Printer Resolution of Newer Epson Printers

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  • Howard Cubell
    Howard Cubell
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    Epson Printers
    on: March 14, 2022 at 4:33 pm

    The earlier generations of Epson printers used “printer resolutions” that were 360 DPI or multiples thereof. I recall that Jeff Schewe and others had always recommended that the print resolution of a file to be printed with an Epson printer  be upsampled in Photoshop or LR to 360 PPI if the native resolution of the file at the desired print size was below 360 PPI or to 720 if the native resolution was between 360 and 720 PPI. This was based upon the fact that Epson printers printed at 360 DPI or 720 DPI. The newer Surecolor printers like  the P700/900 and the P7570/9570 have a maximum resolution of 1200 x 2400 DPI so they apparently no longer use 360 DPI as the base resolution. I may be wrong , but the base resolution of the newer Surecolor printers is apparently 300 DPI. If that’s true, should we now upsample to 300 PPIif the native file resolution is less than 300 PPI or upsample to 600 PPI if the native file resolution is between 300 and 600 ppi?

    Following that logic,  should one also import files from a card now at 300 PPI as a starting point?

    Thanks.

    Jeff Schewe
    Jeff Schewe
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    Posts: 109
    Re: Printer Resolution of Newer Epson Printers
    Reply #1 on: March 14, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    I’m still doing the 360/720 with Finest Detail on my P900…don’t have a P7570 (yet) so can’t say I’ve tested it but…I’m pretty sure if you want the best output detail, 720 PPI and Finest Detail at the highest rez setting is the way to go.

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
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    Posts: 674
    Re: Printer Resolution of Newer Epson Printers
    Reply #2 on: March 14, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    Actually, the maximum printing resolution of an Epson SC-P900/SC-P7570 is 5760 x 1440 dpi. There are lower resolutions – down to 1440 large dimension dpi if I remember correctly. These printing resolution numbers don’t begin to tell you much about the complexity of the dithering ink mixing and dot placement that goes on under the hood to produce the photo on paper. All this contributes very heavily to print quality. You select in the Print Quality driver settings which of these printing resolutions you prefer. I went through much of this in my article on this site reviewing the SC-P900. Your preference should be based on printing a standard printer test image at the various printing quality dpi settings offered and compare them with your eyes to see which you like best.

    This is a separate matter from the INPUT resolution that goes TO the printer driver – this where the 360/720 PPI business comes in. Again, try both to see which you think is a better fit for your photos.

    So for avoidance of doubt, two resolution settings determine print quality: the input resolution of 360/720 PPI and the printing resolutions of 5760 down to 1440 dpi along with all the mixing and dot placement technology that goes on under the hood to determine print quality.

    Going back to the distinctions between image file resolution and the INPUT resolution sent to the printer, resampling is not what it was 20 years ago. The algorithms are really good these days. Today I printed a panorama that started in Lightroom at 220 PPI, and I had the input resolution setting in Lightroom checked at 360PPI. This means LR resampled the file from its own native 220 up to 360 for the printer driver. As I am using an SC-P5000 printer, the printing resolution for Highest Quality is 2880 dpi and that is the setting I used. This was a test for a gallery show and as far as I’m concerned, the print is gallery-ready, very high photographic quality – I’d have no hesitation putting it up for sale at a quite respectable price.

    Contrariwise, yesterday I printed a file from my 60MP Sony a7r4 which has excess resolution to kill for a 17-inch printer. At 17×22 inch the non-resized photo has a native resolution close to 500PPI. I used the same INPUT resolution to the printer (360PPI) and let Lightroom downsample the file from about 500 to 360. Printing resolution in the driver was set at the same Highest Quality 2880 dpi. The resulting print is so sharp you can scrape your knuckles crossing the paper with them. (It’s a photo of mural art on an outdoor wall, so you can see every granule of cement razor sharp. ) I think one can obsess too much over these settings these days. Do a few tests to see what works best for you and stick with the approach you like best.

    Mark D Segal Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop". Please check the PhotoPXL Store for availability.

    Jeff Schewe
    Jeff Schewe
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    Posts: 109
    Re: Printer Resolution of Newer Epson Printers
    Reply #3 on: March 14, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    Resampling in software has improved, yes…resampling in printer drivers STILL suck. It’s Nearest Neighbor-which is one of the reasons one can get interference patters, jaggies on high contrast diagonals and Moiré effects…

     

    Don’t let the print driver resample your images!!!!

     

    🙏

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Silver Member
    Posts: 674
    Re: Printer Resolution of Newer Epson Printers
    Reply #4 on: March 14, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    Correct. That is why I do it in Lightroom, which does a fine job.

    Mark D Segal Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop". Please check the PhotoPXL Store for availability.

