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print resolution - Adobe Photoshop Elements

After making your adjustments in PSE 2 what DPI do most of you print at and why. On my Epson 890 printer I have several choices and quite honestly I can't see the difference between a photo printed at 720DPI vs 1440 or even 2880 DPI. Outside of laying down more ink, what advantages are there to printing at higher DPI (resolution ?) settings. On another note, what printers (brand & model number) are you using?...

  1. #1

    Default print resolution

    After making your adjustments in PSE 2 what DPI do most of you print at and why. On my Epson 890 printer I have several choices and quite honestly I can't see the difference between a photo printed at 720DPI vs 1440 or even 2880 DPI. Outside of laying down more ink, what advantages are there to printing at higher DPI (resolution ?) settings. On another note, what printers (brand & model number) are you using?
    George Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: print resolution

    George, the way I print depends on what I'm printing and the paper I use. For my basic album pages that contain a mix of smaller images I use the 720 dpi on Epson and use the basic photo paper which looks great for the purpose. However, if I find an image that would make great wall candy then it's going on the premium glossy or the color life at 1440 dpi. I do notice that the color of grass on the higher quality paper with a higher print dpi is accurate where the lower resolution prints ( 720 on basic photo paper ) is a tad bit off. With this consideration I'm assuming the higher dpi prints on my epson with higher quality paper makes for a better print all the way around. I don't think I have ever used the 2880 dpi setting on my epson...for that ink saving reason. Perhaps one day...:) Although, now that I'm looking at my walls I do have a few framed 5 X 7's that were printed at 720 on the basic photo I guess it depends on the image or my frame of mind that day ;) I guess when it comes to my Epson I don't worry about get a bad print regardless of my approach ;) Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: print resolution

    I've got a lot to learn about printing, so I diligently read your posts. I haven't printed anything, but want to buy a photo printer (I noted a good recent article in PC Mag). I currently use my photos on the Internet and Web site only. However, I do take jpeg photos at "fine" quality which I think is 300 dpi, and at maximum dimension (4 megapixels) just in case I might want to print them in the future. (I reduce the quality when using the Internet, but store my originals in fine quality). How does the 300 dpi translate into the 720 and higher that you guys talk about in your posts? Does it mean the picture gets squished down (note my hi-tech terms *grin*) to about half the size when using 720? Thanks. Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: print resolution

    Peter, this has been a topic of much lively discussion on this forum, with
    lots of disagreement around terminology and effects of resolution on print
    quality. If I were going to try to summarize the most popular 'rules of
    thumb', they would go something like this:

    1. In taking pictures, use the maximum size and quality you possibly can.
    In your case, that would be a maximum dimension (probably 2272 pixels by
    1704 pixels for a 4-megapixel camera) and 'Fine' quality (which means the
    image being stored is compressed the least). Archive them in their original
    format; only edit copies of the original so you can go back to the beginning
    if you need to.
    2. When preparing the image for printing, preserve as many of those
    original pixels as possible by changing your image size in inches to the
    desired range with Resample unchecked. Your target resolution (pixels per
    inch) should be around 300+ ppi if possible, but 200 ppi as a working
    3. The size of the printed picture will be what you create or find in
    Image<Resize<Image Size. It will be independent of printer resolution,
    unless you click on Fit to Page in your printer's setup dialog.
    3. The picture resolution in pixels per inch (ppi) is a different measure
    altogether from the printer resolution in dots per inch (dpi). The most
    successful approach has been the one outlined by Jodi in an earlier post:
    pick your printer's average resolution for small or test pictures, but go
    with its Finer or Finest setting for the ones you want to treat with special

    I promised myself I wouldn't talk about this subject again, but I couldn't
    resist responding to your post...

    Chuck Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: print resolution

    Peter, this has, frankly, become a little bit of a sore subject on the forum lately, because technology has changed so rapidly in the last few years. Things that we used to be able to rely on as "the truth" just "ain't" anymore! I'll try to give at least a partial answer and keep it as neutral as I can! And also very simple.

