Frequently Asked Questions

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A lot of advancements have been made in digital cameras and scanners since this page was written in 2003.
However, the principals remain the same !


How large a print can I make from my Digital Camera ?

This is a subjective question, but here are the "rules of thumb" !

(The following assumes employment of commercial image processing software)

Resolution verses maximum print size

1.2 Mega pixel camera......     8x10's will yield good results. A 11x14 is about the limit.
3 Mega pixel camera ........     11x14's look great !  16x20 is about the limit.
4 Mega pixel camera.........     20x24's look fine !    30x40 is about the limit.

Employing Image Stitching techniques greatly increases the maximum size image that can be printed - substantially more than the above rules of thumb.  The major limitations are the amount of on board ram your system possess - the free space available for the swap file on the hard drive and the speed of the central processor.  Image files can grow extremely huge...

Even so, a 1.2 mp camera will produce a print up to 52x65".  The print however will lack detail, which might be acceptable if it is to be viewed from a distance. (say about, 15 feet or more).

Photo "purists" will undoubtedly disagree, but this has been our experience.

To achieve the best results, be sure to read the pages regarding File Formats and Examples !

Though Digital cameras have come a long way, for large format prints, you are better off shooting on film - the larger the format, the better. A 35mm slide scanned at 5400 dpi will far surpass the quality of any digital camera.

Prints from 35mm, 2¼x2¼, 2¼x2¾ & 4x5" negatives or transparencies

We scan 35mm film at up to 5400 dpi optical (native) resolution. Thus, even 35 mm format can yield excellent results in prints up to 16x20. Prints that originate from the larger formats (2¼ and larger) yield much better results than 35mm. A 2¼ format film yields approximately 4 times the resolution of 35mm, and a 4x5 delivers about 20 times the detail ! Professional large formats such as 8x10" or 9x9" (aerial mapping) offer nothing less than spectacular results - even in prints to 52x65 and larger ! These formats inherently have 80 to 90 times the detail of standard 35mm film.......   Digital cameras still have a long way to go before they even come close to the quality of the larger photographic formats.

What is better.... Negatives or Transparencies ?

Transparencies by far !  Negatives generally are capable of optically resolving 2000 lines/inch, while transparencies will resolve about 4,000 lines/inch. The orange hue of a negative also makes it denser than a transparency and thus is more likely to result in detail being lost in the shadow areas - even with a high "D" scanner. For best quality, consider shooting transparencies in a 6x6cm, 6x7cm formats or larger. 

How do I get my image files to you ?

Large image files  are best sent on a CD-R, DVD or DVDRAM, as up to 600 mb / 4.7 gb / 9.4gb of data can be recorded on inexpensive media.  This is the preferred method. There are many other options such as Zip® disks, Syquest, DLT tape or even via the internet (we have a broadband high speed connection).  Just call or e-mail us regarding the best method. Any media received will be returned with your media.

What file formats do you support ?

Virtually almost any PC or MAC image file.

Do you restore damaged photo's ? - Photo Restoration

Yes !  ......   Simple re-touching is included at no charge, which includes adjusting the gamma curves for best overall balance.  For professional retouching beyond the scope of  home based software, or images that require labor intensive attention, we offer full retouching and image processing services to restore badly damaged prints, negatives or slides. The completed image is returned to you on CD or DVD in whatever format you choose.

We employ Kodak's "Digital ICE, ROC, SHO and GEM"® technology, that can often bring many "basket cases" back from the grave quickly.... greatly reducing the time required in Photoshop.

I have a slide - print - or negative.... but no scanner.

Though we can scan in almost any print, working with the original negative or slide always yields much better results ! (Note that 35mm transparencies yield approximately a 4,000 dpi inherent resolution). We scan all 35 mm film or transparencies at 5400 dpi true optical.

Prints can be scanned at up to 2400 dpi optical. Though this is the maximum true optical resolution possible, we recommend a value commensurate with the application, lest file sizes become outrageous and the cost of media and processing time to archive it on sends one to the "poor farm". Thus. though we have the capability to scan reflective print media at 2400 dpi, most photographic prints have only 300 dpi resolution at the most. Thus scans at 600 dpi will yield much smaller file sizes without any loss in quality.  If larger prints are to to be generated, then increasing the pixel count via Photoshop ® or better yet, purchasing Genuine Fractals ® is the much better way to go.

How long can I expect inkjet prints to last ?

A number of factors affect their useful life......

