I have written a few posts now about creating large prints from my LX5 and GX1 cameras. The GX1 has 16Mpixels and produces A3+ prints without any scaling but the LX5 needs enlargement. A3+ is not however my target as I have already proven that can be done without compromise. No, my target s 30” or even 40” prints from these cameras.
When it comes to increasing the size of my images I have always used Genuine Fractals which a few years back became Perfect Resize. It has for a long time been recognised as a market leader but I have come to find its enlargements quite artificial looking. More recently I have tended to use Lightroom for enlargement and found that whilst not as sharp in appearance, the results are not natural.
Quality of enlargement is important to me. I want enlargements that appear detailed, sharp and most of all natural. I suppose you could say they need to be believable enlargements so people comment on the quality of the photography and not the lack of quality in the enlargement.
Over the weekend I became increasingly frustrated by the poor reproduction from Perfect Resize but most of all the long processing time taken to scale the image. A 16bit image from my LX5 took almost 5 minutes to scale to 30” and significantly slowed my computer. Trying to adjust the smoothing, detail and sharpening options was equally frustrating due to slow updating so I went to look for another solution.
There were very few options on the market but I did come across the STOIK smart resizer. This provides a range of scaling options but is very simple to operate, very fast to generate the enlargement and best f all the enlargements appear to be of a very high standard. They are sharp, detailed and very natural despite being significantly larger than the starting image. I did find some limitations such as the TIFF not saving in 16bit but given the quality of the enlargement and the step in my workflow where I enlarge, this is tolerable.
Rather than me trying to display lots of enlargements here (but there is one below) I would encourage you to download the Demo version (it’s a free 15 day trial with the save function disabled) and try it on your own images. And in case you were wondering, I did pay for the full version in the end and the saved images live up to the preview.