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Newbie printing question

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Old 08-08-2001, 11:30 AM
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Newbie printing question

By Maya Goodson on Thursday, June 14, 2001 - 04:26 pm:

I just bought the Olympus 3040Z which takes absolutely breathtaking photos. The images are very sharp and I would like to keep them as sharp when I relay them to photo paper. My printer is a HP 932C (probably need to upgrade?). Software I use is Photoshop 5.5 and Paint Shop Pro 7. Could someone advise me the best way to print out the crispest 8x10s? The image on my computer screen looks so much sharper than my hard copy. Do I need to change my printing resolution in my software apps? Any help would be appreciated.

By Ed Ladendorf (ed) on Thursday, June 14, 2001 - 05:59 pm:

Hello Maya, and welcome aboard. There are others who are more capable than me of giving you a good answer. But if you will tell them what resolution you are using, what resolution your printer is capable of, and what kind of paper you are using, that will probably be beneficial, and somebody should be able to help. Now, why don't you go to the "Salon" forum, and introduce yourself in the "introduction" thread?


By BamaCutie on Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - 11:21 am:

My printer has the resolution of 2400x1200 dpi. With scanned images, I scan at 300 dpi. My Olympus digital has various resolution settings, I like the highest best which is 3.4 megapixels. I use HP Premium Plus Photo Paper in Glossy.

I was reading that you can set your printer resolution in the Photoshop Image Size box to reshape your photos to whatever print size you want. How do I get the number for my printer resolution? It's currently set at 150 ppi. Should this be higher?

I'm lost. Someone shed some light for me!


By Ed Ladendorf (ed) on Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - 02:12 pm:


It looks like you're having trouble with responses, so I'll take a stab at it. I'm not the
best one to guide you, but I'll try to help. I don't think you can set your printer resolution through Photoshop, so you'll have to do it through your printer software (if you don't know how to do it, refer to your manual). You said that your printer resolution is set at 150 ppi. I'm guessing that is your image resolution in Photoshop, is that right? I think most people will agree that a Photoshop image should have a resolution of between 240 and 300 ppi for inkjet printing. When I'm printing photos, my printer resolution is set at 1440 dpi (best quality). For everyday printing on plain paper, it is set at the lowest quality (360 dpi).
If you still have trouble, there are a couple of mailing lists that you can subscribe to, where I'm sure you will get good, solid answers. One is "scan", and the other is "Epson Inkjet". Even though you don't have an Epson, I feel certain that you will get your questions answered on the list. Both lists are loaded with professionals, and they are willing to help people like you and me. To subscribe to either list, go to

European Redneck??? Do you live anywhere near Cullman? My mother-in-law lived about 30 miles south of Cullman until her husband died, then she had to come back to Yankee land.


By Doug Nelson (doug) on Wednesday, June 20, 2001 - 05:17 pm:

300 dpi is indeed a good printing resolution for the image. The printer itself should always be set for maximum. The trouble arrises in resizing. Simply going from 4x5 to 8x10 cuts that file resolution in half, and 150 dpi can have noticable artifacts (jaggies, pixelization, etc.).

I'm of the overkill school, since I have a fast computer and a big hard drive. I scan at maximum rated optical (in my case that's only 600dpi). I always assume the client might eventually want a 16x20 print (a harmless assumption with big hd). You'd have to redo the restoration if you didn't scan high enough originally.

For resizing in Photoshop, use menu Image/Image Size and make sure 'contrain proportions' is checked. DO NOT SAVE OVER YOUR ORIGINAL. If you must save, do it as a copy. I don't bother saving. Resizing damages your image file. Both up and down sizing. Don't do it unless you must, and for sure don't do it permanently.

By BamaCutie on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 08:40 am:

Okay... 300 dpi is a good printing resolution for the image. If I have a 4x5 with a 300 dpi and enlarge it to an 8x10, which will cut the resolution to 150, can I increase the resolution back to 300? Guess I'll just play around with it and see. Whatta waste of good paper!!!

Thanks for the guidance. I think I have a somewhat better thought process on the subject!

By the way, Ed, I'm not terribly far from Cullman. I'm right outside of Tuscaloosa in a small rural community that I like to call 'the sticks'. I wouldn't have it any other way!

By Ed Ladendorf (ed) on Thursday, June 21, 2001 - 10:57 am:

Yes, you can increase the resolution, but whenever you do that, Photoshop has to *guess* what the value of the added pixels should be (interprolation). It does a pretty good job of guessing (use the best (bicubic) option), but the "real" information is not there, so it's better if you don't have to do that.


