Stupid printer (dpi) question, or maybe not so stupid.

Started Apr 24, 2013 | Discussions
Freeman-Jo
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Stupid printer (dpi) question, or maybe not so stupid.
Apr 24, 2013

I don't print stuff myself because to me the concept of calibrating printer seem like a dark art to me(no relation to Harry Hotter here). I mean, for me, as a non-professional protographer who don't print on daily basis, it seem more trouble than it worth. But I like big print. Generally I just grab a printer profile from drycreek and order 12x18 or 20x30 at Costco. And if I'm lazy, then I just convert to sRGB instead before uploading. If my process is wrong, or then you are welcome to make suggestion. I probably have around ten or more of 20x30 and over fifty 12x18 and have them around the house. Since they are inexpensive I am not worry much. I can order more print for that price. So my knowledge in this area is tiny.

Well, today I just saw DPR posting about new printer review and thinking wow, nice, DPR doing printer review too. Probably not gonna want to print myself still. And then I see the printer spec 4800x2400 dpi and it hit me. I mean, is there a reason to make that kind of high-res print? I mean, can human eyes can even tell anything even higher res than 1200x1200 dpi at maybe 6inches away? And exactly what are you going to print? I mean seriously 4800x2400 dpi is roughly 11.5MP per inch. So, to print at 13x19 at that resolution would require roughly 2.85GigaPixel. Do people very shoot w/gigapan and make that kind of print? Can somebody who understand this kind of stuff explain this to me?

Thanks

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jtoolman
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Re: Stupid printer (dpi) question, or maybe not so stupid.
In reply to Freeman-Jo, Apr 24, 2013

Freeman-Jo wrote:

I don't print stuff myself because to me the concept of calibrating printer seem like a dark art to me(no relation to Harry Hotter here). I mean, for me, as a non-professional protographer who don't print on daily basis, it seem more trouble than it worth. But I like big print. Generally I just grab a printer profile from drycreek and order 12x18 or 20x30 at Costco. And if I'm lazy, then I just convert to sRGB instead before uploading. If my process is wrong, or then you are welcome to make suggestion. I probably have around ten or more of 20x30 and over fifty 12x18 and have them around the house. Since they are inexpensive I am not worry much. I can order more print for that price. So my knowledge in this area is tiny.

Well, today I just saw DPR posting about new printer review and thinking wow, nice, DPR doing printer review too. Probably not gonna want to print myself still. And then I see the printer spec 4800x2400 dpi and it hit me. I mean, is there a reason to make that kind of high-res print? I mean, can human eyes can even tell anything even higher res than 1200x1200 dpi at maybe 6inches away? And exactly what are you going to print? I mean seriously 4800x2400 dpi is roughly 11.5MP per inch. So, to print at 13x19 at that resolution would require roughly 2.85GigaPixel. Do people very shoot w/gigapan and make that kind of print? Can somebody who understand this kind of stuff explain this to me?

Thanks

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You are totally confusing DPI with PPI.

in printing, each pixel of an image may end  up being composed of dozens of varying size ink droplets or "DOTS" The D in DPI!

A printer can lay down that resolution in order to be able to create truly smooth gradations of tones as well a minute details I am sure you would want and expect on your prints.

Since you are perfectly happy with your COSTO prints, it is probably best to just stick with their service. Unless you want to enter into a world you will become addicted to.

Just like a lot of us.  sixteen 13" and larger printers and counting ( yes all at once )

Joe

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Freeman-Jo
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Re: Stupid printer (dpi) question, or maybe not so stupid.
In reply to jtoolman, Apr 24, 2013

jtoolman wrote:

You are totally confusing DPI with PPI.

in printing, each pixel of an image may end  up being composed of dozens of varying size ink droplets or "DOTS" The D in DPI!

A printer can lay down that resolution in order to be able to create truly smooth gradations of tones as well a minute details I am sure you would want and expect on your prints.

Since you are perfectly happy with your COSTO prints, it is probably best to just stick with their service. Unless you want to enter into a world you will become addicted to.

Just like a lot of us.  sixteen 13" and larger printers and counting ( yes all at once )

Joe

So, when you print something, you have no control of how each pixel translate into dot at all?  So how do you find the finite or the absolute minimun number of dot that will directly translate into pixel for specific printer to maintain the maximum detail?  What exactly will you benefit if you print it yourself or use some other well known but more expensive lab when all you need is big print on standard paper?

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Tom-C
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Re: Stupid printer (dpi) question, or maybe not so stupid.
In reply to Freeman-Jo, Apr 24, 2013

Freeman-Jo wrote:

So, when you print something, you have no control of how each pixel translate into dot at all?  So how do you find the finite or the absolute minimun number of dot that will directly translate into pixel for specific printer to maintain the maximum detail?  What exactly will you benefit if you print it yourself or use some other well known but more expensive lab when all you need is big print on standard paper?

The translation of pixels into dots of ink is specific to each printer model and is a closely guarded secret. Epson has done a lot of research and they think they have the best approach. Ditto for Canon, etc.

