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How To Get Photo Quality Results with your Digital Photos and Your Printer

PhotoELF software can produce photo quality results. However, there are three topics that will affect your ability to achieve these results. They are:
  1. The device that created the digital image
  2. The resolution (number of pixels) of the digital image
  3. The printer and paper you are using and its settings

The device that created the digital image

Cameras, printers and photo paper are not created equal. Some are better than others. You may not be able to get photo quality results with your camera or your printer.

Read this page for some insight into printing digital photos.

If you still cannot get photo quality results, you might see if the problem is with your camera or your printer, (or perhaps both).

To find out, click this link and visit: www.photoelf.com/support/printer/quality.shtml#testprint

On this page you will find an article, similar to this help page, but there you may download a test photo to print.

If this image prints fine on your printer, then you might want to re-evaluate your camera or its settings.

Digital Cameras and Scanners

Some digital cameras are better than others. To get great results, the minimum requirement (in our opinion) that a camera should have is: Please Note: Some cameras claim 1.3 Mega pixel or 2.1 etc. when they are NOT!!!!! Be careful when you are shopping for a digital camera.

How can you tell?

Read the camera's physical specifications and determine how many pixels the CCD array actually is. The CCD array in a digital camera is the electronic device that replaces film. It is sometimes referred to as the Image Pickup Element, but is a CCD.

Some manufacturers advertise the size of the image the camera can produce, not the size of the CCD array. These cameras use an inferior CCD and then resize the image to be larger. This loses image quality and is false advertising.

Scanners can produce good results. The things to look for are Color Resolution and DPI (Dots Per Inch). Again, more is better

Color resolution should be at least 32 bits per pixel
DPI should be at least 300 dpi when scanning.
Check the manufacturer's specifications before purchasing.

The Resolution (Pixels) of the Digital Image

Whether the image was created with a digital camera, scanner or other device, the resolution of the image will play a major role in the final printed result.

The resolution of an image is the number of pixels that creates it. A pixel is really just a color dot. The image is made up of many dots, of varying color, arranged in such a way to produce an image.

See: What's a Pixel

More Pixels = Better Resolution = Better Print Quality

If you have a digital camera that can produce 1.3 mega pixel images, then it will probably have at least two width x height pixel settings:

  1. 640 x 480 pixels
  2. 1280 x 960 pixels

When printing a photo size of: (in inches)Minimum Resolution Recommended:
Wallet Size to 3 x 4640 x 480 (Standard Resolution)
3 x 4 to 5 x 71280 x 960 (1.3 Mega Pixel)
5 x 7 to 8 x 101600 x 1200 (2.1 Mega Pixel)

The Printer, Paper and Device Settings

Even if you follow the advice given above, the printer is the ultimate decision maker when it comes to the quality of your printed photos.

If you are not familiar with your printer's Device Options, you should get familiar with them.

While in PhotoELF's Print Page Layout window, you may select the Printer Setup button to access your printer's Device Options.

Your printer's Device Options will allow you to change your printer's ability to produce great printed photos.

The important factors to look for are: Set the print quality to the highest setting.

Select the correct paper type. Example:

If you select the Plain paper setting and print on Premium photo paper, the results will be less than optimal.


The EPSON printer usually will not produce excellent results, unless you set up a Custom printer setting and select the PhotoEhance3 or PhotoEnhance4 option.

Other printers have unique adjustments also. Please poke around in your printer's Setup Options.

Another reason for not printing great photos is the Paper Type setting and the type of paper you are using. Premium Epson Photo Paper and Premium Kodak Photo Paper work very well.

Consumer Reports has ranked the Epson and HP printers as the Best in the Home Use ($100) Printer Catagory. But, if you have a lot of money, get the Olympus P400 Die Sub Printer. ($500) or the KODAK 8500 Die Sub Printer. Both print true photo quality pictures that meet or exceed the old film technology methods.

Kodak Premium photo paper also produces good results. If you watch for sales, 50 sheets will cost around $20.00

We tested the generic photo glossy paper (100 sheets for $15.00) and concluded that Kodak Premium paper was worth the added expense. However, generic paper is great to have around for printing proof pages and quick/fun cards.

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