Steve's Digicams Forums

Steve's Digicams Forums (
-   General Discussion (
-   -   Printing from a computer vs. printing directly from the card (

fuzzyprint Oct 29, 2005 9:43 PM

Hi resolution pictures downloaded to my computer and then printed are somewhat pixelated. If I print directly off the card, the image is excellent with no pixelation. A footnote in the printer specs says up to 4800 x 1200, and 1200x1200 when printing from a computer.

What good are software programs to blow up, crop, etc. if going through the computer produces a poor quality print? Printing directly from the card requires multiple proof sheets with thumbnails - what a waste!

Am I missing something , and what is the solution?

core Oct 29, 2005 10:25 PM

What camera, what printer, what computer (PC/Mac)?

hgernhardtjr Oct 30, 2005 12:26 AM

The dpicould depend on several factors including printer manufacturer and model, drivers, type of computer need to mention that information to get a good answer. I would tend to believe, however,that you may have mis-read about the dpi, especially if it is a somewhat recent printer (say under2 years of age).

With the exception of quick, middle-of-a-long-trip when I need some proofs using an HP 245, I always print through the computer both due to the waste you mention and the inability to control photographic parameters ...and have not been fully satisfied with PictBridge.

Moreover,I have found thatdirect prints, while acceptable to the casual photographer to share among family,are rarely of the same high quality, brilliance, and vibrancyas those printed after using computer software such as PhotoShop, or even using the printer manufacturer's software with no pre-editing.

There are several outstanding photo editing programs out there with PhotoShop CS2 arguably being the Big Daddy of them all (expensive); good featured, fairly cheap,and fairly easy to use programs such as PSP X;and free and share ware programs (with some, such as the Gimp being about as good as PhotoShop). Like any tools, many have steep learning curves.

If printing withyour photo editor is daunting to you (as CS2 printing is to some), simply save your efforts as a JPG and then print using your printer's software (e.g., EasyPhoto, HP PhotoPrint), or the outstanding Qimage.

If your images are poor off the computer as you state, but not when direct-printed, I would suggest reinstalling your printer's software and/or driver as well as checking all connections.

But FIRST,have you set the printer driver to HIGH resolution (or BEST, depending on the software) in your control panel / printer setup? Many of my students neglect that little task, assuming the manufacturer's default would be the highest quality, when in fact the default settings are often set to medium to increase speed and save a bit of ink. Once they sethigh qualitypermanently, they are highly satisfied with the results.

fuzzyprint Oct 30, 2005 11:43 AM

My camera is a Minolta Z 2 , The printer is a HP 2175 I bought 2 years ago , and the computer is a Sony Vaio 233 Pentium 2.

The picture is clear as a bell on the monitor screen, but things with straight lines are most obvious like battens on a sail or a mast due to this pixelation when printed from the computer.

I did set my printer options to Best, chose the photo paper options, and in the High Resolution Box chose both Photo REt and 4800x 1200 optimized dpi getting the same poor results with either choice.

I spoke with several "camera buffs" and the consensus was my camera was not right, so I sent it to minolta. After I got it back, I still had pixelated prints. That's when I printed directly off the card and discovered the photos were fine without the pixelation.

I'm hesitant to go off on another tangent and blame the printer or the computer before being absolutely sure of the problem.

Is 1200 x 1200 a high enough resolution? Why would HP put this footnote in the specs page in "best mode " (up to 4800 x 1200 optimized dpi color printing on premium photo papers and 1200 x 1200 input dpi when printing from a computer) ? It didn't say "my" computer so what is the reason for less resolution from("a"computer)?

Your comments would be greatly appreciated.

granthagen Oct 30, 2005 11:37 PM

What print resolution are you sending to your printer from the computer? For optimum print quality you should be giving the printer 240-300 ppi files. You shouldn't be getting trashy results at resolutions like that.

Effen Oct 31, 2005 4:38 AM

What are you using to 'blow up' your images? Sounds like you're zooming in on part of the picture, effectively reducing your resolution. The direct to printer built-in software may automatically interpolate removing much of the sense of pixelation. Your PC software may not have that function and/or you don't have it turned on.

Interpolation can remove much of the jagged appearance of pixelation, but ultimately doesn't add anymore detail.

