I'll set the paper-size and then adjust the margins - I like borders. So I might have an A3+ page with a smaller picture. I'll first adjust the margins and show on the screen the ppi that I'm getting with the unsized picture just to make sure that it is not too low. So I'm fine upsizing say 240 to 300. I think 120 to 300 is probably too far but it does depend on the distance the print will be viewed from and might be OK for some subjects.

    If exporting to jpg don't resize and then put on high compression. Chances are it will eliminate the pixels you just added.

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