Can I go REALLY BIG with my small Olympus OM-D ?

A big concern (pun slightly intended) I had with the smaller bodied 16MP Olympus OM-D cameras, was: “Can the images be used for really LARGE format commercial prints i.e. posters, banners and even billboards?”

This will be a very short and extremely non-technical blog, about the printing possibilities of OM-D images.

Thus, the answer upfront is: “Yes, they can.”

Let’s start with billboards… When I finished an architectural shoot for a lodge on the Crocodile River, on the southern border of the Kruger National Park (South Africa), the client mentioned casually that they were going to use the images on two billboards in Johannesburg – one being your larger than normal-sized billboard.

I just got the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and used it intermittently with my Canon system back then – in one situation I found the E-M5 especially useful: the sun was close to disappearing below the horison and I still had to cover the decks and jacuzzi pools of a few chalets. I ran like a man possessed (processed?) through the bush from one chalet to another – the stabilisation coming in very handy for some awkward angles, millimeters from the pools’ water levels – not to mention counteracting my heavy panting and breathing!

Anyway, on hearing some images were going the billboard route, I quietly hoped no E-M5 images would be chosen – surely this little camera’s creations are not supposed to go that big…
Well, an E-M5 image was chosen – to go slap bang in the middle of a Large Format Billboard. Over the next few days I was nervously expecting the following to be communicated to me: “Do you have a larger version of the image, please – this one ain’t big enough.”

No e-mails or phone calls however – the image displayed perfectly on the billboard.

Natural Photography Olympus Billboard

I’m aware that much lower resolution prints are produced for billboards, but I was feeling really chuffed that the little E-M5, could play with the big boys in the big commercial world.

On doing a bit of research for this blog, I found that the outdoor advertising company that produced this specific billboard, actually had it displayed on their home page – now if that’s not confirmation.. : )

© Website image courtesy Khulu Media Gateway (Pty)


A few weeks back, I had another slight tightening of the throat, when the marketing company of a client of mine, mentioned that they struggled with one of my images (read more about that shoot here), as it was not large enough for the hero picture on the stand.

Between a “Oh, crap” and a racing mind, I realised that the client sent on JPeg images that were meant for small brochure printing. I quickly DropBoxed a Tiff-file and nervously (as I realised these banner prints were done in a much higher resolution than billboards) awaited the results…

It printed great. “Phew!”

5-Indaba Federal Air
© Image courtesy The Future Group


So indeed, dynamite prints can come from small cameras.



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