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Author Topic: Sharpening for Fuji Frontier (and similar printers)  (Read 3877 times)
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« on: March 23, 2011, 12:58:43 PM »
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I have two questions for which the answers may be obvious to others, but which do not seem to be defined in the material I have read.

When exporting or printing a file from Lightroom, I have the option of sharpening for the screen, for glossy paper, or for matte paper.  From what I have read, it appears that the paper options are intended for use with an ink-jet printer, which I do not have.  My images are strictly for personal use, and most are just family photos, so I just upload my files to a local calibrated Fuji Frontier printer. 

As far as I can see, this type of printer does not have the same dot gain characteristics as ink-jet printers.  I have always chosen "glossy paper" as my export option since that is the general type of paper that is being used in the Frontier, but I assume that this is not optimum sharpening due to the differences in printing method and actual paper.

 Even though my images are just for personal use, I'm compulsive enough to want to maximize the quality within the limitations of my own work-flow.  FWIW, the largest print I normally create is 40 x 50 cm (16" x 20").  I have done one 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30") landscape print that I have hanging on the wall, but that was the exception.

My questions are:

     (1)  Is there a better sharpening choice or technique within Lightroom for exporting or printing to the Frontier, or other similar printer?

     (2)  Would there be a visible difference in image quality of most images if I were to export to a TIFF file and then sharpen with specialized software before sending the file to a Frontier as a JPEG at 100% quality?  (The Frontier requires JPEG files.)

Thanks in advance for the assistance.
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Schewe
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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2011, 01:59:08 PM »
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When exporting or printing a file from Lightroom, I have the option of sharpening for the screen, for glossy paper, or for matte paper.  From what I have read, it appears that the paper options are intended for use with an ink-jet printer, which I do not have.  My images are strictly for personal use, and most are just family photos, so I just upload my files to a local calibrated Fuji Frontier printer.

The output sharpening for Glossy and Matte work for both inkjet and photo lab prints...
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2011, 02:45:38 PM »
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The output sharpening for Glossy and Matte work for both inkjet and photo lab prints...

Thanks Jeff.  I guess that I just displayed my ignorance. 

From what I thought I understood about the physical processes involved with ink-jet printers and with the "traditional" chemical/laser systems like the Frontier, I had expected that the sharpening requirements would be somewhat different.  I've been getting results from the Fuji and Noritsu machines that were as good as I had expected, given my own skill levels, but I kept wondering how much I was potentially missing.

Thanks again for the help.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2011, 03:02:09 PM »
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Thanks Jeff.  I guess that I just displayed my ignorance. 

From what I thought I understood about the physical processes involved with ink-jet printers and with the "traditional" chemical/laser systems like the Frontier, I had expected that the sharpening requirements would be somewhat different.

They are potentially different (RGB continuous tone pixels, versus dithered RGB pixels), but the difference in output may be very hard to pinpoint. As long as you send 300 ppi images to the Frontier, sharpened at that resolution (or in case of Lightroom for that resolution), and give instructions to process the images without alterations, output should be fine.

Cheers,
Bart
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Scott Martin
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2011, 08:51:13 AM »
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I had expected that the sharpening requirements would be somewhat different. 
Consulting to the photo lab industry is somewhat of a speciality of mine and I've actually performed exhaustive testing on this subject at a number of photo labs and at Noritsu's USA headquarters. (The Fuji machines are just rebranded Noritsu's these days) I've printed a large number of example images, on a variety of printers, a variety of papers, at a variety of resolutions (200-720), using every sharpening combination out of Lightroom.

The universal conclusion is that silver halide printing (on any printer, Durst, Noritsu, Lightjet, LED, CRT, Laser, etc) is always softer than inkjet. "Glossy High" is my recommendation for these labs but we could use something much more aggressive. While Glossy High oversharpens on inkjet devices the results are dramatically more modest on silver halide printers and the final prints are not as sharp as the images when viewed onscreen. Inkjet prints with no sharpening have similar sharpness to silver halide prints with glossy high sharpening unfortunately. Even on Noritsu's HD 720dpi printers. I've also watched a number of customers (photographers and labs) send 100% of their LR work to these machines with Glossy High and the conculsion is always "It's better than no sharpening for sure but I wish we had stronger sharpening options."

It's also worth saying that you got to watch out for double sharpening when testing or printing at labs. images at a Photolabs often go through several steps after you give them your files. They are often managed by workflow software like Labtricity, ROES or DP2 before they are sent to the printer. Each of the steps can potentially include software sharpening and image resizing. Most high quality labs keep these sharpening options off as they can lead to unpredictable and gaudy results. Double sharpening is not a good thing, and if you've ever sheen silver halide prints that you thought were over sharpened, double sharpening was probably happening!

Silver halide is a fairly unique process in that the light is briefly scattered or reflected when it reaches the surface during the exposure. Some of the less expensive papers are quite thin and lead to softer results than some of the higher quality papers that are thicker. Even though the latest printers are 720dpi and some papers use very fine dyes on a thick paper base, the resolving power (resolution) of the combined process is really a good bit lower than anyone would like to admit. I think the sharpening could probably be tailored for it's unique characteristics.

I'd suggest that we could use "Inkjet Glossy" "Inkjet Matte" "Silver Halide" and "Screen" sharpening methods.

In the meantime, I'd say silver halide users shouldn't fret too much over this and should enjoy the unique qualities of silver halide prints, including its gentle, soft qualities. And I think you'll find that "glossy high" is never too sharp, as long as there isn't sharpening being performed elsewhere in the workflow.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2011, 10:27:32 AM »
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The universal conclusion is that silver halide printing (on any printer, Durst, Noritsu, Lightjet, LED, CRT, Laser, etc) is always softer than inkjet. "Glossy High" is my recommendation for these labs but we could use something much more aggressive. While Glossy High oversharpens on inkjet devices the results are dramatically more modest on silver halide printers and the final prints are not as sharp as the images when viewed onscreen. Inkjet prints with no sharpening have similar sharpness to silver halide prints with glossy high sharpening unfortunately. Even on Noritsu's HD 720dpi printers.

Hi Scott,

Maybe I'm misreading what you say, but which Noritsu laser printer would that be? The QSS-37HD has a 640 PPI resolution, and the 'Digital Dry' series of printers (e.g. M300 Pro) are inkjet printers (720 PPI). The R2R-1400 Pro is a 300 PPI laser unit, and the R2R-1100 is 320 PPI. The LPS-24 Pro wide format printer is also 300 PPI maximum.

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I've also watched a number of customers (photographers and labs) send 100% of their LR work to these machines with Glossy High and the conculsion is always "It's better than no sharpening for sure but I wish we had stronger sharpening options."

Besides diffusion/scattering in the printing medium, there can also be loss of sharpness due to sub-optimal alignment of the lasers, on the 300 PPI laser Frontier printers anyway (the 'Dry' ones, e.g. DL430, are 720 PPI inkjets).

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: March 24, 2011, 10:58:16 AM by BartvanderWolf » Logged
Scott Martin
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2011, 02:54:48 PM »
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You're right Bart! The 37HDs are 640, not 720 as I had said. Doesn't matter as they don't end up resolving anything near those numbers... Kinda reminds me of requests for 11,000 ppi drum scans of Holga negatives. Just because the device can do it doesn't mean you should! Gotta test and use real world results to find meaningful thresholds...
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2011, 03:29:32 PM »
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Isn't the "glossy" setting somewhat lower than the "Matte" one?
Edit : or is it simply a question of radius, and not strength?
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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