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Author Topic: Max Print Size from 10 mp APS-C?  (Read 11244 times)
BruceHouston
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« on: May 08, 2008, 08:35:35 PM »
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I would appreciate opinions as to the maximum size exhibition-quality fine-art print achievable from a 10 mp APS-C sensor (e.g., a Canon 40D), assuming a sharp lens (e.g., 70-200mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.4, etc.), maximum care taken with aperture, exposure (sturdy tripod, low wind, mirror lock-up, etc.), good sharpening technique, and printing to a current-model Epson wide-format printer.  For the sake of this discussion, let us assume that the viewer is not standing back from the print but is examining detail up close.

As a corollary question, your opinion as to maximum size given the parameters above but image shot with a 21 mp full-size sensor (e.g., Canon 1Ds Mark III)?

I am considering upgrading my Epson R2400 printer.  There is obviously a relationship between image resolution and maximum fine-art quality print size.  So, I believe that I need to consider both the capture end and the output end of the workflow at the same time when making this type of decision.  I am only interested in Epson Pro printers, no other brand.  I am purposely omitting any indication of a targeted or desired print size so as not to give away the answer with the question.

Thanks!
Bruce
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tompappas
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2008, 12:02:20 AM »
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I would appreciate opinions as to the maximum size exhibition-quality fine-art print achievable from a 10 mp APS-C sensor (e.g., a Canon 40D), assuming a sharp lens (e.g., 70-200mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.4, etc.), maximum care taken with aperture, exposure (sturdy tripod, low wind, mirror lock-up, etc.), good sharpening technique, and printing to a current-model Epson wide-format printer.  For the sake of this discussion, let us assume that the viewer is not standing back from the print but is examining detail up close.

As a corollary question, your opinion as to maximum size given the parameters above but image shot with a 21 mp full-size sensor (e.g., Canon 1Ds Mark III)?

I am considering upgrading my Epson R2400 printer.  There is obviously a relationship between image resolution and maximum fine-art quality print size.  So, I believe that I need to consider both the capture end and the output end of the workflow at the same time when making this type of decision.  I am only interested in Epson Pro printers, no other brand.  I am purposely omitting any indication of a targeted or desired print size so as not to give away the answer with the question.

Thanks!
Bruce
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Bruce -

it is not quite as easy as how big can you print a file from a 40d........

what kind of subject matter is it?

what type of paper are you printing on - ultra high gloss will require more than a textured rag paper.

are you going to print with the standard epson driver or with a rip like imageprint?

these are good things to look at before we begin to worry about how big a file you have

cheers

tom pappas
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BruceHouston
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2008, 01:08:25 AM »
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Bruce -

it is not quite as easy as how big can you print a file from a 40d........

what kind of subject matter is it?

what type of paper are you printing on - ultra high gloss will require more than a textured rag paper.

are you going to print with the standard epson driver or with a rip like imageprint?

these are good things to look at before we begin to worry about how big a file you have

cheers

tom pappas
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Excellent points, Tom.  Subject matter is landscapes with lots of detail, like tree leaves, so that lack of sharpness would be noticeable from a close viewing distance.  For the moment I am printing principally on the baryta papers (e.g., Harman Gloss FB AI).

As to the question of a RIP, that is another question that I have posed to myself.  From what I read on the forums I get the impression that the print quality difference between RIP and standard driver printing is diminishing as Epson produces higher-quality printers and drivers.  From what I read there seems to be a widening disconnect between the 50% premium over the printer cost that ImagePrint costs and the additional print quality gained.  However I do not really know about this and am very open to suggestions in this area as well.

What size images do you shoot and what size prints do you make from them?  I really am just interested in opinions as to an upper limit of print size for a given image size, even if the opinion is a range of print sizes.

