How to get highest quality images on a D3?

sbeezsbeez Posts: 9Member
edited October 2013 in D3/D4/D5
Ok, so this is a pretty noob question but I would like to know how to get the largest possible files in a D3. Currently Im using a uncompressed Tiff at the largest size ( 4256 x 2832) which is giving me 36.9MB.
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Comments

  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    edited October 2013
    Large files dont mean quality.. the Raw files (.NEF) will get you all the quality the camera can produce.

    Why are you asking this? Are you having some issue with the image quality you are getting from your camera?
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    To what end? If you really want a large image file, try stacking some images together by taking vertical shots of a seen.

    Here is an example of one. This is a 560 megapixel TIFF file, with a resolution of 29,505 x 18,440 pixels.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • sbeezsbeez Posts: 9Member
    @heartyfisher,
    well, im doing an art piece that im planning on printing at A2 and a teacher looked at the size of my shots and said they are way too small. They were all .NEF files and at around 9MB.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,006Member
    edited October 2013
    Your best bet is to use uncompressed RAW, rather than TIFF to start. A TIFF, like a jpeg, throws data away, the RAW file does not. Edit the file in your RAW editor of choice and then export a high quality 16bit TIFF from that, if you want the highest quality, non-RAW file you can get for printing.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • sbeezsbeez Posts: 9Member
    ok, but when i export a NEF (RAW) on my camera it only comes down to 9MB. am i doing something wrong here? shouldnt it be larger? It is uncompressed
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 410Member
    edited October 2013
    Your teacher is on crack! Megabytes have little to do with resolution...

    When doing digital photography there are 3 sizes to pay attention to and they are all independent of each other.

    Megabytes (IE 9mb) refers to the physical space the file takes up on your hard drive. While bytes (an thus megabytes) care affected by your photograph's quality they play no role in the dimensional size of your image. A 9mb raw file may be 500x1000 px while a Jpeg 9mb file may be 5000x15000 px. What determines mb (megabytes) is file dimensions, type/format, bit rate, colorspace, amount of colors used in a given colorspace, metadata, etc.

    The second "size" to note is the digital dimension which is independent of bytes. Typically this dimension is referred to in pixels. Pixels are single square blocks of color arranged to make a picture. A high resolution file has more pixels than a low resolution file. In fact that is where we get the term megapixel from. A megapixel image has 1 million pixels in it. Standard HD video is loosely around one megapixel or 1 million pixels (slightly under to be exact). A digital photograph that has more megapixels will look much better at larger sizes than a image with less megapixels.

    The third size is a physical dimension (Ie inches, Centimeters, millimeters). When your D3 records a photo it records it in not only a digital size but tacks a real worldspace measurement to that size. That size is often called DPI/dots per inch (or more properly PPI/Pixels per inch). Ill call it PPI for the sake of this document. PPI is the real world physical dimension attached to your digital photograph. As a pixel is digital and thus without a physical size so any device can interpret a pixel to be any possible size it is told a pixel is. In order for the photo to have a tangible size the other component to resolution is not only how the photo will look on your screen but as a print.
    An image with a higher PPI like 240 or 300 ppi will fit more pixels into an single inch reducing the ability to see the pixels by them being smaller. An image with a lower PPI will have less pixels per inch and thus larger pixels often which can be noticeable on may printing processes.

    The downside to PPI is that a camera that has a sensor with 300 pixels long of recording space on the sensor captures an image that is 300 DPI it will come out to be 1 physical inch while it it were to assign only 150 pixels per inch you would get 2 inches out of the same picture. This also explains why more megapixels results in a higher resolution image because referring back to the above example if you wanted a camera that could shoot a 2 inch picture at 300dpi you would a need a camera with 600 pixels long of recording space.

    If you've read this far congratulations :D.... The D3 prints fine at well over 13x19" when shot on raw. It may not have the PPI of a D800 but It will still look good. Ive printed 10mpx Jpegs at 40x60 and sold them for hundreds of dollars. If you are careful in your processing and printing you should have a fine print. Make sure to set your camera to Raw uncompressed for future shoots and dont post-process in camera. Just for the fun of it why not post in the PAD here :)
    Post edited by kyoshinikon on
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    I think you might have misunderstood what the teacher is saying.

    To print A2 from a D3, you may need to up-convert (upscale) your image -- in Photoshop or in a dedicated upscaling program -- and apply some sharpening before printing.

    How much you should upscale & sharpen depends on the brand/model of printer you're using and some experimentation. Different brands of printers have different requirements. Canon printers tend to work best with images upscaled to multiples of 300 pixels per inch (ppi). Epson printers tend to prefer multiples of 360 ppi. Your teacher should be able to help further.
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 410Member
    lol I saw the mb and went with that. Depends on whether sbeez is using a glicee printer or not. To print a 16x24 off a D3 can probably should be upscaled first and sharpened in the raw sharpener. I typically use Genuine fractals when upscaling if I am being really picky. Now because I work with many large format printers most Rip software does a great job at upscaling and dealing with sharpness...
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    edited October 2013
    ok, but when i export a NEF (RAW) on my camera it only comes down to 9MB. am i doing something wrong here? shouldnt it be larger? It is uncompressed
    A RAW file is not an image file. Its the digital output of your camera. You need to convert it into an image file. To do so you need a Raw converter software. The raw conversion software can then create your image files either in TIFF or JPG format. the image file will have a dimension in Megapixels( millon dots) You then use image editors to make further changes to the image( eg contrast, colours enhancements, sharpening, etc., etc., etc) One of the things your Image editor software should be able to do is rezize the image. This is useful for printing to some printers.

    Most Print software and printer drivers can automatically scale/resize the image files to fit a specific paper size.

    However, if you do need to output the exact number of pixels for a specific printer then this can be done in the image editor rescale/resize features. The details for printing is a whole science in itself. Most people wont need to know all this. Usually you just provide an image "myAmazingPicture.jpg" to the printer.

    However, if what you are aiming for is a learning exercise in the printing and printer technologies, your teacher should be able to supply more details ...

    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • sbeezsbeez Posts: 9Member
    Thanks guys,
    yeah, i asked my teacher about just upscaling in photoshop and they said no, that it had to be shot in raw at a bigger size than what i had. Ive just upscaled it to basic A2 dimensions and honestly it looks fine on the computer. But it might turn out differently in print. Ive just opened up the raw file and this is what it says in camera raw: Adobe RGB (1998, 8bit, 2832 by 4256 (12.1MP), 240ppi

    Really not sure about this. My teacher opened up my image and played around with the levels and said its impossible to do anything since colours would be blown out so the image was useless...is that really so?
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    edited October 2013
    Put a link to the photo somewhere so we can see it.

    Not sure what is happening .. either you are not passing the information from your teacher on to us correctly or your teacher is not quite right. (or i am misunderstanding :-) )

    Image Resolution and image size has nothing to do with colours being blown out. Furthermore, RAW is RAW you cant change the size or anything about it (unless you change to a different camera :-) ). and 12MP cameras can be use to print to bill boards 12 storeys high, A2 should be no problem.
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    sbeez: Did your teacher say that your image was OK size-wise after you exported it from your editing program unresized but that the colours needed tweaking somewhat which couldn't be done as it is now a .jpg? I suspect that he needed to tweak the colours while it was a .nef file (before you exported it). Hopefully you know enough to have still kept the original raw (.nef) file unedited.

    So your questions for him are: 1/ Is it now OK size wise, and 2/ Do you want to play with the colours of the raw file? Tell us what he says.
    Always learning.
  • sbeezsbeez Posts: 9Member
    it was the complete raw file that they were looking at. not a jpg and size not changed. So when it was taken it was 29.97cmx45.04cm at 240ppi and when they went to edit it it was all the same and still a raw file
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Just to keep the confusion going....recently did an LR 5 export of a 65" tall image taken with D800, the tiff file was 1.47GB
    Msmoto, mod
  • JohnJohn Posts: 134Member
    @ Sbeez: Could you share your raw (NEF) file with us so we can take a look?
    (You can upload it to dropbox, google drive,... or whatever your favorite sharing site is)
    Perhaps we might see the problem that your teacher noticed.

    However...

    I don't quite get the comment of your teacher.
    As people on this forum already pointed out the file size has "nothing" to do with the quality.
    Let's look at something totally different. Suppose you were to type an entire book in a notepad (txt) document.
    The txt file would probable be a few megabytes in size. Now if you were to compress (zip) that text file you would end up with a file only a few hundres kilobytes in size.
    So, smaller but without loosing any content/information.

    Let's now look at the NEF files.
    This is the raw information captured by the image sensor.
    I don't have a D3 myself but it the options are somewhat simular to the D800 then you will have a few options.
    8 bit color vs 14 bit color: This determines how accurately the color information is encoded. More bits = more information = more options in post processing and better quality
    compressed vs uncompressed: This just determines how the data is stored. It can be compressed (such as the zip file in the previous example) or it can be uncompressed. The actual amount of information encoded in the file (= the amount of data that is relevant for your image quality) remains the same but the size of the NEF file will be different (smaller with compression)
    This NEF file is the highest quality information that you can get out of your camera.

    In the next step you need to edit the nef file (if you want to) and then export the results to an image format (jpg, tiff,...). Uncompressed 16bit tiff offers the highest quality as an export format.

    The Nikon D3 has a sensor resolution of 4,256 × 2,832 pixels.
    That's the highest amount of pixels in can register. If you need more then you have two options:
    Buy a camera with a higher resolution.
    Upscale the image. Upscaling means increasing the size artificially with a photo editing program such as photoshop. This will of result in a lowering of the image quality/sharpness at the pixel level (a.k.a. when"pixel peeping").

    That being said, a Nikon D3 was a state of the art professional digital camera not so long ago.
    A good image made with it can definately be upscaled to A2 sizes.

    Perhaps you should ask your teacher what image size (and other requirements) he requires as a minimum for the A2 print?
  • JohnJohn Posts: 134Member
    Just a side note:

    The Nikon D4, their latest professional event/sports/action cameran has "only" 16 megapixels. So, that's only 4 more then your D3. Just wanting to point out that a D3 definately does not have a "low" resolution.
    Yes, there is also the professional level D800 with it's sublime 36 megapixels resolution.
    But that's a camera focussed on landscape and other very high resolution work.
    36 megapixels was definately medium format (very very very expensive camera's) territory only a few years ago.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    +1 for what you are communicating to us what the teacher is saying is wrong. Weather it is your understanding or theirs is what we can't tell. Uploading an image to us Flickr or whatever would help us understand.

    Please clarify if this teacher is a secondary, trade school, Junior college or college teacher.

    This is my guess - 9mb raw file from 12mp sensor is lower - not outside any bounds or norm, but on the lower end. You mentioned that "highlights" were lost. If the teacher is use to a 12mp sensor, they may know just by looking at the size, you are missing a lot of detail. For instance for a low contrast image that all the colors and peaks are within the histogram, I generally get a 11-12mp file. As the color/detail, drops, so does the file size. If I shot a white wall, the file size would be about 5mb. A wall of flowers would be around 10 mb.

    Depending on your subject, you may have missed the exposure and the teacher can tell from the size of the file (which is pure experience and you can't do a thing about it - so it was a miscommunication there) and is suggesting you re-shoot the image. If you are missing details from blow outs, nothing will be printed. I'm guessing that is not what the teacher wants to see.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    What software are you and/or the teacher using to view the raw file (.NEF) ? what I am getting at is, is it possible that you are viewing the embeded JPG rather than the actual image data?
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • sbeezsbeez Posts: 9Member
    ok, heres one of the images in tiff--> https://www.dropbox.com/s/q9o97a17yyfo8vk/DSC_7726.tif.zip

    ive tried using camera raw, photoshop and lightroom.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    We are all assuming that your teacher realises the relationship between image size and proper viewing distances too. If you print A2 from your 12mp camera, it will look fine at some distance - it is a matter of how far your teacher wants to view your image from.

    You normally view images as a whole (not squinting at detail) at 1.5 to 2 times the diagonal measurement. For the image to look good at the distance you choose, there needs to be sufficient pixels per inch (ppi) to fool the eye into seeing a smooth image that isn't pixelated. The minimum ppi needed for a print with acceptable quality is calculated by dividing the value 3438 by the viewing distance (in inches). Anything above this ppi will look good at the distance chosen.

    Hope that helps.
    Always learning.
  • sbeezsbeez Posts: 9Member
    thats sort of helpful...just really confused as to why my images were said to be too small. You can have a look at the tiff and be the judge of that. Also, to clarify, the style will be the same as the image (foggy) so no really sharp details.
    Im assuming my teacher knew what they were on about (uni teacher) but ive got all my images at around 9-19mb and all the same size. Are they still usable or am i going to lose alot in these images with upscaling in photoshop? Im wondering what my camera is doing to get these small images and if theres a way to change it.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    The tiff file you uploaded is only 3 MP is that your intention ? Its quite a bit smaller than the 12MP that your camera is capable of producing. (PS the image is very nice :-) )
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • sbeezsbeez Posts: 9Member
    thanks :) the original nef file is at 6.3mb. Is this just because of the lack of tonal range? i didnt plan on having them so small..dont know why they turned out like that!
  • JohnJohn Posts: 134Member
    Im assuming my teacher knew what they were on about (uni teacher) but ive got all my images at around 9-19mb and all the same size.
    That's normal. You are probably using compressed raw (nef) file. Some scenes like a white wall are much easier to compress (and can be compressed more) then others (such a landscape with lot's of different colors and textures). This is why you see different file sizes in terms of MB but the same file sizes in terms of number of pixels.
    If you are shooting Losslessly compressed NEF/RAW then you should be fine.
    (Consult your manual for information about how to set this)
    Are they still usable or am i going to lose alot in these images with upscaling in photoshop?
    Yes, they are still usable. If you normally look at a picture with a 10" long side from a distance of 15" and it looks sharp then that same image will look just as sharp when you print it with a long edge of 100" and look at it from 150" away. Now, if you look at the 100" long sided image from 15" away then yes, it will be a lot less sharp. So viewing distance is important when deciding what resolution is needed.
    Looking at your image I see a slight bit of softness. Nothing bad. It's just a sort of dreamy, artsy look.
    You'll get the same effect when you scale up the image and look at the large print from a bit of a distance.
    Im wondering what my camera is doing to get these small images and if theres a way to change it.
    Your NEF files should be your full sensor data. What the camera is doing is applying a good compression to your NEF files. Hence the small file size of your NEF files.
    The problem is that when you export the NEF file to a TIFF you appear to get a file of a lot smaller resolution (1411*2126 pixels).
    This should be a purely export related problem.
    Looking at your EXIF data I see that you are using Lightroom 3.5.
    In lightroom there is a "image sizing" section in the export window. There you should remove the "resize to fit" checkbox. That way Lightroom will generate the final image (the TIFF file) at the pixel resolution of the sensor.
    This should solve your problems.

    Give it a try and let us know if it helps.

    If it doesn't help then you can upload the NEF file so we can have a look at that one.
  • sbeezsbeez Posts: 9Member
    thanks john, that was really helpful! I'll give it a go. It probably is lightroom reducing the tiff slightly. Good to know that an nef with lossless compression isnt going to be a problem (thats what i was shooting in).
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