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First day printing but quality turned to be "bad"

Discussion in 'Printing' started by alaios, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    Hi,
    is pretty hard to explain my problem precisely but at least I can try.

    Today I was excited: I found some nice pictures I got from my nex camera of the baby room (unborn) and I got to the neighborhood's closest printing point. That was a kodak station (for the Germans in the forum, Kodak station inside DM stores), the ones that you plug your usb you select the print size and "boom" images are getting print.

    My initial excitement dissapeared. The image quality I was seeing on my camera did not show up in the print outs. I am not sure what can be explain that : Few keywords that were at my mind at that time
    a. bad printing quality (a.k.a it's not my mistake)
    b. different color palletes between camera-pc and the printing system. Have I done a mistake? Why should I care about that?

    Then I though ok I will scan these printouts with my color scanner at home and upload those too to allow you to see what I am talking about. Before seeing the images I should describe also what I see at the print outs. There is too much noise too shadowed areas that appear nice on my screen. Also I find that shadow, dark hues, color hues do not appear correctly. This is nicely seen on my pc screen where the color change nicely from the one to the other.

    What I see on my computer screen, after a small resize and reducing jpeg quality to be uploadable here
    [​IMG]

    The Image after the scanner
    [​IMG]

    What I see on my computer screen, after a small resize and reducing jpeg quality to be uploadable here
    [​IMG]

    The Image after the scanner.
    [​IMG]



    So ladies and gentleman what I am doing wrong here?
    Any chance things can improve ?

    R.
    A.
    P.S The images coming from the scanner are larger, but I think that allows to see better the problem I am trying to describe. Let me know if you want those to be converted to the same size
     
  2. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Alex, you will never be able to get exactly the same colors in a print that you see on your screen. It's simply the difference between reflected light from a print and projected light from a monitor. You can get closer than those prints, but to do so you have to have a calibrated color workflow from camera to monitor to printer. Your neighborhood print station is simply not going to get you there.

    So you're not doing anything wrong. But if you want to improve your prints, the best first step to take is to find a better source than your print station. But getting accurate colors from camera to printer is a black art, and I can't begin to explain the finer details, because I don't understand most of them myself. I have a calibrated monitor and printer combo here in my office, and I still only get "good enough for me" prints. I'm sure any decent fine art printer would be horrified at what I consider "acceptable."
     
  3. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Actually the print looks nicer to me than what you show us as the appearance on your monitor; simulation of your viewing experience is almost impossible. First thing to do here is to calibrate your monitor, there's really no getting around that if you start getting dissatisfied with prints or getting anything like finicky about colours. If you only have one monitor, go for something like a Spyder Express. I have used various print shops, also cheap ones, but I was never dissatisfied with colour balance and brightness. You'll be surprised what a difference calibration will make, especially on a cheaper monitor. After calibration there's a fair chance that the prints match your monitor images much closer.
     
  4. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Nothing wrong with those prints. It appears that the computer at the print station improved shadows and saturation, and as it might downsize the images before applying these algorithms, it may be a better idea to get your images print ready before you bring them to the printer. Colors also seem okay on my screen.
     
  5. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    There are several issues with making and viewing prints. Your expectations may not match the reality of actually viewing the prints. Beyond the points raised by others, you need to determine the proper resolution of the print and the viewing distance for the size of the print.

    This site may help.
     
  6. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    Thanks a lot for the answers. Let's keep this nice discussion going on.
    1. Yes I think that it the printer station has increased the saturation of the colors, which gives a bit of fake "results" to the bed at last page.
    2. I have got really good results on my personal printer. This is a HP C309g printer. I have thought to try the neighborhood as I thought it might be cheaper. The ink cartridges with 85 pages cost 20 euros so I guess that the cartridges should be "enough" for 50-60 pages. I might give it a try.
    3. I might also search for some European printing web site to see what I get from there.
    4. I have to admit that the calibration is something that I do not understand and I will have to try it this evening.
     
  7. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    Calibrating your monitor isn't easy to do.:
    Monitor Calibration for Photography

    I have some fillable ink cartridges in mail. I try to make few printouts with them and compare them to professionally made prints but this will take time as I will get something like 20 prints with the original cartridges.
     
  8. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2013
    Düsseldorf
    Alex
    Hi,
    I have just subscribed to snapfish.de and when I was ordering images I had unselected the option "Auto fix my images" (that was adjusting contrast/brightness e.t.c). I guess that what the print station I visited yesterday did.
    I wanted to ask though if you know more online web sites that have also this type of more "advanced" options so to get the results I want to.
    Any recommendations?