Printer Resolution, one more time

BH
Posted By
Beth_Haney
Sep 30, 2003
Views
730
Replies
30
Status
Closed
We’ve had trouble keeping this on track. A couple of excellent questions were raised and answers were given, but some new questions were generated, too.

It started here, last Friday night or Saturday morning (I saw most of the action on Saturday)

BobHill "Printer Technology…all you "old pros" gather ’round" 9/29/03 8:50am </cgi-bin/webx?13/105>

Then we went here and got a little more information:

Bert Bigelow "Question for Richard Lynch" 9/29/03 7:23pm </cgi-bin/webx?14/0>

So, if anybody is interested in pursuing the subject of printer resolution, I, for one, will voluntarily zip my fingers and not drag it off topic again. ๐Ÿ™‚

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JH
Jim_Hess
Sep 30, 2003
Well, I have an HP photo printer. When I first got it I spent hours on the HP website trying to understand all of the technical aspects of printing high-resolution photographs. All I was able to glean from all of my reading was that, with my printer, 200 to 300 DPI would "probably" provide acceptable results. My printer has a special printing mode that will allow me to print at 4800×1200 (or something like that), and whenever I decide to use it I get a warning that the printing will take a long time and that the resolution needs to be 600 DPI or greater (again, or something like that) in order for me to benefit from using that mode. I have only tried to print in that mode once, and I couldn’t see enough difference to worry about it. After all my studying and experimenting and research and headaches and uncertainty, I have decided that it just doesn’t matter. For me, if the print looks good, that is good enough. I have decided to start using Sam’s Club to print my enlargements anyway. Their prices are very good, and so far I have been pleased with their quality. And I think it’s cheaper than trying to print everything at home. I don’t refill cartridges, so ink prices are an issue for me. What I have decided to do is print a 4×6 print to see if I like the results, and then I go to Sam’s Club to print my enlargements. I honestly think it is cheaper that way.
ED
Emeril_Darose
Sep 30, 2003
Ok then, lets give this a try. I’m using a Cannon i550 printer at the moment, it can print at 4800×1200 with a droplet pitch of 1/4800 inch (greek to me.). The printer uses 4 ink tanks but the pictures I print out are not the same as I thought I sent to the printer, they wind out faded and more of a blue tint.

I am using the color corection when printing, hoping that the colors would match, no such luck. I have tried various things to correct this, but still not right.It’s not one of the high end printers, and I’m planning to buy the new Cannon 99000. Which uses a 6 tank system and prints in a lager format. I like to do my prints at at least 8×10",the new printer will alow me to print at I think it was 24×19.

Back on topic, do you have any idea of how to correct this problem with the color? It is getting very expensive on paper, I use high end glossy paper. As for Jim’s comment on the cost of doing your own prints, I had read in a few of the photo mags about a bulk ink tank system. If anyone knows about this system, let me know, I think it would be cheaper then $20.00 per cartage X 4.

Emeril
JH
Jim_Hess
Sep 30, 2003
About the only thing I have been able to figure out is to run Adobe Gamma and try to match your monitor to your print. I’m using a rather inexpensive LCD monitor on my computer, and I really like it. But I cannot seem to get the contrast to match my prints exactly. It’s pretty close, but if I have a question, if the color or contrast is critical, I print the 4×6 and evaluate the results. Adobe has tutorials on how to color match your monitor, but it’s not as easy as the tutorials would lead you to believe. It just seems to take a lot of experimenting to get good results. And even then, sometimes I get surprised with one of my prints and have to start all over again.
BB
Bert_Bigelow
Sep 30, 2003
As I said in the earlier thread on this subject, I am having a hard time getting to WYSIWYG. My problem is that the greens in the prints are just not as vivid as the reds and blues. I’ve played with the various printer driver settings (Epson Stylus Photo 780) without much success. It’s an old printer, and I’m having constant problems with head clogging. I think it’s new printer time, so I’ve kinda given up on trying to solve the color problem.
I have run lots of tests with this printer to determine "optimal" resolution. Anywhere in the 200-300 ppi range seems to be OK. Anything higher just slows down the print and makes no discernable difference…to me, at least. It’s such a subjective thing, though.
I really think everyone just has to experiment with their printer and determine what works for them. There are no hard-and-fast rules.
Bert
BH
Beth_Haney
Sep 30, 2003
Jim, you say you’ve used Adobe’s tutorial’s on monitor calibration; have you tried Ian Lyon’s? I’ve used Ian’s but never Adobe’s, so I don’t know how much variation there is in the way each explains it. Emeril, you might want to check out each, too. It could be that the presentation varies enough so one would be more understandable to some people than the other. Or combining the information might fill in some gaps. I agree that it sounds like your problem should be addressed from the issue of monitor calibration first. If that doesn’t clear up the problems you’re having with prints, we can move on from there.

