Does printing an image at a high PPI consume more ink?


I have an inkjet printer with a maximum resolution of 2880 x 1440 DPI and I was wondering two things:

  1. Does printing an image with a high PPI resolution makes the printer use more ink?

For example, I have printed an image (on photographic paper) at 300 PPI, then I increased the PPI on the image to 600 and the improvements were barely noticeable, so I wondered if that minimal quality increment on the print used a lot more ink.

  1. Also, if I print an image with out changing its PPI but increasing the printer's quality settings to the maximum, will use more ink than if I print the same image using a lower quality setting?
4/11/2018 1:49:00 PM

Accepted Answer

1: No. The printer will print the image using the most appropriate resolution it has at its disposal. This is why we have drivers.

2: Short answer, yes. Long answer, it depends. Depending on how the printer software uses the word "quality", the printer may use more or less ink. In some cases, a "draft" quality will use less ink (and produce a lower quality print) than a "fine art" quality. Check your printer's manual.

12/2/2015 2:18:00 PM

Note that you cannot alter an image's PPI (pixels per inch) in-printer, only DPI (dots per inch). Modifying PPI can only be done in an image editing application. By various terms it's called “up-res'ing” because you're upping the resolution through interpolation. That is, you're making up data that isn't in the original file. This is why you didn't see any appreciable increase in image quality. The data simply wasn't there. Remember you can always throw data away, but can never get it back. Hence the desire for "lossless" compression schemes. As a side note: while often seen in use –and many applications for "print" support their import– .JPG is not a lossless scheme, and is therefore not a print-quality image format in any but the most marginal quality situations.

Considering the ink usage question, think about this from a physical/ mechanical standpoint. If you go from laying down 300dpi to 600 dpi, you’re taking a single dot that defines an area of color (nominally the size of a pin point), and laying down two dots half the size of that single dot in the same area. In order for those two dots to be distinct as two dots, there must be space around them. Therefore, there ought to be fractionally less ink consumption.

Actual results may vary.

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