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The Windows 7 printer preferences dialogue box tells me:

Print pixels: 1416 x 2152 dots

Does this mean that I should always provide an image of 1416 x 2152 pixels to achieve max quality? How is DPI relevant if that is the resolution of the printer?

The printer in question is a professional Mitsubishi CP9550DW Dye-sublimation photo printer. It states The CP9550DW photo printer can double the original 346 DPI output to the equivalent of 692 DPI, to provide a much sharper picture.

From the specs brochure for 'fine mode' is says:

Resolution 346 dpi (Fine mode)

4 x 6" 1416 x 2152 dots

So am I correct in assuming my images should be 1416 x 2152 pixels when using 4x6 paper?

(I am designing some postcard kiosk software)

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please see above. thanks. –  davivid Jun 24 '11 at 12:36
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2 Answers

Note that dye-sub is a VERY different printing process than most ink jet or laser printers (and offset printing, for that matter).

In all those other technologies, the color on the page is created from a mix of 4 different colored dots...CMYK.

Dye-sub, on the other hand, has each individual printer dot its own color. That makes Dye-sub a true continuous tone printer akin to traditional photo paper.

Now, that doesn't help answer your question, but do note that typical CMYK printing concepts/math isn't necessarily going to apply to your dye sub.

What I would do, is trial-and-error to find the optimum mix of quality vs. speed. Since it's a kiosk, there might be some arguments for a slightly decreased image resolution in exchange for a faster printer output.

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DA01: From my experience, you're in a small minority of people who understand the difference. Dye sub is, indeed, very much its own thing. –  Alan Gilbertson Jun 24 '11 at 16:49
    
haha great, and I think your advice of trial and error is the best way forward! The results I have at the moment are more than great, but Im just hoping to understand and optimise as much as possible. –  davivid Jun 24 '11 at 17:14
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If by this you mean that your printers specifications state that it is capable of rendering an image this size, no this has nothing to do with the resolution of the image you should provide. It does have a major affect on the image quality your printer is able to produce. Generally, the higher the resolution (dots or pixels wide and high) your printer is rated the finer the possible image quality. That being said, how you work with an image (what size the original, how it was scanned, how it was saved, etc.) all have a major impact on the final image quality. I don't have time go into a lesson on image processing, but general (if you want a high quality print from an inkjet printer) use a dpi rating of at least 300 and save the image at the actual size you want printed out (inches wide and high). This will produce an image resolution as follows. 300 dpi at 4" x 6" = 1200 px x 1800 px. It's about the concentration of pixels per inch. There's a lot more to this, including the settings of the printer itself, but this is all I have time for at the moment.

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Ok thanks for the info, a subject I need to read up upon. Although it still seems to me that if a printer is able to render an image at a particular size, then surely the pixels maps one to one with the dots? I seem to be in a strange situation where my AIR app reports a printer res of 448 x 295, so the sprite I provide it is scaled to this - however all of its children are at a hi res, and the output seems to be great. Im just hoping to understand a little better and optimise! –  davivid Jun 24 '11 at 17:12
    
the printer dot = 1 pixel actually is somewhat valid for dye-sub printing. But not usually for other forms of printing. –  DA01 Jun 24 '11 at 17:18
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