About Enlargements

The 3 Grades of Enlargement Quality

There are 3 basic levels of quality available for enlarging photography: Presentation, Review, and Examination.
The following guidelines should give you a good background of the capabilities available for enlarging a given photograph for a specific purpose.

Presentation Quality

Presentation Quality enlarged photographs are primarily digitally-produced prints that will look like good images to the naked eye. They are not intended to be used for careful examination under any magnification such as a stereo viewer or magnifying lens. They are, however, fine to use as reference photos to include in a documentation file, as overview photography for year-by-year comparison, and large displays such as framed wall hangings or courtroom exhibits.

Review Quality

Review Quality enlarged photographs are primarily digitally-produced prints that can be viewed under magnification up to approximately 6x without pixelation (digital degradation). These images are intended for use with stereo viewers and commonly available magnifying glasses. They can be a more cost effective solution to having enlargements made because the digital enlargements can be produced from intermediate prints that have already been enlarged to some degree through traditional chemical photographic means which provide Examination Quality images. These images are made up to between 8"x10" and 12"x12", depending on the source.

Examination Quality

Examination Quality enlarged photographs are either digitally- or chemically-produced prints that can be viewed under magnification with minimal or no pixelation (digital degradation). These images are suitable for all purposes, but can be expensive to produce. Also, they are becoming more difficult to acquire due to limitations in the production methods. Chemically-produced prints are becoming unavailable from certain sources due to the rising costs of production; the photographic industries ceasing to sell the necessary raw materials; and the comparatively small demand for such detailed imagery. Digitally-produced prints are limited by the scanning technology used to produce the detailed image. In order to maintain the maximum quality of a digital print, the original data must be scanned at very high resolutions. Some vendors do not provide digital images at high enough resolutions to allow for very much enlargement in the final Examination Quality print.

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