Many thanks,
Bruce
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tompappas
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2008, 09:52:26 AM »
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good morning Bruce

i have been using a nikon d2x for the past three years, 12mp - so there is not  a whole lot of difference between what you are shooting with and myself.

i am mostly a landscape(ish) kinda guy.  i personally am partial to rag papers - i came from many years of platinum printing and really like that look.

for the type of work i do, i seldom print larger than 16x20, but i think that is because of making contact prints for years.

in regards to imageprint vs the epson driver, you are correct, epson has been getting much better with their driver than they had been in the past.  

there are differences, subtle as they may be - imageprint is a true 16bit application.

i find i way easier to get really subtle and delicate tonalities out of the darkest shadow area of an image - things that would have a value in the 10-25 range.

their profiles are great, lets me focus more on making prints rather than making profiles.

the way that imageprint will resize an image at the print stage is great - in the last five years, i have never had to up or down size a picture for printing.

what i would say is download the trial, or find a dealer that sells it and have them make a print for you vs the epson driver and see.

as i stated, the differences are subtle but it seems in photography, we pay some serious money for some very subtle differences in image quality.  the most important thing is that you are able get past all of this technology and make a print that "sings".

back to your original question - with the 40 what size can you print - i would say 16x24 - no problem - with careful technique (which it appears you have) a 20x30 is not out of reach.

one thing to consider with the huge prints, if you are going to mount and mat them, they start getting really, really big.  i mount a 16x20(ish) size print to 24x36 - makes for a nice presentation.

the attached file is typical of the work i have been doing - i have printed it 24x36 and it looks really nice right up close - i printed on premium luster for a demo.

Be Good

Tom
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DougMorgan
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2008, 01:58:40 PM »
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If you don't print a lot of B&W then QImage could give you some of the features of imageprint at a vastly reduced price.   Though the interface is a bit quirky (IMHO) it is much better than PS and can handle sizing and cropping intelligently.  

QImage does not appear to do B&W as well as imageprint though as it can't get around the epson driver's 8 bit interface since it still uses the epson driver.  In my experience the difference between imageprint (with a 9800) and the epson driver on a 9880 is not really noticable and I would bet are from the superior imageprint profiles.

As far as maximum image size for your camera I agree image content, lighting, print media, etc has as much to with it as anything though of course more of anything must be better.   I don't think the model or brand of printer will make much difference in this regard as any current printer is able to print at resolutions beyond what the eye can detect though of course every manufacturer includes mega-figures to confuse a buyer.

Doug
« Last Edit: May 09, 2008, 02:07:42 PM by DougMorgan » Logged
BruceHouston
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2008, 02:30:18 PM »
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Thank you for the helpful comments, Tom and Doug.  This is very encouraging.

If it were chasing windmills to print at 20x30 or 24x36 with my 40D, then I might eliminate the 7880 from consideration, or at least factor in having to purchase the 5D body replacement in addition to the printer to reap the benefits of the 24" width.  However if I can potentially use the extra width now, even with my 40D, that changes the economic equation.

Thanks again,
Bruce
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tagor
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2008, 05:07:09 PM »
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20x30 with 10MP is stretching things quite a bit, especially for landscapes. I personally wouldn't print bigger than 16x24 in general with 10MP (and there is a significant lack of detail if you go that big), though it depends quite a lot on the image. Some images don't need that much resolution if you don't have fine detail.

21MP would mean, you can go higher with the print area by a factor of 2.1, so assuming 16x24 is the limit for 10MP, you could go up to 23.2x34.8 (that would be close to 24x36).

The 5D wouldn't make a big difference, it's only 12MP.

Something to look into would be stitching, either by using a panorama head or a shift lens like the Canon TS-E lenses (with shift lenses, Photoshop CS3 works very well for stitching).

\\

Just try to print some blown up crops on your 2400. You will see if you can live with the lack of detail or not.

-- Tilo
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sojournerphoto
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2008, 05:29:50 PM »
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Thank you for the helpful comments, Tom and Doug.  This is very encouraging.

If it were chasing windmills to print at 20x30 or 24x36 with my 40D, then I might eliminate the 7880 from consideration, or at least factor in having to purchase the 5D body replacement in addition to the printer to reap the benefits of the 24" width.  However if I can potentially use the extra width now, even with my 40D, that changes the economic equation.

