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Author Topic: epson 3800 and colorbyte imageprint  (Read 5547 times)
ttrask
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« on: February 22, 2007, 01:22:39 PM »
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I am trying to decide whether to purchase imageprint for my epson 3800.  The standard driver gives good results, at least with epson media.  Can I expect to see a difference with imageprint?   I know that the provided profiles for third party papers will be nice, but if I can't beat the image quality of the epson driver/epson paper combo, not sure it's worth the price.

Any comments would be appreciated.
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2007, 02:18:57 PM »
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I've used IP for many years on an Epson 4000 and a 9800 where I teach. Most of my retrospective two years ago was printed on that combo. It is a great layout interface with superior profiles. IMO On the 4000 at least IP was far superior to the native software and Epson profiles. IP is a "blackbox" approach which attempts to maximize quality with a generic linearization and custom profiles. I use it both for my commercial work and for my fine art B&W and find it easy to use and very high quality. I have experimented with other more complicated RIPs like Studioprint and find no real world advantages, but many advantages over Epson's offering. I am in the market for a new printer and will look at the PMA releases. IP 7 will be released at PMA and will support the new HP and Canon printers.
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Kirk Gittings
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madmanchan
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2007, 02:28:51 PM »
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I have not seen IP on the 3800 so can't comment on it. What I can say is that IP used to offer a significant advantage in quality on the non-K3 ink printers (2200, 4000, etc.). I don't believe that is the case anymore. IP is still great. But the Epson driver is now much better, and the canned Epson profiles are also much better. So, Epson has caught up.

It is unfortunate the demo Windows version of IP doesn't let you print. Otherwise you could try the demo and do a comparison. If you're on a Mac you can try the demo.

Where IP still has the advantage is the workflow. Much easier to print from IP, esp. if you're doing stuff in batch.
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Kuryan Thomas
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2007, 06:46:02 PM »
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Based on my comparisons of IP in demo mode versus Epson drivers with canned profiles, I bought IP for my 3800. (Actually my wife bought it for my birthday, but she knew I was thinking of buying it.) The difference was easily visible to me.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2007, 06:49:55 PM by Kuryan Thomas » Logged
madmanchan
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2007, 10:39:12 PM »
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Hi Kuryan, could you please explain what the differences are. Are you talking about differences in detail, tonal smoothness, dithering, color accuracy, B&W, ... ?

And, which paper(s)?

Thanks,
Eric
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Kuryan Thomas
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2007, 11:05:47 PM »
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Eric,

I don't do enough B&W to make a useful judgment.

The things that jumped out most at me on my initial test were tonal smoothness and shadow rendering. The test image, taken in light reflected from a canyon wall at Capitol Gorge in Capitol Reef NP, glowed in a way I'd seen only on my screen until then. And mind you, I saw that even with DEMODEMODEMO printed all over the paper!

The image is here. This is a web version of the image that doesn't really show the tonal range of the original.

I compared with the Epson 3800/Enhanced Matte using canned Epson profiles, Epson 3800/Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308 using Hahnemühle canned profiles, and Epson 2400/Hahnemühle Photo Rag using a custom Chromix ColorValet profile.

What I saw was much better tonal resolution, which brought a glow to the midtones - the sandstone in the background. The bark of the tree preserved excellent shadow detail. I'd given up on seeing the exposed wood of the tree printed as I visualized, but the IP print pulls it off. Same goes for the transition to darkness in that crevice at the left.

I knew right then I had to have IP.

Since I got a license, I've printed more on Hahnemühle Photo Rag; but also on Epson Enhanced Matte, Epson Premium Luster, Moab Kokopelli Satin, and Pictorico Photo Gallery Film. I couldn't be happier with the quality.

Prints made on luster and gloss paper show less improvement than prints made on matte paper, but all do show improvement.

Of the parameters you list, I would rank the IP improvement in this descending order: tonal smoothness, color accuracy (with relative colorimetric rendering), detail, and dithering. I would add shadow detail near the top as well, probably between tonal smoothness and color accuracy.

My workflow is as follows: Raw converter with no sharpening; output to TIFF; intake into CS2; input sharpening with PhotoKit Sharpener (PKS); any regional edits and "creative sharpening" with PKS; flatten and save print file; resize and interpolate to 360ppi for IP; output sharpening with PKS; flatten again; print with IP.

I've been using the RF3 variant of the IP profiles, intended for general mixed lighting.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2007, 11:24:06 PM by Kuryan Thomas » Logged
Kuryan Thomas
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2007, 11:17:37 PM »
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By the way, Eric - I loved your web gallery. The Whalers Cabin on the home page had me looking for a long time!
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madmanchan
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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2007, 06:06:51 AM »
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Hi Kuryan,

Thanks very much for your detailed explanation. This is very helpful.

Eric
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ttrask
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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2007, 02:55:13 PM »
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Thanks everyone for the excellent advice and discussion.  I think Kuryan's last post sold me.  By the way Kuryan, I use the exact same workflow.  Glad to see that someone else thinks it makes sense. Todd
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eronald
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2007, 07:27:07 PM »
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Nice file Kuryan, but maybe you should give a custom profile a chance ...

Edmund
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pss
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« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2007, 11:34:06 AM »
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Quote
I am trying to decide whether to purchase imageprint for my epson 3800.  The standard driver gives good results, at least with epson media.  Can I expect to see a difference with imageprint?   I know that the provided profiles for third party papers will be nice, but if I can't beat the image quality of the epson driver/epson paper combo, not sure it's worth the price.

