Imaging Spectrum Blog

Dye Sub Printing at 300 dpi vs 600 dpi, What’s the Difference?

There is an occasional debate over whether to print at 300 dpi or 600 dpi. Photolabs with RA4 printers and ink jet printers also have images sent to them at 300 dpi and 300 dpi is the default for dye subs also.

So when and why is there a 600 dpi. Dye sub printers and technology is a continuous tone process. What is continuous tone? Look at an inkjet print under a magnifying glass. You can see the dots from the drops of ink. When you look at a dye sub print under a magnifying glass there are no dots since it is continuous tone. The panels of ribbon lay down the color on top of each other so it is smooth and cannot be seen under magnification.

So again, on dye subs which one to use? 600 dpi takes longer to print. Is the extra time worth it? If you are doing just text and graphics, 600 dpi is probably worth the extra time. It makes the graphics sharper.
Enlargement to a 4″ x 6″ on the DNP 620. About 1.6” x 1.8”.

On skin tones, the 300 dpi helps smooth the skin like an expensive spa treatment and may get you a tip from the subject. Okay, maybe not, but the faster print speeds at 300 dpi and softer skin may, make it worthwhile to stick with 300 dpi.
Enlargement to a 4″ x 6″ on the DNP 620. About 1.3” x 1.8”.

Bill Vahrenkamp, Cr.Photog., leads technical operations at Imaging Spectrum.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *