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Author Topic: future printing methods  (Read 1781 times)
michaelnotar
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« on: December 16, 2006, 12:55:13 AM »
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when i look at the state of digital cameras now, specifically at current Mp counts, with only more available in the near future at ever decreasing prices, i wonder if some new printing technology is in the works driving the need for more Mps. currently resolutions 200-360 ppi satisfy all our printing needs, but what could drive this up in the future?

arent prints allready consided to be of a photographic print quality or better?

looking to the past, what where the ppi counts and for what technologies were they for?
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DiaAzul
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« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2006, 04:16:40 AM »
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Quote
when i look at the state of digital cameras now, specifically at current Mp counts, with only more available in the near future at ever decreasing prices, i wonder if some new printing technology is in the works driving the need for more Mps. currently resolutions 200-360 ppi satisfy all our printing needs, but what could drive this up in the future?

arent prints allready consided to be of a photographic print quality or better?

looking to the past, what where the ppi counts and for what technologies were they for?
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Personally, if you increase the number of pixels per inch over what we currently have then I will need a new set of eyeballs to keep up with technology.
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David Plummer    http://photo.tanzo.org/
Dan Wells
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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2006, 10:53:32 AM »
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I agree that the megapixel race has gotten to be nuts. The only reason for more pixels is to print bigger. My Nikon D200 SLR and Canon iPF 5000 printer are well matched to each other (with careful interpolation, I churn out stunning 16x24s from the D200). This suggests that cameras above the 10-16 megapixel range (a slightly higher pixel count will mean less interpolation, which is nice) will only make sense with 24 inch printers (or heavy cropping)... 17 inch printers already weigh up to 100+lbs and take up a huge amount of space, and 24 inch printers are twice as large, twice as heavy and more unwieldy to operate (the DesignJet 130 is the notable exception). 17 inch printers already have a minimum print size of 8x10, refusing to make 4x6s (except for the Epson 3800, which doesn't use roll paper, a staple of big printers). Most 24 inch printers will only do 8x10 if hand-fed one sheet at a time - they're really roll-only devices for all practical purposes!

The absolute limit of what's needed to feed a 17 inch printer is a good 34 MP file (that would be 16x24 at 300 dpi with no interpolation). 10 MP works darned well (it's about 180 dpi, although I interpolate up to print), because of viewing distance. A 16x24 inch print is big enough that you don't look at it from 6 inches away. If this race continues, we'll have that 34 MP file, then we'll blow right by it in a couple of years, ignoring the fact that the new cameras are producing unprintably large files (assuming they are producing GOOD files that size)!

This has already happened with point and shoots. 10 MP is too big for an 8x10 print (I'm assuming that most 13 inch and wider printers are owned by SLR owners). The camera manufacturers keep turning out 10 MP point and shoots, not publicizing that you can't even print all the detail without a specialized printer that costs more than the camera. Worse yet, the 10 MP sensors are noisier, more ISO-restricted and have worse dynamic range than 6 MP sensors. For the printers they're used with, the latest point and shoots are over-resolution, and in pursuit of that extra resolution, they've actually LOST image quality in other areas.

Hopefully this will all shake out to something like:

Point and shoots - 6 to 8 MP - matched to 8 inch printers

Consumer SLRs - 6 to 10 (better, lower noise) MP - matched to 13 inch printers

Higher end (Nikon D200, Canon 5D) SLRs - 10 to 16 (or 20) MP - matched to 17 inch printers

A few ultra-high end SLRs (Canon 1Ds mk III) - 20 to 30 MP - matched to 24 inch printers

Medium format backs - 20+ MP (emphasis on low noise, wide dynamic range) - unlimited print size (due to viewing distance).

 The only way to view a 100 MP file is in sections - zooming in on pieces of the image. Fine for the Gigapixel Project, but who'd want to look at "Moonrise, Hernandez New Mexico" that way?

                                                         -Dan
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Jonathan Ratzlaff
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2006, 06:55:32 PM »
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Printer and priinting resolution is always separate from image resolution.  Printer resolution is related to how many dots of ink are required to produce a certain colour.  The finer the dots, the smoother the gradations. Early colour printers had a resolution of between 300 and 600 dpi.  We still used the same image resolution we do now with a printer resolution of 1440 and 2880.  It is just that the print quality is better.   Image resolution just allows you to make a larger print.
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elauq
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2006, 10:34:25 PM »
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When I compare a print from an 8x10 chrome contact with an inkjet, LightJet or IRIS print on similar surfaces, I see there’s still room for future improvement of inkjet printer resolution technology.  When the comparison is done using a 4x loupe, there’s a dramatic difference.  This is what I report seeing.  

However, I don’t know by what standardized method people are using to objectively quantify print resolution.  Everybody is using their spectrometers to report on color gamut and dmax of their favorite inkset-paper combination, but no one offers measurable evidence that Canon’s (5000 with 16-bit plug-in) 600 ppi mode is double better than feeding 300 ppi to the printer (for that matter, measurable difference between 360 and 720 dpi with an Epson).  Sure, we can look up specs on a printer’s dpi output, number of ink colors, picoliter drop size, screening algorithms and know about the output file dimensions, but that doesn’t equate to a given pixel-per-inch on an actual print.

It’d help the consumer make decisions if, in addition to writing about subjective comparisons of printers’ resolution, the reviewer could tells us how they measured the difference.  Absent a number, I do like when the review includes a side-by-side zoomed-in comparison of a choice scanned area of the same image.  Measuring a resolution number isn't as easy as counting camera MP, and probably depends on a host of variables like paper surface, image content, etc.  Resolution, like color gamut and dmax, is just one of many factors of print quality.  But for me, fine detail in a photograph is a very pleasing characteristic that distinguishes a photograph from other 2-dimensional art.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2006, 10:35:11 PM by elauq » Logged
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