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best vs maximum dpi

Sanford Edelstein , May 06, 2008; 10:36 a.m.

Can anyone see the difference between "best" and "maximum dpi" on an HP Photosmart printer?


TM Cleland , May 06, 2008; 11:32 a.m.

On my 7160, it specs the best setting at 1200 x 1200 with the Max being 4800 x 1200. In the real world, even with my 3200 DPI 645 film scans, the "best" setting works...well...best. In addition to blasting through my ink cartridges at a VERY expensive rate, Max DPI dries funny. If there are different densities in the image (say dark trees against light sky), the print has (for lack of a better word) a texture to it, while the best setting is smoother (on Ilford Galerie Gloss, if that's helpful). Between the two settings, on film scans, there is some difference resolution wise, but only from about a "nose and a half" away. It's not enough to justify the heavy ink usage or the odd drying. With digital photos (10.1MP) I can't see a difference, probably because there simply isn't that much information to print.

Sanford Edelstein , May 06, 2008; 02:24 p.m.

Thanks, that is what I was hoping to here.

Nathan Wong , May 06, 2008; 02:39 p.m.

I have a HP B9180 and I definitely saw a difference between best and max-dpi. There was less dithering or dot patterns with max-dpi. Max-dpi on the HP printer I have is 1200dpi.

Sanford Edelstein , May 06, 2008; 02:55 p.m.

Now Nathan had to go and spoil it just when I had the answer I wanted! My Photosmart 8450 only makes 10 inch prints so I think I will be OK with "best" setting, I can't see any difference. BTW , this really is a trouble free, excellent printer compared to the Canon and two Epsons I owned previously, even if HP has refused to supply drivers for the newer Macs.

TM Cleland , May 06, 2008; 03:39 p.m.

Just be aware...

Heh! How long have you had it? My track record with HP has been sort of mixed; the quality and ease of use is hard to beat, but every HP product I've dealt with has gone squirrley after about 2 years....Photo printers, All-In-Ones all the way up to the 60" Wide DesignJets. Just beware.

But back to the original topic. Truthfully, if you can't see a difference, then you're probably just wasting ink. Having worked in printing in a commercial setting for years now, a good rule-of-thumb 300 DPI is where there stops being a significant difference. That said, these printers can lay down much finer particles of ink than 300 per inch, so in this case, the higher DPI is generally going to yeild you a smoother image, but most likely not a more detailed one. I don't know what the Max vs. Best is on your printer specifically, the difference between 600 and 1200 could conceivably be noticeable, which is where I would guess Nathan could see the difference. And when I compare 1200 to 4800 on mine, looking closely there is some noticeable dots, mostly in areas with fine gradation. In my case, it's simply the preference of small dots over a "puddled" look in dark areas of the print. At this resolution, preference is really the biggest factor anyway.

Think about it, an 8" x 10" @ 1200 DPI is a 115 Megapixel image. That would make Hasselblad blush!

Colin Southern , May 07, 2008; 12:14 a.m.

"but every HP product I've dealt with has gone squirrley after about 2 years...."

Wow ...

... you're doing better than most!

TM Cleland , May 07, 2008; 01:20 a.m.

He he! Notice I said "about."

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