This article is aimed at those who have a point and shoot camera and want to know the steps to get the best possible quality from it, for high quality printing. Some people have passed their Royal Photographic Society Fellowship with a P&S with a set of small prints, anything is possible, when you know how!
The sensors in small cameras are tiny. As you can see in this table:
|Sensor||Width mm||Height mm||Crop Factor|
|35mm Full Frame||36||24||1|
A typical point and shoot uses a 1/(2.5)’ sensor – A full frame sensor is 34x larger – 34x more light! A Canon 450D for example is 12x larger than a Canon G911but about the same price.
Not all pixels are created equal! Bigger = best, but popular perception is that more = best.
The reasons this is a problem,
Choosing a camera and setup
Shooting the Image
Editing the Image
My Boscastle flood pictures were taken with a 4 MP Canon Ixus.
The images have appeared in books and magazines, at up to A4. These were shot as JPEGs, but I have spent time cleaning them up. Here’s how.
LAB stands for Luminance, A and B colour channels. In Photoshop>Image>Mode>LAB. By clicking on the “eyes” next to the channels you can switch of the L and leave either A or B. Gaussian or smart blur both A and B. (Don’t worry this doesn’t blur the image!) While you are there sharpen the Luminance channel if your image needs it. You can then switch back to RGB.
As you have probably worked out by now it is MUCH better to shot RAW, so buy a camera with that capability. There are only a few to choose from, so see my article on buying a compact camera. (Coming soon!)
To sum up. You can shoot great pictures with a point and shoot camera, and prepare them for printing with a little preplanning and care over lighting exposure, settings and some useful tricks in photoshop. The most important advice of all though is SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL with regard to prints!
Wayne Grundy ARPS