Any comments would be appreciated.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=102414\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


i used to have imageprint with my older epson printers....they really needed it...i used it with my 4000 and when i got the 4800 i stopped using it....i use a handfull of papers for which i have profiles made by inkjetart.com, i don't know how imageprint could improve on that.....the software is great, but there were always some problems (usb tongle, software glitches,....as with all software) the B&W straight out of the 3800 is stunning, with custom profiles it is even better.....i don't see the point anymore.....
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Kuryan Thomas
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« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2007, 04:33:02 PM »
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Nice file Kuryan, but maybe you should give a custom profile a chance ...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=102884\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks for the compliment, Edmund.

It's true that the comparison against a custom profile was on a different printer - the 2400.

However, one advantage of IP is the large library of good profiles. For the first time since I started serious inkjet printing, I'm willing to experiment with new papers without having to factor in the cost of a good custom profile. I've already printed on a sample of Crane Museo Silver Rag, and I plan to try Hahnemühle William Turner in the near future.

With my 2400, I had to be very sure what papers I wanted to use - at $100 a profile from Chromix or Digital Dog (Andrew Rodney), I couldn't really freely experiment. I just need to print on 9 different paper stocks to recoup the cost of IP.

And, with IP, I can always pay for a custom IP profile if I find a paper I like a lot. I know Andrew does do custom profiles for IP.

All is not golden with IP, of course. The high cost of upgrades outside the support period, the whole dongle thing, and the dismissive customer service come to mind. On balance, though, I believe I made the right choice for my needs.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2007, 04:33:21 PM by Kuryan Thomas » Logged
Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2007, 05:34:04 PM »
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Time saver note.......
As per workflow. You guys do not need to flatten layers to take it into IP. I normally keep a number of adjustment layers going and a sharpening layer. I keep everything at my largest print size and with max sharpening in a separate layer and adjust opacity for different  print sizes and just load it into IP. That way I have to save only one final print version. Works like a charm. The KISS principle.
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Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
ttrask
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2007, 12:13:20 PM »
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If better canned profiles are the main advantage of imageprint (workflow and layout are not a big issue for me), and custom profiles are better, should I be considering a custom profiling solution such as colorvision printfix or greytag eye one?  Are third party custom profiles significantly better than can be created with above hardware?  Are new profiles needed when ink cartridges are changed? Thanks Todd
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2007, 12:34:33 PM »
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All is not golden with IP, of course. The high cost of upgrades outside the support period, the whole dongle thing, and the dismissive customer service come to mind. On balance, though, I believe I made the right choice for my needs.

Personally I have had no issues with customer support. They always call me back in a few minutes after an email. And what is the problem with the Dongle?
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Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2007, 12:36:49 PM »
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Todd the advantage to IP is the black box approach where you do not have to take the time and money to profile your own papers. It works very well for me having done the other before for both my commercial and fine art work.
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Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
madmanchan
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« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2007, 02:13:12 PM »
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If better canned profiles are the main advantage of imageprint (workflow and layout are not a big issue for me), and custom profiles are better, should I be considering a custom profiling solution such as colorvision printfix or greytag eye one?  Are third party custom profiles significantly better than can be created with above hardware?  Are new profiles needed when ink cartridges are changed? Thanks Todd
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=103282\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It also depends on how many different types of papers you use regularly. If you use a lot of different papers or like to experiment with or try new ones, then it'll either take a lot of money (getting third-party custom profiles) or time (rolling your own profiles with your own spectro). For these cases, it might be worth getting ImagePrint so you can use their library of profiles.

But if you only use a small # of papers you might just want to just buy a custom profile from a good service.

Eric
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matt4626
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« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2007, 03:29:43 PM »
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I'm using IP with the 3800. This is my first RIP and I see a big improvement over the Epson profiles. The prints are a much better match to my monitor. I've also been much happier with the B&W output. All in all the 3800 & IP is the easiest printing set up I've ever used.
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Kuryan Thomas
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« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2007, 04:57:15 PM »
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Personally I have had no issues with customer support. They always call me back in a few minutes after an email. And what is the problem with the Dongle?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=103288\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I once emailed them asking whether there were any upgrades, right after I installed the system. I wanted to make sure I had the latest release. The response I got was, "We don't give out upgrades before they're ready." Huh? I guess that means there are no upgrades? Why not just say that?

As for the dongle - the biggest problem with it is that you can't back it up. So if you lose it or damage it in any way, you get to buy the software over again. Unlike, say, Internet activation, where you can at least back up the email they send with your activation code.

Again, I repeat, I'm happy with IP and would recommend it to others. These are the drawbacks in my view.
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Kuryan Thomas
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« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2007, 05:05:40 PM »
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If better canned profiles are the main advantage of imageprint [...] and custom profiles are better
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=103282\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
In my experience, canned IP profiles for my 3800 outdid custom profiles for my 2400. It's not an apples and apples comparison, I agree.

Again in my experience, the Epson drivers lay down too much ink in shadows on matte paper. So I believe, although I have no direct experience, that an IP canned profile would outperform a custom profile, unless you were very careful in setting up the printer for the best linearity before printing the custom profile targets. I don't know the Epson drivers well enough to trust myself with such a setup.

I do believe a well-made custom IP profile would outperform a canned IP profile.
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