Enlarging Photos with PhotoZoom Professional

July 10, 2006

Have you tried to enlarge a photo in your favorite image editor? The results often leave a lot to be desired. The problem is that the image editor has to create data that doesn’t exist. If you are doubling the dimensions of the image, it will need four times as much data.

The good news is that there is software that specializes in enlarging photos. Recently I’ve been spending time with BenVista’s PhotoZoom Professional. I guess you could say it is a one trick pony as its main function is enlarging photos.

There are a number of settings you can adjust for getting the best enlargement. At right is an example of the controls you have available. For example, the Resize method in PhotoZoom Professional offers ten different methods. Even the best image editors only offer 2-3 methods. S-Spline is the default and it is the method that I find gives the best results in most cases. It just retains so much more detail than the other methods.

Below that are presets for a number of different types of images. In short, they simply control the settings listed below the presets. I find that they are a good starting point, but I’ll often adjust the settings until I have the best possible image.

The quality of results is dependent in part on the quality of the original. If you start with a good original, you can enlarge it quite a bit with great results. Pictures that have a lot of artifacts will be more limited in the amount of enlargement that is possible. As an example, a JPG file with a lot of “blotchiness” due to the JPG compression will not enlarge as well as a photo original shot in RAW format or something scanned from a print.

PhotoZoom Professional supports 48 and 64 bit images as well as the more common 24 bit. It can work as a standalone application or as an export plug-in in many image editors. Currently it does not work as a plug-in with Corel PHOTO-PAINT X3 and BenVista is looking into getting this fixed in an update. Another great feature is that you can batch process images.

If you need to enlarge images, you should definitely give PhotoZoom Professional a look. A free download is available. The only limitation is that it watermarks images until you purchase a registration code. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

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