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Photo Enlargements and Film Photos

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Points to consider before digital enlargement of film photos:

Digital enlargement of photos taken on film have some issues that need to be considered. Any time you convert from one medium to another, meaning film to digital, there can be a slight loss in quality or a minimal shift in color values. Even though it is possible to make very good digital adjustments to the digitized image, precise reproduction of the original film photograph may not always be possible.

The main point to consider in what the quality of the enlarged print will be, is the actual quality of the original photo. High resolution scanning of the film photo will produce an image that is exactly the same as the original photo. The thing is, the original photo that most people use is so small in comparison to the target enlargement print size, the naked eye is not able to see the imperfections that exist on the film photo. This would especially apply to 35mm negatives, transparencies and slides.

As an example, let’s say you have a 4×6 photo print you would like to enlarge to a size of 16×24. This is enlarging the original photo 16 times. Presentation of the photo’s focus and image details will be expanded, or magnified 16 times. What this really boils down to is decompressing the image. The photo enlargement will only be as sharp and clear as the original 4×6 print. The best way to determine the quality of the enlargement is to take a very close look at the original photograph. I recommend viewing the photo with a good quality magnifying glass. At least a 4x magnification will give you a pretty good idea of how the 16×24 enlargement will appear.

Producing a 16×24 enlargement from a 35mm negative, transparency or slide is a much greater magnification of the original photo. It is about impossible to preview these types of original photos. Here a rule of thumb may be taking into consideration the quality of the photo processing lab you used for photo developing. If you used a high volume, low cost processor, well then the quality may not be as good as you may think. If the film was processed by a professional lab, you may be able to expect much better quality.

The next point to consider for quality photo enlargements, is the size of the original film photograph. The less you have to magnify the original, the better the enlargement quality will be. Also, the larger the original film photograph, the finer the original image details and sharpness will be for the source photo. This means less image decompression for the target photo enlargement size.

For example, if you had a film photo you wanted to enlarge to 16×24, and had the original photo printed as a 4×6 and had the negative also, you would probably want to use the 4×6 print to produce the 16×24 photo enlargement. Much less image magnification would be required. If you had even a larger print, such as an 8×10, the enlargement quality would even be better. The original 8×10 would contain much better photo detail and sharpness, at a larger size, and so would the photo enlargement.

Finally, the quality of the camera and film used for the photograph make a big difference in how good the photo enlargement print will appear. Obviously, a photo taken with some cheap, disposable camera will not even come close to the original detail and sharpness that could be obtained using a high quality camera with a refined lens.

In conclusion, there are just a few points to consider for producing fine quality photo enlargement from original film photographs.
The actual quality of the original film photo to be used for photo enlargement.
The quality of the photo lab used in film processing.
The physical size of the film photo used for the photo enlargement.
The quality of the camera and film used for the original film photo.

The more of the points above you have covered, the finer the quality you can expect for your photo enlargement.

Talk in person with a REAL Photo Printing Expert!…
Customer Service: 719 314-7833