How many pixels do you need for making large prints? I made a 30" by 40" print from 20 MP

How many pixels do you need to make a large print? Sometimes you hear people say the more pixels the camera has, the better the print looks. Sometimes you hear some other people say you don’t need more than 8 megapixels to make a print at any size. So who is right? In this video I did a 30” by 40’ print from a 20 MP photo, and I will show you how the print looks at different viewing distances.

As I mentioned in the video, the method I used is rather simple and straightforward. I set up my Fujifilm X-T2 with the 35mm f/2 lens to capture a footage of the print at different distances, so later I can compare the footage to decide if the print looks good at each viewing distance. I tried a couple viewing distances as following:

  1. 15 Inch away from the print

  2. 30 inch away from the print

  3. 45 inch away from the print

  4. 60 inch away from the print

  5. I put the camera further back until I can have the entire print fit into the frame

Here are some results as I mentioned in the video. At 15 inch viewing distance, the print does look soft. Also at 15 inch viewing distance, my Fuji X-T2 only captures a tiny little portion of the entire frame. When the camera is back up to 30 inch away from the print, the details look much sharper and the print starts looking better. At 45 inch viewing distance, the print looks good and sharp. Beyond 40 inch viewing distance, I didn’t notice any noticeable improvements in terms of sharpness and the print looks sharp and nice to me.

With this video, I want to demonstrate that

  1. If you regularly make large prints and you expect people to look at your prints at a very close viewing distance, you can definitely benefit from a high-megapixel camera

  2. If you make large prints but you don’t expect people to look at your prints at a close viewing distance, then you are probably going to be just fine with a 16-24 MP camera.

  3. If you don’t make large prints, then you don’t need to worry about your camera’s resolution.

Another benefit of high resolution camera is the capability to crop. It is definitely true and I totally agree with that. The more megapixels your camera has, the tighter you can crop. But I just want to point out that it might not be the only option you have. You can also consider using a different focal length or using a different lens. But yes, there are some circumstances, such as wildlife photography, even though you are already using a super long lens, you still want to crop in a little bit. In this case, you can benefit from a high megapixel camera.

What's New in Capture One 12

Capture One 12

Capture One 12

Phase One has released Capture One 12 with the following new features.

  1. New user interface and new menu system

  2. A new keyword shortcuts manager

  3. Luma range masking

  4. Enhanced linear gradient masking tool

  5. New radial gradient masking tool

  6. New plug-in platform

  7. Extended AppleScript support

  8. Fujifilm film simulations

Below is a video in which I walk through all the new features in Capture One 12.

Next I want to talk more about some features that I really enjoy in the new Capture One

Luma Range Masking

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This is a new feature introduced in Capture One 12 that allows you to target a particular range of luminosity. With this new feature, you can now accurately select shadow, mid-tone or highlight area that you want to edit. The anchor points on the top specify the range of luminosity that you are targeting. The anchor points at the bottom controls the feathering. This new Luma Range Masking can work globally, it can also work with your local adjustments as well. For example, you can use this tool in conjunction with linear gradient mask or the new radial gradient mask tool. I think this new tool is great for landscape photography.

Enhanced Linear Gradient Masking Tool

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In the older versions of Capture One, you can find a linear gradient tool, but it is not as intuitive to use as the linear gradient tool in Lightroom. After you draw a linear mask, if you want to make changes, you would have to redraw the mask. With the improvement in Capture One 12, now you can edit your linear gradient mask, which means you don’t have to redraw the mask. Now you can drag the mask and rotate the mask, Also the linear gradient masking tool can be used at the same time with the luma range masking tool mentioned above.

New Radial Gradient Masking Tool

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Although this feature exists in Lightroom for a long time, it is new to Capture One 12. It allows you to easily make a radial masking tool in Capture One. You can drag the mask, control the size of the mask and the feathering of the mask. Like the linear gradient masking tool, this radial gradient tool can also work with the new luma range masking tool.

Fujifilm Film Simulations

If you are a Fujifilm user, you are going to be happy with the release of Capture One 12 thanks to the integration of Fujifilm film simulations. You can apply the film simulations to your RAW files by going to “Base Characteristics“ tool and click on the “Curve“ drop down menu. If your Fujifilm camera is supported, you will see the film simulations listed in the drop down menu. Unfortunately, not all Fujifilm cameras are supported with film simulations. Some older models such as Fujifilm X-T1 can’t use the film simulations in Capture one 12.

