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Author Topic: Print resolution for Epson 3880 when printing in LR3  (Read 7005 times)
picturesfromthelow
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« on: August 24, 2010, 10:31:08 AM »
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Hi,
I own an Epson 3880 and print from Lightroom 3. I am currently trying to figure out what is the optimal print resolution for my printer. Some sources suggest that it is best to keep the native resolution of the raw file, provided it stays in the range of 180-480ppi (or 720, according to the latest news) while others, most notably Eric Chan in his printing tutorial for the Epson 3800, suggest to print at the printer native resolution, that is 360 ppi (I believe 3800 and 3880 share the same print resolution). This last method would almost always require you to force Lightroom to resample the image by entering the 360 ppi value in the resoultion box inside the print module.
I was wondering if anyone has done some testing in order to find out which of the above two methods works best in terms of image detail. From my own limited testing I found that 360ppi gives me a print that is slightly superior in terms of image detail, but as I said I made just a few prints in this regard.

Ciao!
Luca
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2010, 11:24:25 AM »
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Hi,
I own an Epson 3880 and print from Lightroom 3. I am currently trying to figure out what is the optimal print resolution for my printer. Some sources suggest that it is best to keep the native resolution of the raw file, provided it stays in the range of 180-480ppi (or 720, according to the latest news) while others, most notably Eric Chan in his printing tutorial for the Epson 3800, suggest to print at the printer native resolution, that is 360 ppi
Ciao!
Luca
Ideally you do not scale, re-sample or distort the file, and you print at 360 or 240 original camera pixels per print inch... this is one reason I am eagerly looking forward to getting an H4D-60, as it enables you to print 24" inches wide at 360 original camera pixels per print inch... and I have a 7900, with 24" roll paper!... so I will be able to print 24 * 18" @ 360 ppi or 24 * 36" (with a little cropping) without scaling or messing about with the file.

Will your printer allow you to print at it's optimal res without cropping the file or trimming the print?

The software is always offering you option to degrade your file.

¿How can a raw file have native resolution?
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2010, 07:04:46 AM »
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Unless his advice has changed, Schewe recommends sending the file to the printer out of LR at whatever the file resolution is and letting the printer/driver do any interopolation as long as the file resolution for the file is between about 180 and 480.  If it's below 180, then input a resolution of 180 to have the file rezzed up and if it's above 480 input a resolution of 480 to have the file rezzed down.

I've done both.  I've resampled images myself to get to 360 and sent them to the printer at whatever they are and let the printer sort it out.  I can't see any difference between the two so I now just send the file to the printer as is (as long as it's between the upper and lower values) and let the printer/driver do its thing.
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2010, 10:42:33 AM »
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Unless his advice has changed, Schewe recommends sending the file to the printer out of LR at whatever the file resolution is and letting the printer/driver do any interopolation as long as the file resolution for the file is between about 180 and 480.  If it's below 180, then input a resolution of 180 to have the file rezzed up and if it's above 480 input a resolution of 480 to have the file rezzed down.
The key here is "any interpolation" ...what I am saying is that it is best to avoid any interpolation or scaling.

Ideally you do not scale, re-sample or distort the file,

If the camera has an Anti-Aliasing filter, and the light destined for one pixel is spread over the adjacent pixels, then, at the pixel level, you do not get a sharp picture anyway... if you use an AA-free MF back, or a multi-shot back that does not Bayer-interpolate, then any scaling would tend to have a discernible effect on print sharpness.

Even looking at Jpegs on this forum, if the file is scaled to 90 plus percent it looks inferior to how it looks at 100% ... have you all noticed this, or do you not take the trouble to view at 100%?
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2010, 11:04:49 AM »
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That's pretty much not possible unless you print at only a single size as determined by the pixel dimensions and desired resolution (e.g., 360).  As soon as you move off that 'native' size, interpolation is involved.  Whether it's done beforehand in PS/LR or done via the printer driver, it's happening.

There's a vast difference between the crude resizing done for thumbnails/previews here on the forum (or any other place on the web) and the advanced interpolation/resizing done in PS or LR or a printer driver.  Even in PS, viewing an image at odd magnification sizes causes it to look less than optimal. 
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2010, 12:01:45 PM »
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That's pretty much not possible unless you print at only a single size as determined by the pixel dimensions and desired resolution (e.g., 360).  As soon as you move off that 'native' size, interpolation is involved.  Whether it's done beforehand in PS/LR or done via the printer driver, it's happening.

Agree - like I said above:

Ideally you do not scale, re-sample or distort the file, and you print at 360 or 240 original camera pixels per print inch... this is one reason I am eagerly looking forward to getting an H4D-60, as it enables you to print 24" inches wide at 360 original camera pixels per print inch... and I have a 7900, with 24" roll paper!... so I will be able to print 24 * 18" @ 360 ppi or 24 * 36" (with a little cropping) without scaling or messing about with the file.

I am sure there are other camera/printer option that work well together like this.

