Observations on Photo Printing
I think it was three years ago when I got our latest printer, a Canon Pro9000 Mk. II. This is a printer that will do photo prints on 13×19″ paper. I decided I wanted to print something large this evening.
I’ll note that this printer spent about 15 months in a pod at a storage location. I was surprised at how little trouble it gave me in coming back up to full function. I did have a little hiccup last week when colors for “March for Science” posters were coming out funny, but once I removed a piece of tape from the top of the magenta ink cartridge, all was well.
No, the issues I ran into tonight were software-related.
I pulled the image I wanted to print into GIMP. GIMP is pretty nice software, and it is hard to beat it for a free tool to do image manipulation. But at least its interface with Windows printers could use some work. I couldn’t get it to realize that I wanted my digital image to fill a 13×19″ sheet of paper. This is likely something that I just didn’t have the patience to figure out.
I tried Corel Photo-Paint 11, too. It at least did a print preview that convinced me that I was not getting the view I wanted on the result page. I had a couple of bungled prints out of GIMP when I thought things were OK and they weren’t. Corel Photo-Paint at least saved me paper, ink, and time on that score, but didn’t actually get me to a print.
Next up, I brought the unmodified original into QImage Ultimate. I set up the printer preferences and the page settings for 13×19″ prints. I used the exposure edit (essentially an automatic levels expansion), shadow noise reduction (the image was from a Panasonic GF2 and had some visible noise in darker areas), and DFS sharpening (a QImage proprietary sharpening algorithm). I told it to print the queue. And it did. It’s a nice-looking print, other than that I have to get my paper alignment technique down. I will need to trim a little on two sides to square it up, but that’s my bad.
I bought the QImage program back in 2003 as an adjunct to the Fuji S2 that was my first DSLR, based on its batch-editing capabilities. The QImage Ultimate cost me another increment in upgrading sometime back, but nothing exorbitant. It really is the best printing utility I have on hand. And it does a nice job on up-rezzing images, too, for those times when more pixels are demanded.