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Print quality and image size

Discussion in 'Retouching and Post Processing' started by greyhound rick, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. Hello everyone,

    While I have been posting on the "Sports Photography" forum I have yet to visit this area of Nikoncafe.

    Im still relatively new to photography, but have really tried to learn in the last year. I have spent a lot of time shooting racing greyhounds at Phoenix Greyhound Park and although I feel adequate in that venue, Im inexperienced when it comes to other areas. So.......with that said, I hope the elementary make up of my question is ok as Id really like to get your input! Thanks in advance for your help, input and advice!

    Here is my question (I use Capture NX):

    Ive used several printing houses and really like Shutterfly. Ive had excellent results with them. In looking at many of my prints I do notice from time to time that some of them look a bit noisey after they are printed. What I mean is that in some areas of the print I can see the dots a bit and it looks a little grainy.

    The prints I have done are usually 4x6 with some 8x10s and 16x20s. For this discussion I will refer to the 4x6s.

    The photos that Ive noticed this with are ones that are cropped more aggressively than the others that dont have this "problem' or issue.

    For example....I took a series of photos of one race in particular at the greyhound racing track and after cropping the sizes were:

    frame a. 2306x1537
    frame b. 2034x1356
    frame c. 1835x1223

    None of the three looked bad at all after they were printed...HOWEVER, I did notice more of the aforementioned characteristics in photo "c", less in photo "b" and virtually no problem at all with photo "a".

    Would that slight of difference in image size make that much difference in the final print? Like I said.....I was happy with all of them, BUT, photo "c" looked noisier. Now...I realize "noise" is probably the wrong word to use here as this is not an ISO issue. I use the word because thats kind of what it looks like in the print thats cropped the most. (I hope this makes sense).

    So.....will more aggressive cropping cause this affect?

    Maybe a much easier way to ask this question would be to just say.....what are the characteristics of a printed image that has been cropped very severely?

    thanks again for your time and help with this!!

    my best to all,

  2. Thanks Peano,

    Great input!

    I had the sharpness setting on my Picture Control set at "7" so Ive taken the image and put it into NX and changed it to "4" to see what happens. Im going to pick up the print today and will post what the results are.

    I believe that too much sharpness in certain situations could cause this effect that Im experiencing with my prints.

    Let me know what you think.



  3. Rick after you set the sharpening back to 4 in NX, one would possibly do two more sharpening steps. After I finish in NX with a sharpening set to 4, crop, if necessary, I then do selective High Pass sharpening on like say the eyes of the subject or the whole subject, whichever applies, then I use Nik sharpener for my output sharpening, printing. The 4 setting is a global setting the high pass is very selective, then the output sharpening is based on what paper type I am using. 7 is definitely too much in NX, I have found. I use 4 and carry on with my different type of sharpening. Hope this helps.

  4. Thanks for the input. I appreciate it!

    After doing a bit of experimenting and sending in a few images for printing today I believe the problem is indeed "noise" and is not caused by insufficient pixel count.

    Even though the ISO was much less than some other photos Ive taken at the track (640 vs. 1250), the image has noise. The noise seems to be in areas that are not well lit. Areas of the photo that have sunlight on them have virtually no noise at all.

    So, my question is.....Is it correct to say that an image with a lower ISO in low light will have more noise than an image in higher light with a higher ISO? If the answer is "yes" then I would guess that the solution to the problem is:

    1. Try to get more light on the subject(s)
    2. Invest into a noise reduction program

    Does this sound correct?

    With regard to a noise reduction program to use with Capture NX, can you tell me what youd recommend considering I need something very user friendly?

    thanks very much for the help!:smile:
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