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Thread: Printer quality

  1. #1

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    Printer quality

    Televisions/monitors are improving on a daily basis in terms of HDR/4K/whatnot...
    why are we not seeing a comparable improvement in printers?

  2. #2
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Printer quality

    Printers are already significantly ahead of what computer screens can deliver in most ways, so the improvements have been much more subtle.

    1. Photo printers have been running at 300 dpi (Canon and HP) and 360 dpi (Epson) for years. 4K screens are getting closer, but are still closer to the 200ppi range.

    2. Photo printers exceed the AdobeRGB colour space (any printers that use more than just the standard 4-colours; CMYK do). Top end screens come very close to reproducing the entire AdobeRGB colour space (99%), but certainly do not exceed it. The ink technology the gives us more vivid colours keeps improving as does the control of dot sizes (increases the number of individual colours that can be displayed).

    3. Printed images (using acid free papers) produce archival quality prints that last for 100 years for colour and 200 years for B&W. This is for pigment based inks. The less expensive dye based inks are getting closer to these levels all the time.

    4. 3-D printers can print 3-D objects and are getting into cost ranges. Commercial units are being used to create high end components used in critical components in jet engines, for example. At the lower end, this is how ink cartridges that are used for high end ink jet printers are being made.


    On the other hand, photography is definitely not the driver for the improvements in computer / television screens. These requirements come from the entertainment industry - larger, higher resolution screens simply mean the development of faster data delivery (frame rates for 3-D gaming) and 4K and larger (HD feature films). 4K really is being driven by higher quality, large television screens, even though the impact is greater when we are closer to the subject. For me 4K on a 24" screen is not going to get me running out and upgrading my computer screen. On a 32" screen that gives me something that gets close to the ProPhoto colour space, then I would get interested.

    4.

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    James G's Avatar
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    Re: Printer quality

    Hi William, I wouldn't argue with any of the points Manfred makes, but I'm just a bit puzzled as to what specific improvements are you looking for with printers?

    I have an Epson SCP600 which is the 'best' printer I have ever had, giving me A3+ prints of a quality that I think is pretty good.

    Apart from issues like print speed, cheaper 'quality' ink, and maybe a really skinny cleaning cycle which used less/minimal ink, I'm not sure what other improvements would be realistic?

    I was thinking maybe not having to flush when switching from MK to PK might be convenient, but I suspect that would result in 'dirty and clogged ' lines on the least used black channel.
    Along the same lines, Iwas also thinking that the paper transport mechanism for 'art' papers and the like could be 'improved', but I cannot quite see in my mind's eye what I'd really be improving.

    I'd guess that there are a whole range of things that could be in a development pipeline for the bigger industrial/professional printers geared for high volume work etc , but as regards Inkjet ....

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Printer quality

    Quote Originally Posted by James G View Post
    Along the same lines, Iwas also thinking that the paper transport mechanism for 'art' papers and the like could be 'improved',...
    On the subject of which and to head off at a slight tangent, when do people go to the 'Fine Art' loading system and when not?

    I'm using an Epson R3000. Up to now, with the Permajet Matt 285 I've been using, it's always been the 'standard' loading system. But I'm starting to experiment with different papers now and for those that call themselves 'Fine Art' papers, I went to the Fine Art loading system. But the printer didn't like this and told me so. So I reverted to the 'normal' feed system and everything worked just fine.

    So ....... what is the golden secret about which I do not know, that guides me as to when to use the Fine Art loading tray?
    Last edited by Donald; 23rd August 2016 at 03:32 PM.

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    James G's Avatar
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    Re: Printer quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    On the subject of which and to head off at a slight tangent, when do people go to the 'Fine Art' loading system and when not?

    I'm using an Epson R3000. Up to now, with the Permajet Matt 285 I've been using, it's always been the 'standard' loading system. But I'm starting to experiment with different papers now and for those that call themselves 'Fine Art papers, I went to the Fine Art loading system. But the printer didn't like this and told me so. So I reverted to the 'normal' feed system and everything worked just fine.

    So ....... what is the golden secret about which I do not know, that guides me as to when to use the Fine Art loading tray?
    I've had problems too, but basically, papers that are 'designated' fine art seem to be heavier often textured and more rigid. They also tend to require use of Matte Black ink, and in my case are too thick to be put the conventional roller feed.

    One paper I use, Canson Aquarelle, I must admit on rare occasions, is an absolute pain since it is a heavy paper that has to be front loaded flat.

    My reason for using it is simply (when I get it right), the print quality. I still tend to be printing in colour, but the Matte Black produces a deep and sensuous image on a substrate that is more like a water colour paper than a standard inkjet paper. The problem for me is both the cost of the paper and the necessary rigrmarole switching inks. As a result I tend to put it off until I have 4 or 5 images that make it worth while.

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    Re: Printer quality

    All I want is to totally duplicate what I would see on my monitor were it hanging in my living room,
    regardless of the lighting scenario.

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    Re: Printer quality

    Quote Originally Posted by chauncey View Post
    All I want is to totally duplicate what I would see on my monitor were it hanging in my living room . .
    Hope springs eternal, eh?

    . . regardless of the lighting scenario.
    I do hope that that is not a serious proviso . . .

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    Re: Printer quality

    I use a Canon Pixma Pro 9000 Mark-II printer which is already at least one generation behind the industry standard for printers and I am quite happy with its performance.

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    Re: Printer quality

    I should have said without any direct lighting.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Printer quality

    In that case, I would suggest hanging your computer screen on your living room wall.

    Your prints will have a wider colour depth, although with less discrete steps. You can't compare what a transmitted light, additive colour, RGB display directly with a reflected light, subtractive colour CMYK print delivers. The blacks in the print will be far better than what a screen delivers, but a screen will have several more stops of dynamic range than the print.

  11. #11

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    Re: Printer quality

    Changing images to be displayed will be one heck of a lot easier using the computer monitor on the wall instead of a print.

  12. #12
    James G's Avatar
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    Re: Printer quality

    In fairness to Mike's point, I spent 5 months in Ireland a couple of years back and set up my system in the living room. Rather than have a blank screen in the corner of the room I set up a scrolling screen saver of about 700 images.

    I noticed that visitors and family would be looking at them scrolling through, and often wanted me to stop it and let them see an image for longer.
    It was a 27 inch Dell screen so arguably compared favourably in respect of a standard print/picture framed and on the wall.

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    Re: Printer quality

    Taking into consideration that a 30 x 40 metal print is $250, times how many...
    would even be cost effective.

  14. #14
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Printer quality

    Quote Originally Posted by chauncey View Post
    Taking into consideration that a 30 x 40 metal print is $250, times how many...
    would even be cost effective.
    That depends on how much you like the image. I have a lot of art up around the house and if we had made a cut off of $250, our walls would be rather bare. It really depends on what is important to you.

    I'll be quite frank, none of the photographs I have up are done on either metal or canvas. There is no doubt that these media can work well, but I find that the media, rather than the art piece become the subject of attention. I have a similar approach to anything I frame - I want the frame and matting to complement the image and not to compromise its look.

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