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Author Topic: Qimage v the rest  (Read 18534 times)
seamus finn
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« on: February 18, 2008, 06:15:18 AM »
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Is there any outstanding reason for printing through Qimage rather than Lightroom or CS3, both of which I use? I've read the Qimage reviews (all seem very positive) and I've downloaded the latest trial version which I'm working on. It looks a little tricky at first glance. I use a Canon 5D, L glass lenses and an Epson 2400.

Typical of my luck, while doing a few test prints, I ran out of inks and my supplier says he can't get replacements  for a few weeks.   Meantime, I'm stuck re testing (not that I'm any great expert in this field) so I would appreciate any advice from Qimage devotees and others.  Is it a steep learning curve? I don't want to invest a lot of time learning the application if it's not worth the candle in the long run (cost, obviosly, isn't the issue as it seems terrific value).

Should I go for it?

Thanks all
« Last Edit: February 18, 2008, 06:22:57 AM by seamus finn » Logged

rdonson
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2008, 06:35:37 AM »
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Lightroom doesn't offer softproofing so you print from there blind unless you want to roundtrip to CS3 for softproofing.  That could be a productivity hit depending on your workflow.

Qimage provides uprezzing and final sharpening that's fairly automatic and produces excellent results.  This can be a significant time saver.

Qimage's image placement capabilities are pretty good.

The ability to provide print filters instead of altering your initial image can be very advantageous.

All in all Qimage is an incredible bargain.  Imagine Adobe offering free updates for life for its software.  Ain't gonna happen.  Then there is Mike's incredible responsiveness to bug reports and how quickly he revs the software.  

I expect that Adobe will close the gap to Qimage eventually by offering softproofing and uprezzing and good final sharpening in Lightroom.  When that happens it may satisfy the needs of a number of people.

At this point there isn't much of a contest.  Qimage is designed to make printing easier and better than CS3 or Lightroom.
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Regards,
Ron
seamus finn
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2008, 08:58:53 AM »
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Ron,
Thanks very much for that.

Workflow speed for me isn't the  biggest issue - I tend to concentrate on one print at a time (landscapes anyway).

Re the sharpening issue, where does Qimage auto sharpening come in the scheme of things? My approach would have been to apply all the sharpening in CS3 and turn it off in Qimage. Where does the Qimage automatic final sharpening come in the equation?  

On the other hand, in Lightroom, where sharpening is less than adequate, could you apply some sharpening in LR and let the Qimage auto sharpening do the rest at print stage? If the latter is the case, then Qimage sharpening would be a big advantage used in conjunction with Lightroom, wouldn't it, eliminating the need to round-trip into PS for sharpening.

Regards,
Seamus
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2008, 09:14:00 AM »
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Ron,
Thanks very much for that.

Workflow speed for me isn't the  biggest issue - I tend to concentrate on one print at a time (landscapes anyway).

Re the sharpening issue, where does Qimage auto sharpening come in the scheme of things? My approach would have been to apply all the sharpening in CS3 and turn it off in Qimage. Where does the Qimage automatic final sharpening come in the equation? 

On the other hand, in Lightroom, where sharpening is less than adequate, could you apply some sharpening in LR and let the Qimage auto sharpening do the rest at print stage? If the latter is the case, then Qimage sharpening would be a big advantage used in conjunction with Lightroom, wouldn't it, eliminating the need to round-trip into PS for sharpening.

Regards,
Seamus
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

 do all my sharpening in Photoshop where needed but let Qimage do the smart print sharpening. That should be possible with Lightroom too but there's an issue with Exif, Tiff or SDK import from Lightroom in Qimage if I recall some discussions on the Qimage mailing list. Not a Lightroom user so I skipped that topic then. See:
[a href=\"http://groups.yahoo.com/group/qimage/]http://groups.yahoo.com/group/qimage/[/url]

enlist and go to the archives, a google on Qimage + Lightroom may do it too.

Ernst Dinkla

try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
« Last Edit: February 18, 2008, 01:03:22 PM by Ernst Dinkla » Logged
rdonson
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2008, 09:18:35 AM »
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Seamus,

The general workflow in CS3 is to get the image where you like it, creative sharpen, uprez, final sharpen and then print.

