Most of our large format panoramic images are created on 6x17cm ( 2 1/4 x 6 3/4 inches) film. For printing purposes, this means we are working with a much larger original film size than the standard 35mm format. Our images can be printed quite large without losing detail and color saturation. We normally scan our 6x17cm panoramic images to 800 MB 16 Bit digital files. These master files can then be further increased in size using special printing RIP software when even larger file sizes are needed for room size wall murals.
To further illustrate what this means when making large photographic prints, I did the following experiment. I made 40 inch high images of the same mountain scene starting from both a 35mm original and a 6x17cm original. (Due to the different format ratio, the image made from the 35mm original measures 40x60 inches and the image made from the 6x17cm panoramic original measures 40x120 inches).
On the right you can see a small detailed section from each 40 inch high image. Notice how much sharper and clearer the section made from the 6x17cm panoramic format original is. Since the 35mm original film is much smaller than the 6x17cm original film , the 35mm format needs to be enlarged considerably more to make a 40 inch high image.
When viewing smaller print sizes (I would say 16x24 inches and under), you really won't notice too much difference between a print made from a traditional 35mm format original and a print made from a larger format original. The same holds true for the small images that are viewed on web sites. However, when making large prints, there can be quite a difference.
Remember that even though many images are shown on this web site as full 3:1 ratio "panoramic format" images, they can be custom cropped to 2:1 ratio "wide format" images, square images, or 3:2 ratio "traditional format" images. For example, a 40x120 inch panoramic image could be cropped to a 40x80 inch image, a 40x40 inch image, or a 40x60 inch image. (And a 40x60 inch print made from a 6x17cm original would have a lot more detail than a 40x60 inch print made from a 35mm original). Diptych and triptych arrangements are available as well.
Now think about what actually happens when a standard 35mm format image is cropped down to make a panoramic shaped print or wall mural. Less than half of that original 35mm format image is used.