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Author Topic: Thinking about moving up from an R2400  (Read 3573 times)
st326
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« on: March 10, 2007, 02:47:48 AM »
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Hi all,

I am currently using an Epson R2400, to pretty good effect. I do nearly all B&W, shooting digitally (medium format with a Bronica ETRS and a Megavision E4 Monochrome, and 4x5 with a Cambo Legend and a Better Light Super-6K scan back). After some considerable teething troubles, I've managed to come up with techniques that work pretty well for B&W printing and have had some good results. However, I'm finding that 13x19 isn't really quite enough to really do justice to the images (roughly 4000x4000 for the Megavision and 8000x6000 for the Better Light), so I'm thinking about moving up to something bigger.

I did play with Quadtone RIP a little bit recently, and was pretty impressed, though I only ever used it to do sepia toned prints with the standard ink set. I've been wondering about going to the Cone inks, again since I tend to do nearly all B&W anyway, and partly also to maybe make it sensible to pick up an older, larger printer than I'd otherwise be able to fit within my budget.

I've been considering printers with a 17" carriage, but I'm concerned that this would have me immediately wanting something bigger still. Has anyone out there gone this route? How's it been for you?

One other thing about the Cone inks -- I've noticed a couple of people mention that they don't have as good a dmax as the Epson inks. I tend to go for quite punchy images on the whole, and also tend toward glossy paper (mostly an old habit from my wet darkroom upbringing that I never quite got away from).

It probably makes sense to attach a couple of photos so you can see the sort of stuff I print:





(In case anyone is interested, the first one was shot with the Bronica/Megavision system, the second with the Cambo/Better Light, both at Joshua Tree National Monument)

Any advice gratefully appreciated.
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filip baraka
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2007, 03:54:48 AM »
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Any advice gratefully appreciated.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105785\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


All of "new" printer will get you excellent BW
I own ipf5000 and bw is great and neutral (if u like it to be)

But i see that u use mostly square, IMHO 17"x17" square wan't be too much of a improvement so i would go to wider ones, check the posts for z3100 it has problems with color but for bw could be excellent

HTH
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eronald
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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2007, 12:56:17 PM »
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All of "new" printer will get you excellent BW
I own ipf5000 and bw is great and neutral (if u like it to be)

But i see that u use mostly square, IMHO 17"x17" square wan't be too much of a improvement so i would go to wider ones, check the posts for z3100 it has problems with color but for bw could be excellent

HTH
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105791\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I second all of that. The HP is beautiful in B&W.

Edmund
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2007, 12:57:36 PM »
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(In case anyone is interested, the first one was shot with the Bronica/Megavision system, the second with the Cambo/Better Light, both at Joshua Tree National Monument)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105785\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I can't help with the printer problem, as I am still using an Epson 2200 (with QTR for B&W prints.) I''ll probably replace it with a 3800 (or successor thereof) when it finally dies.

But what I wanted to say was that I like your photos. When I saw the first one, I said to myself, "Hey, that looks like Joshua Tree National Park!" I love those rocks there. I just got back from a trip that included one day at JTNP. My first time was in 1994, with film. I won't wait so long next time.

Thanks for showing the photos.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2007, 12:58:26 PM by EricM » Logged

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tbonanno
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2007, 01:15:52 PM »
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If you like the K3 inkset, the Epson 3800 is an attractive package that will give you a 17" carriage and also smaller cut sheet.

I have both the 3800 and the iPF5000 in the studio.  Print quality is very similar.  Only real difference to my eye for B&W is that the 3800 exhibits less bronzing on glossy surfaces than the iPF5000.

Another factor which may be important to you  is that the Quadtone RIP supports the 3800.  As much as I would like to see QTR for the iPF5000, I doubt that we'll ever see QTR supporting the Canon printers.


Tony Bonanno
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st326
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2007, 02:13:18 PM »
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If you like the K3 inkset, the Epson 3800 is an attractive package that will give you a 17" carriage and also smaller cut sheet.

I have both the 3800 and the iPF5000 in the studio.  Print quality is very similar.  Only real difference to my eye for B&W is that the 3800 exhibits less bronzing on glossy surfaces than the iPF5000.

Another factor which may be important to you  is that the Quadtone RIP supports the 3800.  As much as I would like to see QTR for the iPF5000, I doubt that we'll ever see QTR supporting the Canon printers.
Tony Bonanno
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105887\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The 3800 is an interesting compromise, certainly. I'm heading into Palo Alto today to look at lights (whole other story -- I'm getting interested in shooting still life with my Better Light system, so I'm in the market for some kind of continuous lights), and I think they (Keeble & Schucat) had a 3800 in. Hmm, maybe I'll take my flash drive with me and armtwist them into giving a demo.

I do like the output from QTR, but I've probably not really played with it enough to have properly mastered it. I should give it another go really.

One thing I've always struggled with with the Epson driver (and the K3 inks on the R2400) is that I've never successfully made it print anything vaguely approximating what's on the monitor. With colour, fine, but with advanced B&W, everything is always way too dark. I eventually came up with a technique of adding a curves layer at the top of the layer stack, deleting the layer mask, then creating basically a gamma correction curve by clicking dead centre on the line and dragging that point up to the 75% point (assuming white to the top and right, black to the bottom and left). I use this, do a work print, then hand-tweak the curve slightly if necessary. As a workflow, it's annoying, but I have had some very good results from it. If anything, it's more like wet darkroom printing in approach, but it would be so nice just to be able to faithfully render an on-screen image for-once.