With Qimage its simpler.  Get the image where you like it in CS3 or Lightroom save the file and print from Qimage.

If you just labor over one image and then print and don't do this very often perhaps Qimage won't be much of a consideration.

One thing you'll hear from folks is how quirky the Qimage UI is.  Personally, I laugh when I hear that because Photoshop has such a steep and long learning curve.  In reality it takes about an hour to get the basics of Qimage under your belt.
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Regards,
Ron
Craig Murphy
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2008, 10:00:59 AM »
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Isn't Qimage a much better layout program than PS or LR?  I don't see any of that easy capability in either one of them.
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rdonson
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2008, 03:55:43 PM »
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Isn't Qimage a much better layout program than PS or LR?  I don't see any of that easy capability in either one of them.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=175678\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I sure think it is.
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Regards,
Ron
jpgentry
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2008, 04:46:08 PM »
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I love Qimage.  It's awesome for laying out prints.  CS3 has the automated layout feature which to me takes about 5 times as long to use.

Additionally I think Qimage is one of the best at sharpening and interpolating for print.  I am always pleasantly surprised to see my prints coming out so much better than prints from CS3.  I personally don't like alot of sharpening on portraits so I turn Qimage sharpening down to 3 when peoples faces are involved.

-Jonathan
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evonzz
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2008, 03:43:19 AM »
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I am using Photokit Output sharpening in PS2 before sending prints to my 3800 and find it works very well.  
How  does Qimage sharpening compare with Phtokit for final output?
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seamus finn
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2008, 04:51:54 AM »
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Ron and Ernst,
Thanks guys Ė very enlightening and a bit of an eye-opener.

After messing around with the latest version of Qimage Pro for a few hours (available as a free trial download for thirty days from the Qimage site)  itís already obvious that this is a multi-layered, powerful package with lots of useful features. Itís certainly more comprehensive than anything PS or Lightroom has to offer. A careful reading of the PDF tutorial is well worth it because there is much to learn. So far, I've just scratched the surface.

For instance quite by accident, I discovered you can drag  images from Bridge and drop them unopened  straight into the Qimage print window where they can be viewed in landscape or portrait orientation at the click of a mouse. This is among very many handy features. I tried to do the same with Lightroom but failed. Any picture with the designation _edit _  doesnít show.

The most intriquing aspect for me so far is the sharpening facility in Qimage. Is it the case, Ron/Ernst, that Qimage automatiscally applies an auto Ďsmartí final output sharpening taking into account  the size of the print, how much it has been upsized etc. This is a chore which I have always found to be hit and miss in PS Ė proper sharpening being one of the most difficult, misunderstood and misapplied techniques of them all.  Itís easy to overdo or underdo, but damned difficult to get  just right.

Now, if Qimage can do this job satisfactorily, well, that opens up a whole  new ballgame for me at least.

If I understand you correctly, this would be the worlflow: get the image the way you want it in PS,  sharpen as normal, save, open in Qimage,, resize your pic, select the auto sharpen and print. Qimage takes over the output sharpening and Bobís your uncle. If you wish, you can set your own level Ė there are three, I think: low, medium and high.

The critical element is that output sharpening is being applied at the correct stage Ė just before printing. Thus, if you have several finished images in a folder, just open it, bring them into the print queue/window in Qimage,  select the print size, apply auto sharpening and print them all without even opening one of them

Evonzz has posed a good question here.
I am using Photokit Output sharpening in PS2 before sending prints to my 3800 and find it works very well. How does Qimage sharpening compare with Phtokit for final output?

I would be amazed if Qimage sharpening is that sophisticated but does it come anywhere near?  If it does, well, thatís a hell of an achievement for such a reasonably priced package. The sharpening issue alone would be enough to make me buy Qimage straight away.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2008, 04:53:16 AM by seamus finn » Logged

shewhorn
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2008, 05:20:16 AM »
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I expect that Adobe will close the gap to Qimage eventually by offering softproofing and uprezzing and good final sharpening in Lightroom.  When that happens it may satisfy the needs of a number of people.