Thanks again,
Bruce
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I have a couple of images that I print up to 30 by 20 (before crop) from my 5D, but usually stop at about 24 by 16. Some don't even get there if they really need fine detail resolving. 24 by 16 is a walk in the park for the 1Ds3 and 30 by 20 or bigger seems to be very achievable.

Mike
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BruceHouston
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2008, 06:07:19 PM »
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Thanks for all the comments; very helpful.  I think that I will print the proportionally large crops on the R2400 to simulate 20x30 printing; thank you for that suggestion, Tilo.  Then I could factor in something of a quality boost considering the newer 7880 dithering technology, right?

Another 7880 (or newer Epson 24-inch model)-justifying argument might be that I could print at 16x24 with the 7880 until a 16 MP 5D replacement appears, then boost the print size to 20x30 at that point.

Anyone else care to comment on maximum size hi-rez printing that you are able to accomplish with a given DSLR image size?

Bruce
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Bill Caulfeild-Browne
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2008, 07:32:50 PM »
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I would appreciate opinions as to the maximum size exhibition-quality fine-art print achievable from a 10 mp APS-C sensor (e.g., a Canon 40D), assuming a sharp lens (e.g., 70-200mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.4, etc.), maximum care taken with aperture, exposure (sturdy tripod, low wind, mirror lock-up, etc.), good sharpening technique, and printing to a current-model Epson wide-format printer.  For the sake of this discussion, let us assume that the viewer is not standing back from the print but is examining detail up close.

As a corollary question, your opinion as to maximum size given the parameters above but image shot with a 21 mp full-size sensor (e.g., Canon 1Ds Mark III)?

I am considering upgrading my Epson R2400 printer.  There is obviously a relationship between image resolution and maximum fine-art quality print size.  So, I believe that I need to consider both the capture end and the output end of the workflow at the same time when making this type of decision.  I am only interested in Epson Pro printers, no other brand.  I am purposely omitting any indication of a targeted or desired print size so as not to give away the answer with the question.

Thanks!
Bruce
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Just as a VERY general rule-of-thumb for landscapes, simply divide the camera's horizontal (or vertical) pixel count by 240. The result in inches is your maximum horizontal (or vertical) finely-detailed print size.

With a 5D, 4368 pixels means a print size of 4368/240 = 18.2 inches. (13 by 19 will look pretty good.)

A 1Ds MKII at 4992 pixels horizontally means 4992/240 = 20.8 inches.

At the extreme, a P45+ back at 7240 pixels gives 7240/240 = 30.12 inches.

Having said that, I stress that this is with good technique and files needing fine detail on glossy paper - with no uprezzing.

Personally, I like a little leeway, so I tend to use 300 dpi instead of 240 as my limit - but usually I print on matte papers.

This works for me on both Epson and Canon printers. I recommend you try with your own files - one man's detail is another's muddiness! I was producing what I thought were nice sharp prints until I compared mine with some other photographers' results - then I realized I should (and fortunately could) do better.

I tried the same subject at the same time with the above cameras/back and the resulting prints closely confirmed what I have suggested above. Your mileage may vary....

Bill
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douglasboyd
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2008, 11:34:26 AM »
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Bill,

I agree with you for your formula for the 5D and 1DsMkII, but the P45 back will go way larger than 30.12 inch.  That's because Canon and Nikon cameras have this horrible anti-aliasing filter in front of the CCD that blurs the image tremendously, resultling in 1.5-1.7 less effective pixels.  Medium format digital backs do not have this issue, so the effective resolution is much greater for a given size array.   I use a P30 back (32mp) and routinely print at 30x42, and need to use a magnifier to see fine detail in the image.  I believe a P45 (39mp) will safely produce a high-resolution, high-detail picture on super-gloss paper at sizes up to 44 high (44x66).  

Keep in mind that although it is recomended to print at 240ppi, the eye can only resolve to about 120ppi at its closest focus, a few inches away.

By the way, with printing costs in the range of $5-7 per sq ft on Fuji Crystal Archive photographic paper, there is no reason not to routinely use these larger print sizes that are now feasible with medium digital backs, and photostitching.

