Printer resolution tests - Epson and Brother

Ink stained Fingers

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I did some printer resolution tests a while ago

www.printerknowledge.com/threads/the-epson-rpm-quality-option-does-it-offer-a-benefit.12934/#post-111666

using the Roger N. Clark test pattern which you can find in this article

www.clarkvision.com/articles/printer-ppi/ at the bottom of it

You can find much more information about printing, resolution , profiling etc in many more of his articles

www.clarkvision.com/articles/index.html

I printed this test pattern with the print resolution of 600 dpi which is the genuine resolution for Brother printers
using Qimage with the settings 'Use ORIGINAL/embedded size - Override embedded size with 600 dpi'. These settings create a print of 24mmx13mm, about half of a stamp.

I took some macro shots of the printed pattern

15 Brother-1 1.jpg


and cropped them to the bottom right corner


15 Brother-1.jpg


The 1px lines are actually 1 pixel wide - 1/600 inch - and they separate quite well for the horizontal lines, not so much for the vertical lines, here the vertical 2px lines - 2 pixels wide - start to separate. The printer is an age old DCP-195C, a budget level printer about 10 years ago, the last printer model without chips on the cartridges.
The driver settings are - other photo paper - quality extra fine. Printing takes a while, but measuring printing speed is not part of this test.
I think the print resolution is quite impressive, the text is easily readable.

I'll add a few similar shots of Epson printers to this posting in the next days with widely varying results.
 
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Ink stained Fingers

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Please let me add the corresponding image of an Epson P400, an A3 printer, the only one with a gloss optimizer, and red and orange inks, no light inks, but a matte and a photo black in separate cartridges , directly available without a mechanical switch on the printhead, the printhead is spec'd for 1.5 pl drops min.

11-P400-2.jpg

This print is slightly smaller than the Brother print , it is printed with 720 dpi instead of the 600 dpi for the Brother, the complete image has a print size of 20x11 mm, this patch has been printed with the settings - Premium Glossy paper - quality extra fine step 5 which is the highest.
The 1 px lines are barely distinguishable, the 1px gaps just can be imagined, the horizontal lines look about similar to the Brother patch keeping the smaller size in mind, but there is a difference - the vertical lines of the P400 look quite similar to the horizontal lines, whereas the vertical lines of the Brother patch look fuzzier.

I'm reducing the print quality to 'extra fine step 4' whatever that means in Epson terminology and get this printout

10 P400-2.jpg

The ink density and line edge definition seems to have dropped slightly, but the internet address is still clearly readable.
I'm not cycling through all other paper/quality settings combinations , but just try to find out the printer capabilities and limitations.
 
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Ink stained Fingers

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Le me add the resp. test images for an age old (15+) Epson Pro 7600 24" printer which is still printing along, it is spec'd for a min droplet size of 4pl and offers the highest resolution setting in the driver as a 'superfine 2880', the printer only has 90 nozzles per color so printouts take quite a long time, the printer requires some patience from the user.
19 E7600-1.jpg


The resolution is surprisingly good, vertical 1 px lines can just be distinguished, it's interesting to see that the vertical lines seem to be slightly sharper than the horizontal 1px lines, the internet adddress looks slightly fuzzy but still is readable. I think that's pretty good overall for a 4pl and 15 year old printer. It really shows that print resolution has not changed for this long time, printheads got more nozzles, may be more realiable today, or better producible whatever but resolution capabilities have not changed at all with newer printer models. But the images show as well that it's not just line definition when you look to the little CMYRGB test fields how smooth colors are rendered.
But you are typically not printing large images which actually require this 720 dpi resolution, you quickly get into gigabyte sizes if you want to actually print a 24"x36" image with 720dpi - that's 24x720x36x720x3 (3RGB colors) which gets you to a file size of 1.3 GB - probably above the capabilities of some photo editors. You may get even larger image files if you start stitching images -e.g. for a panorama print. Stichting adds image details since you are combining several of them into a larger one, I did a panorama print with 360 dpi and a length of 3.6 meters - that's really impressive how detailed such an image can get.
If I change the quality setting in the driver to 'fine 1440' the printer gets faster, and that's completely o.k. for prints with an effective print resolution between 30 to 150 or 200 dpi which still can look great.

