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Old Nov 8, 2004, 2:51 AM   #1
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Hi there, I had a quick question. I have had all sorts of digicams from the canon s230 to the nikon coolpix 5000. I have always been slightly disappointed with printouts from these cameras. I have an old photo printer (hp 1215) so I usually went to a store or ordered from ofoto. They just don't look as bright or vibrant as photos printed out from a normal disposible camera. Is this normal? Is it just me?

I am thinking about finally upgreading to the D70 and the Canon i9900. And I know that just having that amazing camera won't automatically give me great photos but it helps. =) In short, will I/or should I, get professional clean, crisp colorful results from printing at home or even sending them off?
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Old Nov 8, 2004, 10:59 AM   #2
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Well... It sounds like something is going wrong in your process somewhere to me.

Althoughnegative film still has some advantages over digital (for example, greater dynamic range), if you're getting consistently bad results from digital, you're probably doing something wrong.

I've gotten lots of prints from Digital that rival 35mm (and many are even better). I doubt that most users could tell whether a digital or a film camera was used for many of them. Are you post processing your photos at all (contrast, saturation, brightness, etc.)? Have you downsized them in any way?

Do they look OK onscreen, but not printed? As a general rule, I've found that photos from most digicams I've owned look evenbetter when printed (on good quality paper).

BTW, I've got your printer (HP Photosmart 1215). The HP Photosmart 1215 is a little "finnicky" on settings and paper (most inkjets are pretty finnicky on paper, and prefer paper from their respective manufacturers). I've found that on mostphoto paper (I use Kodak and genericpapers a lot in mine), you need to tweak the Ink Volume down a little bit, and the brightness up a little bit under the Advanced Tab. I get the best results in Normal quality mode with this printer, too.

What kind of paper are you using? You may want to stick with HP Premium Photo Papers so that you don't have to worry about tweaking the printer as much with your HP. From what I've read, the Canons are also pretty finnicky on paper (so you may want to stick with Canon paper if you go that route). My wife has a Canon, and she sticks with Canon Photo papers with hers. There can be a HUGE difference between paper.

Some users go to the trouble of profiling for specific paper types, etc. (but I haven't found this to be necessary -- provided my images look fine on screen, and I'm sending the full resolution images to the printer). Do yours look fine onscreen, but not printed (this could be indicative of a process or camera settingsproblem, or miscalibrated printer or monitor, etc.).

As for printing services, they vary quite a bit. It's not unusual to see complaints about prints looking too dark, etc.

Forum Member RyanH did a comparision of photo printing services a while back. He ended up selecting Winkflash as his choice (you'll see this post on it further down in the thread, after his comments on some of the other printing services):

RyanH wrote:
Quote:
I just got my pics from WinkFlash.com and they are great. The colors are great and the paper is Fuji Crystal Archive. I ordered some glossy and some matte. All great quality. I also tried out their "border" option on a matte print and it looks very nice.
Here is the thread with his results:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...amp;forum_id=2

Here is their site:

http://www.winkflash.com

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Old Nov 8, 2004, 2:51 PM   #3
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Wow, Jim, thanks alot! Really apprecaite all the time you put into that response.

I do usually do some post processing (photoshop CS) with the basics (levels, saturation, etc) and they eventually do look pretty good on screen. It's just when I print them out it doesn't look great. I will check out some different paper and that "normal" setting.

All in all, I guess it should make me happy to know that my 1215 should print out great photos. Though, it's scary to think that I could get a D70 and the i9900 and still not get amazing results due to me being an idiot. =)
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Old Nov 8, 2004, 3:29 PM   #4
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You may also want to make sure that you're not accidently changing some parameter in PS CS that's impacting your print quality, too.

I print most of my photos from Epson Film Factory, or from the HP Photo Printing Software that came with the Photosmart 1215 (I like the templates that let you print multiple photos at different sizes on the same page).

Unfortunately, I can't find the CD that came with my HP 1215, and I recently upgraded to a new PC.I downloaded thesoftware and drivers from HP's web site, but it's a newer version that I don't like as much as theoriginal HPPhoto Printing application that shipped with the printer (and the templates have changed quite a bit, too).

So, I'll probably try to copy the original one from my old hard disk drive (hopefully, it will work without too much trouble). ;-)


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Old Nov 8, 2004, 9:30 PM   #5
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Something you should seriously consider is that your monitor is way out of whack. It might look good on your monitor, but that doesn't mean what you see there will match what you get from the printer.

To that end, you should get a device which will create a profile of your monitor. They vary in price and quality. Some recommend a Spyder, others hate it. Personally, I have the Monaco Optix XR and like it a lot. I was having problems with my pictures coming out too dark until I got it and it showed me that it wasn't my printer (and old Epson Photo Stylus 700) but was my monitor that was set too dark.

With my camera (Canon 10D) I get great pictures out of my old printer that people have trouble telling from film. With a reasonable camera & printer you should be able to get good results... as long as you don't try to print too big (but that is a different problem/issue.)

Eric
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Old Nov 8, 2004, 9:51 PM   #6
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Thanks everybody...I have a fairly good monitor but I should try and calibrate it. Though, it the colors just don't look as vibrant when I print. Oh well. =)

I will keep testing, thanks everybody!
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