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Author Topic: Epson Stylus Pro 11880 - print resolution and settings  (Read 834 times)

Hening Bettermann

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Epson Stylus Pro 11880 - print resolution and settings
« on: September 06, 2017, 05:44:29 PM »

Hi

I have some questions concerning the Epson Stylus Pro 11880.
According to the Epson product page, the print resolutions are 2880 x 1440 dpi; 1440 x 720 dpi; 720 x 720 dpi; 720 x 360 dpi; 360 x 360 dpi; 360 x 180 dpi.

I assume I should scale my images (about 90x130 cm) to the PHYSICAlL resolution of the printer. And I was of the belief that was 360, and 720 only with 'finest detail' turned on.

A print service I consider using tells me they print at 1440x720 dpi, 'finest detail' setting only for smaller images. I understand this the way that he believes he is printing at 720x1440 dpi without 'finest detail'. Is he simply wrong?

And what is this weird thing printing with higher res in one direction than in the other?  Any good?

NAwlins_Contrarian

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Re: Epson Stylus Pro 11880 - print resolution and settings
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2017, 02:07:38 PM »

Quote
I have some questions concerning the Epson Stylus Pro 11880.
According to the Epson product page, the print resolutions are 2880 x 1440 dpi; 1440 x 720 dpi; 720 x 720 dpi; 720 x 360 dpi; 360 x 360 dpi; 360 x 180 dpi.

I assume I should scale my images (about 90x130 cm) to the PHYSICAlL resolution of the printer. And I was of the belief that was 360, and 720 only with 'finest detail' turned on.

The (maximum, dependent on settings) physical resolution of the 11880 appears to be the 2880 x 1440 dpi. That's how finely it can spray dots of its eight colors of ink onto the paper. To simulate continuous tone reasonably well, it needs to be able to spray a bunch of ink dots for every pixel. So it might be more useful to see it as printing, say, 360 ppi with 2880 x 1440 dpi, in other words, forming each (ostensibly) continuous-tone pixel with an 8 x 4 set of dots made with one or more of the eight colors of ink. The 360 and 720 ppi figures are based on how the printer's firmware and/or driver use its hardware's physical capabilities.

Also: even at the lower 360 ppi figure, a 90 x 130 cm print would mean 235 megapixels of image. Unless you're doing a lot of stitching, having an image with anywhere near that level of real resolution / detail seems unlikely. So I think the question is what settings are likely to get you the most favorable combination of detail that is reasonably sharp and reasonably smooth (as much detail as there is, considering the large print size) and smooth tonality. That will probably vary based on the nature of the image, your taste, etc. But I'd think some of the experts here could offer good rules of thumb.

Since nobody else has tried to answer, I'll venture an only moderately-informed opinion: if the time it takes to print is not a big deal, set the printer for 360 ppi and 2880 x 1440 dpi, and print from Lightroom or Qimage with the print module resolution set to 360 ppi. Pre-printing sharpening and noise-reduction, and print-module sharpening, are settings you'll have to make based on your image plus your own taste and priorities.
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Hening Bettermann

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Re: Epson Stylus Pro 11880 - print resolution and settings
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2017, 06:18:54 PM »

Hi NAwlins_Contrarian,

thank you for your extensive answer. Your distinction of ppi for the printer driver and dpi for the 'spray' help me to a better understanding. As I remember the discussions on this forum, they have been about the difference between the 360 and 720 ppi, and the advice was to upscale ones image to one of these numbers oneself, not leaving it to the printer software. I understood this the way that the 360/720 was the PHYSICAL resolution of the printer, and the rest was interpolation.

Since I will not print myself, but use a print service, I will not be able to set the printer myself. I can choose this print service or another, and adapt to their settings. So if this guy prints large images at 720x1440 dpi, this would mean I should scale my images to 720 ppi, even if the real resolution of the images is less than 360. Bart van der Wolf advises just this anyway.

A remaining question is that of the 'finest detail' setting. I had understood it the way that only this setting made the printer use 720 ppi. But the print service guy says he is using 720x1440 dpi, 'finest detail' only for small images. This seems to be conflicting information.

Thanks again - Hening.

BartvanderWolf

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Re: Epson Stylus Pro 11880 - print resolution and settings
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2017, 07:28:00 PM »

A remaining question is that of the 'finest detail' setting. I had understood it the way that only this setting made the printer use 720 ppi. But the print service guy says he is using 720x1440 dpi, 'finest detail' only for small images. This seems to be conflicting information.

Hi Hening,

It is conflicting, because without the "finest detail" setting the printer driver will downsample to 360 PPI, with a simple (bilinear) resampling algorithm that loses micro-contrast, and without output sharpening at that lower PPI density.
BTW, the higher DPI settings affect the dithering pattern that is used.

However, if you need to print 90 cm wide @ 720PPI that means that the input file becomes 25512 pixels wide, and I'm not sure what the maximum width in pixels is that the printer driver can manage. If it exceeds the driver's buffer limitations, then limit yourself to 360 PPI, and optimize your output sharpening for that output size. It might help if you knew which printer they are using, maybe Epson can confirm what the maximum is in the paper width dimension.

Cheers,
Bart
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Hening Bettermann

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Re: Epson Stylus Pro 11880 - print resolution and settings
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2017, 08:03:24 PM »

Hi Bart,

thank you for chiming in. I will contact Epson, and depending on their answer, I may try to talk the print service into using 360 PPI in the setting.

Good light! - Hening.

NAwlins_Contrarian

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Re: Epson Stylus Pro 11880 - print resolution and settings
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2017, 12:20:27 AM »

Quote
Since I will not print myself, but use a print service, I will not be able to set the printer myself. I can choose this print service or another, and adapt to their settings. So if this guy prints large images at 720x1440 dpi, this would mean I should scale my images to 720 ppi, even if the real resolution of the images is less than 360....

No. Trying to print a 720 ppi image with only 1440 x 720 dpi of ink dots would only give you (sort of, I think it's actually more complicated!) a 2 x 1 ink dot matrix with which to try to simulate 17 million colors with 8 colors of ink. Even assuming you could choose those settings--and I suspect the Epson driver won't allow it--the color accuracy and/or tonality would probably be bad.

Quote
A remaining question is that of the 'finest detail' setting. I had understood it the way that only this setting made the printer use 720 ppi. But the print service guy says he is using 720x1440 dpi, 'finest detail' only for small images. This seems to be conflicting information.

I think you're confusing pixel resolution with ink dot resolution, unaware of how the 11880 simulates the full range of colors with only 8 colors of ink. I can't immediately link you to a great explanation, but a somewhat analogous process has some examples that will give you an idea at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halftone.

The service with the printer will choose whether its printer prints at 2880 x 1440 dpi, or 1440 x 720 dpi, or what--you can't control that. Likewise, the service with the printer will choose whether the printer prints at 360 ppi or 720 ppi. But I suspect that: (1) you cannot select the "finest detail" setting / 720 ppi unless you also select 2880 x 1440 dpi or at least some setting higher than 1440 x 720 dpi, for the reason explained above. (2) The service is using 1440 x 720 dpi for speed--the finer the resolution you select, the slower the printer prints, and they're running a business, not necessarily producing fine art. (3) Unless you have substantially more than 235 megapixels to start with, the resolution / detail advantage of using 720 ppi instead of 360 ppi is minimal.
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Epson Stylus Pro 11880 - print resolution and settings
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2017, 01:13:17 PM »

I will contact Epson, and depending on their answer, I may try to talk the print service into using 360 PPI in the setting.
what is unclear is how the "print service" is submitting files to the printer itself. Depending on what they are doing they may not be using a "360" or 720 dpi setting.  In a typical Photoshop setup, the file is sent without resizing to the printer, but with a specific physical dimension such as 8x10.  Photoshop will not force an 8x10 image to a 2880x3600 pixel image, it will send the image at whatever the native file size is.  The assumption is somewhere in the pipeline the image will get resized, presumably by the OS as an instruction from the driver, but I've even seen  some debate about that. Unfortunately, however the image is getting resized, it is probably not using an optimal algorithm ... probably something simple such as Nearest Neighbor.

