Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Print Sharpness Vs. Image Sharpness

I used to write with a fountain pen. With some paper the ink would bleed from the original line, perhaps as much as an 1/8 of an inch in diameter on cheap paper with a loose weave - for example, newsprint. The same thing happens with solvent based felt pens writing on newsprint flipboards.

Well, the bad news is the same thing happens with inkjet ink. Yes, it dries fast, but in the second or two before it does, the ink can spread, and the very surface that is designed to hold a lot of ink and therefore make rich prints, can also result in more spread of the ink.

So, it turns out that how sharp your prints look is a function of the individual brand and surface of the paper. Another brand in a similar surface may be significantly less or more sharp.

I recently switched (for routine printing) from the very expensive and no longer made Ilford Galerie Gloss Baryta paper, to Inkpress luster. I quite like the paper, but I think I'm taking a hit in print sharpness. Oh, not a lot, just enough to annoy me, especially in smaller prints.

To some degree this can be compensated for with output sharpening. I used to do this routinely with matte paper but had stopped when I went to the Ilford paper, but looks like I'm going to have to restart it. I was using Photokit sharpener output for prints.

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