    First, there are some misuses of the terms ppi (pixels per inch) and dpi (dots per inch.) Even some professionals wind up using one when they really should have been using the other. I find a lot of confusion in the scanner world, where some manufacturers give the specifications of their equipment in terms of dpi when they are really referring to ppi.

    The measurement of ppi - pixels per inch - refers to the resolution of an image, e.g., the number of little square colored thingys that make up each inch/square inch of a digital image file. This is the most appropriate term to use when you're discussing resolution in terms of its use for applications like Elements, where you're manipulating output from your digital camera or to describe scanning resolution.

    The measurement of dpi - dots per inch - is most commonly used to describe the amount of ink a printer puts down. This is where the discussions started getting kind of sticky a few weeks back. The term used to be pretty accurate to describe how printers worked, but technology has changed that. Nowadays some of these photo printers don't even put down "dots" of color, but the term still hangs around.

    However, in order to keep this as non-controversial as possible (I hope!), I'll just say that the resolution of printers ROUGHLY corelates to the amount of ink a printer uses to create one pixel of color. If you have a 300ppi image, you can choose a printer resolution of 720 or 2880 (Jodi's numbers from above), and the size of your image isn't going to change. The printer will just "calculate" a different amount of ink to use when when one printer resolution is selected instead of another. Basically, the higher the printer resolution, the more ink is applied to each pixel in an image.

    If you can manage to separate in your mind the difference between the resolution of your digital image file and the resolution of your printer, you'll be just fine.

    First, decide on the size and resolution of your digital image, and then decide on the resolution at which you want to print it. And for most people this requires some experimentation in order to identify what gives them the results most pleasing to them.

    Edit: Oh, hi Chuck! You weren't there when I decided to tackle this again. I haven't read yours yet. Let's hope I didn't say something that contradicts your post! :) Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: print resolution

    Excellent explanations by all. As I have vowed to stay out of ppi
    and dpi threads in this newsgroup I was reading with great
    interest and high hopes. Congrats to all, progress, progress,

    Have A Nice Day,
    jwh :-)
    My Pictures

    "George S. Forman" <net> wrote in
    message news:la2eafNXanI... 
    print at and why. On my Epson 890 printer I have several choices
    and quite honestly I can't see the difference between a photo
    printed at 720DPI vs 1440 or even 2880 DPI. Outside of laying
    down more ink, what advantages are there to printing at higher
    DPI (resolution ?) settings. On another note, what printers
    (brand & model number) are you using? Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: print resolution

    Beth, you said, "Basically, the higher the printer resolution, the more ink is applied to each pixel in an image."

    I (naively) would've thought a higher resolution printer would put down smaller dots and thus less ink per dot, but the same amount of total ink per picture.

    So higher resolution is just a way to sell more printer cartridges, eh? ;-) Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: print resolution

    Lou, that was part of the, ahem, "lively" discussion from a while back. I tried to be careful when I worded that, but I guess I missed the mark and got myself in hot water after all. My error.

    As far as I can tell, there still isn't any consensus that I could detect about whether the printer is really using more ink or whether it's merely putting out smaller sprays, splatters, drops, splats, or whatever you want to call them, per unit of measure. I don't know if it's using more ink or just using it differently. Frankly, I don't happen to care that much, but there has to be some way to describe the fact that Epson, for example, thinks 720 is going to be different in some way from 1440 or 2880 or else they wouldn't give those options. Not long ago there was a used-to-be-accepted-but-now-who-knows belief that "more is better". Whether it is or not is still up for grabs as far as I'm concerned. I don't even use an Epson printer, so I never concern myself with how many "whats" are being used when I print a photo! :)

    I'm sorry that I worded that in a way that implied I had a specific answer to that question about ink consumption. I don't! As a matter of fact, after working through all of this inkjet printing stuff, I've started to have any photos that I really want to keep printed at the photo shop. How's that for an avoidance technique?! Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: print resolution

