While not directly about the camera, this is one in a series of posts that relates to the Nikon Z6. You should be able to find all the posts about that camera in the Category List on the right sidebar, below the Articles widget. There’s a drop-down menu there that you can use to get to all the posts in this series; just look for “Nikon Z6/7”. This is also relevant to the Fuji GFX 100; for other posts about that camera, look at Category “GFX 100”. This is also a continuation of testing that I’ve been doing on the Epson P800 printer. I’ve created a category called “Printers”, and put this post in that category. If you go to the Category List (on the right in the desktop formatting), find “Printers” and click on it, you’ll see all the posts in that series.
In the previous five posts, we looked at the results of resizing files from three different camera/lens combinations:
- Fujifilm GFX 100, Fuji 110 mm f/2 lens, set to f/5.6. That’s not the sharpest aperture for that lens, but the sharpness is not far down from its best there. Lightroom sharpening amount = 20, radius = 1, detail = 0. Image height is 8776 pixels and image area is 101 megapixels.
- Nikon Z6, FX mode, Zeiss Otus 85 mm f/1.4 lens, set to f/4. That’s not the sharpest aperture for that lens, but the sharpness is not far down from its best there. Lightroom sharpening amount = 30, radius = 1, detail = 0. The increase sharpening is to compensate for the (weak) AA filter on the Z6. Image height is 4000 pixels and image area is 24 megapixels.
- Nikon Z6, DX mode, Zeiss Otus 55 mm f/1.4 lens, set to f/2.8. That’s pretty close to the sharpest aperture for that lens. Lightroom sharpening amount = 30, radius = 1, detail = 0. The increase sharpening is to compensate for the (weak) AA filter on the Z6. Image height is 2780 pixels and image area is a bit less than 12 megapixels.
I found that Gigapixel AI was the best resizing tool for these images, and that, even using that tool, differences between the two Z6 captures and the GFX 100 one were, for a 1 meter high print, apparent from dome distance away.
A reader who saw the previous posts asked a related question: could a human with ordinary sight see the difference between a 360 pixel per inch (ppi) print and a print of lower resolution. I took the GFX 100 image, resized it to 240 ppi and back to 360 ppi with Photoshop, using “Automatic” for the interpolation method. Then I created another copy, resized it to 180 ppi and back to 360 ppi. I printed all three with an Epson P800 printer on Premium Glossy Photo Paper.
It was trivially easy to tell which was which, even at arm’s length. All you had to do was glance at the Siemens Star. So the human eye’s close focusing distance is not an issue here. As I said earlier, I am no eagle eye. My vision in my left eye is 20/20 most of the time, although sometimes I get to 20/15. My right eye is about 20/25.
My next project was to take the GFX 100 image, resize it to 720 ppi without resampling, resample it to 540 ppi, and save it. Then, starting with the 720 ppi image, resample that to 360 ppi and save it. Then I printed all three images out to the P800 with the 720 ppi (Finest Detail) option checked, letting Lightroom’s Print module do the upsizing for the 360 ppi and 540 ppi images.
What a difference! All three images were very close to each other in quality, even using a loupe.
My second conclusion is this: the P800 (and every other Epson printer I’ve tested for this) is limited to an effective resolution of about 360 ppi, even in 720 ppi mode.
Corollary to the above, when taken together with the other tests in this series: if detail is of paramount importance, it’s best to capture the image with sufficient resolution that you will have at least 360 ppi at the desired print size.