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Making Prints from Digital Photos

The following is taken from Wolf Camera website.

Recent advances in technology have brought the idea of having photographs in a digital format into almost every household with a computer. Digital cameras are becoming more and more common and users are starting to shoot everyday images in addition to work related images with their digital cameras. However, people still want photographic prints of their digital photos. In order to get the highest quality prints and enlargements possible the photographer needs to become familiar with some new terms and concepts. Our short glossary contains some of the most common terms you'll encounter when working with digital files and this page explains some of the concepts behind getting quality digital photographic prints.

File Sizes and Resolutions
To get the best quality prints, Wolf recommends that you set your digital camera to produce the largest digital file possible. If you are using a scanner to create your digital file, you should set the scanner to obtain a file that is your final print size at 300 dpi. Please note, digital files for larger print sizes (8 x 10, 11 x 14, etc.) will be large. The average uncompressed size of a photographic digital file to make a higi-quality 8 x 10 inch print is 18 MB.

So, how do I know what size print to order from my file?
The optimum printing size is determined by dividing the image pixels by the printer dpi. For example, your image size is 640 x 480 pixels and Wolf Camera prints at 300 dpi. To find your optimum print size, divide each file dimension by the printer dpi of 300. 640/300 = 2.13 inches and 480/300 = 1.6 inches. Therefore, a 640 x 480 pixel image will produce a 2.13 x 1.6 inch print. However, our printers can produce a relatively good quality 4 x 6 inch print from a 640 x 480 pixel image. To find the pixel size of your image file, open the file in a graphics application and view the image size or look for an image size specification in the manual of your digital camera.

The following chart will help you determine a print size.
Digital File Specifications
Print Size: Image H & W
in Pixels:
File Size
in Kilobytes:
Minimum Digital
Camera Required
3.5 x 5 prints
4x6 prints or greeting cards
5x7 prints
8x10 prints
935x 1335 pixels
1068 x 1602 pixels
1335 x 1869 pixels
2136 x 2670 pixels
3,657
5,013
7,310
16,708
1 Megapixel
1 Megapixel
1.3 Megapixel
2 Megapixel

Wolf's printers print at approximately 300 dpi. The print-size chart above is designed for a 300 dpi printer. The same pixel dimensions on a lower resolution printer will produce a print with larger dimensions but a lower quality.

Resizing a digital photographic file may give you the dimensions that you want but it may not deliver the quality.
When resizing digital files in a graphics application (PhotoShop, Photo Deluxe, Picture It, etc.) it is very easy to change the file's dimensions and dpi to new settings. However, doing so may actually degrade the quality of your image. Interpolation is the term used to describe how graphics applications recalculate the pixels that make up an image file and add or subtract pixels to recreate the image at the new size. Wolf recommends leaving digital files at their original size and allowing us to resize the image.

Digital Printers
Wolf's digital printers can make up to 12 x 18 inch silver-halide photographic prints from computer-generated digital images. In other words, digital camera images, scanned photographs, images that have been manipulated, enhanced, or combined with type and graphics, can be reproduced as high-quality photographic prints. Our printers differ from common ink-jet printers because they use light to expose real photographic paper. Ink-jet printers recreate the image by spraying dots of color on the paper. Most home printers are ink-jet printers. The advantages of printing on photographic paper include a full range of colors, wide tonal scale, sharp clear images, and archival quality paper.

File Formats
Digital files containing photographic or image data are different from digital files containing word processing data. Common file formats for photographic data are .tif (Tiff), .jpg (JPEG), .eps (EPS), .bmp (BMP), and .gif (Gif). Wolf prefers to receive files in the universally accepted .jpg (JPEG) or .tif (Tiff) formats. BMP and Gif files are used with lower quality bitmap image files and do not contain enough data to make quality prints. EPS files are traditional used in offset printing and page-layout applications. Wolf will accept an EPS file if all related graphics and fonts have been embedded into the file; however, you will need to contact customer service to arange for delivery via a different method. Please call 1-888-450-9653 (M-F, 9-5, EST).

Wolf Camera at Town Center Mall in Boca Raton (391-1500) has a facility whereby prints can be made (while you wait) from the memory card of a digital camera. This service is available for two sizes of prints, 3 1/2x5 inch prints for 69 cents each and 5x7 inch prints for $1.99. Prints can be selected from those on the memory card, but it is easier to simply say "print all".

If prints are taken to Wolf Camera on a CD, they must be sent to Atlanta. More sizes are available, but 4x6 prints cost $1.10 each while 5x7 prints cost $3.75 each. If the total number of prints to be made is 10 or more, then prices drop to $.66 and $2.81 (multiple copies do not need to be from the same image). Images can be uploaded over the web for processing as well.

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