<http://www.computer-darkroom.com/ps7-colour/ps7_1.htm>
ED
Emeril_Darose
Sep 30, 2003
Bert,

I may be new to the digital darkroom, but what I read in all the mags dealing with D.D.R. there is no such thing as WYSIWYG, it’s more like WYSIAWYG. (what you see is almost what you get). Even the printer companies say this, but it should be very close. I understand that a dye sup printer is the best but also one of the most expensive.

Emeril
BB
Bert_Bigelow
Sep 30, 2003
may be new to the digital darkroom, but what I read in all the mags dealing with D.D.R. there is no such thing as WYSIWYG, it’s more like WYSIAWYG. (what you see is almost what you get). Even the printer companies say this, but it should be very close. I understand that a dye sup printer is the best but also one of the most expensive.

Emeril,
WYSIAWYG…I like that! Very true, but I think it should be possible to get a little closer with the greens in my case…the other colors are okay.
"Dye sup" printers…is that like the Epson 2200? That’s on my short list of new printer candidates, but the ink cartridges are outrageous! It’s a seven-color printer, each cartridge costs $11, and you get about 30 8x10s out of a set of cartridges I have read. That’s over #2.50 per print, just for the ink…er, dye.
My Epson 780 runs about $1 per print. Somehow it just doesn’t seem right to me that the ink costs more than the very best photo paper you can buy. Grumble, grumble…
Bert
CS
Chuck_Snyder
Sep 30, 2003
Bert, I believe it’s ‘Dye Sub’, as in Dye Sublimation: a non-wet process found in some high end printers and some portables made by Canon and others. Here’s a very simplified description of what it is:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/question583.htm

๐Ÿ™‚

Chuck
BB
Bert_Bigelow
Sep 30, 2003
Thanks, Chuck….for the correction and the link.
Bert
ED
Emeril_Darose
Sep 30, 2003
Chuck,

Quick on the ball, Thanks for the link for other people to use. I didn’t know of that one, saved me some typing time. Thanks.

Emeril
JH
Jim_Hess
Sep 30, 2003
Beth,

Thank you for the reference to that other tutorial. It cleared up many of the questions that remained unanswered in the Adobe tutorial. I used it on my monitor here at work today, and I can’t wait to work through it with my monitor at home. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to get at it until at least tomorrow night.

On another note, I just got back another 8×10 enlargement from Sam’s Club, and I’m personally very satisfied with the results. I’m seriously thinking about doing many of my enlargements that way.
BH
Beth_Haney
Sep 30, 2003
I’m glad you found it useful, Jim. That’s a site I keep bookmarked, because Ian has a lot of really good stuff there.
JH
Joe_Henry1000
Oct 1, 2003
Somehow it just doesn’t seem right to me that the ink costs more than the very best photo paper you can buy. Grumble, grumble…

Bert,

That’s where all these printer company’s make the real dough. Printers are just ink delivery systems so they practically give them away these days. Of course this doesn’t apply so much to the higher end printers.