==Doug


Quote
Just as a VERY general rule-of-thumb for landscapes, simply divide the camera's horizontal (or vertical) pixel count by 240. The result in inches is your maximum horizontal (or vertical) finely-detailed print size.

With a 5D, 4368 pixels means a print size of 4368/240 = 18.2 inches. (13 by 19 will look pretty good.)

A 1Ds MKII at 4992 pixels horizontally means 4992/240 = 20.8 inches.

At the extreme, a P45+ back at 7240 pixels gives 7240/240 = 30.12 inches.

Having said that, I stress that this is with good technique and files needing fine detail on glossy paper - with no uprezzing.

Personally, I like a little leeway, so I tend to use 300 dpi instead of 240 as my limit - but usually I print on matte papers.

This works for me on both Epson and Canon printers. I recommend you try with your own files - one man's detail is another's muddiness! I was producing what I thought were nice sharp prints until I compared mine with some other photographers' results - then I realized I should (and fortunately could) do better.

I tried the same subject at the same time with the above cameras/back and the resulting prints closely confirmed what I have suggested above. Your mileage may vary....

Bill
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01af
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2008, 04:49:34 PM »
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... as to the maximum size exhibition-quality fine-art print achievable from a 10 MP APS-C sensor ...[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=194484\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Depends ...

-- Olaf
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Bill Caulfeild-Browne
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2008, 06:53:09 PM »
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Bill,

I agree with you for your formula for the 5D and 1DsMkII, but the P45 back will go way larger than 30.12 inch.  That's because Canon and Nikon cameras have this horrible anti-aliasing filter in front of the CCD that blurs the image tremendously, resultling in 1.5-1.7 less effective pixels.  Medium format digital backs do not have this issue, so the effective resolution is much greater for a given size array.   I use a P30 back (32mp) and routinely print at 30x42, and need to use a magnifier to see fine detail in the image.  I believe a P45 (39mp) will safely produce a high-resolution, high-detail picture on super-gloss paper at sizes up to 44 high (44x66).   

Keep in mind that although it is recomended to print at 240ppi, the eye can only resolve to about 120ppi at its closest focus, a few inches away.

By the way, with printing costs in the range of $5-7 per sq ft on Fuji Crystal Archive photographic paper, there is no reason not to routinely use these larger print sizes that are now feasible with medium digital backs, and photostitching.

==Doug
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=196255\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, Doug, I agree - I have the P45+ and can take small crops which easily get to 30 inches - but I did say a VERY general rule of thumb!
But we're on the same wavelength!
Bill
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2008, 07:01:21 PM »
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For what it's worth...wide format printers are fantastic toys, and I think they force you to improve your "game" more than a new camera might.
I've been printing with wide format printers (initially an Epson 7600, now an HP Z3100) for five years, from digital capture starting with a Canon Eos-1Ds, then the mk II and now the mk III. I've also used a 6 megapixel 10D a few years back.

As a few other posters note, how big you can go depends in part on the character of the image. Lots of fine detail, like leaves on trees, means you can't make as large a print without digital artifacts or mushy detail rearing their ugly head. In my experience, with perfect technique at ISO 100, optimally sharpened images from the original Eos-1Ds can be printed up to about 20 x 30" at most. You can go bigger with simple graphic images lacking fine detail. The 40D has a more recent sensor with nearly the same resolution, so I would guess it can produce a file that can be printed to a similar size, though it puts more demands on the lens with those little pixels. I found the 24" wide format printers a good match, because 16 x 24" prints look terrific. Also, stitched panoramics work great; portrait-format captures stitched side to side will easily permit prints 24" high by as long as you want.