I could also print about A4 @720 original camera pixels per print inch without scaling.
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2010, 03:51:43 PM »
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There may well be other combinations that work out like your Hassy/Epson do.  Problem is not all of us have $100k to drop on a camera, lenses, back and large format printer.  Nor perhaps the need for 50MP or 60MP (I'd suggest it's a pretty rare instance where someone needs that kind of pixel real estate).
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2010, 10:13:07 AM »
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There may well be other combinations that work out like your Hassy/Epson do.  Problem is not all of us have $100k to drop on a camera, lenses, back and large format printer.  Nor perhaps the need for 50MP or 60MP (I'd suggest it's a pretty rare instance where someone needs that kind of pixel real estate).
Not many of us need a Sinar P3 and a set of SES Apo-Digitars, or a robotic focus stacker, but I think they will (when I get them) enable me to tackle work that few pros can ... a small market, but not many can exploit it.
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2010, 02:23:12 PM »
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Hi,
I own an Epson 3880 and print from Lightroom 3. I am currently trying to figure out what is the optimal print resolution for my printer. Some sources suggest that it is best to keep the native resolution of the raw file, provided it stays in the range of 180-480ppi (or 720, according to the latest news) while others, most notably Eric Chan in his printing tutorial for the Epson 3800, suggest to print at the printer native resolution, that is 360 ppi (I believe 3800 and 3880 share the same print resolution). This last method would almost always require you to force Lightroom to resample the image by entering the 360 ppi value in the resoultion box inside the print module.
I was wondering if anyone has done some testing in order to find out which of the above two methods works best in terms of image detail. From my own limited testing I found that 360ppi gives me a print that is slightly superior in terms of image detail, but as I said I made just a few prints in this regard.

Ciao!
Luca

After reading this thread it sounds like Dick is recommending you only print one or two sizes of prints to match your cameras native file size to the resolution of the printer. Certainly an impractical exercise for nearly all photographers ... who can restrict the size of the prints made based on the camera they use - I can't even imagine capturing things that perfectly that I would never need to slightly crop or perhaps slightly rotate an image.  While any interpolation or action on pixels in the file can "degrade" the image, the resulting prints are certainly satisfactory and it would be difficult (impossible) to see the "degradation" as long as they aren't extreme.

Personally I also follow Jeff Schewe's recommendation in the From Camera to Print video (as mentioned by Dick), and although there is some evidence that careful resampling and correct sharpening to the printers resolution may sometimes be slightly better when printing large prints, the difference to me is rarely even detectable.  With Lightroom, I simply output to my final sizes, and let LR handle all resizing and sharpening.  The benefit to this is I only have to worry about 1 final version of each file, not one for each size I want to print.

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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2010, 02:52:09 PM »
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After reading this thread it sounds like Dick is recommending you only print one or two sizes of prints to match your cameras native file size to the resolution of the printer.

It is nice if, most of the time, when you fill the frame, and do have to crop, you use the full width of the roll and nearly all the pixels you pay for, and you get the best possible performance out of you equipment.

If I was really keen, I would print skew and trim the print to square up!

On a practical note, I usually like to print standard sizes for which I can buy standard frames... but I hope to be selling prints at prices which make the cost of the frame less important, and photos look better mounted.

... but oil paintings are often unmounted (no border between picture and frame), and 24 * 36" is an off-the-peg size, and 18 * 24" is not.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2010, 03:26:28 PM by Dick Roadnight » Logged

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gromit
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2010, 03:27:03 PM »
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I was wondering if anyone has done some testing in order to find out which of the above two methods works best in terms of image detail.

This question is old perennial and you'll get plenty of conflicting advice ... partly due to people looking at prints from files with too little real resolution in the first place, and others that confuse interference patterns with sharpness. I suggest you make up a file with vertical, horizontal and diagonal line pairs, set it to varying resolutions and print it out yourself. The optimal resolutions will be obvious. How best to get your files to these resolutions is the next question.
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2010, 03:49:05 PM »
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I was wondering if anyone has done some testing in order to find out which of the above two methods works best in terms of image detail. From my own limited testing I found that 360ppi gives me a print that is slightly superior in terms of image detail, but as I said I made just a few prints in this regard.

Ciao! Luca
[/quote]

This question is old perennial and you'll get plenty of conflicting advice ... partly due to people looking at prints from files with too little real resolution in the first place, and others that confuse interference patterns with sharpness. I suggest you make up a file with vertical, horizontal and diagonal line pairs, set it to varying resolutions and print it out yourself. The optimal resolutions will be obvious. How best to get your files to these resolutions is the next question.
You can test your printer as above, (with a cad package) but to test you whole system you would be better off photographing a test image and using that as your test file.

You could photograph brickwork (straight and at an angle) at a distance where the mortar in between the bricks is 2,3,4 pixels wide.
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Dano Steinhardt
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2010, 05:06:21 PM »
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One other thing that might be helpful regarding the original question.  (Please note that I am the Marketing Manager for Pro Imaging at Epson America).

