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Why are prints so dark? HP Photosmart C5180 printer

Michael Willems , Jan 27, 2007; 11:03 a.m.

Look at this image as an example. I look at it on my color-corrected monitor and I see plenty of detail in the dark areas:

Jason driving my Land Rover this morning

When I print it on my HP photo printer, I get the dark areas without ANY detail at all. I am printing on photo plus - whatever they call it, the most expensive paper. The camera capture on a Canon 5D is in sRGB. I have only used DPP (Canonn Digital Photo Professional) to open and crop - no other manipulation. Annd yes, all set to sRGB.

Help! :-)

Michael

Responses


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Michael Willems , Jan 27, 2007; 11:44 a.m.

I actually asked HP online. Their only advice was:

"Shaw: Michael, You have to move the pictures to photosmart essential and edit the pictures and then print."

Yeah right. Another element to my workflow. I don't think so...

John Kelly , Jan 27, 2007; 03:11 p.m.

Clue: Your monitor is just an aid, its price and adjustment has almost nothing to do with the printing process. The expense of the paper is entirely irrelevant, there's plenty of cheap stuff that's better than anything from HP (or Epson). Your original remains a poorly lit/exposed shot...that's not HP's fault. Adjust it in post processing.

Michael Willems , Jan 27, 2007; 03:39 p.m.

John

Thanks for the compliment. I do not think it is poorly lit or exposed - matter of opinion.

What is not a matter of opinion is that my problem is the printer. I just had the printer properly printed at Black's photo - no adjustments - and it looks fine, just like on my (spider-adjusted!) LCD screen.

The adjustments you make to a screen make it more than just an aide.

Michael Willems , Jan 27, 2007; 03:46 p.m.

Sorry, I mean, I just had the PICTURE properly printed at Black's photo.

John Kelly , Jan 27, 2007; 05:21 p.m.

I agree, it's just my opinion. You're happy with someone else's rendition of it, that's all that matters. Your own resistance to learning is HP's fault, right. Forget what people at HP say, it's their fault that you lit the image badly and it's silly of them to ask you to develop personal skills. It's your image, your mother loves it, and other people's responses ("opinions") are irrelevant.

Michael Willems , Jan 27, 2007; 05:59 p.m.

I agree, it's just my opinion. You're happy with someone else's rendition of it, that's all that matters. Your own resistance to learning is HP's fault, right. Forget what people at HP say, it's their fault that you lit the image badly and it's silly of them to ask you to develop personal skills. It's your image, your mother loves it, and other people's responses ("opinions") are irrelevant.

John, That is a disappointing reaction. Usually, on this forum, people write and respond in good faith, and are professional, polite, and helpful, not unhelpful, rude and insulting. That is what sets this forum apart: in all my time on this forum, yours is the first rude reaction I have had. Very disappointing.

For the benefit of the majority of us who want to help:

If I use the right method, I would expect one fairly simple and consistent path from sensor to printout. If I shoot RAW, use DPP without any adjustments, set everything to sRGB and then use DPP to print, why does the print lose all the detail (literally) in the dark areas, and print 1-2 stops below what I see on sensor and PC? If the reason is "HP printers need special HP software to print", then that printer is just not very useful in my workflow. I work from RAW and most of my images never get written to PSD or JPG.

This printing issue has little to do with my image or with my "resistance to learning". If I see plenty of detail on the LCD and on the PC, and the histogram looks good, then surely I should see that detail on a good printer. And indeed, the Blacks print looks just fine - just like the LCD image and the image on the PC. I can only conclude that the HP printer with its standard HP drivers for XP is just not able to print properly. We are not talking subtle "sRGB vs Adobe"; we are talking total loss of all detail in the dark areas here.

Now, it is possible that the HP printer works better with that HP software inserted into the workflow. I would find that odd (that is what a driver is for! And the other advice HP gave me on the phone was wrong as well, such as "turn the COPY MENU brightness up" - that only works for copying and indeed did not affect printing!), but it's not impossible. Does anyone have that HP software, and if you save the raw as a JPG and then open that with the HP software and print from there, does it make a difference? (I cannot try: I do not have that software and HP's help did not extend to giving me a copy :)

Michael

Don E , Jan 27, 2007; 06:15 p.m.

Michael,

Do you have this problem printing other files to your printer, or is it just this one?

--

Don E

Michael Willems , Jan 27, 2007; 06:23 p.m.

Don,

This HP printer prints all images somewhat dark, so it is not just this one. (But in other images, the effect is usually quite bearable, while in this instance it renders the print quite useless.)

Michael

Michael Willems , Jan 27, 2007; 06:25 p.m.

..and I should add, I shoot quite a lot of high-key images, and not that many low-key images. That is probably one reason I have not really had reason to complain before.

Michael


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