Joe
BB
Bert_Bigelow
Oct 1, 2003
Yeah, I know that, Joe. It doesn’t make me happy, though, especially when you see their tactics to eliminate any competition, like "chipping" their ink cartridges so they can’t be refilled, and changing the design of the cartridges for each new printer model to keep the "copycats" from producing competitive products.
If Microsoft engaged in these tactics, the Justice Department would crucify them for unfair competitive practices, restraint of trade or whatever. Yet, they get by with it all the time.
Buying a printer these days is really tough, because you lock yourself into the manufacturer’s supply chain…over which he has monopolistic control. I HATE it! I would like to boycott the lot of them! I hope some new printer manufacturer will come along eventually and say, "Here, buy my printer. Cartridges for it will be available from multiple sources, because our cartridge designs are open, and have been published so that competition will make inexpensive supplies available to you."
I would buy that printer in a flash, even if it cost more. Bert
JH
Joe_Henry1000
Oct 1, 2003
"I hope some new printer manufacturer will come along eventually and say, "Here, buy my printer. Cartridges for it will be available from multiple sources, because our cartridge designs are open, and have been published so that competition will make inexpensive supplies available to you."

Wouldn’t that be a great day? I’ll buy that printer too!

Joe

EDIT: I just noticed the ink low light blinking on my Epson ink delivery system. Stand by while I load another $20 black ink cartridge. ๐Ÿ˜‰
BG
Byron_Gale
Oct 1, 2003
Bert,

I have been living with a Canon BJ6000 for a couple of years, now, and have been waiting for a convergence of price between machine, ink and paper to upgrade.

That is, until a few weeks ago, when I took the first batch of images to the local Costco for printing.

The upshot is that I get to use a multi-thousand dollar printer for between 19ยข, for a 4×6 print, and $2.99 for a 12×18 print. (It is a Noritsu #something) The images are printed on Fuji Crystal Archive paper, and are of a quality I have not seen from any consumer-level printer. The price is unbeatable, for me, as well.

I am no longer in the market for a new printer, given the easy access and spectacular results from this commercial source.

Of course, everything would be different if I did not live within easy reach of Costco. So I do not diminish the anguish which results from trying to decide between variious hardware vendors, with the associated consumable expenses. (I forget the correct attribution of the phrase, but the sentiment applies in "Give ’em the razor, sell ’em the blades")

I only detail my opting to not purchase a current-generation printer to provide one extreme in the gamut of the printer experience matrix.

Byron
JF
Jodi_Frye
Oct 1, 2003
I find that with my Epson 785 exp the black ink lasts much longer than the colored ink. The black ink is more expensive than the colored ink…thank goodness it’s not the other way around. I did notice a site that sells Epson paper and ink at a very low cost. I e-mailed them and asked if they could guarantee that the ink was not ‘old’ and/or ‘stale’…I got no reply. Keep in mind that ‘old and/or stale’ ink WILL clog Epson print heads. I made the mistake ONCE and bought ink that was on sale ( there is a reason for that )…my ink heads clogged twice before I got through the cartridge…not a usual happening from my experience with my printer. So…buyer beware when it comes to ink.
BB
Bert_Bigelow
Oct 1, 2003
I find that with my Epson 785 exp the black ink lasts much longer than the colored ink. The black ink is more expensive than the colored ink…

That’s true for my 780 also, Jodi. The colored ink cartridge, in my case, has five ink colors in it, and is much larger than the black cartridge. Why does the black one cost more? Answer: Because it lasts longer, so they want to make more money on each one. That is the only reason I can think of.
I’ve had very bad luck with refilled…or refilling…cartridges. Bert
BB
Bert_Bigelow
Oct 1, 2003
Byron,
Those are really good prices. I just like doing it at home where I can look at the results, maybe tweak the image in Photoshop and try again. It’s a hobby for me, so have fun doing the whole process. And it’s quite a distance to the nearest Costco, although I suppose there might be other stores around with similar facilities.
I will consider that for large-format prints, though, so thanks for the idea. Bert
RL
Richard_Lynch
Oct 2, 2003
Back on topic, do you have any idea of how to correct this problem with the color?