Unless you are developing algorithms to translate pixel colors into ink dot patterns, and most of us aren't doing that, you can just ignore the dpi.

To repeat: ignore the dpi. Pixels per inch (ppi) is all that we care about, and all that we have control over.

Tom

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Tom Axford
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Re: Stupid printer (dpi) question, or maybe not so stupid.
In reply to Freeman-Jo, Apr 24, 2013

Freeman-Jo wrote:

I don't print stuff myself because to me the concept of calibrating printer seem like a dark art to me(no relation to Harry Hotter here). I mean, for me, as a non-professional protographer who don't print on daily basis, it seem more trouble than it worth. But I like big print. Generally I just grab a printer profile from drycreek and order 12x18 or 20x30 at Costco. And if I'm lazy, then I just convert to sRGB instead before uploading. If my process is wrong, or then you are welcome to make suggestion. I probably have around ten or more of 20x30 and over fifty 12x18 and have them around the house. Since they are inexpensive I am not worry much. I can order more print for that price. So my knowledge in this area is tiny.

I do all my own printing using a relatively cheap HP Photosmart Premium printer (A4 size) and I have never calibrated anything. I am strictly amateur so I do not have customers to please, but I am myself completely satisfied with the quality of the prints.

I use an iMac computer and find that the factory-supplied screen calibration is perfectly acceptable (and it hasn't changed over time, as far as I am aware).

I enjoy doing my own printing and I have never found it necessary to find out about colour calibration, although I am aware that a lot of enthusiasts say it is essential. I think it is a bit like the choice of whether to shoot in raw or jpeg!

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JJ Winkel
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Why stupid ? Can be simple enough.
In reply to Tom Axford, Apr 24, 2013

As said before, two acronyms to remember :
DPI = Dots Per Inches and PPI = Pixels Per Inches.

- PPI :
Every home photo printer even the pro and larger pro models like the Epson 3880, have one or two fixed by hardware pixel pitches, usually 300 for the Canon's and 360 for the Epson's ( the Epson pro have 720 ppi also ), just examples as I do not know for every model. It is governed by the head carriage stepper motors accross and down the page.

This PPI value is the same as the picture's resolution set in your photo application and when related to the picture's actual width and height amount of pixels will give you the actual final print size, example a 6000 x 4000 pixels picture at 300 ppi will be printed 30" x 13.3".
Whatever PPI you have set in the photo application will eventually be converted to the printer's real physical value (300, 360, 720, ...) by the printer driver just before being printed. With the Epson Pro's you can choose which ppi to be used by ticking the "Finest Detail" option in the Print Quality tag, off = 360 ppi and on = 720 ppi.

- DPI :
Again as said before, this is the number of colour dots per inch and consequently per pixel (divided by the fixed ppi pitch). It merely controls the print colour quality and range of printed tones and smoothness, whereas ppi is more related to the picture details capability.
This value being much larger, 1440, 2880, 3000 and more (according to printer make, notice how they are divisible by the printer's ppi) is the one advertised as it is more flattering and more commercially attractive ....   
You choose which DPI value you want in the printer driver settings, your choice may be limited by the paper choice and the possible print quality for each one, example with Epson 3880 using Photo Glossy paper you can choose between Quality Level 4 = 1440 x 720 DPI and Quality Level 5 = 2880 x 1440 DPI.

I hope that's simple enough to get a basic understanding of what's going on thereĀ 

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MrScary
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Re: Why stupid ? Can be simple enough.
In reply to JJ Winkel, Apr 25, 2013

Don't start getting confused with "dpi & ppi" If you be interested in buying a printer, just follow the Guidlines. Only Calibrate the Monitor.Don't go ALL professional and ask the questions as most here will BAFFLE you and put you off. My images are in 240ppi/300ppi/360ppi, printed at 1400x1400dpi or 1400x2800dpi or 2800x2800dpi and my eyes can NOT see the difference.

It is all down to the EYES! I now print at either of those ppi's and at only 1400x1400dpi (printer settings)..I'm doing something correct as I do win quite a few camera club comps..

So, don't get Baffled!!

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JJ Winkel
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YMMV but then why ask the question .....?
In reply to MrScary, Apr 25, 2013

Glad you're happy with your procedure.

Remind me what "baffles" mean, not sure I understand the correct meaning.

And I only replied to the OP's question, everyone is free to use it as they want.

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Freeman-Jo
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Re: YMMV but then why ask the question .....?
In reply to JJ Winkel, Apr 25, 2013

For standard paper printing, is lab still better or DIY?  What exactly is the reason to pay more on expensive lab than say costco?

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stevewmn
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Re: YMMV but then why ask the question .....?
In reply to Freeman-Jo, Apr 26, 2013

Freeman-Jo wrote:

For standard paper printing, is lab still better or DIY?  What exactly is the reason to pay more on expensive lab than say costco?

You can get better results at home than at CostCo.  Goo, 8 color i nkjets have a bit better color gamut than the Fuji paper used in CostCo photo printers.  For their large enlargements CostCo uses inkjets, but they use pretty cheap paper.  At home you can buy your own paper and some of it is much better than what they use at CostCo.

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