I think what's more likely to happen is that Adobe would buy QImage rather than them coding something. If that ever does happen I just hope they don't butcher a whole ton of features like they did when the bought Pixmantec and RAW Shooter.

Cheers, Joe
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rdonson
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2008, 05:27:45 AM »
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I would be amazed if Qimage sharpening is that sophisticated but does it come anywhere near?  If it does, well, thatís a hell of an achievement for such a reasonably priced package. The sharpening issue alone would be enough to make me buy Qimage straight away.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=175890\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I've owned and used PhotoKit Sharpener for several years.  Its a great tool and follows Bruce Fraser's sharpening workflow of: capture, creative and final sharpening.

I only use it for creative sharpening these days though.

I use Lightroom instead of ACR for RAW conversion.  The UI is sooooooo much better IMHO.

I do creative sharpening as needed in CS3.

I use Qimage for my output sharpening.  Yes, its that sophisticated and you have the option in the full screen editor portion of Qimage to adjust the sharpening yourself if you want.
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Ron
seamus finn
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2008, 06:38:16 AM »
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Ron,
For me, you've just sealed the deal - Qimage, here we go!

Thanks everybody
Seamus
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ThePhotoDude
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« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2008, 06:59:14 AM »
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Throw a spanner in the works here (but only a little spanner) ... I have had problems with color consistency with Qimage. Most probably something I am doing wrong but I couldn't get my head around it, my colors appear dull and washed out when I print from Qimage, the same image printed from CS3 and it is perfect.

Now I know this is to do with a color management issue, perhaps my rendering intent or wrong color space being assigned to the print job. But I couldn't figure it out so I ditched it and do all my printing from CS3.

Perhaps I should pick it back up again.
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walter.sk
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« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2008, 08:04:42 AM »
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I've been using Qimage for about 9 of the 10 years I've been using Photoshop.Until this year my use of Qimage has been for print layout, and to override some of the driver limitations in my printers, and nothing more.  Because Qimage did this so well, I have not printed from  Photoshop for many years.  But recently, printing to my Z3100, I started using Qimage to uprez my files and apply final sharpening.  I did several tests with CS3 using my old workflow vs Qimage and my new workflow and found on some images, no visible difference at print size (up to 24x36"), and on others, more pleasing results using Qimage.

My old workflow: Capture sharpening with PKSharpen, optimization of the image at native size (including creative sharpening with PKSHarpen), uprezzing to final print size with Bicubic Smoother, Focus Magic to counter the softness of uprezzing, and PKSharpen for output sharpening.  I then shipped the file off to Qimage just for layout and printing.  I was always hesitant to forgo my own output sharpening even though I preferred some of the interpolation techniques available in Qimage.

After reading some of the technical articles of MCHaney (the father of Qimage) on Steve's Digicams, I decided to try using Qimage for the uprezzing and output sharpening, and have been using that ever since.

My new workflow:  Optimization of the file at the native size in CS3, with capture sharpening with Focus Magic, some creative sharpening when needed (usually not) with PKSharpen, noise reduction (if needed) with Noise Ninja (not necessarily in the stated order), softproofing in CS3 using the specific printer/paper profile  and then
letting Qimage uprez the picture using Hybrid interpolation and Q's Smart Sharpening, which I vary between settings of 3 and 5 depending on the level of detail and type of image.  I have not had one print that disappointed me, at least in terms of comparison to my old workflow.

Incidentally, if I tell Qimage what profile the monitor is using, and the correct printer/paper profile, I never have a surprise in terms of color rendition on the print.  However, I do calibrate and profile my CRT monitor every 2 weeks, and use homemade profiles for the printer and paper.

I also have given up being a "pixel-peeper," and judge entirely by the printed results of my work.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2008, 08:07:09 AM by walter.sk » Logged
Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2008, 08:18:11 AM »
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Now, if Qimage can do this job satisfactorily, well, that opens up a whole  new ballgame for me at least.

