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Author Topic: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub  (Read 14343 times)

eninja

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Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub
« on: January 04, 2015, 11:46:57 PM »
Hi, I would like to learn to do photo printing the right way.
I went to a photobook service. I gave them the softcopy photos, but when I received the photobook.
The color of photos got tint on them like I use wrong white balance.

I want to try to print myself from scratch and learn from it.

1. What printer should I get, relatively cheap and for personal use?
2. What are the things I should consider/needed, hardware and software wise?
        - I have read about monitor profile, but never take a look into it
        - I have read about X-rite i1 display, but I don't know how it relate to printing

Appreciate your inputs and experience.
Thanks.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 09:03:43 PM by eninja »
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Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub
« on: January 04, 2015, 11:46:57 PM »

Famateur

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2015, 12:46:11 AM »
You're on the right track. As you've discovered, printing is all about color management. I like to think of it in two main stages: Creating the image, and printing the image.

Creating the Image

1. Start by shooting RAW.
2. Then use a quality monitor, preferably with an IPS panel to reduce/eliminate color shifts with viewing angle.
3. Calibrate your monitor with a tool like the X-Rite i1 Display Pro, ColorMunki or the Spyder equivalent.
4. Use a good post-processing program like Adobe Lightroom, Capture One, etc, to produce the final image.

Printing the Image

Send your image to your favorite lab or printing service, or...

...print your own images with your own printer. There are a couple of recent threads on this topic here on Canon Rumors. Printing can be challenging and rewarding. For some, it's cost prohibitive, for others (like me), it's worth the cost and can be less expensive if you take advantage of deals when they pop-up.

If you're wanting to print, you'll need to research the printers that are out there and choose the one that suits your needs best. Once you have the printer, be sure to print with quality paper and use an ICC profile specifically for that printer/paper combination. Either let the printer driver handle all the color correction, or let the program you're printing from (e.g. Lightroom) handle it all, but not both at the same time.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

1. Your monitor projects the image with light directly to your eyes. The printed photo reflects light from it. Brightness will differ, whites will differ, depending on paper selection, ambient light, et cetera. You won't get an image that looks just like the screen. That said, with decent color management, you should get something that matches color, white balance and contrast pretty well.

2. Color management is not an exact process. Every display, printer, paper, ink will differ in the colors they can each produce. It's easy to get sucked into a black hole of trying to make everything perfect. It won't be. But with reasonable effort, you should be able to produce pleasing results.

What I use:

1. Canon 70D, shooting RAW.
2. Dell Ultrasharp IPS monitor
3. Process in Adobe Lightroom.
4. Lightroom handles all color correction for printing.
5. Printer is a Canon PIXMA Pro-100 (pretty much free when the right rebate is available).
6. Canon and Red River papers, using Canon and Red River ICC profiles for each paper.

I've been able to produce results that make me do the happy dance. It's got me wanting to start doing my own mats, then my own frames, then wanting a 24" wide format printer. It's a slippery slope, so be warned.  :P

To sum up, you must at least do color-managed creation. For printing, you can always send your work out to a lab or printing service.

Good luck!

agierke

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2015, 12:57:09 AM »
calibrating your monitor will only get you so far. if you really want to have full control over your colors when printing you should also get something that will build profiles for the papers you will be printing on.

i use the ColorMunki to both calibrate my screen and build profiles for a handful of different Hahnemuhle papers i use. i print on an Epson R2880. the results are pretty good though i have to admit that i don't keep my screen and paper profiles up to date as much as i should. there may be more robust and accurate hardware out there but this combo is sufficient for my tastes.

one thing you have to remember is that you will never get exactly matching results. you are essentially translating the look of one medium (back illuminated screen) to another medium (photo paper). because light is acting differently on the two mediums means that density, contrast, and color will change between the two. the goal is to minimize that change as much as possible. to add an additional variable...once printed, an image will perceptually change color as you move the print to different lighting conditions.

i still maintain that color management is the absolute most frustrating exercise in all of photography. it is bad enough to just try to maintain consistent color from screen to print but factor in the fickle nature of desktop inkjet printing and you enter a mind numbing world of frustration. i cant express to you the expletive filled rages that i would go into trying to get the perfect results from desktop printing, but my wife learned to stay way clear of me when i was attempting to do so...

in the end i abandoned my pursuit of "perfect" colors and settled on "close enough"....simply to save my sanity. i also added the services of WHCC when i needed quick client prints as i found their results to be quite good with little fuss on my end.
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eninja

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? inkjet vs dye sub
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2015, 09:03:21 PM »
Thanks guys for the inputs, a lot of infos to get start on.

I think the most expensive part of this system is the printer.

If I will get a printer now, I plan to use it once in a while.

