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Author Topic: Shadow range on Epson 2200?  (Read 6675 times)
svein-frode
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« on: August 15, 2006, 03:14:14 AM »
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Just printed a testchart with blacks and whites (light gray) on Epson Semigloss paper to determine Black and White point compensation.

As for the whites the printer does fine up to 253 (254 and 255 are pure white). However, black is black from 000 to 018? That surprised me to say the least? Anyone else tested the shadow & highlight range of their Epsons?
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RonBoyd
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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2006, 07:47:58 AM »
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That is consistent with my experience with the SP2200. Mine is 17-253.

Ron
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svein-frode
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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2006, 09:09:07 AM »
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That is consistent with my experience with the SP2200. Mine is 17-253.

Ron
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Thanks for the confirmation Ron!

I haven't done much B&W on this printer before and shadows became a real issue with glossy papers because of bronzing! Too many black blobs...
« Last Edit: August 15, 2006, 09:13:11 AM by svein-frode » Logged

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boku
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« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2006, 06:18:31 PM »
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My tonal range, totally empirically perceived by my tired eyes is about 12-250.

I heard that you can reduce the Color Density on the Ink Configuration window to about -10%, recalibrate, and do better.

I recall the argument was that Epson's default for that on the 2200 was to lay down too much ink, blocking up the shadows, but it sold more ink cartridges. I don't know. I'll say one thing for sure, I've already spent a lot more on ink carts than I did on the printer itself. And - get this - I am a very light user.
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svein-frode
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2006, 04:46:18 AM »
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My tonal range, totally empirically perceived by my tired eyes is about 12-250.

I heard that you can reduce the Color Density on the Ink Configuration window to about -10%, recalibrate, and do better.

I recall the argument was that Epson's default for that on the 2200 was to lay down too much ink, blocking up the shadows, but it sold more ink cartridges. I don't know. I'll say one thing for sure, I've already spent a lot more on ink carts than I did on the printer itself. And - get this - I am a very light user.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=73461\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That sounds true! I'll try and see if that can be done.

I'm not a heavy printer myself. I do mostly proofs to check color and contrast before I send them out of the house, but I use a lot of ink! Just a nossle clean takes 5-10% out of those catridges. That's why I rarely endorse the equipment I use. Most of the stuff from Canon, Epson and HP have one thing in common: Unreliable, expensive to operate and poorly constructed. There is no glory (or profit?) in quality these days...
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Chris_T
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« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2006, 07:20:36 AM »
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These posts would be a lot more meaningful if some context are provided, such as whether profiles are used, what are the settings used in the printing program and Epson driver, how are prints evaluated, etc.
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svein-frode
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2006, 07:42:50 AM »
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These posts would be a lot more meaningful if some context are provided, such as whether profiles are used, what are the settings used in the printing program and Epson driver, how are prints evaluated, etc.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=73525\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I print in accordance with my workflow:
- Monitor calibrated with a Monaco system
- Images in 16bit Adobe RGB Color space
- Print using Bill Atkinson's Epson 2200 icc-profiles

I do not measure scientifically the final prints. I let them dry for 24 hrs. then study them with a loupe and my own eyes. I am interested in how the print will look in normal conditions framed and hung on a livingroom or office wall.

I was not very concerned with black and white points in Photoshop before (I used 8 / 253 based on advice from a book) as I printed mostly in color on matte papers. I was happy with the prints. Now I am trying my luck at digital black and white printing, which is a different ballgame. Getting nice shadow detail and a smooth transition from black to white is very difficult with the Epson 2200. The monitor and the printer is now way off (My Eizo shows excellent shadow detail where the printer will print a black blob).

As I see it now after making my own testchart, with semigloss I will probably need to adjust the blackpoint to the 35-40 range. On the monitor I can see difference between 4 and 5 - quite a dead range for the printer in other words.
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2006, 12:14:21 PM »
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I was not very concerned with black and white points in Photoshop before (I used 8 / 253 based on advice from a book) as I printed mostly in color on matte papers. I was happy with the prints. Now I am trying my luck at digital black and white printing, which is a different ballgame. Getting nice shadow detail and a smooth transition from black to white is very difficult with the Epson 2200. The monitor and the printer is now way off (My Eizo shows excellent shadow detail where the printer will print a black blob).
For B/W you should try QuadTone RIP. The control over ink density is much greater there, and you should be able to do much better than what you're currently getting from the RGB profiles and Epson driver. For matte papers especially, the shadow detail is greatly improved using QTR with good curves as opposed to the Epson driver. The downside, is that not all the curves that ship with QTR are so great, and I've found that to get the results I really want means creating my own custom curves. But the results are worth it.