If you blow up pictures in a fractional ratio, you don't usually get the best result. whole number multiples (2x, 3x, 4x, ...) work better with simple software.

fuzzyprint Oct 31, 2005 11:54 AM

My camera is set to fine, and the image size is 2272 x 1704 if that is what you are asking? Printer was set at BEST setting. If this is not what your asking, please explain what I need to check as I'm not a computer wiz.

I'm not blowing up a certain portion of the picture. If printed from the card, (an 8 x10 is as clear as can be with no pixelation). Any size print when printed via the computer will have this problem mentioned in my previous post.

Thank You

granthagen Nov 1, 2005 1:10 AM

fuzzyprint, you say that your camera is capturing images at 2272 x 1704, but maybe thats not what you're giving to your printer through your image editor.
Image files from some cameras open up in an editor at only around 72 ppi (pixels per square inch). This is too low a resolution to give you clean prints. I don't know what kind of editing software you are using, but there must be some feature that will tell you the resolution, expressed as ppi or dpi, of the current open document (the picture you are working with). If you can't find one, find a resizing function in your menu. That has to display this information since image resizing is all about the relationship between resolution and document size. You should be able to use your software to insure that the file you send to the printer is at a high enough resolution for a good quality print at the physical size you want to print at. You should be able to get a pretty good 8 x 10 at 200 ppi or even a bit higher.
I'm not saying that this is exactly what is going on in your case, but it helps to run through the relatively simple stuff first.

slipe Nov 1, 2005 5:51 AM

I think granthagen is on the right track. Whatever software you are printing from is lowering your resolution.

There is no common print size that is in the same proportion as the 4:3 image from your camera. When you crop to the proper proportions you have to be sure you aren't doing a resample to the default resolution of your camera. When you print directly from the card you automatically crop the edges to get the proper proportions without losing any pixels other than those cropped off. One of the reasons to print from software is to be able to make your own crop decisions rather than let software do it for you.

Try this freeware for cropping your images: It will discard only the pixels you crop off. Try cropping an 8 X 10 and printing from the software.

As a general rule, make sure "Resample" is unchecked when you mess with the image size unless you actually want to reduce the size for posting or increase the PPI with a resample. With the largest 8 X 10 crop you can get from an image from your camera you should end up with over 200 PPI, which gives a very nice print. Printer DPI isn't the same as PPI. The printer makes a lot of dots to produce a pixel.

Check to see if you have the choice of 4800 X 1200 or RET printing from software if you select HP Premium glossy photo paper first. You are likely restricted to 1200 X 1200 for B&W and I think RET is 1200 X 1200. As I understand it, RET mixes colors for some dots and uses a lower resolution. With my old HP I couldn't see much difference between RET and 1200 X 4800, but the print job spooled a lot faster with RET. Even if you are restricted to RET and 1200 X 1200 printing from the computer you shouldn't see much difference between those and 4800 X 1200 printing from the card. With both choices available I almost always printed RET with my HP.

Make sure you have the latest driver software installed: If you have XP it will install the printer without the software, but you have more choices with the software installed when you go to properties.

fuzzyprint Nov 2, 2005 5:39 PM


Grant you were right on the mark. The magic words, "image editor". I clicked this and then resize in my HP Photo & Imaging and the resolution was indeed 72 DPI as you said. The Konica Dimage software also lists resolution as Xand Yat 72 . I changed it to 200 in HP Photo and Imaging and the pixelation disappeared on a print approx. 5x7 . Which leads to my next question.

I was going to my pictures, rotating my photos 90 degrees and printing from the file toolbar, which produced my 8 x 10 slightly pixelated prints. Why was I doing this? I simply missed the resolution default and couldn't understand how to get the right size 8x10 print using my HP image software. That said, I still don't know how to produce an 8x10, unless I print off the card.

All the photos specs are 72 DPI and height: 31.56 (inches), width: 23.67 in HP imaging. What is this measuring ? and what numbers corelate to an 8x10, 5x7, etc? This is printing 101 but my help section didn't spell it out, and well.this is obviously not my forte.

Thanks also to Slipe for the download sites and explanation, as well as hgernhardtjr.

A lot of wasted time, money, poor advice, and frustration could have been avoided had I dialed into this website sooner. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks for offering and participating in this forum.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 7:57 PM.