Just like standard photographs,  prints should be mounted behind a glass covered frame. Mounting boards should be acid free, and like any photograph, they should never be mounted in direct sunlight or exposed to dust, water or high humidity. Un-mounted prints should never be touched due to the acids present in skin. Handle them with cotton gloves or even a clean cotton cloth. 

The next factor is the ink system and paper selected for the print.....

Generally, though manufacturer's don't name them as such, inks come in two "flavors" - dye based and pigment.

The dye based ink systems yield rich vibrant colors, especially well suited for photographs. Prints using these inks fade faster than the Pigment based inks, and thus are not for outdoor use, as in signage.

The pigmented inks are UV (ultra violet light) stabilized and remain fade free for many years. They are especially suited for outdoor displays or where exposure to direct sunlight is unavoidable. The color is not as vibrant but still quite acceptable even for photographs. It's sort of a trade off.....

Another subjective question, but with proper care, you can expect dye based photo prints to last a minimum of 5 years and pigmented based prints to last twenty years before any noticeable fading becomes apparent. Some manufacturers are claiming archival inks with a life of up to 100 years...   The question as to whether it's marketing hype or not, will be answered in another century I suppose......

Anyways, the general answer as to longevity is this ........ inkjet prints are not much different than regular photographs in this regard.

Paper Size Guide - ISO Sizes - A Series - B Series - C Series

ISO Paper Sizes

Most of us are familiar with the standard A series which includes A4 size (the standard letterhead).

The C series is for envelopes -  Note that a C4 envelope will perfectly hold an A4 sheet without need to fold it.

There is also a B series which is in between the A & C sizes, but the B series is rarely used. 

DL is a special size for envelopes designed to accept A4 paper folded into three sections.

All sizes are given in millimeters & inches


The aspect ratio of ISO paper sheets is 1 to 1.414 . This ratio was not adopted by chance, as there is a method to the madness... 1.414 turns out to be the square root of 2. This gives the aspect ratio a unique property. For example, if you cut a sheet into two, the resulting halves are the same proportion as the original. In other words, a sheet of A1 when halved, gives you two sheets of A2.... A2 halved yields two sheets of A3....  A3 halved yields two sheets of A4   etc etc etc. All A size papers have the same proportions  (ie: 1 : 1.414 ). The largest sheet in the A series is A0, which is 841mm x 1189mm and just happens to be one square meter in area - What a coincidence !

RA and SRA sizes are used by printers. They are slightly larger than the A series to allow for printer feed, trim and bleed.

Use of the ISO sizes is predominant in metric standard countries, but it's use is rarer in the USA.









33.1 x 46.81
 841 x 1189

39.37 x 5.55
 1000 x 141

 36.1 x 51.01
917 x 1296

33.86 x 48.03
 860 x 1220

35.43 x 50.39
 900 x 1280


 23.39 x 33.11
594 x 841

 27.83 x 39.37
707 x 1000

 25.51 x 36.10
648 x 917

 24.02 x 33.86
610 x 860

 25.20 x 35.43
640 x 900


 16.54 x 23.39
420 x 594

 19.69 x 27.56
500 x 700

 18.03 x 25.51
458 x 648

 16.93 x 24.02
430 x 610

 17.72 x 25.20
450 x 640


 11.69 x 16.54
297 x 420

 13.90 x 19.69
353 x 500

 12.76 x 18.03
324 x 458

 12.01 x 16.93
305 x 430

 12.60 x 17.72
320 x 450


 8.27 x 11.69
210 x 297

 9.84 x 13.90
250 x 353

 9.02 x 12.76
229 x 324

 8.46 x 12.01
215 x 305

 8.86 x 12.60
225 x 320


 5.83 x 8.27
148 x 210

 6.93 x 9.84
176 x 250

 6.38 x 9.02
162 x 229

 5.98 x 8.46
152 x 215

 6.30 x 8.86
160 x 225


 4.13 x 5.83
105 x 148

 4.92 x 6.93
125 x 176

 4.49 x 6.38
114 x 162

 4.21 x 5.98
107 x 152

 4.41 x 6.30
112 x 160


 2.91 x 4.13
74 x 105

 3.46 x 4.92
88 x 125

 3.19 x 4.49
81 x 114

 2.99 x 4.21
76 x 107

 3.15 x 4.41
80 x 112


2.05 x 2.91
 52 x 74

 2.44 x 3.46
62 x 88

 2.24 x 3.19
57 x 81

 2.09 x 2.99
53 x 76

 2.20 x 3.15
56 x 80

(ISO paper sizes are rounded off to the nearest millimeter)


Last Modified: May 22, 2007

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