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What is the biggest print size can you print with your Smartphone?

Discussion in 'Smartphone photography' started by John Fantastic, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. John Fantastic

    John Fantastic Well-Known Member


    Im a photography oldie but a smartphone newbie, In your experience what is the biggest acceptable display quality print do you get with the most recent crop of smartphones? Can it go A3+ (13" x 19")
    Thank you very much for your replies. :)
  2. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    The question is really: what do you expect from a big print? I once had several 35mm Tri-X negatives printed to 6 feet by 3 feet. For all I know they're still in the office reception area they were made for. I've seen 6MP wildlife pictures at A0 in a touring exhibition. I've even heard of 16 sheet posters made using Kodachrome originals. For some people these enlargements are just what they want. For others there will be too little detail in the final product. It all depends.

    Wildlife photography exhibition at Winslade Park DSC01097.JPG
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  3. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    Brian on this forum has printed iPhone photos at A3 and is more than happy I think.
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  4. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Borrow a suitable phone and take a few images then either crop heavily and print at A4 or, if you are flush print it a0 you will quickly get feeling as to how far you can go
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  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    For close viewing a print resolution of 300 pixels per inch is adequate. For more distant viewing (not poring over the print with a magnifying glass) this can be reduced toward 200 pixels per inch. I don’t know what the pixel resolution of a smartphone camera is. If it were 4800 pixels on the longest edge then a big print could easily be ~24” on the long edge.

    I’ve printed A3 with cropped images from a 12 MP camera without resizing.

    In the days when cameras only had 3-6 MP a great deal of effort went into image “resizing” - intelligent interpolation between pixels - allowing large prints without obvious pixelation artefacts. These techniques are used in printing today and allow further “upsizing”. The extent to which this “works” depends on subject matter and viewing distance.
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  6. beatnik69

    beatnik69 Well-Known Member

    A few years ago I printed a photo at A3 from a 6MP Samsung phone. It looked fine, apart from some artefacts from processing a jpeg.
  7. John Fantastic

    John Fantastic Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much for all your answers. It has been very useful. I have come to the conclusion that the current crop of smartphones with 12MP image sensor will be more than adequate to have it printed to the A3+ size.
  8. Brian

    Brian Venerable Elder

    Indeed. I will happily use the iPhone 11 in place of or alongside my Leica Q-P or X Pro 3 Fuji. ( Except the phone is a lot more fun)

    But I would also state that the printer is very important in the equation. I use the Epson SC P700 which I think is the sort of level required.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
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  9. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Will you be viewing the print from a sensible distance, or looking closely for flaws? Looking at the works of great artists in galleries will show you that they were not created to be viewed so closely that you can see every brush stroke.

    Concentrate on creating the best quality image your smartphone is capable of, and then get the print done. Look for sloping horizons (that should be level), uprights that should be vertical (but are not), and don't use a wide angle lens (if your smartphone has one) for head and shoulders portraits because the results will look distorted. Get the exposure, contrast and colours right.

    Note that many online print services apply an automated picture 'enhancement' by default, which appears to increase contrast and colour intensity. If you have prepared your image carefully, and allowed for the fact that your viewing screen may be too bright to do this properly (a common error), find out if the automated 'enhancement' can be turned off. Or get a small print done first with the lab's default adjustment before spending a lot more money on a large print.

    A personal opinion: if something that costs as much as a smartphone can't produce files good enough for a decent A3 print you've been robbed.
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