20 E7600 1.jpg


The edges are loosing sharpness, the 2px lines can barely be separated, edges and the internet address are getting fuzzy at this resoultion level. But it's still good enough for printouts with a lower effective image resolution.
 
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Ink stained Fingers

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I did a few resolution tests some years ago , with the L800 and L300 at that time, tank system printers I used for lots of ink and paper tests - gamut, fading etc, these printers are gone since then;

www.printerknowledge.com/threads/effective-print-output-resolution.10964/#post-92265

I'm currently using a L1800 which is the A3 version of the L800 as a 6 color photo printer with 1.5pl droplets. These are the prints with the L1800

08 L1800-1.jpg


The lines and edges are pretty ell defined and 1px horizontal lines are just separating, this print is made with the driver settings 'Ultra Glossy standard' which I use as the default setting.


09 L1800-1.jpg


This print is done with the driver setting 'Ultra Glossy fine' , the printer slows down but there is not really much of an improvement visible, the RGBCMY color blocks look just slightly smoother. And there is not much of a difference between the gamuts with these driver settings either. Differences may turn out better when printing non-saturated color patches showing the use of smaller or larger ink droplets using different dithering patterns.
 

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I was using a L300 printer a few years ago which I used for a resolution test, I'm replaced that printer with a L310 - just an L300 + WLAN - and redid the tests, the L310, L300 , WF2010W all use 3pl droplets.

This is the test print for the best possible driver setting - 'Ultra Glossy - super fine', I cleaned the index band and did a printhead alignment before these prints

27 L310-1.jpg


The horizontal 1px lines are separated, the vertical lines are not very clean, and the internet link is fuzzy, the glossy paper setting does not use the black ink but mixes black with the CMY inks which does not look very clean.

I'm typically printing with the matte paper setting which uses the black ink - (the driver assumes it is pigment ink)
and get this

23 L310-1.jpg


The lines - horizontal and vertical - are better defined but the internet link still looks quite fuzzy, there is still some
color overprint visible.

I still have the Printfab/Turboprint sofware on the computer, I don't use it at this time but I activated a driver for the L310 using the WF2010W driver as the base, the printfab driver offers a few more settings and displays some resolution numbers, I used the hightest setting of 5760 dpi and get this printout

21 L310 PF-1.jpg


It looks quite clean overall - in both directions - it shows what the printhead is capable of, but an A4 print with this setting takes more than 10 min which is outside regular use for me. This shows the trade-off between best print quality and printing time, I would assume that the user rather would opt for a faster printout time and not so much for the highest resolution.

What are we talking about in all these tests - line widths of 1/720 inch are 0,035 mm and if the ink spread on the coating widens the line width by 2 - 50% to each side - the line width still is 0.07 mm, that's overall still pretty small. This is the baseline what the printer - hardware - droplet size - mechanical stability and the driver rendering the colors and placing the drops here and there - can do. This test does not cover any software related sharpening activities in Qimage or NIK etc like plug ins for photoshop which try to do edge enhancement by various means.
I don't have a Canon printer available to compare with, I would assume similar performance, the printheads use different nozzles for each droplet size
 

Ink stained Fingers

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I know the drop size is not the only factor. I have tried different papers on all my printers and noticed it affects (the paper type) the noticeable dots, and some papers just make the dots quite invisible.
Your comment is very valuable, the type of paper/its coating is adding another dimension, it is the ink spread of an individual drop on the coating which varies visibly between papers, you get individual ink drops if you print very light colors, and the differences become visible when you measure the diameter of such drops with a microscope, each paper/coating has its own characteristic value, and that's the cause some papers appear to look sharper at a close up view. I used a budget RC (resin coated PE type) paper for my tests giving enough dot definition for the tests
 
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