In this case, to make sure the service is sending the file at 360 dpi, you must resize it yourself to the specific DPI you are after, 360 or 720.

If they are a larger service, they are probably using a RIP, so it depends on which one they are using. But if so and the RIP is resizing before submitting, having the RIP resize to 360 should be their standard workflow. Check with them.  But to make sure you can still resize the image yourself to 360 dpi.  This gives you control of the process as well as the opportunity to apply final output sharpening at the correct output size.

If you want the image printed at 720 dpi, again it depends on many factors.  First to gain any real advantage from 720 dpi, it's been proven you must using 2880x1440 and have the Finest Detail setting enabled.  How specific RIPs handle this is a different story, because they bypass the Epson driver and manage all of this internally.  But one thing is pretty clear, unless the native file size of  your file at a specific output size ends up greater than 360 dpi, using the 720 dpi setting won't really gain any visual improvement.

One other note regarding the 1440x720 setting, there are actually two flavors of this setting.  The printer uses horizontal passes, moving the paper incrementally for each pass to control the resolution.  It has 360 nozzles covering one inch, so it can only print at 360 vertical dpi with one pass across the paper.  This means to print at 1440 x720 dpi, it must make 4 passes per inch and at 2880 dpi it must make 8 passes per inch.

But some quality improvement can be seen if using 1440x720 dpi, and enabling the "Super Microweave" option in the driver.  This means the printer will weave the data into 6 passes instead of 4, still at the same resolution with finer control.  The results are pretty subtle.  This option is not available for 2880 dpi because the printer is already making the maximum 8 passes per inch.

Most service houses use 1440x720 because the visual difference really isn't discernible, and obviously the output speed is increased (almost twice as fast).  Additionally, many papers such as matt papers really can't hold the detail of the small dots well enough to make a difference.  But if your files have enough resolution and you are printing on a high quality non-matt media, most will allow you to request the use of a higher quality setting

Hening Bettermann

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Re: Epson Stylus Pro 11880 - print resolution and settings
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2017, 03:21:43 PM »

Thank you both for your detailed answers. I have tried to digest them and the wiki link. I understand that the 360/720 ppi setting is translated to a dpi frequency of the printer in some way, and that I have confused these 2 things. - The real resolution of my files at the intended print size is about 155 ppi. So if I understand your comments right, the print services default of 720x1440dpi is OK for me, and I will be well advised to upscale and upsample my files in Photozoom Pro to the intended size and 360 ppi, doing the pre-print screen sharpening in PZP.

Thanks again to all of you!

Farmer

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Re: Epson Stylus Pro 11880 - print resolution and settings
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2017, 08:08:17 PM »

Thank you both for your detailed answers. I have tried to digest them and the wiki link. I understand that the 360/720 ppi setting is translated to a dpi frequency of the printer in some way, and that I have confused these 2 things. - The real resolution of my files at the intended print size is about 155 ppi. So if I understand your comments right, the print services default of 720x1440dpi is OK for me, and I will be well advised to upscale and upsample my files in Photozoom Pro to the intended size and 360 ppi, doing the pre-print screen sharpening in PZP.

+1 to what Wayne said, and you have given the key to answer your question above.  155ppi is the native resolution of your file to print at the intended size.  You will get a worse result attempting to upsize it to 720ppi just to print at that mode than upscaling it to just 360ppi.

I wouldn't attempt going to 720ppi if I had a native resolution of less than 540ppi at the given size, although others may feel there is a benefit.
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Phil Brown

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Re: Epson Stylus Pro 11880 - print resolution and settings
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2017, 06:00:09 PM »

I used an 11880 for many years. Always at 1440*720 with finest detail, regardless of what I input to it: 180, 240 or 360. Or even just 120 sometimes. Results were always great.

Your printer is being lazy: 720 is too low, and they should be printing at 1440, assuming your original is good and up to it. Though I agree with them that 2880 is pointless unless you have a truly amazing ultra res original file.

