I had prev used Canon compact cameras and found them easy to use. Moving to DSLRs was an easy choice and one I never regretted!
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The newer IS system and near-macro capabilty is a big usability plus
no it´s not really imo... the macro functionality is very limited.
if you only have this lens with you then yeah... better then nothing... at least for stationary macro objects.
Where were you able to find a 24-70 F4 to play with ?
I thought they weren't coming out until later on this month ?
Digital Camera Warehouse in Australia says in the next week or so they will have stock.
You shouldn't have any trouble making those enlargements with your files, providing the quality of your files is impeccable. If they aren't tack sharp or if there are any other flaws, those flaws will only be magnified. But if you're starting with a very high quality source, you can go quite large. I once made a 400cm tall print from a Canon 1Ds file (11 megapixels) and it turned out quite well.
I would echo the advice about working closely with the printer and you can do that even if they're in another country. The printer typically knows exactly what they need to produce good results. Talk to them directly. Don't rely on your client to be the middleman.
If at all possible, help your client choose the printer. Use the internet to find a list of printers close to the area where the print will end up and call them. Even in a short phone call, you can often get a good handle on whether or not the printer knows what they're doing. Call several, but give your client a finalist or two to go visit.
I do this kind of work regularly and in every case, I've provided the printer with a file that I have enlarged myself. I go back to the original RAW file and do a new conversion, turning off all sharpening. If you don't, the enlargement may have ugly halos. I save this conversion as a 16-bit TIFF and run it through an enlargement program called SizeFixer. It's slow – even on a fast machine, the enlargement can take a few hours – but it contains profiles for specific digital cameras. Use the profile for your camera and run the enlargement at the maximum quality setting to the file size that the printer specified.
If the printer is going to apply the final sharpening, I give them the output from SizeFixer. If they're looking for more of a final file to print from, I will over enlarge through SizeFixer (if the printer asks for 240 dpi, I'll enlarge to 300 or 360 dpi), apply some sharpening, and then reduce it to 240 dpi.
But, I can't stress this enough, try to work directly with the printer to ensure you're giving them the best file for the job. You're going to be judged on the final output, so you and the printer need to work as a team to ensure the client is happy.
The single best piece of advice anybody possibly can give you is to find a quality print shop you trust, to prepare the files so they look their best on your computer, to hand them over to the print shop without mucking about with them yourself, and to communicate with the shop what it is you want.
Different enlargement techniques work best for different printers, wokflows, and more. Your print shop should know what works best for their setup; that's mostly what you're paying them for.
And printing that large is certainly possible with the cameras you describe. If you'd like a preview of what to expect, you can print a full-size crop on your own printer. First scale the image without resizing or interpolating to the final print dimensions; this will decrease the PPI. Then, crop or set the canvas size to your printer's paper size (obviously without scaling). Tape the print to the wall and stand as far back as your expected viewing distance. If you need to stick your nose in the print, you might have a problem, but, with those dimensions, at a few feet or so it should look gorgeous.
Your other option, much much more expensive for a one-off but cheaper in the long run, is to either buy the equipment to do it yourself or use one of those no-frills print shops like the ones in warehouse retail or Internet-only storefronts. You should expect to make many experimental prints before learning what does and doesn't work. If you're going to do a lot of this sort of thing, it's the only way to go...but not if you're only going to do a few every now and again.