I have a bad views or impression on inkjet printer.
10 years ago, I own one, and there are few reasons why I hate inkjet,
 
    1. it eats up ink, - i need to warm them up before they start,
    2. nozzle can get problem,
    3. paper try is open, so dust can accumulate,
    4. ink can get dry and cause problem
    5. to much moving parts that my previous computer table is vibrating
 
Is it really best to get inkjet? pixma pro to be specific? using it like once in a month.

Or should I just get dye sub instead?
Does Dye sub dont have this problem? I may just get dry sub, cheaper cartridge.

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lescrane

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2015, 11:10:14 PM »
any epson or canon photo printer will get you good results if you set up your workflow correctly as the previous posters mentioned. you don't need to spend a lot for 8x10 (a4) printer.  Prints will last a long time compared to what you used 10 years ago.

The problem that you hint at is that if you are not using the inkjet printer often, you will get ink clogs.  You waste ink cleaning the heads.  Honestly, it is cheaper to just order prints online, but of course you don't have control of the print.  if you calibrate your monitor, use the right profiles in your files  and use a good online printing service that is in sync with your workflow you can get very good matches.

Dye sub? I don't even know who makes them for home use these days.  Most are for small prints I think.

Personally, I print all my own paper photos with either Epson or Canon printers, but if I am doing any special surface, I order prints online. 

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? inkjet vs dye sub
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2015, 12:56:30 AM »
Thanks guys for the inputs, a lot of infos to get start on.

I think the most expensive part of this system is the printer.

If I will get a printer now, I plan to use it once in a while.

I have a bad views or impression on inkjet printer.
10 years ago, I own one, and there are few reasons why I hate inkjet,
 
    1. it eats up ink, - i need to warm them up before they start,
    2. nozzle can get problem,
    3. paper try is open, so dust can accumulate,
    4. ink can get dry and cause problem
    5. to much moving parts that my previous computer table is vibrating
 
Is it really best to get inkjet? pixma pro to be specific? using it like once in a month.

Or should I just get dye sub instead?
Does Dye sub dont have this problem? I may just get dry sub, cheaper cartridge.

 
 
First get a monitor calibration.  You can never match colors if your monitor is not calibrated. You can adjust the colors and brightness on your monitor so they look beautiful, but if its not calibrated, its a hopeless case.  Both the color and the room lighting affect monitor calibration, its best to use dim room lighting.
 
Dye Sub is expensive, much more ink is wasted than ink jet.  The special paper is expensive, and you need ink ribbons to match the paper size.  Most of the dye sub printers print very small prints, usually 4 X6 more or less, and the cost of printing a photo book will be very high.  They are popular for photo booth operations, where finished prints can be produced on the spot, like a 5 X 7 print of a child with Santa.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dye-sublimation_printer
 
You can't afford the technology that professional print shops use. 
 
http://www.noritsu.com/noritsu-qss-green-inkjet-photo-printer.html
 
I'd suggest that you stop right there, forget the printer and work on getting professional prints to match your monitor.  They take care of compensating for different papers. For photo books, its the only way to go.
 
If you just want to learn to match colors from a properly calibrated monitor to a printer, and use various specialty papers, its ink jet all the way. there are a lot of new Professional quality Canon Printers available on craigslist being sold for $300.  They came with rebate deals.   Get one with pigment inks like the pixma pro 10.
 
http://kpr.craigslist.org/ele/4828047698.html

eninja

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2015, 03:20:12 AM »
Hi Mt Spokane,

Thank you for your advise. Ok, I will start by calibrating my monitor
and buy consumer grade printer and work up and learn from there before I get those expensive inkjet. I will forget dye sub for the mean time.

What is the main difference of cheap vs expensive inkjet? pixma ip series and pixma pro?
Paper they can handle? Color Only?
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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2015, 03:20:12 AM »

agierke

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2015, 11:39:26 AM »
Quote
What is the main difference of cheap vs expensive inkjet? pixma ip series and pixma pro?
Paper they can handle? Color Only?

the differences in inkjet printers will include the number of inks it uses, what the ink set is comprised of (does it have multiple greys for better B&W printing), the size and thickness of paper it will accept, the resolution of the printer (most have good resolution these days) and the speed at which it can print, among other differences.

i upgraded from an epson r1800 to an epson r2880 an couple of years ago for the additional inks, the improved archival quality of those inks, and above all the ability to print on thicker stock fine art paper. i like using Hahnemuhle papers with higher GSMs and these would often get stuck in the feeder of the r1800. hence the r2880 was a good solution for me at the time.

you need to identify what printing parameters you need and then select the printer that will allow for those parameters. i use B&Hs website to view specs for different products to quickly determine if the specs i need are being met by an item i might purchase.
5D3, 5D2, 5DC, s15mm Fish, 24mm TSE, 35mm F1.4L, 50mm F1.2L, 85mm F1.8, 100mm F2.8L, 24-70mm F2.8L, 70-200mm F2.8L, 580EX, 580EX2, 600EXRT

iaind

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2015, 03:18:59 PM »
Dye sub postcard printers are great if you need an instant image especially on site
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tculotta