One of the hardest (perhaps impossible) things to do is consistently match your RGB view on screen to what you see in print. RGB is a different color set than CMYK, based on similar but reversed theory. RGB being based on light rather than absorption is more efficient. In short, there is not a 100% accurate conversion between RGB and CMYK NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO. You can get better results (and worse ones), but you need to have a system.

1. Calibrate your monitor (Adobe Gamma) and create a monitor profile.
2. Check your printer manual for recommended printer settings and media (don’t expect to get great results from paper not made for printing).
3. TURN COLOR MANAGEMENT OFF. (In my estimation, if you can’t get decent results without it, you can’t improve them with it).
4. Correct your image to how you would like it to print (keep in mind what you see on screen is RGB and perhaps more vivid than print).
5. Print using recommended printer settings.
6. Check your print against the screen.

At this point, I would try making LAYERED corrections to the image to best make it match the result in print. Optimally this will use curves, and perhaps multiple corrections.

When you get the screen looking like the proof, SAVE THE ADJUSTMENT LAYERS. These can be used on other images to give you an idea of what the printout of other images will look like. You can apply them by dragging to the image you are about to print. Shut them off before printing. Add adjustments with the print adjustment layers on to affect change in the output. If you add adjustments shut off ONLY the preview layers before printing.

Once you can get results this way, then I would start adding back any color management if you are so inclined. Color management and profile use is not necessary for getting better results.

Hope that helps!

Richard Lynch
LK
Leen_Koper
Oct 2, 2003
Last Monday I attended a seminar and right after the break there was someone who seemed to have solved the solution for adjusting according to what you see on your screen.
Unfortunately I returned too late (comfortable chair and good company at the sunny lakeside, I apologise) and I missed the first part of his lecture, so it took me quite some time before I understood what he was talking about.

On Tuesday my printer was installed by one of the formost experts in our country on colour management and he told me this software was really working and looked very promising.

Still I don’t understand how it might work. The only thing I do know is this professional software will cost about US$300-400, but the really good news is: the amateur version is free. It will be packed with 50 sheets of printing paper and will last only 50 images.
With the next package there will be the new software for the next 50 prints. It will be for sale probably at the end of this year.

That’s all I know, but as soon as I do know more I’ll mail to this forum.

Leen
BB
Bert_Bigelow
Oct 2, 2003
TURN COLOR MANAGEMENT OFF. (In my estimation, if you can’t get decent results without it, you can’t improve them with it).

Richard,
It is really interesting to read that statement. When I was fighting my "color battle" about a year ago, trying to get somewhere near WYSIWYG, I discovered that I got better results with Color Management turned off, and reported that here. I got beat up (in a friendly way, of course) by people who knew a LOT more about this stuff than I.
So I take great comfort…probably a lot more than I’m entitled to…in your words. Bert
PS – It’s still turned off, and I still have my "wimpy green" problem, but I’m going to try your idea of using adjustment layers.
Thanks for the very informative post.
Bert
RL
Richard_Lynch
Oct 2, 2003
Bert,

Usually you can get back at a person using color management by asking them why they made a particular choice, or exactly why it is superior. Some will know, or at least have an explanation, but most won’t. I learned technique before there was formal color management (or adjustment layers…um, or layers), and really HAD to do it without. Since, I have not been convinced that it is superior.

The weighted difference toward promoting color management strategy is more likely that there are a bunch of people making LOTS of money training people to use it and providing expensive equipment and profiles. The time they spend making not using color management as dispicable as dandruff (quite a marketing scheme there…) is well spent on return for their investment. They have reason to amke a clatter. I can’t make much telling you color management isn’t all they say, as there is nothing to sell…my trumpet can’t play over the orchestra. I’ve helped more people cure problems by turning it off than stepping through how to use it.

This is not to say management is bad…it can potentially do good things. However one gets results with consistency is right. There are benefits to embedding and not. It is certainly nothing to take or dish out ridicule over. I am of the opinion that fundamentals work before enhancements. I consider increased levels of color management enhancement. Some enhancements you never really need.

