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Old Dec 30, 2003, 5:10 PM   #1
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Default printing directly from cards or cameras

I did some searching in the forums, as I would have thought this questions's been asked before, but didn't come up with anything. I'd appreciate any input regarding printing photos without a computer.

I have a Canon S200 digital camera. Yes it's only a 2 MP, but I'm think it should be fine for my wife and I a bit longer as we only want to print 4" x 6" photos.

We're expecting our first child in June and want to be sure we can get the best photo printer we can afford, as we'll be snapping away and my wife wants more photos to be printed than we do now. Our HP 712 printer isn't going to be doing the job much longer.

My wife and I are intrigued by the concept of direct printing without a computer. HP makes quite a few printers with memory card slots, while Canon's line of printers allows us to hook up the S200 to the printer. The HP rep at Best Buy really dazzled us with how easy it is tp print directly from the CompactFlash card. Print out an index, fill out the circles corresponding to the options and pictures in the index, the printer scans the index, then prints away. Super cool!

When the HP rep printed out a sample photo using the HP 7760 directly from our card using the index, I was initially impressed with the photo of our dog, the colors of the bed were vibrant, however the dog's brown fur was anything but fur looking, almost pixelated. The rep noticed it and thought it was due to the ink. In looking at HP's website though, I found out that when printing directly from the card it states a maximum output of 1200 x 1200, while using a computer it's 4800 x 1200. Considering my existing HP712 I don't think prints at either quality, I'm not sure if I can quantify in my own mind how much of a negative printing directly from the card is, but it appears there is a trade off because you're not running computer software.

Canon's specs on their printers tout the ability to print directly from compatible digital cameras, like the S200 that I have. I can't seem to find anything that flat out states that the quality of a photo will be less when printing direct from the camera, except Canon puts a little note beside the advertised 4800 x 1200 dpi resolution, stating that this is dependent on the print driver setting. I guess I'm wondering, if printing directly from a digital camera results in less than 4800 x 1200 dpi as well because of not using computer software?

Obviously, photos often need retouching using Photoshop and worrying about losing dpi using direct printing when the photo itself could be improved with a computer is an important consideration. My wife just found the convenience of printing without a computer a big plus.

Has anyone printed out the same photo directly from a card or camera and compared it to the same photo using a computer (without image enhancement of a Photoshop) for comparision?

In the end, it's a question of us whether printing direct is something where you can get as high a quality as using computer software or does it compromise quality for convenience and is basically a joke for getting quality photos.

Once I understand this general concept, I'll look into the other pro's and con's of the various printers and of the brands themselves (separate/combined ink tanks, speed, quality of image, etc.)

Thanks for any responses. - Marc
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Old Dec 31, 2003, 2:28 AM   #2
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I have printed a 4x6 from my SD card on both the Epson R300 and Canon i9100. The pictures looked fantastic on Both Printers. I had printed a picture on one of the HP Printers also. And to me it look good, but not as Sharp as the other two. As far as which printer looked best, the Epson won out. It had the richest colors. The Canon looked to be slightly sharper. It could be b/c it has a droplet size of 2 picoliters compared to the Epson 3 and the HP 5.
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Old Dec 31, 2003, 12:20 PM   #3
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Your S200 should look almost identical going from your camera to the printer directly. The nice thing about Canon/Canon is that your camera has the firmware in it to use the resolution, shading and ink droplet size Canons are good at. Also, technology wise Canon did an excellent job implementing the BubbleJet Direct (or Pictbridge w/the new stuff) because it does not depend on how old your camera is (say an S200) and even the brand new photo printer because the printer recognizes "modes" from the camera, not specific settings. For example, Photo mode in the camera menu will make the printer use its best settings and the printer can decide what those are, just like going through your PC.

Its nerdy but cool. Anyway, look at an i860 to go with your camera. Excellent photo printer but will work well as just a regular text printer. In fact, take your camera and the usb cable with it to a retail store (Best Buy, CompUSA...) and print some demos there. There might be a Canon rep at either of those stores to show you the ins and outs of the printer.
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Old Dec 31, 2003, 2:27 PM   #4
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Default great info

Thanks for all the input from both of you thus far. Juice_22, I wonder if your experience of HP's photo not looking as well as is due to the 1200 x 1200 limitation? Perhaps it would look just as sharp if printing using the HP software on the computer.

Pdxbrian, thanks for your take on Canon printers with my Canon camera. No where in Canon's product info do I see that direct printing (in my case using BubbleJet Direct as my S200 isn't Pictbridge compatible) results in any less of a dpi, my only concern was the statement that output depends on printer driver setting...it sounds like you're saying that the camera has a driver built in so there's not the sacrifice unlike printing direct from memory cards like the HP offers. You wouldn't happen to know if there are any sacrifices in photo quality when using BubbleJet Direct verses Pictbridge? I've been briefly looking into this on Canon's website without finding any info on whether for instance there's limitation to BubbleJet Direct that caused them to start offering Pictbridge.