If I understand you correctly, this would be the worlflow: get the image the way you want it in PS,  sharpen as normal, save, open in Qimage,, resize your pic, select the auto sharpen and print. Qimage takes over the output sharpening and Bobís your uncle. If you wish, you can set your own level Ė there are three, I think: low, medium and high.

The critical element is that output sharpening is being applied at the correct stage Ė just before printing. Thus, if you have several finished images in a folder, just open it, bring them into the print queue/window in Qimage,  select the print size, apply auto sharpening and print them all without even opening one of them

Evonzz has posed a good question here.
I am using Photokit Output sharpening in PS2 before sending prints to my 3800 and find it works very well. How does Qimage sharpening compare with Phtokit for final output?

I would be amazed if Qimage sharpening is that sophisticated but does it come anywhere near?  If it does, well, thatís a hell of an achievement for such a reasonably priced package. The sharpening issue alone would be enough to make me buy Qimage straight away.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Qimage does the entire job in the best way. Upsampling to the best (selectable and adjustable) algorithms around, downsampling with the right (adjustable) anti-aliasing (can slow the process much though on large files), (adjustable: 1-20) smart print sharpening based on several conditions in the process. I will not mention the variety of nesting, size adaption methods and margin creation + cropping on the fly that's possible. The page edit window tells you where that image is on the page and makes adjusting easy. Batch processing. Hot folder. Etc, etc, etc.

All that happens at the final stage before printing. That image file you saved before isn't compromised by the output you want today and will be fit for another job on another media and printer next time. I have a printserver, the files that go in that direction will not return to my main system.

Similar with its color management. With color I have not seen differences with Photoshop output. It uses the LCMS color engine and Mike adapted the less standardised elements that they fit the Photoshop outcome well. Nested images on one print page can get individual printer profiles attached but more practical also individual rendering choices. With B&W and QTR profiling there was an issue but that had probably more to do with the ICC compatibility of the QTR profiles. I'm using a slightly different workflow then.

Sharpening on heavy extrapolated images is a bit tricky and can only be judged on a cropped proof at the output scale. Print sharpening always looks overdone on a display so in my opinion it doesn't help to use a separate print sharpening step and softproof it in PS. Print sharpening samples on the web are for the same reason not sensible. It is rare that I check the sharpening in printed proof as most of the time Qimage does a good job at the 5 default and for larger prints at 2. But you want to be sure that it is good when a 2 meter long print has to be made. There are pictures on the web that compare Qimage sampling and anti-aliasing to other software results. No samples on print sharpening.

It's the equivalent of the Watts Towers in software, also build by one man so who's going to argue that it is a bit hard to find your way in it and doesn't have that slick appeal of Mac or Adobe applications. I think that may also be a reason why it isn't so popular on this website. With an application that loaded with features I still wonder who could do it better. So far M$, Adobe or Apple didn't deliver anything close. The RIP that I have cost me about 50x more and the time I use it is probably 50x less. It is even slower in rasterising of Tiffs.


Ernst Dinkla

try: [a href=\"http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/]http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/[/url]
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Jon Meddings
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« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2008, 09:09:46 AM »
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Qimage does the entire job in the best way. Upsampling to the best (selectable and adjustable) algorithms around, downsampling with the right (adjustable) anti-aliasing (can slow the process much though on large files), (adjustable: 1-20) smart print sharpening based on several conditions in the process. I will not mention the variety of nesting, size adaption methods and margin creation + cropping on the fly that's possible. The page edit window tells you where that image is on the page and makes adjusting easy. Batch processing. Hot folder. Etc, etc, etc.

All that happens at the final stage before printing. That image file you saved before isn't compromised by the output you want today and will be fit for another job on another media and printer next time. I have a printserver, the files that go in that direction will not return to my main system.

Similar with its color management. With color I have not seen differences with Photoshop output. It uses the LCMS color engine and Mike adapted the less standardised elements that they fit the Photoshop outcome well. Nested images on one print page can get individual printer profiles attached but more practical also individual rendering choices. With B&W and QTR profiling there was an issue but that had probably more to do with the ICC compatibility of the QTR profiles. I'm using a slightly different workflow then.