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2015, 03:54:33 PM »
Here is a good guide to help:
 http://robertrodriguezjr.com/digital-fine-art-printing-book

It is a good primer on the considerations. Better yet, attend his class (although you need to be in NY, north of the city to do that!)

eninja

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2015, 04:48:05 AM »
Thanks for the share. I'll surely buy this e-book.
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chauncey

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2015, 07:16:34 AM »
IMHO the term fuggettabodit comes to mind...a printer is the last step in the photographic process.
After...you have everything else down pat.  It is not cost effective for the occasional print.
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Printerstuff

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2018, 03:32:49 AM »
DIY sublimation printer is good for your home and office work. Brand New Epson C88+ Sublimation Printer is best DIY sublimation printer. It gives you perfect and robust quality with rich color and quick drying functionality compared to other costly DIY printers.

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2018, 03:32:49 AM »

LDS

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2018, 06:07:41 AM »
1. What printer should I get, relatively cheap and for personal use?

For home "pro" photo printing, there are no real alternatives to inkjet printers.

I'd get an entry level true "photo printer", from Canon or Epson, something at least of the class of the Pixma Pro 100 (or Epson equivalent, probably the P400). They can yield good result both in color and B/W (usually they use about 8 inks), and it's easy enough to find pre-made profiles for most photo papers, and their drivers are designed to support color management and photo printing. These printers usually support A3/A3+, and thereby are not small, and can be heavy. The momentum of their printer heads can be quite high, and they can shake light tables easily. Also, they are not suitable for generic printing - the inks are too expensive for that.

More consumer-oriented and generic printers may still deliver good enough results (it depends on what you expect), and may cheaper to buy and run (less inks), but are inferior to the above ones, and be less versatile in paper support. Also, some of these printers driver may not offer the proper color management features to get the desired results. For example, to print form Lightroom or Photoshop and use their internal color engine, the driver must allow for disabling the printer or OS color management. I had HP printers which didn't allow that.

2. What are the things I should consider/needed, hardware and software wise?
        - I have read about monitor profile, but never take a look into it
        - I have read about X-rite i1 display, but I don't know how it relate to printing

You'll need, beyond the printer:

1) A hardware tool (and software) to calibrate and profile the monitor. Printing without a proper calibrated monitor won't deliver consistent good results. The larger the monitor color space the better, but good results can be achieved even with sRGB monitors, especially when the prints are not very demanding. Most consumer monitors are anyway set to be too blue (higher color temperatures) and bright for proper prints. That could be one the reasons your prints were not as expected.

2) A hardware tool (and software) to profile each printer/inks/paper combination, if pre-made available profiles are not good enough. There are tool that can calibrate both screens and printers.

3) A printing software that allows for fully color managed printing, and soft-proofing. Soft-proofing is a way to simulate on screen, using paper profiles and as much as possible because of the different media, how the print will look.
Automatic color management can do a lot, but because of media limitations (i.e. contrast), a print may need specific tweaking to obtain the best result. Because of that, it's better to print from RAW (or 16bit TIFF) files.
Printing also needs specific resampling and sharpening ("output sharpening"), there are software/tools that can apply it automatically, or it can be made manually. Optional features may be print layout and adding text, etc.

Lightroom, for example, offers good printing capabilities. It has a simple to use soft-proofing feature, and automates the print output resampling and sharpening needs. Photoshop requires more manual work, although there are plug-ins (i.e. Nik Collection) that can automate it. Both are, of course, fully color managed.

You'll need to learn a bit about how color management works, and how you need to use it to ensure colors don't change as it happened to your photos. While the theory and implementation can be complex, its use is not.

Be aware anyway that printing is not cheap, and require to acquire some skills and experience. Inks and papers - especially really good ones - have a cost. Especially in the beginning, inks and papers will be wasted due to mistakes - following a good book or a course is a way to minimize them, trial & error will be more expensive.

You can find some interesting tutorials and printer reviews at http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/photography-articles-and-reviews/printing-paper-reviews-articles/

The real reasons for self printing are total control over the result, and the personal satisfaction to achieve it, despite the costs and time spent to achieve them.

Otherwise, looking for a better lab it's the way to go. You'll still have to calibrate the monitor, though, so you can start from there, and see if you really wish to print yourself or not.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 06:58:02 AM by LDS »

LDS

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2018, 06:34:17 AM »
DIY sublimation printer is good for your home and office work. Brand New Epson C88+ Sublimation Printer is best DIY sublimation printer.

It's a third-party modified Epson printer mostly used for transfer printing on T-shirts, mugs, etc. Not what you'd look for for quality photo printing on photo or fine art papers.

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Re: Printing Photo: Where Do I Start? Inkjet vs Dye sub
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2018, 06:34:17 AM »