Plug-in successfully enlarges low-res files

photozoomOne of my photography teachers said, “If you can’t make them good, make them big.” However, enlarging low-resolution digital files usually means a loss of quality, manifesting as serrated edges, color artifacts, and loss of smooth gradients and detail. How your interpolation software analyzes the file and creates new pixels with a minimal loss of quality is key. BenVista claims that their S-Spline XL algorithm in ProtoZoom Pro 2 renders higher quality output by analyzing “the sharpness and evenness of the original image and deciding which parts of the image must be enlarged.” PhotoZoom Pro works as a standalone application and as a Photoshop export plug-in. It supports batch processing and 48- and 64-bit images.

PhotoZoom’s interface has a large preview window and is easy to use. Simply type in new settings for image size and resolution, then choose from one of several interpolation algorithms. The proprietary S-Spline XL algorithm is the best.

Using files from a 5-megapixel camera, I matched PhotoZoom Pro against the Bicubic Smoother setting in Photoshop CS2. I interpolated a 2592×1944-pixel image (14-MB file) to 4000×5333 (61 MB) and to 8000×6000 (137 MB) going from a print size of 8.6×6.4″ to 13.3×17.7″ and 26.6×20″, respectively. Results were a function of magnification. There was no quality difference in the prints made from the 61-MB files; however, the quality on the 137-MB file using PhotoZoom Pro was significantly better—the print was much cleaner, with less color artifacts, smoother edges, and more shadow detail. If you make poster-size prints, PhotoZoom is worth looking at. —STEVE BACZEWSKI

PRICE: $149 (Upgrade $49)
FROM: BenVista

HOT Ease of use; excellent results
NOT Its value is relative to increase in file size