    Ah yes--"resolution" again.Wouldn't we all be better served if we could just discard the term and use something that more closely descibes what it is that we are trying to say? How about the term "density"? I think it would do the job just fine.
    Comments most welcome.
    Lou Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: print resolution

    I ain't saying no more! :) Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: print resolution

    well........i printed 2 differant 5x7's at 720DPI on my Epson printer and the same 2 5x7's at 2880DPI. the only differance I can see is that the color of the grass at 2880 is a little darker. other wise they look the same to me. I don't quite understand it all but for me I think printing at 720DPI for 4x6/5x7's and 1440DPI for 8x10's will work. maybe I should just get new glasses and print at 360DPI..........
    George Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: print resolution

    Oh, Beth, that does sound ugly. That must've been one of those threads with a million posts. I try to avoid those. :-)

    Lou: "Density" is OK, although DPI is dots/splatters/whatever "per inch", so DPI is already a unit-per-unit measurement. And I don't proclaim to be a photo industry expert, so I'll avoid changing an industry standard(?) measurement technique.

    George: what are the actual pixel dimensions of those images you're printing at 5x7 and 8x10? You might not have enough pixels to make a difference when printing. For example, when printing at 2880 DPI (wow!) and printing a 5x7, it needs to be (2880 pixels * 7 inches = 20160 pixels long) by (2880 pixels * 5 inches = 14400 pixels wide) for it to really print at that resolution. In contrast to 20,160 x 14,400 pixels, I'm guessing your image is at most a few thousand pixels on each side. And you shouldn't need to print larger images at higher resolution--remember it's dots *per inch*, so the resolution should stay the same at different sizes if you want the same quality for each size. Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: print resolution

    Chuck... Thanks for taking the time to respond! As far as I can tell, resampling will only be necessary when trying to make a photo ready for the Web. Right? I assume that an automatic resampling goes on when you go to file>Save For Web. Is that right.

    Peter Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: print resolution

    Peter, good evening! Yes, Save for Web will resample to lower the pixel
    dimensions from whatever your camera captured (2272 pixels x1704 pixels for
    a typical 4 megapixel camera) to something that's suitable for web use
    (standard is about 800 pixels by 600 pixels); gotta get rid of all those
    excess pixels and resampling (in this case sometimes referred to as
    'downsampling') is the way that happens.

    Resampling may on occasion be necessary to get a picture with very small
    pixel dimensions up to a ppi that's suitable for printing. A technique for
    that has been discussed at length here; if you get to a point of needing to
    do that, come back and you'll get some good advice on how best to 'upsample'
    when you really, really have to do that.

    Chuck Guest

  15. #15

    Default Re: print resolution


    As always, you gave such detail and clear instructions. this is another one for my Printing File.

    Shan Guest

  16. #16

    Default Re: print resolution

    Chuck... Yup, sounds like I am on the right path. So far, everything I have done with my camera has been downsampled for my hobby Web site. (If interested, the latest macro pictures are at )

    I switched to photoshop a couple of weeks ago because Photosuite couldn't handle the reductions in size required to take a "fine" 4megapixel image and reduce it to 300 to 500 pixels for Web use. Previous to that all the fishing fly photos I took were with a camera of about 1 megapixel. Since none of my images on the web are bigger than 500 pixels wide, there was very litte reduction in size required. Photosuite worked fine for that.

    But now there's no going back to (1) the old camera or (2) the old software!

    Have a nice week.

    Peter Guest

  17. #17

    Default Re: print resolution

    Lou M.
    When I suggested replacing "resolution" with "density",I was speaking of the desciption of how many pixels per inch in an image,rather than print rez,which as we know is an entirely different beast.
    An example --- I recently attended an Elements class for beginners,of which I am one but maybe a half step advanced due to this forum.The confusion about "resolution" was rampant until I remarked that we just substitute the term "density".The reaction,"oh I get it now",was immediate,and no further explanation was needed. I'd bet it would be the same if we all talked about the density of pixels rather than thier resolution.
    No expert here,Lou C. Guest

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