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As I see it now after making my own testchart, with semigloss I will probably need to adjust the blackpoint to the 35-40 range. On the monitor I can see difference between 4 and 5 - quite a dead range for the printer in other words.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=73526\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Wow, that's really terrible. Semigloss should be better than matte/rag in this regard. I can differentiate down to the 4-5 range on Innova F-Type Gloss and Ilford Smooth Pearl. This is on the 2400, but still...
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Chris_T
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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2006, 09:10:50 AM »
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I print in accordance with my workflow:
- Monitor calibrated with a Monaco system
- Images in 16bit Adobe RGB Color space
- Print using Bill Atkinson's Epson 2200 icc-profiles

I do not measure scientifically the final prints. I let them dry for 24 hrs. then study them with a loupe and my own eyes. I am interested in how the print will look in normal conditions framed and hung on a livingroom or office wall.

I was not very concerned with black and white points in Photoshop before (I used 8 / 253 based on advice from a book) as I printed mostly in color on matte papers. I was happy with the prints. Now I am trying my luck at digital black and white printing, which is a different ballgame. Getting nice shadow detail and a smooth transition from black to white is very difficult with the Epson 2200. The monitor and the printer is now way off (My Eizo shows excellent shadow detail where the printer will print a black blob).

As I see it now after making my own testchart, with semigloss I will probably need to adjust the blackpoint to the 35-40 range. On the monitor I can see difference between 4 and 5 - quite a dead range for the printer in other words.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=73526\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That's a good start.

What are the print settings in Photoshop and in the Epson driver? What are the lighting conditions under which you view your monitor and print? For any critical evaluation, all these factors come into play.

I don't think that Bill Atkinson's profiles at the Epson site are meant for the 2200. If you were able to find 2200 specific profiles by Bill, please post the link.
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Chris_T
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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2006, 09:18:21 AM »
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For B/W you should try QuadTone RIP. The control over ink density is much greater there, and you should be able to do much better than what you're currently getting from the RGB profiles and Epson driver. For matte papers especially, the shadow detail is greatly improved using QTR with good curves as opposed to the Epson driver. The downside, is that not all the curves that ship with QTR are so great, and I've found that to get the results I really want means creating my own custom curves. But the results are worth it.

Wow, that's really terrible. Semigloss should be better than matte/rag in this regard. I can differentiate down to the 4-5 range on Innova F-Type Gloss and Ilford Smooth Pearl. This is on the 2400, but still...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=73544\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I only print color, and wish that there is an equivalent and inexpensive RIP like QuadTone available. The problem is with Epson's driver, and why they design such a horrible one is beyond me.

Agreed that in 1280/2200 color prints using Epson's profiles, gloss and semi gloss papers tend to handle shadow details much better than matte papers.
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svein-frode
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2006, 09:30:10 AM »
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That's a good start.

What are the print settings in Photoshop and in the Epson driver? What are the lighting conditions under which you view your monitor and print? For any critical evaluation, all these factors come into play.

I don't think that Bill Atkinson's profiles at the Epson site are meant for the 2200. If you were able to find 2200 specific profiles by Bill, please post the link.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=73624\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The profiles are a few years old. I've had them on my harddrive for years. Can't remember where I got them.... sorry!

Test image (blocks of black from 000 to 035) is at 360 ppi in Photoshop, then printed at 2880 dpi. Don't know what other print settings you might be refering to? Print is viewed under all normal lighting condition from bright office lights to living room lighting.
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Svein-Frode, Arctic Norway

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photopat
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« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2006, 11:35:09 AM »
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The monitor and the printer is now way off (My Eizo shows excellent shadow detail where the printer will print a black blob).
Is this the case when soft proofing in PS Huh
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svein-frode
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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2006, 12:37:18 PM »
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Is this the case when soft proofing in PS Huh
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=73648\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, but to a lesser extent. Did some googling and found a few articles that supports my findings. Looks like the 2200 is uncapable of separating blacks in the 100-95% grey interval...
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Svein-Frode, Arctic Norway

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Chris_T
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« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2006, 07:23:35 AM »
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Don't know what other print settings you might be refering to?
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There are many online workflows detailing how to set up Photoshop and the Epson driver when using a profile. These settings are critical when printing with a profile. Here's one by Epson:

[a href=\"ftp://ftp.epson.com/webfiles/icc/Color-Managed-Workflow.pdf]ftp://ftp.epson.com/webfiles/icc/Color-Managed-Workflow.pdf[/url]
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Robin Balas
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« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2006, 06:53:33 AM »
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I haven't used my 2200 for some time, but to achieve a better match with whats perceived on screen and on paper you need to linearise your B&W behaviour on your printer. You can either add an action in PS to put a levels correction layer on top that put the black and white points where they should be and also correct the midtones, or you can use a profile editor and make a special B&W profile for B&W where these adjustments is baked into the profile. My 2200 separated black from darkgray at RGB 19 and whites at 249 in a AdobeRGB file containing a gray wedge like yours. Then add a adjustment layer on top (levels) that corrects the black and whitepoint by putting your RGB valutes in the lower correction tools. since you are lifting the blackpoint more than you are lowering the whitepoint, you will get too bright midtones and you need to compensate for that by adjusting midle gray slider in th etop correction tool. You should experiment som more to get a proper match since you monitor is not behaving perfectly if cant differentiate the 1 and 2 RGB levels (get a EIZO CG monitor and use the EIZO software, NOT Gretag or other 3. party software to get a perfectly linearised monitor)
You could get a HP Designjet with onboard linearisation which works flawlessly out-of-the-box without costing too much. It is the least expensive printer in purchase and in use of the "proper" photographic printers. I got a Designjet 130 a while ago and it is very nice and stable due to the onboared linearisation feature which can be rerun for all papers you feed it. The benefit of doing this is there is no need to reprofile it all the time, the linearisation puts in back to the state it was when you profiled it the first time. Note that for B&W work it is extremly dense in the blacks, but a bit more exposed to metamerism than the new Epsons or Canons - but by using ImagePrint this gets a lot better.
MHO.


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Just printed a testchart with blacks and whites (light gray) on Epson Semigloss paper to determine Black and White point compensation.

As for the whites the printer does fine up to 253 (254 and 255 are pure white). However, black is black from 000 to 018? That surprised me to say the least? Anyone else tested the shadow & highlight range of their Epsons?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=73394\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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[span style='font-family:Arial']Robin Balas
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Professional Photographer, Engineer, Teacher and Consultant[/span]
eronald
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« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2006, 08:00:14 AM »
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Quadtone RIP is free to test (shareware, completely unlocked) and makes excellent BW prints on the 2200. The only problem is the set up. Quadtone comes with profiles.

I also used my own profiles on the 2200 with decent results (I'm a color consultant) - this printer is well worth profiling, and the profiles will mostly fix the horrid blocked shadows, although you would do well to set the ink flow to -6 or -8.

I've sold my own 2200, but it was a good machine - tough and capable of nice work when properly fed. It also never had blocked nozzles or other issues.

As for the general issue of cheap/free RIPs etc, Quadtone is based on Gutenprint.
I have tested Gutenprint (in color) as an RGB driver and it works slowly but very well, with better higlight detail than the native 2400 driver. Unfortunately the guys who make this superbly functional program don't understand that users need some user-friendly customisation features eg. curves tools. But then the OSS crowd simply don't get it about usability - they make whatever *they* want to and you use it for free if it happens to do what *you* want - which is why Linux has such success

Edmund
« Last Edit: September 10, 2006, 08:02:17 AM by eronald » Logged

Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
picnic
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« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2006, 09:07:56 AM »
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Quadtone RIP is free to test (shareware, completely unlocked) and makes excellent BW prints on the 2200. The only problem is the set up. Quadtone comes with profiles.

I also used my own profiles on the 2200 with decent results (I'm a color consultant) - this printer is well worth profiling, and the profiles will mostly fix the horrid blocked shadows, although you would do well to set the ink flow to -6 or -8.

I've sold my own 2200, but it was a good machine - tough and capable of nice work when properly fed. It also never had blocked nozzles or other issues.

Edmund
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=75977\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I find that QTR does make excellent prints.  My only complaint is that at times it seems necessary to create your own profiles and that whole area does not appeal to me.  I wish there were more sharing of profiles (there certainly is some--and many of the ones available work well--with the ability to 'tone' as desired).

Edmund, I am curious what printer you replaced your 2200 with and why--if you are willing to share that information.

Thanks,  Diane
« Last Edit: September 10, 2006, 09:08:27 AM by picnic » Logged
Jonathan Ratzlaff
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« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2006, 10:21:53 PM »
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Quadtone Rip does a much better job on B&W than the epson driver.  If you print the test image that comes with QTR using the epson printer driver everything from 100% to 95% is blocked up wheras with QTR the division from 100% to 99 is clearly visible.  Same goes with the highhlights; much better control.
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