As noted by others, there are variables.

The sensor size of the camera and sharpening are variables but also the type of paper that will be used.

With the 3880 one cannot go wrong with 360ppi.
The screening algorithms are optimal for 360ppi.
360ppi may provide the absolute highest possible quality for those with the highest resolution cameras.

But if using a textured cotton fiber paper vs. a microporous paper like Luster, its doubtful there will be any noticeable quality difference from as low as 180ppi.



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gromit
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2010, 05:13:28 PM »
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... this is one reason I am eagerly looking forward to getting an H4D-60, as it enables you to print 24" inches wide at 360 original camera pixels per print inch... and I have a 7900, with 24" roll paper!... so I will be able to print 24 * 18" @ 360 ppi or 24 * 36" (with a little cropping) without scaling or messing about with the file.

Good idea ... in theory. When you load a roll into your 7900 and print at 360ppi and don't get the results you expect, you may want to do the test I outlined and look at the variables. Hint: the driver handles sheets and rolls differently.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2010, 05:25:55 PM »
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The screening algorithms are optimal for 360ppi.

Hi Dano,

That's interesting. Does that mean that even for glossy paper, after interrogation, the printer driver doesn't echo the confirmation that 720 PPI data is optimal (e.g. to an application like Qimage), or is your remark specific for LR3? And if 720 PPI is sent, does the printer driver then downsample to 360?

Cheers,
Bart  
« Last Edit: August 26, 2010, 06:52:03 PM by BartvanderWolf » Logged
Schewe
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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2010, 06:21:39 PM »
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Personally I also follow Jeff Schewe's recommendation in the From Camera to Print video (as mentioned by Dick), and although there is some evidence that careful resampling and correct sharpening to the printers resolution may sometimes be slightly better when printing large prints, the difference to me is rarely even detectable.

Oh, it's detectable...if you have the 'native resolution' to go beyond the normal 180-480ppi range we talked about in the Camera To Print tutorial...which is why Lightroom 3 can not handle resolution up to 720ppi in the Print module. So, here's the deal...if your original file is already a high resolution at your final print size (such as might happen with a P 65+ file printing smaller than 16x20 or so, you WILL get better results if you let your resolution fall where it may even if above 480ppi. Some of my stuff at final print size ends up near 600ppi. If it does, I let it stay at the native resolution (don't resample) in Lightroom 3. If your resolution is less than the high side of the range, I suggest testing setting your resolution to 720ppi and letting lightroom 3 upsample and then output sharpen at the higher rez. Some images–particularly images with a lot of high frequency data may reproduce BETTER upsampled in Lightroom 3. I make the distinction of Lightroom 3 because earlier versions were capped at 480ppi. That cap has now been raised to 720ppi. So, I suggest you test this on your own images and see if you can see any benefit. I do on some images...on other images, I don't. The key is the high frequency image data and strong high contrast diagonals or circles that may benefit from Lightroom 3's upsampling and then output sharpening...but it's really up to you to test against your own images...

And all of the above depends on the paper being able to handle the additional resolution...Luster and EFP does show benefit...watercolor type paper won't so much...
« Last Edit: August 26, 2010, 06:23:55 PM by Schewe » Logged
Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2010, 05:00:20 AM »
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Good idea ... in theory. When you load a roll into your 7900 and print at 360ppi and don't get the results you expect, you may want to do the test I outlined and look at the variables. Hint: the driver handles sheets and rolls differently.
2 + 2 never makes 4 in photography, and the nominal sizes can be very different to "real world", but I would have thought that 360 * 24 = 8640?
... and the sensor is 8956, so you would only lose a few hundred pixels?

Does the 7900 not print edge to edge on roll paper?

If it does not print edge to edge, hopefully the edge would be covered by the frame if I did not mount.

I will be using the ColorBurst RIP, Does that make any difference?

I have not put ink in my 7900 yet, as I would not have used it much, and I understand that they tend to clog if they are not used regularly.
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2010, 05:09:30 AM »
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Does the 7900 not print edge to edge on roll paper?

The 7900 will print borderless (edge to edge) on proscribed widths.

The point I'm making is don't assume 360ppi is optimal for rolls, even if it is for sheets. In my testing you need to turn on Finest Detail not to have the 7900 resample 360ppi input when roll media is selected. Why this would be different than for sheets is a mystery to me. The maxim is to test (everything) for yourself.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2010, 10:03:59 AM »
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Check out my quick test at:
href="http://vigorotaku.blogspot.com/2010/12/imageprint-8-why-i-use-it-and-its.html">vigorotaku.blogspot.com</a>

I did and you write:
Quote
The standard printer driver that Epson provides, while it has improved over the years, it is not of the caliber of the highly accurate profiles that ImagePrint provides.

Then you illustrate this isn’t the case and show the typical and discussed blue to magenta shift:
Quote
The top two bars are from ImagePrint. These show consistent color blending.
And a nasty blue shift.
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Andrew Rodney
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