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Question: After using the Epson 3800 for more than a month ...
I have had no technical issues. - 40 (66.7%)
I have had some minor issues but am overall satisfied. - 16 (26.7%)
I have had major issues which make me question my purchase. - 4 (6.7%)
Total Voters: 59

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Author Topic: POLL: Printing Experience with Epson 3800  (Read 23682 times)
madmanchan
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« Reply #60 on: April 25, 2007, 06:47:51 AM »
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Jess, are you seeing smearing of ink on the edges of the print near the bottom 1" or so? If so, this could be a head strike.

Also, which operating system are you on?

Eric
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ScottWald
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« Reply #61 on: April 27, 2007, 08:48:10 PM »
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Iím seeing problems with shadow clipping (values from 1 to about 15 are lost) and a somewhat lower D-max when comparing my 3800 prints to prints from my former 2200 (both prints are from the same file, both using canned profiles; printing in color).  This is especially apparent on Hahn PhotoRag 308, but noticeable as well on Epson Enhanced Matte. Changing the rendering intent and black-point settings doesnít help. The prints from the 3800 arenít awful, but it bothers me to know that they could be better.  Is anyone seeing similar problems?
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #62 on: April 27, 2007, 09:05:50 PM »
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Iím seeing problems with shadow clipping (values from 1 to about 15 are lost) and a somewhat lower D-max when comparing my 3800 prints to prints from my former 2200 (both prints are from the same file, both using canned profiles; printing in color).  This is especially apparent on Hahn PhotoRag 308, but noticeable as well on Epson Enhanced Matte. Changing the rendering intent and black-point settings doesnít help. The prints from the 3800 arenít awful, but it bothers me to know that they could be better.  Is anyone seeing similar problems?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=114642\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

If this is of any useful guidance to you, from my Epson 4800 which uses the same inkset as your 3800, my analysis of the Atkinson Printer Test Target printed on Epson Enhanced Matte indicates that greyscale tonal gradations are distinguishable from about L=6 upward. Rendering Intent does not affect this outcome.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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ScottWald
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« Reply #63 on: April 28, 2007, 11:12:21 AM »
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If this is of any useful guidance to you, from my Epson 4800 which uses the same inkset as your 3800, my analysis of the Atkinson Printer Test Target printed on Epson Enhanced Matte indicates that greyscale tonal gradations are distinguishable from about L=6 upward. Rendering Intent does not affect this outcome.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=114645\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thank you MarkDS.  That is helpful, although I am losing values at least as high as 15.  I've also now tried Epson Ultra Smooth Fine Art paper using the supplied Pro38 USFAP profile.  D-max is significantly better than with Hahn Photo Rag (but still not as good as I was getting from my 2200 using canned profiles), but I'm still getting clipping at the low end.  Since this is not a third-party paper, I'm surprised and a bit disappointed.  I am now considering a custom profile.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #64 on: April 28, 2007, 11:57:21 AM »
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Thank you MarkDS.† That is helpful, although I am losing values at least as high as 15.† I've also now tried Epson Ultra Smooth Fine Art paper using the supplied Pro38 USFAP profile.† D-max is significantly better than with Hahn Photo Rag (but still not as good as I was getting from my 2200 using canned profiles), but I'm still getting clipping at the low end.† Since this is not a third-party paper, I'm surprised and a bit disappointed.† I am now considering a custom profile.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=114723\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well, I think before going after a solution it would be preferable to understand the problem. The Epson canned profiles are generally acknowledged to be very good, so I wouldn't automatically assume the problem is related to the profile.

First I recommend that you download (from his website) and print the Atkinson Printer Target Test image using a matched Epson paper and canned profile - say Enhanced Matte to keep it cheap and still useful.

Check the grey ramp across the bottom, and the greyscales in the smaller image of vertical grey bars (third row from the bottom second from left). In the second-to-blackest vertical bar, you should see modest tonal separation as you look from the top of the bar downward, because the tonal value of that bar increases from 6 to 12. If you do not see this modest lightening - and it is modest - in your print of the target (which I recommend you print it at least A3 size for reliable assessment)  then it could mean that your printer may be over-inking. I say this, because on my 4800, my print of that target using the canned profile (EEM) does show this very modest lightening between the top and bottom of that second bar.