By Brian J Fosnocht on Friday, July 20, 2001 - 02:35 pm:

There is a wonderful program out there called Genuine Fractals. If you have at least a 5-10 MB file (usually scanning a 4x5 at 300 or 600 should give you near that) you can save the file in the GF format. When you open the file in photoshop, you can pick the size and resolution of the photograph that you want to work at. This lets you keep one file for multiple purposes. Many times you can double to scanned image without a noticeable loss in quality.
As far as scanning, make sure you scan at the maximum resolution you will want to be outputting too. If you want 8x10's, either scan the 8x10 image at 300ppi or a 4x5 at 600 ppi. When resizing the 4x5 at 600 ppi to 8x10, make sure that the radio button "resample image" is off. Then you won't lose any information. You keep the same pixel dimensions, but the resolution is halfed. Hope this helped a little bit. For many inkjet printers, the lpi is lower than 150. Many experts recommend printing at 2x the lpi for the device. Commercial printers (offset and such) have an lpi of about 150, so rarely do you need to have your resolution at more than 300. For inkjets, the lpi is lower, around 100 or so...newsprint, about 85. Therefore you can many times get away with a resolution of 240 without a noticeable difference on many inkjet printers than if you had a 300dpi image. Increasing the resolution will cause distortion of the image...photoshop can not make new information, so it uses interpolation to "make up" the difference. Email me if you have any other questions. I'm really just getting into this. One excellent reference is David Blatner's Real World Photoshop. Very useful book....

By thomasgeorge on Saturday, July 21, 2001 - 01:10 pm:

Maya, I use an Epson 1270 printer so some of what I am about to say may not be germaine to your setup, however I usually print at either the 720 or 1440 dpi setting. I keep my photo resolution at either 250 or 300 dpi and always print from TIFF format. If you notice that your prints are coming out either too dark or light try adjusting the transfer settings in your printer control program if you can. Adjust the 50% transfer setting up to darken, down to lighten. Example: Print is too dark, adjust the value in the 50% transfer setting box to about 45.To darken the image adjust to about 55 to start.As to sharpening, you might try slightly over sharpening and see if that helps. I suspect however that increasing your printer DPI to its highest setting and increasing your print resolution to between 250 to 300 dpi will give you noticable improvement. Hope this rather rambling diatribe is of some small help. Good luck, Tom

By BamaCutie on Thursday, July 26, 2001 - 08:09 am:

Thanks for the the replies. I'm soaking it in like a sponge! Brian, your explanation was extremely helpful. I believe I'm understanding more how this works. But.... when I scan at higher resolutions, my images show evidence of dust or something? I've carefully cleaned the inside of my scanner and also the photographs, but the unwelcome noise is still there. Still trying to figure out how to remedy this.

By Alan Rubin (airubin) on Thursday, July 26, 2001 - 10:25 am:


I have been doing all my printing in the PSD format. I am using a HP930, but I am looking into the Epson 1280.

Why do you like the TIFF? Also, do you do your corrections in the PSD and then save it to a TIFF or do you work in the TIFF file?



By thomasgeorge on Thursday, July 26, 2001 - 12:02 pm:

Alan, I use TIFF mainly because the format is pretty much compatable with all image processing programs and the service bureau I work with wants all files in that format. I dont really notice any great difference in the prints from my 1270 in TIFF vs PSD although I am sure that there are some. As to corrections, it depends on the complexity. Simple stuff I leave in TIFF. Anything even slightly complex gets the PSD format then converted back to TIFF. A small suggestion concerning the 1280, its a super printer for the money however right now you can get a 1270 for about $100.00 less than the 1280 and the print quality etc. is for all practical purposes the same. Both of those printers use the same inks and papers and both have the same print quality. Hope this helps. Tom

By Peter Glynn (pglynn) on Saturday, July 28, 2001 - 08:52 am:

could any one tell me if they have had this problem when printing a 5x7 300dpi image it takes about 10 minutes to print i have 128 megabytes ram on my computer and i have a lexmark color jetprinter

By Doug Nelson (doug) on Saturday, July 28, 2001 - 09:07 am:


10 minutes really isn't that bad for "photo" mode. But, is your original 5x7? Sometimes resizing can take up time. Also, I don't know the resolution of your printer, but many would say 150dpi is plenty, which would definitely speed things up. Do a test and see if you can see a difference in both speed and quality.

By Peter Glynn on Monday, July 30, 2001 - 08:44 am:

hello doug

my printer has a high resolution setting of 1200dpi which the manual says to use for printing photographs

By G Mantero on Monday, July 30, 2001 - 11:31 am:

Pixels per inch (ppi) and dots per inch (dpi) are two different things and must be treated as such. Most ink jet printers will print just fine with a resolution of 300 PPI or even lower, in some cases. Then, what you need to do is set your printer to print the largest possible number of DPI.

Basically, you're telling your printer what kind of dot coverage you want on your print. But your Photoshop images definitely do not need to be 1200 PPI for a 1200 DPI print. Clear as mud?

Hope this has helped somewhat.

By Doug Nelson on Monday, July 30, 2001 - 04:55 pm:

yeah, what he said

By G Mantero on Tuesday, August 07, 2001 - 01:00 pm:

Actually, I'm a she...but that's OK. I get it a lot because I usually use my initials. Basically, it's out of laziness.

You know, the whole PPI/DPI issue is very confusing when one first starts out! It took me a long time to realize that too many pixels can actually make an image look softer! Who'd have thunk it?
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