Good luck
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Epson Stylus Pro 11880 - print resolution and settings
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2017, 08:07:11 PM »

+1 to what Wayne said, and you have given the key to answer your question above.  155ppi is the native resolution of your file to print at the intended size.  You will get a worse result attempting to upsize it to 720ppi just to print at that mode than upscaling it to just 360ppi.

I'd agree with the fact that this file doesn't have more detail than 155 PPI, and thus printing more densely than that (e.g. at 360 PPI) will not add any real detail. Printing at 360 PPI would allow replacing substandard resampling by the printer driver with higher quality resampling by a better algorithm, and (!) output sharpening after that resampling. The effects/benefits of output sharpening after resampling cannot be stressed enough.

Printer driver setting referring to higher than 720 PPI, are actually DPI, thus affecting the dithering patterns, not resolution.

However, there are resampling methods that do add additional (what I tend to call 'realistic fake') resolution beyond what was in the source image file. So, if there are no paper width (in pixels) limitations in the printer driver, even 720 PPI might produce a smidgen of additional output resolution that can make a difference. But coming from 155 PPI, we're in the realm of diminishing returns, unless the subject has much sharp edge detail.

Cheers,
Bart
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Hening Bettermann

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Re: Epson Stylus Pro 11880 - print resolution and settings
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2017, 08:41:23 PM »

Thanks for your comments, Phil, Narikin and Bart.

> Printing at 360 PPI would allow replacing substandard resampling by the printer driver with higher quality resampling by a better algorithm, and (!) output sharpening after that resampling. The effects/benefits of output sharpening after resampling cannot be stressed enough.

Yes, this is my understanding, based on your (Bart's) writing on this forum.

> However, there are resampling methods that do add additional (what I tend to call 'realistic fake') resolution beyond what was in the source image file.

If memory serves me, you attest this quality to Photozoom Pro, which is what I have used. I have had this file printed at 90x130 cm by another (my first) print service (,who has added the *print* sharpening). I can view this print at reading distance, and the finest branches are tack sharp, and no halos at all. And this all from a mediocre lens with strong CA (Nikkor 2.8/24). The CA was treated by the automatic (!) CA correction of RawTherapee, which did a miracle.

Thanks again!

BartvanderWolf

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Re: Epson Stylus Pro 11880 - print resolution and settings
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2017, 08:21:30 PM »

> However, there are resampling methods that do add additional (what I tend to call 'realistic fake') resolution beyond what was in the source image file.

If memory serves me, you attest this quality to Photozoom Pro, which is what I have used. I have had this file printed at 90x130 cm by another (my first) print service (,who has added the *print* sharpening). I can view this print at reading distance, and the finest branches are tack sharp, and no halos at all.

Yes, halo free edge/line sharpness that is finer than what a normal upsampling can provide, and also less stair-stepped. That's the forte of some of these dedicated up-sampling algorithms, and it shows in the output.

Cheers,
Bart
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Epson Stylus Pro 11880 - print resolution and settings
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2017, 01:52:46 PM »

I used an 11880 for many years. Always at 1440*720 with finest detail, regardless of what I input to it: 180, 240 or 360. Or even just 120 sometimes. Results were always great.

I”m sure the results were great, but I’m not sure having that setting enabled enhanced anything. I tested extensively the FD setting on and off many years ago, mainly at 1440/720, and could see no difference in the output for my photographic images.  The feature is specifically designed to enhance the edges of line art and text.

I believe what most have concluded studying 2880x1440 dpi with finest detail on is the benefit is from forcing the printer to work at 720 dpi instead of 360.  If the image contains useful information because it’s resolution is higher than 360 dpi at the output size, or perhaps in the circumstance outline by Bart with optimal resizing to create “realistic fake” data, then sending the image at 720 dpi by either resizing or through a program like LR,  then forcing the printer to work at 720 dpi can be an advantage.  Without turning this on, even at 2880x1440 dpi the printer will operate at 360 dpi. An image at higher resolution will be downsized to fit the 360dpi parameter.
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