Printing Photos what format

27 Jan 2008
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Llanfair Caereinion, Nr Welshpool
United Kingdom
In the main I print at home but I have printed odd few in college and the printer is far better than mine so I have considered printing some of best in Asda or similar but not sure of format required to print.

All my photos are take in RAW format and when I view them as second file is created which contains the view information. As 16 bit this is of course far better than Jpeg and would seem the best format. However not sure if the print houses can read this?

When I use HDR I normally start off with 32bit Tiff files these are then through tone mapping reduced to 16bit Tiff files I often then load the tiff as a camera RAW file and again do final adjustments which then also produces a second file that stores the adjustment information.

Printing from home or college always the picture is loaded into Photoshop to print so does not really matter if 8, 16, or 32 bit Photoshop will still handle it.

I guess I could save in near any format but I know normally to get something printed one uses "Post Script" but other than knowing it exists and is something like PDF I have never used it.

So wonder what is the normal format to get work printed? Also what sort of range the printers will handle. At home limited to about 6EV stops and at college maybe a little more around 7 to 8 EV stops but many start out at up to 12 EV stops and I wonder how much they need compacting before printing?
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Today I went to Asda and was told they can only handle Jpeg. Seems Tiff, RAW(PEF), and DNG (Digital negative) the latter specially developed for digital cameras for file transfer are not handled.
One does wonder if there are a DIY print service and if it is really worth using.
Strikes me as odd that they only accept a lossy format, that probably says something about the print quality you'll get from them. Even still it's quite odd they didn't accept your photos and do any conversion themselves just to get your money.

If you're looking for the best quality I would really look into proper print shops rather than the supermarkets.
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Thank you it was also my feelings. My Brother is quite a good printer and A4 works quite well but having seen the results from the college printer I realise quality printers can produce better results.

My problem however is to know what the colours and levels will turn out at and I have seen many images which look A1 on the monitor print out too light or dark and have a different colour rendering.

I have gone into levels and expanded the range or used curves to contract the range and even taken multi-exposures and used high dynamic range software to get a full 12 EV stops range on some images.

Not much point if when printed the printer can't cope with the range and to pay out for prints without being able to correctly adjust to printer seems a little pointless.

Hence looking for somewhere able to produce images on the premises so I can first get a contact sheet or small versions printed before committing myself to paying for large version.

I have a HP printer which has 6 rather that 4 ink colours and is intended for photo quality printing however because the brother is used most of the time being a network printer I find the inks dry up in the HP and buying new cartridges to print just 4 or 5 specials seems an expensive option. Plus not sure if the quality would be any better than brother.

Main problem I find with home printing is to match paper to printer and with shiny photo paper it is too easy to have too much ink or not enough and also to be printer too fast.

The college printer with a 10 inch x 8 inch images takes 3 mins 12 seconds to print and this is I would guess to allow drying time and I wonder if any high street printers could afford to take so long and maybe I am looking for something which is only available at very high cost from very specialist printers?