Digital images viewed on the net compared to what you can expect to see when they are printed

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Progressiveabsolution, Jun 3, 2006.

  1. Hi all,

    First the digital stuff:

    I was wondering if the images that come from the digital source, posted
    on the web, are the way they will look when they are printed? In other
    words, are the photos seen posted on Pbase and other various photo
    sites the actual photo that will be developed or are these photos
    showing a compressed version that isn't as nice as the final developed
    photo? I would think a person that posts their best in these galleries
    would show the best the photo can look like. Then again, if one likes
    the 16MB file they have and this is too large to load into website's
    database, then the more compressed version must be given (hence, a
    poorer quality of look?). I'm trying to figure out what these images I
    have been looking at from all sorts of cameras (i.e. Pentax IST, Konica
    7D, Olympus E-1, Fuji S models, Canon 20D/5D/1DSMKII/etc., Nikon
    D70/D200/etc. etc.).

    The next question deals with a similar subject. When viewing the
    galleries on dpreview dot com, they have a link to view the "actual
    image". This is something like a 3.5mb image in jpeq. Again, much
    smaller than say, the Canon 1DSMKII can produce...but they say it is
    the actual image or best image (forget what exactly it is they say and
    am too lazy to go see;)). Anyhow, are the images they are showing
    going to be the ones that you will see when you print them or are they,
    too, in a compressed form?

    A third question and final question, what will these images that I view
    on the web "generally" look like when printed? I know this question is
    likely redundant, but all in all, when a pro photographer has their
    images on a website for sale, is what you see on the screen going to be
    exactly what you will get in life?...or will it look better, different,
    worst, etc.?

    Just trying to figure out how amateur and professional photographers
    get images onto the net and what to expect to see when this image is
    printed onto paper and place into a photo album or in a gallery.

    Thanks all!!!
    Progressiveabsolution, Jun 3, 2006
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  2. Progressiveabsolution

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Basically, it is just a best guess, since the photographer would rarely
    ever know how a viewer has their monitor set. Even a difference in light
    in the room will alter to appearance of an image on a monitor. There are
    no guarantees.

    I think one idea behind the larger DPReview file sample images is that
    you could print them. However, once again if you are not on a fully
    integrated and calibrated system, then you would not know much beyond
    how your system and printer would handle those files. This is when the
    value of numbers for colour ranges can be a little effective, though
    only on a comparison basis with similar numbers from another

    Add to this an issue of your monitor is RGB, and at best in sRGB colour
    space, while printing is done CMYK, or some close variation with more
    inks. Some CMYK combinations or pure inks just never look the same on
    any RGB monitor, even an EIZO, or that latest NEC with LED backlighting.
    In professional level commercial printing, a hard copy printed proof is
    still way better than any soft proof on any monitor.
    Gordon Moat, Jun 4, 2006
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  3. Progressiveabsolution

    Mark² Guest

    How it is viewed compared with how it is printed is entirely dependant upon
    the way each individual computer is set up for color management. If my
    images on Pbase (for example) are being viewed on a correctly color-managed
    system, then my prints will look nearly identical to the viewer's observed
    image. If, on the other hand, the viewer is viewing my images on a
    monitor/system that is NOT properly calibrated (and unfortunately, that's
    probably about 98% of computers out there), then it could could look appear
    MUCH better on my prints than on their monitor. Some people's monitors are
    too dark...too light...too saturated...too muted...too blurry...etc. etc.

    The reverse is also true... My perfectly calibrated view of my images may
    print like crap on your printer because you may not have your system set up
    for proper color management. Most people's systems are NOT set up properly
    at all.

    Mark², Jun 4, 2006
  4. Progressiveabsolution

    Annika1980 Guest

    This is a good case of "it depends."
    If you are looking at a web presentation (like my pbase galleries, for
    example) the pics you see are greatly reduced in size. There is no
    quality loss when you reduce a photo's size, and in fact, they
    sometimes look better this way. So the web image probably looks as
    good as it's gonna get and depending on what size you want printed, the
    quality of the printed output might not measure up.

    However, when you look at a full-size image on the web, it usually
    looks worse than what it will look like printed, simply because you are
    blowing it up at least 4 times the normal size. For example, this pic
    of mine is shown full-size, ready to print at 8"x10".

    When you click on that pic it might not look so hot on your monitor.
    But it prints very nicely, as you are welcome to demonstrate for

    If someone is selling their photos online, what you get should at least
    be the equal of what you see online.
    Annika1980, Jun 4, 2006
  5. SNIP
    Indeed, as I've recently been confronted with. I wound up creating a
    profile for the Large Format (inkjet) printer myself (with a Gretag
    Macbeth I1 spectrophotometer), and concluded that there was an issue
    with the ink/paper compatibility. And indeed, an OEM paper was used,
    which prohibited proper display of Red (came out as murky orange).

