Home Printing vs. Professional Printing

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When is it best to send a digital photo out to be enlarged?

Home Printing vs. Professional Printing

Photo printers have come a long way in the last few years. Nowadays, you can get great quality digital prints from printers costing $100 - or even less. But most home printers have one major drawback.

You see, very few home printers can handle images larger than 8-1/2" wide. While some printers can go beyond 11" long - typically to 14" or 17" - that 8-1/2" width is a stopper.

So, if you're looking for enlargements of 8-1/2" x 11" or less, your home printer will probably do a fine job. But if you want anything larger than 8-1/2" x 11", you'll have to get them from an online seervice or digital photo lab.

However, there's one other important consideration before you send that digital picture out for a poster-sized enlargement. And that's resolution.

The general rule of thumb is that digital files will look acceptable as long as you have at least 250 ppi (pixels per inch) in the finished print. For example, a 3-Megapixel image (2000 x 1500) will only produce about an 8" x 6" print before it begins to look grainy. But a 5-Megapixel image (2500 x 2000) can be comfortably blown up to about 10" x 8".

Of course, you can still have a 24" x 36" poster made from your 5-Megaixel digital photos, but don't expect the poster to be tack sharp.

   

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