Most of the photos that are in a digital format can be used to create smaller to medium canvas prints. As we suggest to use at least 72 dpi for canvas printing the file for small – 12x16 inch canvas has to have at least 864 x 1152 pixels. This means that even 3Megapixel camera images which are roughly 2048x1536 pixels will be suitable for this size. So what size do your images need to be to create large canvas prints ? We will have to work this out using very simple formula. For large canvas we can safely assume that viewing distance is going to be more than a few metres – therefore we can print at 72 dpi and there shouldn’t be any quality issues. We have recently printed 12 large format canvases from Hubble telescope where effective output resolution was actually even lower – 60 dpi in some cases. This canvases look great. So going back to the subject of the pixel dimensions necessary for large canvas prints – let’s say we want to produce canvas which is going to be 40”x60”. As discussed above we need at least 72 dpi effective resolution. Lets multiply 40”x72 and 60”x72 – 2880 x 4320 – for this size we would ideally need to have a 12.1Megapixel camera.
Here is a quick guide to the suggested maximum sizes:
3Mp – 28”x20”
4Mp – 34”x22”
6Mp – 40”x26”
8Mp – 44”x34”
10Mp – 52”x36”
12Mp – 60”x40”
16Mp – 68”x44”
There are some enlargement techniques which can be incorporated to increase the size of the image – and surely there is a lot of software available to do that. In our experience it can be helpful if the magnification required is not big, i.e. not over 20% of the original image. With increased magnification images usually loose sharpness and details. One alternative is to use (if possible) standard film camera – 35mm slides can be reproduced at approx. 74” x 50”.
If you wish to produce large canvas prints our ordering system can be helpful tool – it will calculate maximum recommended size automatically after the photo has been uploaded. If in doubt – please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be glad to offer advice or produce proofs of a section at 1:1 scale.
More info on canvas prints