    Bart van der Wolf, Jun 4, 2006
  6. SNIP
    Hi Bret,

    It's a nice image but, IMHO, could be technically even better if
    treated with a somewhat more advanced processing for e.g. the intended
    (8x10") output size. If you like, I'm offering you an opportunity for
    even better pre-print (and Web publishing) processing (as a kind of
    benchmark), and I could process your (hopefully Raw) image file to,
    say, a full size web / and an 8x10 inch printable version (if you tell
    me the printer's specifics (like make, native resolution, and
    profiling requirements). Although it probably would be without
    specific printer calibration, looking at the image, I can almost
    guarantee a superior output result (given some of the printer

    Obviously, as a professional, I would respect your copyrights and only
    process for the intended purpose (for 1:1 Web publishing and/or print
    at native printer resolution for 8x10"). Any subsequent publication is
    yours to decide.
    The only unknown for me are the actual display and printer's
    gamut/profile (thus assuming an sRGB web publishing average, and an as
    yet, unknown printer profile).

    If you are interested, you can contact me at
    <> for details.

    Bart van der Wolf, Jun 4, 2006
  7. Progressiveabsolution

    Annika1980 Guest

    It already has been processed (sharpened) for the specific output size.
    That's a pretty old pic and the original RAW file doesn't exist any
    more, so the copy I was working from was an old TIFF.
    However, I do still have the RAW files from some similar pics of that
    hawk taken the same day. I'd be glad to e-mail you one and see what
    you can do. Probably not much more than I can do, I'd wager.
    Annika1980, Jun 4, 2006
  8. Progressiveabsolution

    Annika1980 Guest

    I couldn't decipher that on my newsreader.
    Please e-mail me.
    Annika1980, Jun 4, 2006
  9. It's (one of) my email address(es) ;-)
    Will do that, wasn't sure yours was valid.

    Bart van der Wolf, Jun 4, 2006
  10. Just one of the quirks of using AOL. On almost any other News reader or
    E-mail client, clicking on what Bart wrote brings up an E-mail addressed
    to him.
    John McWilliams, Jun 5, 2006
  11. Progressiveabsolution

    Annika1980 Guest

    AOL doesn't have a newsreader. I was using Google Groups.
    Annika1980, Jun 5, 2006
  12. Ah, so, I see. Surprised that the didn't work
    on their web interface. Maybe not so surprised; Google is a very mixed
    bag of good and not so good.

    I presume that AOL doesn't make any News service, such as Giga or Super
    News, available? That'd allow you to use a real news client, fwiw.
    John McWilliams, Jun 7, 2006
  13. Progressiveabsolution

    Paul Furman Guest

    Just a subjective comment. I was talking with a fellow shooter & he made
    the comment that you never know which shot is going to look good printed
    from looking at them on the screen and I totally agreed. I'm often
    surprised. I don't know why this is.
    Paul Furman, Jun 9, 2006
  14. Progressiveabsolution

    Mark² Guest

    The likely reason:
    -Because he doesn't have a properly calibrated monitor/printer setup...even
    though he may think he does.
    -Even with proper calibration, there is often confusion about what settings
    to use, and what part of your process should control profiling, etc. When
    you have a properly-calibrated'll know EXACTLY what it will
    look like when printed. I get prints that literally and precisely MATCH
    what I see on my screen. If you don't have that control, you are really in
    a powerless position, and subject to tremendous waste of time, effort and
    money for materials (ink, paper, etc.). You/he can have this control too,
    but it takes some information/equipment/careful effort in the processing of
    calibration and printing to acheive consistently accurate results.

    Mark², Jun 9, 2006
  15. Progressiveabsolution

    Paul Furman Guest

    I have had that problem too but he was experiencing the same thing with
    slides or projected slides. Perhaps this has to do with the difference
    of reflective prints vs monitor or projector or maybe it's just when
    culling, you get desensitized with so many images and miss the ones that
    really look great (or crappy)... then when it occurs to you to take the
    time to print... then you see it in a new light instead of just another
    in the endless series.

    Or maybe it's just an odd thing the two of us noticed. Nobody else
    recognizes this phenomenon?
    Paul Furman, Jun 9, 2006
  16. Progressiveabsolution

    Mark² Guest

    If you're talking about projected film slides, that is another matter
    Rarely will prints ever maintain the "pop" of a projected film
    slide...mainly due to the huge and exaggerated illumination of contrast and
    brightness of whites, etc. Projected slides can take on a "glow" that can't
    be reproduced short of a backlit transparent print, such as you might see in
    a backlit movie poster, etc.

    If you're talking about a monitor's rendition of a digital file, though, the
    only reason for prints not matching is related more to improper screen
    presentations (too bright, too saturated, etc.) and calibration mismatches.
    Mark², Jun 9, 2006
  17. Progressiveabsolution

    Paul Furman Guest

    Maybe it's the same with projected slides & monitor display, they both
    have that rich inner glow but only certain shots really look good on paper.
    Paul Furman, Jun 9, 2006
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