Richard Lynch
JF
Jodi_Frye
Oct 2, 2003
Well, a few months back I went through all the settings with and without color management. …printed, printed printed,,,etc…the only prints that were really bad were the ones that I had color management ‘on’. I wont get into any detail but I followed instructions about setting things up between printer and program….blah blah blah…took me a while…final words; I’m sticking to ‘ color management OFF ‘ thank you. I probably messed up somewhere but it’s not worth it to me to keep trying since my prints are fab anyways.
BH
Beth_Haney
Oct 3, 2003
I, too, turned color management off quite a while ago, but I don’t even remember any more who/what prompted me to do it. When I print to my home printer, I’m always happy with the results.

I’ve started to experiment with the Noritsu the neighborhood camera store now has, and early results say those prints turn out too dark. I haven’t had a chance to talk with them since my husband picked up the last batch.

I was so proud of myself for mastering home printing, now I have a new challenge. ๐Ÿ™
BB
Bert_Bigelow
Oct 3, 2003
Jodi, and Beth,
Well, I have some company in the "Color Management OFF" club. Welcome!

Beth, back in Post #16, Byron Gale talked about the Noritsu printer at a Costco near his home. He said the quality was very good. I’m going to see if we have one around here. I’d like to try some large-format prints. I’ve been talking to a local pro photographer here in southern CA who does panoramas, stitching together multiple images. He prints his own on an Epson 2200, which I lust for, but the ink/dye cartridges are REALLY expensive! Printer ain’t cheap either.
The guy’s name is Steve Stein. Here is his website:
<http://www.eastvillagegraphics.com/>
Bert
JH
Jim_Hess
Oct 3, 2003
First of all, let it be understood that I am a techno-idiot. That being said, I thought the main purpose of doing color management was to get the screen image and the printed photograph to match as closely as possible. Please, what am I missing?
BB
Bert_Bigelow
Oct 3, 2003
Jim,
I think that is true. I just didn’t find it helpful in my case…probably due at least in part to my own ineptitude.
Bert
JH
Joe_Henry1000
Oct 3, 2003
Add me to the Color Management Off club. A while back (last year some time) I turned it on for some reason and there after my prints just went down the toilet. I’m sure if I knew what I was doing it would have been ok. The really bad thing about the whole incident was that I’d forgotten I’d turned it on so was completely clue less on why all of the sudden my prints were sooooo bad. Thanks to Brent, Chuck and Beth (I think), for getting me back on track.

Yes, I’m off color management.

Joe
RL
Richard_Lynch
Oct 4, 2003
"First of all, let it be understood that I am a techno-idiot. That being said, I thought the main purpose of doing color management was to get the screen image and the printed photograph to match as closely as possible. Please, what am I missing?"

well, that is the hope and idea, but the relative complexity of getting it to work correctly is a hurdle. Some jump it easily, and most do not. the FACT is: If you have done great correction to your image, the difference in results with color management between devices should be fine tuning (the difference between the CMYK ink color from one device or manufacturer to the other, and paper types and qualities from one to the next are keys for these adjustments — effectively changing what you’ve corrected in your image behind the scenes). If you are getting wildly wrong results, you need to correct a more fundamental problem before achieving better results. You can get great prints with AND WITHOUT color management playing magician behind the scenes.

The problem is, defining color management incorrectly is worse than not using it at all, and defining it will USUALLY require understanding why you are using it and exactly what you want to accomplish. Just turning it on doesn’t make it work. It needs the right settings and the right profiles, which means you need to be able to set it up right. and, regretfully, that part isn’t easy.

There is all sorts of conflicting information about color management and what it does. I think you’ll find a sensible approach will get you further with less groans and wasted paper. When you are ready to graduate to using a complete color-managed workflow, there will be time to set one up later to help improve your results when you have time to study up and implement it correctly. However, even that may not improve much if you know all your options.

Richard Lynch

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