You then have three options: (1) decrease the ink limits VERY MODESTLY in the Advanced Options of the Epson driver - say several percentage points at a time and each time reprint the target to check for two things: (i) improved tonal separation in that second bar and (ii) the overall saturation of the test image - virbancy can visibly suffer from reduced ink limits; (2) get a custom profile so that whatever the problem with inking in your printer, the custom profile MAY compensate it; (3) call Epson and ask them to fix or change the printer such that the default ink settings and the canned profiles give you the Atkinson Target Test print quality that you should get.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2007, 11:58:05 AM by MarkDS » Logged

Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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ScottWald
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« Reply #65 on: April 28, 2007, 01:55:14 PM »
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Well, I think before going after a solution it would be preferable to understand the problem. The Epson canned profiles are generally acknowledged to be very good, so I wouldn't automatically assume the problem is related to the profile.

First I recommend that you download (from his website) and print the Atkinson Printer Target Test image using a matched Epson paper and canned profile - say Enhanced Matte to keep it cheap and still useful.

Check the grey ramp across the bottom, and the greyscales in the smaller image of vertical grey bars (third row from the bottom second from left). In the second-to-blackest vertical bar, you should see modest tonal separation as you look from the top of the bar downward, because the tonal value of that bar increases from 6 to 12. If you do not see this modest lightening - and it is modest - in your print of the target (which I recommend you print it at least A3 size for reliable assessment)  then it could mean that your printer may be over-inking. I say this, because on my 4800, my print of that target using the canned profile (EEM) does show this very modest lightening between the top and bottom of that second bar.

You then have three options: (1) decrease the ink limits VERY MODESTLY in the Advanced Options of the Epson driver - say several percentage points at a time and each time reprint the target to check for two things: (i) improved tonal separation in that second bar and (ii) the overall saturation of the test image - virbancy can visibly suffer from reduced ink limits; (2) get a custom profile so that whatever the problem with inking in your printer, the custom profile MAY compensate it; (3) call Epson and ask them to fix or change the printer such that the default ink settings and the canned profiles give you the Atkinson Target Test print quality that you should get.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=114734\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks again Mark.  I did as you suggested, printing the Atkinson Lab Test Page on 13 x 19" Epson Enhanced Matte paper with the Pro38 EMP profile, color adjustment off, perceptual intent, BPC on.  It looks good.  The bar you refer to shows even gradation from darker at the top to lighter at the bottom, and continues to look this way when I mask the adjacent bars with white paper (although it is, as you warn, a very subtle change).  The ramp across the bottom, and the other bars in the pattern your refer to, all look as I would hope they would, and the overall vibrancy of the images on the page is good for this paper.

So, I assume (please correct me if Iím wrong) that my printer is functioning well and that I should not adjust the ink limits.

However, this leaves me with the problem of explaining why detail in the 0-to-15 range of an image I am trying to print is being clipped when I use the very same paper-and-profile combination.

One other clue.  On a quasi-whim I went back and printed my test image on Enhanced Matte paper with the canned Hahn profile for Photo Rag and the Epson 2200 (i.e., I printed on the 3800, but the profile was intended for the 2200) and the shadow detail I am looking for reappeared (although the print suffers in other respects).
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #66 on: April 28, 2007, 03:02:50 PM »
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Thanks again Mark.  I did as you suggested, printing the Atkinson Lab Test Page on 13 x 19" Epson Enhanced Matte paper with the Pro38 EMP profile, color adjustment off, perceptual intent, BPC on.  It looks good.  The bar you refer to shows even gradation from darker at the top to lighter at the bottom, and continues to look this way when I mask the adjacent bars with white paper (although it is, as you warn, a very subtle change).  The ramp across the bottom, and the other bars in the pattern your refer to, all look as I would hope they would, and the overall vibrancy of the images on the page is good for this paper.

So, I assume (please correct me if Iím wrong) that my printer is functioning well and that I should not adjust the ink limits.

However, this leaves me with the problem of explaining why detail in the 0-to-15 range of an image I am trying to print is being clipped when I use the very same paper-and-profile combination.

One other clue.  On a quasi-whim I went back and printed my test image on Enhanced Matte paper with the canned Hahn profile for Photo Rag and the Epson 2200 (i.e., I printed on the 3800, but the profile was intended for the 2200) and the shadow detail I am looking for reappeared (although the print suffers in other respects).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=114767\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Scott, based on what you describe it sounds to me as if your assumption about leaving the ink limits alone is correct. Everything you've done points to your original hunch being most likely correct: the problem could well be the performance of the Epson profile for those particular papers giving you this problem.

That said, it is generally the case, unfortunately, that detail in these deep tones does tend to be smothered with matte papers. This is a well-known phenominon. John Paul Caponigro, for exampe, has material about this issue on his website.