    Howard Cubell
    Howard Cubell
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    Posts: 12
    Re: Printer Resolution of Newer Epson Printers
    Reply #5 on: March 14, 2022 at 10:48 pm

    Thanks, Jeff and Mark.  I was mistaken about the maximum resolution pf the P900. It’s 5760 x 1440 dpi. However, the maximum resolution of the 7570/9570 is 2400 x 1200 dpi. So, these two printers are outliers. I still print from Photoshop as opposed to LR. I gather in LR you can set the print resolution at, for example, 360 ppi, and LR  itself will use its own resampling algorithms to send a 360 ppi file to the printer no matter what the ppi is of the file. PS does not do that. It lets the Epson printer do it, which I gather is why Jeff many years ago advised to use PS to resample the file so that you send a 360 ppi file to the Epson printer. Jeff also said to resample to send a 300 ppi file to a Canon printer. It appears that the 7570/957o printers may also resample so that the input file is 300 ppi. Only one way to find out if it makes a difference.  TEST! I just did. The differences are quite subtle, to my eye but the 300 ppi file does look better to me. I will run a few more tests.

    Jeff Schewe
    Jeff Schewe
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    Posts: 109
    Re: Printer Resolution of Newer Epson Printers
    Reply #6 on: March 15, 2022 at 12:24 am

    The next thing to test is upsampling to 600 ppi for native rez over 300 ppi and using Finest Detail, assuming that’s still there. BTW, both the P7000 and P7570 have 3.5 picoliter as the smallest droplet size so i suspect the dither is similar.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 4 weeks ago by Jeff Schewe.
    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
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    Posts: 674
    Re: Printer Resolution of Newer Epson Printers
    Reply #7 on: March 15, 2022 at 9:42 am

    I believe these printers use variable droplet sizes, and of course the specifics of the dithering algorithms are Epson’s “secret sauce” which we will not know about – nor I suspect would many- if any – of us know how to appreciate differences of algorithms even if we were told what they are. So yes, we can only focus on output and test for differences. But in doing that it is rather important to know what kind of images are being used for testing and all the settings for sending those images to the printer. Just saying I ran a test and “A” “looks better” than “B” may be useful to the person doing the testing, but is rather non-substantive to any one else.

    Mark D Segal Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop". Please check the PhotoPXL Store for availability.

    Howard Cubell
    Howard Cubell
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    Posts: 12
    Re: Printer Resolution of Newer Epson Printers
    Reply #8 on: March 15, 2022 at 10:02 pm

    I believe these printers use variable droplet sizes, and of course the specifics of the dithering algorithms are Epson’s “secret sauce” which we will not know about – nor I suspect would many- if any – of us know how to appreciate differences of algorithms even if we were told what they are. So yes, we can only focus on output and test for differences. But in doing that it is rather important to know what kind of images are being used for testing and all the settings for sending those images to the printer. Just saying I ran a test and “A” “looks better” than “B” may be useful to the person doing the testing, but is rather non-substantive to any one else.

    Here is how I  compared feeding a 300 ppi file to the 9570 with feeding a 360 ppi file. I start edwith a horizontal image file from a medium format that has a “native” print width of less than 36″ at both 300 ppi and 360 ppi that I want to print at say 40″ wide. So, I first size the file to 300 ppi without resampling and then use PS to upsample the file to 40″ wide and print an 8 x 10 crop of the upsampled file. I do the same after sizing the file to 360 ppi and upsampling the file to 40″ wide. Both 8 x 10s are printed from PS using the exact same settings. Make sense?

    The test I ran last night was just a quick test with an image that I am in the process of printing for a customer. No question I  need to try more files, including doing what Jeff suggested where I need to downsample to a print size smaller than the native print size at both 300 ppi and 360 ppi.

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Silver Member
    Posts: 674
    Re: Printer Resolution of Newer Epson Printers
    Reply #9 on: March 15, 2022 at 10:26 pm

    What you really need to do is take a standard printer test file that has provision for resolution assessment, and the one I recommend for this is Scott Martin’s. It’s native resolution is 400 PPI. Resample one copy to 360PPI, another copy to 300PPI, and yet another to 720PPI. Make sure to choose the appropriate resampling option that corresponds with the direction of the resampling in order to produce optimal resampling. Then compare the results for criteria of sharpness, resolution and smoothness of tonal gradations.

    Mark D Segal Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop". Please check the PhotoPXL Store for availability.

    Robert Silber
    Robert Silber
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    Re: Printer Resolution of Newer Epson Printers
    Reply #10 on: March 22, 2022 at 8:49 pm

    So based on both yours and Jeff’s comments, which I value and appreciate, I’m interested in your guidance on the following.

    As Jeff states that resampling in printer drivers still sucks. You do your resampling in Lightroom. What about resampling in Qimage? I no longer use LR or PS and prefer the flow inside Qimage to an app’s print interface. Being that it uses the system print driver, will its results then be equally sucky?

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Silver Member
    Posts: 674
    Re: Printer Resolution of Newer Epson Printers
    Reply #11 on: March 22, 2022 at 8:52 pm

    I have never used QImage so I can’t answer your question. Sorry.

    Mark D Segal Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop". Please check the PhotoPXL Store for availability.

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