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Possible to get a high quality enlargement from a photo?
Old 04-16-2018   #1
ymc226
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Possible to get a high quality enlargement from a photo?

I have a nicely faded picture (glossy, about 3 /12 x 5 inches) from around 1970 of my parents and me that I want to have WhiteWall enlarge and would like to use their Ultra HD option. I was hoping for 30x40 inches.

They don't scan pictures but require either a JPEG or TIFF file. Is it possible to have a high quality scan done for this purpose and have it up razed by software? I have a home quality all in one printer/copier/scanner but it is not capable of what type of performance I need.

I am in New Jersey but am close to NYC to use a professional service for scanning and providing me the file.
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Old 04-16-2018   #2
sepiareverb
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Enlargements from old photos are very difficult, but being glossy will help. I do a lot of restoration work, and have rarely blown things up with much success, but I most often am working with images from before 1920, a more modern image might fare better, especially going very oversize like that. I would ask if they can give you a test print of an important section before committing to the whole enchilada.
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Old 04-16-2018   #3
dave lackey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ymc226 View Post
I have a nicely faded picture (glossy, about 3 /12 x 5 inches) from around 1970 of my parents and me that I want to have WhiteWall enlarge and would like to use their Ultra HD option. I was hoping for 30x40 inches.

They don't scan pictures but require either a JPEG or TIFF file. Is it possible to have a high quality scan done for this purpose and have it up razed by software? I have a home quality all in one printer/copier/scanner but it is not capable of what type of performance I need.

I am in New Jersey but am close to NYC to use a professional service for scanning and providing me the file.

What Bob said...

Sure you CAN enlarge it but how close are you going to be standing to view the image?

These days I do mostly Medium Format digital. A lot of things go into the quality of large prints.. a contemporary 50mp Hasselblad is good for what you are thinking about even with the old rule of thumb (50mp= 50" on the long side), and even larger.

Get a good reproduction (drum scan) of it and throw it up on a large Eizo screen and look at it enlarged on the screen at different sizes.

Whitewall is most excellent, the best! But I don't know how it will work out.
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Old 04-16-2018   #4
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I think that's asking a lot - it will be hard to a scan of adequate quality from a small print (inherently low rez, 2nd generation product) to print that large. But you could try to find someone with a high quality scanner, like maybe a professional 5600dpi or up (Eversmart series?).

Sometimes printing on canvas can disguise the flaws in interpolation as artistic interpretation, but don't expect miracles. Good luck!
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Old 04-16-2018   #5
Dwig
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Print papers, especially color papers, do not hold much resolution. No matter how well the print was made and no matter how good the scan is, the final print can't be made to seem sharp at any size beyond about 2-3x the original print size. That would be around 7x10" to 10x15" in your case.

I've dealt with many such old prints, both with a copy camera rig in the old days and with high quality scanners in more recent years. Any scan from a print that needs to be reproduce larger than the original will show a lot of surface flaws. These can take hours of retouching to eliminate.

I recently did a copy for one of our gallery clients that involved scanning a 3x4" color print that was showing some moderate fading. I managed to get a rather decent 8x10 final print. It took a high quality scanner (Imacon 848), a couple of hours retouching, and several test prints while adjusting the color.
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Old 04-16-2018   #6
jsrockit
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I generally wouldn't make this suggestion... but perhaps try a large canvas print from the best scan you can make.
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Old 04-16-2018   #7
Steve M.
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What Dwig said. When you increase the resolution when scanning a print (vs scanning a negative) you are going to get a lot of artifacts at large sizes.
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Old 04-16-2018   #8
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I've done this a few times- only once 'professionally' (local photo place)- with generally poor results, and never to the size you desire. I would get a test print made at a much smaller size. See if that encourages you or not.

jsrockit's suggestion is a good one: the canvas 'absorbs' the inherent flaws in the process and leaves something presentable. Worth a thought.
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Old 04-16-2018   #9
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I think I would go w/ benlees suggestion. That way you can see what sort of image degradation you experience at say half the size you are after. Note: when I mentioned that it wouldn't work to get an enlargement of 30"x40", what I mean to say is that I don't think you would be happy w/ the quality drop off from the original photograph. Theoretically you could blow it up to huge dimensions even beyond 30"x40", but you get a corresponding drop off of quality after a certain point. Everyone is different though, and what someone else may see as unacceptable, someone else may be perfectly happy with. Don't forget that you will also be getting enlargements of whatever defects the original may have, such as scratches, smudges, etc. Interpolating (uprezzing) an existing file always leads to image degradation.
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Old 04-16-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdi View Post
...
Sometimes printing on canvas can disguise the flaws in interpolation as artistic interpretation, but don't expect miracles. Good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
I generally wouldn't make this suggestion... but perhaps try a large canvas print from the best scan you can make.
I should of thought of that! LOL!
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Old 04-16-2018   #11
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This link below shows you the problems associated w/ this sort of thing a lot better than I could explain it.

http://ronbigelow.com/articles/inter...erpolation.htm
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Old 04-16-2018   #12
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Originally Posted by gdi View Post
I should of thought of that! LOL!
Sorry... didn't read past the first thread. BUT if two people say it, it's gotta be good!

