Photo print quality & speed
The dpnow ink-jet photo printer test procedure has been revised. We now use test chart to examine colour rendition and tonal quality, as well as the ability of the printer to deal with acute angle high contrast edge detail.
We also put a set of digital camera sourced and higher resolution studio images through the printer.
Times for each print are also listed. Photos are printed on A4 paper, unless otherwise stated. 4:3 camera images are printed to 10x7.5 inches (25.4x19cm), which leaves a border on A4 media. We don't measure the preparation time before the printer starts a print job as this is directly related to the host PC. Each print is timed from the moment the page is moved from the input tray into position for printing and until the finished page is finally ejected.
Photoret best quality print, without No.59 cartridge, HP Premium Plus glossy media - 260 seconds
The picture of the couple is a studio shot taken on medium format film and digitised. The original 12MB JPEG file has a resolution of 4866x3885 (18.9 MP).
Photoret best quality print, using No.59 cartridge, HP Premium Plus glossy media - 293 seconds
The same image printed at 4800x1200dpi in best quality mode took a patience-sapping 603 seconds (just over 10 minutes). Only images with above average latent image quality will benefit from the longer printing time.
Here is a 2400ppi scan, sampled down to 600ppi, of the girl's right eye (left as viewed) covering about a 2.3cm width of the print. This particular scan was taken from a 4800dpi print, representing the best quality output of the printer.
Here is the same area scanned from a Photoret mode print. There is slightly more dot grain and this subdues the detail a little. The 4800dpi section looks smoother and slightly more saturated.
Above is the same scan of the 4800ppi print but reproduced at the original 2400 scanned resolution, showing correspondingly less area.
And here is the same zoomed in 2400ppi scan of the Photoret mode print. The 4800dpi dot grain is more prominent at this magnification, but this serves to preserve more detail.
The colour chart shows smooth tonal gradation and just a slight fall-off in the red bar. Use of the No.59 grey cartridge ensures a neutral grey tone.
This test chart shows edges at 5 degrees to the horizontal. Printed at 4800dpi, there is some visible serration of the edges, suggesting some over-sharpening.
Printed at just 600dpi, the edges are smooth.
The 7960 does a very good job of reproducing the pink of the clothing and the tone of the hair and skin.
Compared to some rival printers, the green of the foliage is slightly muted and there is no excessive yellow as demonstrated by some Canon printers. The gradation of white to yellow in the flowers is slightly compressed.
A separate article exploring the mono capabilities of the 7960 can be found here
. But above is a scan of a the studio scene printed from a mono version of the image, but without using the No.59 grey scale cartidge. It's not awful, but it has a cold feel about it that is not representative of the actual image. Under different light sources the print can appear to assume a number of different tints, which confirms that metamerism is an issue.
If anything the print is slightly on the warm side when printed using the No.59 cartridge and the print certainly has more body and depth. It's also a lot less affected by different light sources, meaning metamerism is well controlled. It's a very impressive result.
Finally, here is another high resolution digitised film image. This shows that the 7960 reproduces metallic tones well and that shadow detail is adequately preserved.