I did put a lot of time into trying to find a solution, before I went for my belt-and-braces approach with curves. Whatever combination of printer and image 'colour' profiles I chose, I always ended up with something way too dark. The settings in the printer driver didn't help either, because they didn't have enough adjustment range to provide enough correction. This is all using Photoshop CS on Windows XP with the current version of the Epson drivers.

QTR didn't have the same issues, but I basically was using profiles I made myself for it (mostly by eye). I didn't get as far as making profiles that correct for the sepia tone of the K3 black inks, however. Maybe I'll dust it off and have another go at it. I'm tempted to try the Cone inks anyway, though I'm wondering if they are aimed more at softer-toned images and matte papers, so I'm not sure if they will really work with my kind of visualisations. It can't really hurt to try it, of course!
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st326
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2007, 07:11:40 PM »
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I can't help with the printer problem, as I am still using an Epson 2200 (with QTR for B&W prints.) I''ll probably replace it with a 3800 (or successor thereof) when it finally dies.

But what I wanted to say was that I like your photos. When I saw the first one, I said to myself, "Hey, that looks like Joshua Tree National Park!" I love those rocks there. I just got back from a trip that included one day at JTNP. My first time was in 1994, with film. I won't wait so long next time.

Thanks for showing the photos.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105881\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm generally scared to post photos here, because people might look at them and spot all the mistakes! But thanks, yes.

JTNP is an awesome place. I had to go to a conference in Albuquerque for work, and I was feeling like I needed a break, so I chose to drive there and back (from the bay area -- about 2600 miles in total!). I stopped off at JTNP in both directions for an afternoon each time, but I still haven't really scratched the surface. If I can, I'd like to spend a few days there -- I think I could spend at least a month there and still feel like I'd not taken just the obvious shots, let alone the unusual ones.
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eronald
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2007, 07:13:40 PM »
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I'll trade a custom profile (for color)  for a print of the first photo.

Edmund
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Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
madmanchan
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2007, 08:57:34 PM »
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Hi st236,

In case you haven't seen it, here's a FAQ for the 3800 I've put up recently:

http://people.csail.mit.edu/ericchan/dp/Epson3800/faq.html

There are some notes in there about printing with ABW that may be of use to you. I doubt the 3800's ABW is any different than the R2400's, so if you find ABW not suited to your needs, then you might want to pass on the 3800.

That said, there are subtleties to be aware of when printing through the ABW driver, because ABW isn't ICC color-managed. For instance, if you are starting from a ProPhoto RGB color image where R = G = B, then you're going to get a noticeably darker print than if your editing space is Adobe RGB. This is because ProPhoto RGB has a gamma of 1.8, not 2.2.

Anyways, you find some info on the page to help you along.
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st326
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« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2007, 12:12:57 PM »
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Hi st236,

In case you haven't seen it, here's a FAQ for the 3800 I've put up recently:

http://people.csail.mit.edu/ericchan/dp/Epson3800/faq.html

There are some notes in there about printing with ABW that may be of use to you. I doubt the 3800's ABW is any different than the R2400's, so if you find ABW not suited to your needs, then you might want to pass on the 3800.

That said, there are subtleties to be aware of when printing through the ABW driver, because ABW isn't ICC color-managed. For instance, if you are starting from a ProPhoto RGB color image where R = G = B, then you're going to get a noticeably darker print than if your editing space is Adobe RGB. This is because ProPhoto RGB has a gamma of 1.8, not 2.2.

Anyways, you find some info on the page to help you along.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=105960\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Reading your notes on ABW, it sounds like you're using basically the same technique as me (defining a curve), it's just that you're using a spectrophotometer and I'm doing it by eye. I maybe should pick up one of those things sometime, particularly if I'm going to do more with QTR and different papers.
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madmanchan
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« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2007, 12:36:36 PM »
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Yes, that's right, I basically measure a set of gray patches and then create a set of curves in PS that will correspond to them. Specifically, the curves convert from the RGB values of my working space to the RGB values of the printer that will match the measurements when printed through ABW.
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eronald
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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2007, 04:16:40 PM »
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Yes, that's right, I basically measure a set of gray patches and then create a set of curves in PS that will correspond to them. Specifically, the curves convert from the RGB values of my working space to the RGB values of the printer that will match the measurements when printed through ABW.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=106060\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


There's a softproofing system that comes with Quadtone Rip, might solve these issues for Epson's advanced black. And PS also has a transfer curve control hidden away in its Print dialog.

Edmund
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st326
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2007, 04:31:25 PM »
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There's a softproofing system that comes with Quadtone Rip, might solve these issues for Epson's advanced black. And PS also has a transfer curve control hidden away in its Print dialog.

Edmund
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=106085\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It does? I must have missed that somewhere! Looks like this is a better solution.

(and I must reinvestigate QTR)
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2007, 04:36:46 PM »
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See http://www.outbackphoto.com/artof_b_w/bw_09/essay.html

for how to softproof B&W with QTR.

--John
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