More Resources on Capture One 12

How to Add Contrast in Capture One

In this post, I am going to show you three tools that you can use to add contrast in Capture One. Check out the following video:

The first tool that you can use is the contrast slider in exposure tool tab. Basically it pushes the highlight to be brighter and pushes the shadow to be darker at the same time. Other than that, you don't have much control. It is easy to use, but not flexible. That is why I don't use it very often.

The second tool is levels. You can add contrast by setting the black point, mid point and the white point. If you want to stretch or compress the histogram, it is a great tool for that purpose.

The third tool is my favorite when it comes to adding contrast, and that is the curve tool in Capture One. It is flexible because it allows you to control which part of the photo you want to add contrast and how much contrast you want to add. I usually add contrast in Luma channel because that allows me to add contrast without adding saturation. That way, I can go back to the exposure tool tab and add saturation separately. That allows me to have separate control over saturation and contrast, which makes the photo editing more flexible. 

You can save 10% on Capture One by using coupon code AMBCAI. Check out how to use the coupon code here: http://www.mingcaiphotos.com/coupon/

Capture One is Better for Fujifilm RAW Files Compared to Lightroom

If you are a Fujifilm X series shooter and you are getting some artifacts when sharpening your Fujifilm RAW files in Lightroom, you are not alone. It is actually a well-known issue in the Fujifilm world that Lightroom doesn't know how to handle the RAW files properly. There are a couple alternatives that can help you work around this issue. One of the most popular options is Iridient Developer (currently only available for MAC) and Iridient X-Transformer (available on Windows). But to me, the extra step to convert the RAW files to DNG is not very productive. So I chose to try another popular option which is Capture One. I have to say, compare to Lightroom, Capture One does a pretty good job at rendering Fujifilm RAW files. In this post you will see an example.

We will be looking at the following photos as an example. The same RAW files opened in both Lightroom and Capture One. Here is the original photo, then we will zoom into 200% so that we can see the noise pattern clearly.

We will zoom into 200% to check the noise in the shadow cast by the lens

We will zoom into 200% to check the noise in the shadow cast by the lens

Next we will zom in to 200% scale to take a look at the shadow cast by the lens to determine the noise pattern. The first image was taken at ISO 200 and opened in Lightroom, and applied sharpening amount 100 in Lightroom

Lightroom, ISO 200, sharpening amount 100

Lightroom, ISO 200, sharpening amount 100

Now, let's take a look at the same RAW file in Capture One. In Capture One, I applied sharpening amount 1000 which is the largest sharpening amount you can do in Capture One. Also I removed all noise reduction.

Capture One, ISO 200, sharpening amount 1000

Capture One, ISO 200, sharpening amount 1000

Now let's take a look at a RAW file captured at ISO 800. The first image is Lightroom and the second image is Capture One.

Lightroom, ISO 800, sharpening amount 100

Lightroom, ISO 800, sharpening amount 100

Capture One, ISO 800, sharpening amount 1000

Capture One, ISO 800, sharpening amount 1000

As you can see above, when sharpening in Lightroom, if you are not careful but just simply raise the sharpening amount, it is really easy to get the wormy artifact. but in Capture One, the noise pattern is much smoother and natural.

 

You can try out Capture One yourself. It gives you 30-day free trial. Download it from here: https://www.phaseone.com/en/Download.aspx

If you want to purchase a software license at any point, you can save 10% by using coupon code "AMBCAI" on the check out page here: https://www.phaseone.com/en/Online-Store.aspx

Check out more information about how to use the coupon code, please click here.

How to Add/Reduce Fog in Capture One

How to Add/Reduce Fog in Capture One

If you are familiar with Lightroom, you know there is a "DeHaze" slider that allows you to reduce or add haze/fog/mist in your photos. There is no dedicated "DeHaze" slider in Capture One, but you can still produce similar effect in Capture One. Today in this video, I am going to show you how to use the levels tool, plus some contrast and saturation control, to add or reduce haze, fog, or mist in your photos. This is actually very simple to do.