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Old Jun 15, 2005, 6:01 PM   #1
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I have a DSC-P9, and for point and shoot stuff it seems great, and then output to Costoc digital prints, all cool, well I am trying to shoot headshots, I KNOW I KNOW - I should be using a better camera, but hey - my D20 is in the shop...anyway, NO MATTER what resolution I choose on the camera, when I open it in Photoshop for cropping and level adjustment, the image rez is always 72, and they are all printing like crap - is this 4 MegaPixel camer, a lamer or what???

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Old Jun 15, 2005, 6:50 PM   #2
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You might want to search this forum for DPI or 72, and you'll find my info and more. This is not an uncommon question.

How are the shots crap? Is your problem that the prints are coming out the wrong size, or something else?

DPI means nothing until you try to print. a 4MP camera is still a 4MP camera, even if the file says the image resolution is 72 or 200.

What does MP mean? mega-pixels. It stands for how many colored dots of data get generated by the camera. Do you see me say anything about prints or printing in that description? Nope! A 4MP camera has (roughly) 4 million pixels.

What does DPI mean? It literally translates to dots per inch. But is a "dot" a pixel? The answer is yes. But this subtle point is often missed by people, so this is why long-time people here like to refer to PPI (pixels per inch) because is it clearer.

DPI effects how large a print you make, and often how good it looks. A 1 DPI picture won't look nearly as good (at standard viewing distance) as a 200dpi version of the same picture.

What you need to do is change the dpi without resizing the picture. You can do this easily in photoshop, just open the image size menu item, uncheck all the boxes about resizing, and then change the resolution setting. This will chance the DPI. and make your prints smaller but sharper. Then save it and take it to Costco.

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Old Jun 15, 2005, 7:35 PM   #3
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OK - lemme be specific - I am taking a headshot - at any rez - let's say 2272 x 1704 = max rez on the DSC -P9 - and I am then taking into PShop 7.0 and opening it, and then I am cropping it, adjusting levels, and savig as a Grayscale image to then insert into a Word document for the purpose of printing and copying in B&W. The image looks great on screen, but when I print it, it looks terrible...Hitachi DDS 40 digital B&W laser, or the Tektronix Phaser 860N color laser - seems not to matter...it still looks bad. I am turning off Resample Image in Image Size area, bumping image to 300 DPI, and also trying it resized to the smaller dimensions needed for the document - neither way is producing a desired result.

So I guess my real question is more to do with the output from photoshop, and not the camera - so if you have 4MP to work with, what's the highest output I can have, reasonably, to a printer?
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Old Jun 16, 2005, 3:33 AM   #4
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You ask " whats the highest output I can have to a printer".

Checkout the search & info eric explains.

The available output is the camera image pixels. Cropping an image as you did will reduce the pixels & hence the output.

Note what eric said, that DPI means nothing until you try to print. Camera images are not concerned with 'inches', but when it comes to printing, with edit/printing software, DPI becomes important. e.g. your 4MP images before cropping are about 2200 pixels wide. Selecting a print size of 10" wide, results in a 220dpi print. If you chose a 6 x 4" print the DPI would be about 360dpi. And so you see the DPI is a variable that will change depending on the print size desired.

Conversely changing the DPI in software, will change the print size. Just do the maths. Image pixel width / print inch width = DPI.

The camera 'output' you ask about, will remain the same, but the print quality will vary greatly depending on the print size & the amount of cropping or file compression.
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Old Jun 16, 2005, 4:57 AM   #5
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Before you crop the dimensions you mention should easily print to 11x8 inches. So unless you are resampling the image down or cropping a very small part of the image the resolution is not the issue.

In general I wouldn't say that laser printers are the best for printing pictures but I have no experience of the two printers you mention. Have you checked the driver settings? Are there photo options on the print driver or halftone options?

Another possible problem could be your monitor settings. If for expample the monitor gamma is set so that the screen is too bright then to make the picture look right on the monitor you are using the levels to make the picture darker. So when you look at it on the monitor it looks fine but then the print will be very dark. The opposite is of course also possible.

You say the print looks terrible but you don't give any information on what the problem actually is. So is it too dark, too light, too little contrast, too much contrast, too pixellated or something else?
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Old Jun 16, 2005, 11:51 AM   #6
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The fact that Photoshop includes a "dpi" box in their resize window or with their crop tool has done more to confusebeginners and intermediate users than it's ever done them good.

Take a picture file directly with full resoultion exactly as it came out of your camera. Don't do a thing with it in Photoshop! Go into a blank MS Word document. Choose INSERT, PICTURE, FROM FILE. Select that picture file. Click on the picture when it appears to select it. Drag the corner of the pic in order to resize it on your page so that it fits within your margins (Word might have already done that for you automatically). With the picture selected, use Word's picture toolbar to convert to greyscale if you'd like, or not- doesn't matter. Print it out on your laser printers. It looks pretty good, doesn't it?Your next step is to learn how to do your editing and cropping in PS while also maintaining maximum resolution.

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Old Jun 23, 2005, 10:36 AM   #7
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Dunno if this is what you want but here goes (I assume your problem is with the print output "...and they are all printing like crap ..." ) :

In Photoshop, after you have opened the image, go to Image>Image Size

The Image Size box will pop up. Look way down there and you will see 2 little check boxes.

UNCHECK the box that says Resample Image.

When you do that you will see that the Document Size all chain-linked.

THEN replace 72 with 300 and you will get the actual image size that 300dpi will yeild.

If you doNOT uncheck that box, your image dimension remains unchanged

hope it helps

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