Classic Aviation Photography

Quick Printing Guide

What is the purpose of this guide?

  • Show you how to find the appropriate image resolution (in dpi/ppi, cf. below) for a minimum quality print
  • Show you how to calculate the maximum print size for a given image size in pixels (small, medium, high-resolution, etc)
  • Show you how to find the required image size in pixels for printing at a specific size (15x10cm or 6x4”, 18x13cm or 7x5”, etc)

Pixels - fundamental units of digital images

All digital images are measured in pixels, the smallest building block to create an image on screen, which stands for “picture element”. The offered pixel dimensions are indicated in the Personal Use License Pricing dialog before the currency in EUR, starting with the longest edge of the image in pixels:

640 x 427
1024 x 684
1500 x 1000
2499 x 1667
4096 x 2732

All dimensions are optimize for 35mm film size.


What is dpi/ppi and what it means for printing?

To prepare digital images for printing, we need to determine the resolution of an image which is measured in dpi/ppi. The terms dpi (dots per inch ) and ppi (pixels per inch) are used interchangeably by error. 
Dpi stands for dots per inch and refers to the resolution of a printer. It describes the density of ink dots placed on a sheet of paper (or another photographic medium) by a printer to create a physical print. Dpi has nothing to do with anything displayed digitally!
Ppi refers to the number of image pixels from the digital file that will be used to create one inch on the printed medium. ppi is the more straightforward of the two terms. It describes just that: how many pixels an image contains per inch of distance (horizontally or vertically). Ppi is also universal because it describes resolution in a way that doesn't vary from device to device. Whenever you encounter the terms dpi/ppi together in the context of digital printing, they will refer to the number of image pixels that will be used to create one inch on the printed medium. Generally, the higher the dpi/ppi, the higher resolution the image and the more detail will be in the final print.

What is dpi/ppi and what it means for printing?

Most printing labs will print images with the 300 dpi setting, but this is not a requirement. For historical reasons, the setting of 300 dpi has been chosen to produce the best image resolution for hand-held prints, namely prints that are viewed at a distance of 60cm or less. When assessing your dpi/ppi requirement, the main thing to take into account is the viewing distance. Viewing distance affects your required resolution simply because if you stand further away from an image then the pixels get smaller. A billboard is rarely viewed closely so a resolution of 20-50 dpi will probably be fine. But the key point is to take into account how far away the viewer will be.

This chart helps you decide on a suitable resolution. It is based on someone with good eyesight.

Viewing Distance
0.6m / 2ft
1m / 3.3ft
1.5m / 5ft
2m / 6.5ft
3m / 10ft
5m / 16ft
10m / 33ft
15m / 50ft
50m / 160ft
60m / 200ft
200m / 650ft

Min Resolution
300 dpi
180 dpi
120 dpi
90 dpi
60 dpi
35 dpi
18 dpi
12 dpi
4 dpi
3 dpi
1 dpi

The recommended resolution range for best results on inkjet printers, depending on viewing distance and print sizes runs from 300 dpi to 140 dpi.

How do I calculate the maximum print size for a given pixel dimension (image size)?

Image Sizing Calculator
This calculator can help you choose the correct dpi, viewing distance and image dimensions. In the Image Size Calculator, delete the default dpi to clear all values:

1. Entre the pixel dimensions (for instance image width = 1024 and image height = 684)
2. Enter the viewing distance in cm, for example, 60 cm and press Enter
3. The calculator will display the maximum print size in cm and in inches

Pixel calculator
When you know exactly what dpi value you are expected to use for the print, you can use this Pixel Converter.

1. Click “Clear all” button in red to delete all values
2. In the center column, enter the length (width) and the height in pixels
3. Enter the required resolution, namely 300
4. Click the calculate button to obtain the maximum print size

The results indicate the maximum print size for your 300 dpi is 15 x 10 cm (6x4”).
If you wish to print at a slightly bigger size, let’s say 18x13 cm (7x5”), you will need to decrease your dpi to 200.
1500 pixels / 200 DPI x 2.54 cm (to convert to metric) = 18,67 cm maximum width
1000 pixels / 200 DPI x 2.54 cm (to convert to metric) = 13,35cm maximum heigh

200 dpi for small and medium-sized prints is quite acceptable.

How do I calculate the required pixel dimension for a specific print size (dpi)

Use the  online Pixel Calculator
1. Click “Clear all” button in red to delete all values
2. In the first column (left), enter the length in mm (width), = 150mm
3. In the second row of first column, enter the heigh in mm = 100mm
4. Enter the desired dpi = 300

Reference tables

Given 300dpi what is the recommended image size based on pixels

Print Resolution Recommendation Table 1

This table shows, based on usage, the minimum recommended resolution in dpi/ppi and the minimum required sizes of the corresponding digital images in pixels: 

Print Format

Common Usage

Minimum recommended

Image Size

Name

Size 
(width x height)

inches

dpi/ppi

pixels

A6 (ISO-216)

105 mm x 148 mm

4.13” x 5.83”

books, postcards

300

1487 x 2099

A5 (ISO-216)

148 mm x 210 mm

5.83” x 8.27”

books

300

1749 x 2481

A4 (ISO-216)

210 mm x 297 mm

8.27” x 11.70”

letters, magazines, catalogues

240

1985 x 2808

A3 (ISO-216)

297 mm x 420 mm

11.70” x 16.54”

posters, newspapers

200

2340 x 3308

A2 (ISO-216)

420 mm x 594 mm

16.54” x 23.40”

posters

180

2977 x 4212

A1 (ISO-216)

594 mm x 841 mm

23.40” x 33.11”

posters

160

3744 x 5298

A0 (ISO-216)

841 mm x 1189 mm

33.11” x 46.81”

posters

140

4635 x 6553

4R

102 mm x 152 mm

4” x 6”

photographs

300

1440 x 2160

5R

127 mm x 178 mm

5” x 7"

photographs

300

1500 x 2100

8R

203 mm x 254 mm

8” x 10"

photographs

240

1920 x 2400

203 mm x 305 mm

8” x 12”

photographs

240

1920 x 2880

ANSI – A ( ≈ A4 )

Letter

216 mm x 279 mm

8½” x 11”

posters

240

2040 x 2640

Legal

216 mm x 356 mm

8½” x 14”

240

2040 x 3360

14R

11” x 14"

photographs

200

2200 x 2800

ANSI – B ( ≈ A3 )

Tabloid

279 mm x 432 mm

11” x 17”

posters

200

2200 x 3400

305 mm x 457 mm

12 x 18”

200

2400 x 3600

330 mm x 483 mm

13” x 19”

200

2600 x 3800

406 mm x 508 mm

16” x 20"

180

2880 x 3600

406 mm x 619 mm

16” x 24”

180

2880 x 4320

ANSI – C ( ≈ A2 )

432 mm x 559 mm

17” x 22”

posters

180

3060 x 3960

Broadsheet

457 mm x 610 mm

18” x 24”

posters

160

2880 x 3840

508 mm x 610 mm

20” x 24"

140

2800 x 3360

508 mm x 762 mm

20” x 30”

140

2800 x 4200

ANSI – D ( ≈ A1 )

559 mm x 864 mm

22” x 34”

posters

140

3080 x 4760

610 mm x 914 mm

24” x 36”

posters

140

3360 x 5040

689 mm x 991 mm

27” x 39”

posters

140

3780 x 5460

ANSI – E ( ≈ A0 )

864 mm x 1118 mm

34” x 44”

posters

140

4760 x 6160