I was at my local phot store last night talking about my printingnscanning problem and I walked through the local gurus work flow to see what i could do to get the kind of results he gets.
One thing among many things jumped out. He prints at 360 dpi and not 1440dpi. I tried it last night and I am not sure that I could not see a difference. I suppose this will save on modest amounts of ink (not proprotionally) but am I missing soemthing here about print density and quality?
There were a few other ideas he had I have to check on that seemed counter-intuitive or counter to other advice that I will try.
#1. "Are you sure that wasn't..." | In response to Reply # 0RRowlett Charter MemberThu 08-May-03 11:42 AM
...360 ppi (pixels per inch?). Unfortunately, folks use ppi and dpi interchangeably, and they are not. PPI are how many image pixels are printed per inch. DPI is how many ink dots per inch the printer lays down. Your printer only has 6 colors, but must reproduce 16 million colors in 8-bits per channel RGB images. So it must lay down many many dots for each pixel.
I usually print at a lowly 240 ppi, with my printer set to 1440 dpi. Inkjet print quality improves somewhat up to 300-360 ppi, but the gains are increasingly marginal above 300 ppi. And you can actually make decent large prints at 180 ppi. (Lower ppi densities are often necessary when working with digital captures at high enlargements.)
Hope this hasn't confused you even more !
#2. "RE: Are you sure that wasn't..." | In response to Reply # 1Thu 08-May-03 11:59 AM
I was referring to the settings on dpi in the custom driver setting box on EPSON and the guy said he always left it at the lowest possible dpi, as going to 1440 made no difference to the print. I left my printer driver in the default (e.g. I am assuming a lower dpi) it made no difference. Should I notice a difference printing at significantly less than 140dpi. The problem is that the driver is either in custom or in one of its set modes (phot enhance etc.) when its in one of those modes you cannot check the dpi as the tab only becomes available when the custom setting is checked.
#3. "RE: Are you sure that wasn't..." | In response to Reply # 2BJNicholls Charter MemberThu 08-May-03 01:23 PM
The Epson printer driver converts your image file to 360 pixels per inch. On the theory that Photoshop will do the resampling better than the Epson driver, the practice of setting the print size and then resampling to 360 ppi has become popular with picky users.
However, Tim Grey and other experts admit that you have to inspect the print through a loupe to see a difference, and even then the difference will be modest. I won't argue that going through the extra step of resampling to 360 ppi before printing is a waste, but I've output prints at ppi values at print size from less than 200 to more than 600 ppi and the difference from 360-resampled prints isn't visible with normal viewing.
You shouldn't print a photo at anything less than the printers' 1440 dpi setting and to set up for photo printing you indeed need to use the custom dialog. The print resolution doesn't relate to you image resolution except in a convoluted way, and print resolution determines how fine a dot the printer lays down on paper and how smooth tones come out. You can argue that 2440 uses a little more ink and doesn't result in much if any better prints, but that certainly doesn't extend below 1440 dpi. See Ian Lyon's Computer-Darkroom website for the settings that produce the highest quality. In addition to 1440 you also need to turn off high speed printing and dithering to get the best print quality. Once you make your settings, save them as a custom preset that you can select in the pulldown so you don't have to set all the values each time you print.
#4. "In that case..." | In response to Reply # 2RRowlett Charter MemberThu 08-May-03 04:23 PM
...the advice is demonstrably poor. There is an easily discernable difference in the quality of photographic images printed at 360, 720, and 1440 dpi in the Epson Driver. Try it for yourself. At 360 dpi, you will easily be able to see the raster lines across the page without too much difficulty. At 720 dpi the lines are more difficult to see, but are noticeable upon close inspection. (Actually, you can make fairly decent prints at 720 dpi, but it's not the best your printer can do.) At 1440 dpi prints will appear practically smooth in tone, and it's almost impossible to detect the raster lines. There is very little benefit in going to 2880 dpi, and I never print at that density, as the gain is not worth the extra ink.
Use the Custom setting to configure the printer the way you want.