Digital Photography Now Printer Reviews
3-part series: Photo ink-jets laid bare
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Print comparison: Full frame reproduced for tone and colour comparison
Original photo shot using HP Photosmart C715, daylight (Eden Project tropical house, Cornwall), no flash, f/4.0, 170th shutter speed, macro mode, 7mm zoom setting (widest), ISO 100
The unprocessed original looks quite dark in the shadows, but there is plenty of detail lurking in there. It’s difficult to see on-screen, but there is a subtle tint of magenta in the whites of the real flowers. Greens are neutral, as they should be. An impressive result from a sub-Ł300 3MP, 3X zoom digicam.
And above is how bad it can turn out. This is Dixons’/Currys/PC World own-brand ‘PC Line’ glossy ink-jet photo paper. This example is printed using the Canon S-800, but results were universally poor, regardless of printer, with a distinct lack of contrast and detail, plus compression of tones (see the uneven yellow gradation in the flower centres).
Lexmark Z43 (with photo inks)
There is a slight dominance of yellow, overall and the magenta in the white of the petals is muted. The greens are slightly muddy too, which subdues detail. Contrast is slightly lacking. For this image, the Z43 fails to sparkle.
Canon S800 Photo
As we have come to expect, there is simply no grain to be seen with the naked eye at normal viewing distance. This gives the S800 a certain refined look, lacking in any harshness. However, to some this translates into ‘softness’. The print is relatively light and the greens a touch yellow. Magenta is lacking from the petals.
Epson Stylus 895 Photo
This print successfully combines enough darkness to preserve the depth of the green in the leaves, yet maintains contrast for a vivid crispness that is lacking in the others. That magenta tint in the petals, difficult to see here, but evident on the print, is just right. If there is a fault, the green is a touch too blue to be natural.
The magenta in the petals is over-emphasised, while the greens are too dark and lacking in contrast. The yellow gradation doesn’t look linear - perhaps betraying HP’s reliance on three colours rather than the five of the others.
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