I was contemplating the 960 instead of the 860, but will do more research beyond the number of ink tanks, photo/text quality etc. As you suggest, I'll be sure to bring the camera and cord into Best Buy to test this all out further. Thanks!
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Old Dec 31, 2003, 3:51 PM   #5
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might be a little late for you to see this but. my aunt asked me to get her a printer/ digital camera for her kids for christmas.

i looked at the small portable printers for digital cameras. i wasn't to impressed. most only print at 4x6 mybe a little bigger. if portable is what you want then great.

i have found HP2410 multifunction device print/flat bed scanner/ copy/fax it has a LCD like a digital camera on it. and you just slid in the memory card into it. and go at it.

you can print out a proof sheet if you want to also. and just fill in dot of pictures you want printed and place paper back into scanner and hit the correct buttons to have just those pictures printed out. up to 8x10 size.

hp2410 is also able to hook up to computer as well which was nice for my aunt.

cost was around $250 for the hp2410

not sure on camera you going for or tastes. but i got my aunt a kodak 4530 digtal camera. its quick shoot not alot of manual controls and in low light it doesn't take the greatest pictures. not sure if this is just how the lower end cameras are or just this camera.

another thing might intrest you is battery life. make sure you get a good set of batteries. i looked at the HP935 camera and for battery life was not as good. it had one or 2 better specs but batterylife was about 1 hr. the kodak last around 2 hrs with rechargables or with cvr-3 battery 3 hours.

the battery life for kids using it. was the choosing factor.

i picked up my aunt a rayovak ic3 15 minute recharger and extra set of batteries for 15minutes recharge times. after a trial run everything worked great.
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Old Dec 31, 2003, 5:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: great info

Quote:
You wouldn't happen to know if there are any sacrifices in photo quality when using BubbleJet Direct verses Pictbridge? I've been briefly looking into this on Canon's website without finding any info on whether for instance there's limitation to BubbleJet Direct that caused them to start offering Pictbridge.
There's no difference quality wise. Pictbridge is the evolution of BubbleJet Direct and it allows cameras other than Canon branded ones to work with our printers. The menu is also a bit different but the way it prints is going to be the same.

As far as the 860 vs. 960, the 960 I would use only for printing photos. Its a 6-color and arguably the best photo printer you can get on a consumer level. I would not use it for any (maybe just a very small amount) text printing, as it is not going to be fast and does not have a pigmented black ink (BCI-3e) like the 860. The 860 sacrafices 2 photo colors for the huge pigmented black text cartridge (BCI-3e). It still does very, very good photos but it can't do all the shading the 960 can.

Hopefully that helps you out. Obviously if you have more questions just ask!
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Old Jan 1, 2004, 3:53 PM   #7
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Thanks again for all the insight. pdxbrian, yes I just came across some other info on how PictBridge is more of a multi-branded format. Your insight on how the menu is slightly different but the quality is the same, is really helpful. Looking at reviews and other info, does put the 860 on the top of my list. boggen, the HP guy at Best Buy did steer me towards that HP multi-function. In general I'm still concerned about losing quality when printing direct from cards on HP's, even if it may not be perceptible. (4800 x 1200 down to 1200 x 1200). The information that printing directly from my Canon to a Canon won't reduce any picture quality is reassuring. That multifunction HP looked great but I do have a scanner, it would have been nice if the HP could scan negatives, which the sales rep says it won't do.
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Old Jan 1, 2004, 6:47 PM   #8
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I was looking at the Epsons manual for something and Saw that the R300 also supports Pict Bridge. It doesn't help me since my camera doesnt support it, but it does had P.I.M.
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Old Jan 2, 2004, 8:07 PM   #9
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I haven't seen this on HP's site, but considering that the source material is 2mp, which is around 1600x1200, the DPI probably doesn't make much of a difference when printing 4x6 or larger photos. What would make a big difference would be the paper and ink. Are you comparing the same photo on the same type of paper from the two printers?

KuoH

Quote:
Originally Posted by thickosaurus
In general I'm still concerned about losing quality when printing direct from cards on HP's, even if it may not be perceptible. (4800 x 1200 down to 1200 x 1200).
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Old Jan 4, 2004, 10:56 PM   #10
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The DPI would still make a difference when printing even a lower resolution image. Then you also have the factor of the ink drop size. Even with an image that is 1600x1200, the printer will more or less have to drop some image data to accomodate for the extra dots, and when you are talking a 2mp image, you want all the data that's there!

You also have to look into the future, as at some point you are going to want to upgrade your camera and 1200x1200 dpi photo printing with 4pl, 5pl and larger ink drops probably won't cut it for you.

Also, thickosaurus, this may seem like a dumb question, but your camera is set to the highest quality mode, correct? 1600x1200 resolution (Large) and Superfine compression? No matter which printer you get this will help no doubt!
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