I guess I just think it might be the only way to come close to what he wants... I've seen huge canvas prints from older 5mp cell phones that are ok. Not my style, but ok. Unfortunately, we are talking about even lower res here.
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Old 04-16-2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
Sorry... didn't read past the first thread. BUT if two people say it, it's gotta be good!

I guess I just think it might be the only way to come close to what he wants... I've seen huge canvas prints from older 5mp cell phones that are ok. Not my style, but ok. Unfortunately, we are talking about even lower res here.
Most of my printing (inkjet) is on canvas, simply because it is so much easier to stretch a canvas than to mount and frame a print. The large varieties of textures available make it possible to pick the right media for a particular image. So a fairly rough textured canvas, combined with some film-like manufactured noise, is likely the best route - but I don't predict satisfaction with that super-sized blow-up.
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Old 04-16-2018   #14
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I know the OP isn't looking for this, but another option may be to have an artist use the photo to paint a large reproduction. It could expensive, but I imagine the result could a nice family heirloom.
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Old 04-16-2018   #15
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While on this subject can anyone suggest some good freeware interpolation software? I know there are some but have never tried any and would be interested in knowing what users have thought.
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Old 04-16-2018   #16
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Thank you all for all of your opinions. I want a very high quality and detailed result so I will not pursue having the photo scanned.

I am still intrigued at having a large (maybe 50-60 inch) print in their HD format as it seemed very 3D and more detailed than real life under their acrylic mount. I want to use a digital file of mine. When inquiring about the type of camera or file that was needed to accomplish such a large picture, the girl downstairs at NYC Soho Whitehall was very noncommittal about the requirements. She made it seem that most digital cameras would be enough. I called the main US number and again, not very specific answers, only that the maximum file size they would accept would be 1 GB.

I print at home using an Epson 3880, up to 16x20 using Imageprint 10, onto both matte and glossy fine art paper with results I am happy with. I do want to go a step further and have Whitewall make a very large print for me knowing it would cost about $1,000.

The camera(s) I would use would be full frame digital ones, 24 MP as well as the 18MP M9 version of the Monochrom. I've read that the MM9, as it does not use a bayer filter, is actually the equivalent of 36MP. Is this true in the fact that it would provide more detail when I export it as a TIFF file compared to my 24MP color sensored cameras? Dave Lackey in his posts stated that 50P for 50 inches. Do you think 50 inches would not be only doable, but look great using my available cameras provided I use most of the frame and not crop?

Are there any specific technical questions I should be asking the Whitehall people in the file size necessary to achieve their quality of HD photos displayed in their Soho shop? Since visiting the shop 2 weekends ago, I can't get over the quality I saw there and want them to print a picture for me.
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Old 04-16-2018   #17
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You want a very high quality and detailed result. You're going to be seriously disappointed and will kick yourself that you threw away $1000. I've been in the biz for fifty years and can assure you it will not be of high quality and detailed.

In the mid 70's I worked for a large ad agency and had to make high quality 4x5 negs on a process camera and on pro copy film designed for the purpose. I copied many 5x7 and 4x5 professional prints and enlarged them on Kodak mural paper. The final print was anywhere from 40x50 up to 50x70. Let me just say you're going to be seriously disappointed if you're looking for high quality.
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Old 04-16-2018   #18
farlymac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ymc226 View Post
I have a nicely faded picture (glossy, about 3 /12 x 5 inches) from around 1970 of my parents and me that I want to have WhiteWall enlarge and would like to use their Ultra HD option. I was hoping for 30x40 inches.

They don't scan pictures but require either a JPEG or TIFF file. Is it possible to have a high quality scan done for this purpose and have it up razed by software? I have a home quality all in one printer/copier/scanner but it is not capable of what type of performance I need.

I am in New Jersey but am close to NYC to use a professional service for scanning and providing me the file.
Because the print is faded, you've already lost some of the image. No matter how good a print it was to begin with, you'll never regain that quality in the scan. If you got a halfway decent 8x10 out of it, you'd be lucky. Converted from color to b&w might get you something larger, but not much more than the next size up (11x14).

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