Sharpening on heavy extrapolated images is a bit tricky and can only be judged on a cropped proof at the output scale. Print sharpening always looks overdone on a display so in my opinion it doesn't help to use a separate print sharpening step and softproof it in PS. Print sharpening samples on the web are for the same reason not sensible. It is rare that I check the sharpening in printed proof as most of the time Qimage does a good job at the 5 default and for larger prints at 2. But you want to be sure that it is good when a 2 meter long print has to be made. There are pictures on the web that compare Qimage sampling and anti-aliasing to other software results. No samples on print sharpening.

It's the equivalent of the Watts Towers in software, also build by one man so who's going to argue that it is a bit hard to find your way in it and doesn't have that slick appeal of Mac or Adobe applications. I think that may also be a reason why it isn't so popular on this website. With an application that loaded with features I still wonder who could do it better. So far M$, Adobe or Apple didn't deliver anything close. The RIP that I have cost me about 50x more and the time I use it is probably 50x less. It is even slower in rasterising of Tiffs.
Ernst Dinkla

try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=175914\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Just found this thread. Couldn't agree more as I've said in another forum. Qimage is a superb piece of software and for me takes over completely for PKS output sharpening. It also has the wonderful result of now not having to have entire directories for different size prints of the same image - each uprezzed (and chewing up disk space) and sharpened for that specific size. Now, one final image in native resolution and then print at any size with the appropriate upressing and sharpening done automatically, at the time of the print by Qimage.

When I tested the output of several prints with Qimage on a native resolution file vs upressing and PKS followed by a print I was surprised. I would have accepted a close contest as a win for Qimage as it is an easier workflow. I was very surprised to see that the output of Qimage, while certainly being easier, was also better.

I've also found that assigning qimage.exe to a second editor in LR is useful. Now, with a finished image in my LR catalog I can just right click and 'edit' in qimage and print the file immediately.

In some ways I can imagine it being a great success for Adobe to buy Qimage and substitute this for the print engine in LR - however, as someone else commented I'd hate to lose the special features Qimage has and it is not really that difficulty to use it in conjunction with LR.

My best advice is to run, don't walk, down to DDISoftware and purchase a copy of Qimage.
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seamus finn
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« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2008, 09:21:53 AM »
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Guys,
This is becoming more fascinating and intriguing by the minute. Jon, that's a fantastic idea for Lightroom- apart from the convenience, it also gets around LR's limited sharpening capability and is definitaly a top tip for seamless integration of both programmes.

In the opposite direction, as you are well aware, it's also possible to set your external editor out of Qimage as Lightroom (or PS) so the traffic either way is painless, fast and super efficient.

In fact, the more contributions come in here, the more Qimage looks like a jewel in the crown. I've already downloaded the trial version - now I'm going to buy a registration number based on the unqualified praise here.  

Thanks again all.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2008, 09:22:54 AM by seamus finn » Logged

neil snape
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« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2008, 09:48:54 AM »
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I love it. I suggested HP buy the company and build Qimage into the drivers. They didn't so you still have to use a PC, and fortunately you can still use it with most any printer.

It is simply great.
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seamus finn
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« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2008, 09:58:37 AM »
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Update:

Just got my hands on some ink and set to work on Qimage. Only two or three sessions in, it already seems to be everything you guys have claimed - and then some. The 'smart' /auto sharpening/uprezzing facility is very impressive - apart from anything else, as pointed out above, it means you don't have to make separate files for different output print sizes etc. Just open the file and let Qimage do the heavy lifting.

Also, used in conjuction with Lightroom, it's a very good workaround to deal with LR's output sharpening failings up to now, although that may change when LR2 arrives. There are many other powerful utilties as well. For the price, this programme is amazing value, with a guarantee of lifetime free upgrades.

My only regret is that I didn't start using it sooner - had seen it mentioned here and elsewhere over a long period, but baulked at the notion of having to learn yet another application.

A bad mistake.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2008, 04:26:54 AM by seamus finn » Logged

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