The 21 megapixel Eos-1Ds III produces files that can easily be printed 24 x 36" with the usual proviso that it requires excellent glass, solid tripod, perfect technique etc. At this resolution, diffraction issues are important and will limit obtainable sharpness at apertures smaller than about f:13 or even f:11. Some photos from the 16 megapixel 1Ds II can withstand printing at 24 x 36", but it's pushing the limit. As always, it depends on the image; I have a photo of Niagara Falls taken with the old Eos-10D at 6 megapixels that looks fabulous at 20 x 30", because it's dominated by big spashes of green water, white foam and blue sky.
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POAH
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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2008, 10:40:56 AM »
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you don't look at large prints close up so you can print fairly big assuming your image is sharp.  I've printed 20x30 sized prints from my 20D and at normal viewing distance you can't tell anything about the sharpness.
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vandevanterSH
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« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2008, 02:16:47 PM »
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"I agree with you for your formula for the 5D and 1DsMkII, but the P45 back will go way larger than 30.12 inch.  That's because Canon and Nikon cameras have this horrible anti-aliasing filter in front of the CCD that blurs the image tremendously, resultling in 1.5-1.7 less effective pixels.  Medium format digital backs do not have this issue, so the effective resolution is much greater for a given size array."

Even with my "low resolution" CFV back, I am still amazed with how much I can crop and get a good print.  

Steve
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BruceHouston
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« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2008, 03:08:28 PM »
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you don't look at large prints close up so you can print fairly big assuming your image is sharp.  I've printed 20x30 sized prints from my 20D and at normal viewing distance you can't tell anything about the sharpness.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=198545\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Although I am familiar with this logic, is has not been my experience.  The natural tendency, for both professional photographer viewers and the public in general, seems to be to study the prints "up close and personal."
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Doombrain
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« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2008, 04:02:43 PM »
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I would appreciate opinions as to the maximum size exhibition-quality fine-art print achievable from a 10 mp APS-C sensor (e.g., a Canon 40D), assuming a sharp lens (e.g., 70-200mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.4, etc.), maximum care taken with aperture, exposure (sturdy tripod, low wind, mirror lock-up, etc.), good sharpening technique, and printing to a current-model Epson wide-format printer.  For the sake of this discussion, let us assume that the viewer is not standing back from the print but is examining detail up close.

As a corollary question, your opinion as to maximum size given the parameters above but image shot with a 21 mp full-size sensor (e.g., Canon 1Ds Mark III)?

I am considering upgrading my Epson R2400 printer.  There is obviously a relationship between image resolution and maximum fine-art quality print size.  So, I believe that I need to consider both the capture end and the output end of the workflow at the same time when making this type of decision.  I am only interested in Epson Pro printers, no other brand.  I am purposely omitting any indication of a targeted or desired print size so as not to give away the answer with the question.

Thanks!
Bruce
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The r2400 uses a 180 nozzle head with a native driver res of 360 x 360PPI. So to answer your question any sub-multiple of 180PPI.

Open the image up and set the PPI to 180 then check the size. At least you'll have the largest size you can print without losing print quality or interpolating.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2008, 02:01:42 AM »
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If you don't print a lot of B&W then QImage could give you some of the features of imageprint at a vastly reduced price.   Though the interface is a bit quirky (IMHO) it is much better than PS and can handle sizing and cropping intelligently. 

QImage does not appear to do B&W as well as imageprint though as it can't get around the epson driver's 8 bit interface since it still uses the epson driver.  In my experience the difference between imageprint (with a 9800) and the epson driver on a 9880 is not really noticable and I would bet are from the superior imageprint profiles.


Doug
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On B&W. For the Epson models a combination of Qimage (extrapolation + print sharpening) and QTR for printing is possible. It is a complex workflow but it worked well for the Epson 9000 quad I have.

The B&W that I print now is with HP Z3100 (B&W mode) + Qimage with its CM switched off. The file is converted with P2P in Photoshop to a QTR created custom B&W profile first. Based on the Z3100's internal calibration + QTR's perceptual tone range + Qimage's extrapolation and print sharpening I doubt there is more to expect in quality.


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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POAH
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« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2008, 05:45:42 AM »
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Although I am familiar with this logic, is has not been my experience.  The natural tendency, for both professional photographer viewers and the public in general, seems to be to study the prints "up close and personal."
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=198594\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


suppose it depends on the print, the material and how its viewed no one does it with mine
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