But even so, it does not explain why you got better results for the same image with the 2200 than with the 3800. This is counter-intuitive because the 2200 is one inkset and two printer generations behind the 3800. It could be a fluke result for something unusual about that image. If, however, you are seeing this on a number of images it may be worthwhile buying a custom profile for the paper you most prefer and see to what extent that solves the problem. If you do and it works, please let us know, because even without seeing the problem image, this is information that others may find useful.

Also, could you explain a bit more in what ways the print suffered from using the Hahn/2200 profile in the 3800? If the answer is that the remainder of the print was looking kind of washed-out, that would suggest the Hahn/2200 profile on the 3800 is allowing less ink overall, which favours the shadows and kills everything else. That again points to the possible usefulness of a custom profile for the 3800.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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ScottWald
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« Reply #67 on: April 28, 2007, 04:36:35 PM »
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Hi Scott, based on what you describe it sounds to me as if your assumption about leaving the ink limits alone is correct. Everything you've done points to your original hunch being most likely correct: the problem could well be the performance of the Epson profile for those particular papers giving you this problem.

That said, it is generally the case, unfortunately, that detail in these deep tones does tend to be smothered with matte papers. This is a well-known phenominon. John Paul Caponigro, for exampe, has material about this issue on his website.

But even so, it does not explain why you got better results for the same image with the 2200 than with the 3800. This is counter-intuitive because the 2200 is one inkset and two printer generations behind the 3800. It could be a fluke result for something unusual about that image. If, however, you are seeing this on a number of images it may be worthwhile buying a custom profile for the paper you most prefer and see to what extent that solves the problem. If you do and it works, please let us know, because even without seeing the problem image, this is information that others may find useful.

Also, could you explain a bit more in what ways the print suffered from using the Hahn/2200 profile in the 3800? If the answer is that the remainder of the print was looking kind of washed-out, that would suggest the Hahn/2200 profile on the 3800 is allowing less ink overall, which favours the shadows and kills everything else. That again points to the possible usefulness of a custom profile for the 3800.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=114771\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Mark, Iíll try some other images and see how things look.  Also, I think Iíll focus on Epson Ultra Smooth Fine Art paper so that I know that the Media Type settings at least are correct (with the Hahn Photo Rag these settings are a big unknown) and then experiment with different profiles, perhaps some of them custom.  If I come up with a combination that gives the results I was getting with my 2200 Iíll let you know.  

As far as the print from the 3800 using the 2200/Hahn profile is concerned, no, I wouldnít say that the print was washed out; indeed, if anything it is slightly richer, more saturated than the print on the same paper (Epson Ultra Smooth Fine Art) using the Pro38 USFA profile.  But the colors shifted towards magentaĖrather dramaticallyĖand there are gradation problems in some flesh tones which I would almost describe as posterization.  All in all, even though the shadow details are back, the print is unacceptable.
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yachtfb
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« Reply #68 on: May 12, 2007, 04:18:53 AM »
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  Well all I can say is that it came out of the box - it connected to my wireless network router first attempt - it showed all the cartridge data immediatley - and it has printed faultlessly every time since.

Wonderful!

Now to prove that I can give a balanced view, it did take me a while to work out how to use the manual feeds sucessfully, but that is familiarisation I suppose.

So far I have only been using Epson branded consumables so I can start off from a known base, I shall experiment with other papers soon, but I will stay with Epson inks.......

So how about looking at your pricing Epson because I tend to be very frugal with my printing just because your prices frighten me! - Make them cheaper and I, and I am sure many others will ignore the cost and print and buy more.

Everyone wins in that scenario. So be bold Epson and buck the trend of high ink prices - and maybe prove that there is no pseudo price cartel in operation.
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« Reply #69 on: May 14, 2007, 03:24:44 AM »
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Hi,

After more than a month and almost 100 A3+ nature and landscape prints (border and borderless) and a few A2, only one ink catridge got empty yesterday (light black). The others are still from 25% to 50%. And they are the first set, where about 20% got wasted on the initial setup. Pretty frugal.

Still no technical problems except some head scratches on the last border on heavy paper (Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308). No problems with the first border, but if the last one is just a bit curled, the head touches it unless the platen gap is set to wider.

I just quit trying to use EPSON Archival Matte. No good results on blacks or dark tones. EPSON Watercolor Radiant White gives gorgeus results, and this is becoming my main paper for this printer. Really, really good.

A nighmare with settings and print quality with Hahnemuhle Photo Rag, and I still got better results with WCRW than with HM. To the best of my knowledge, this is due to the icc profiles for the paper. I've tried with a lot of settings.

With the HM profile (HFA3800PhotoRagMK), if you set the media type as Velvet Fine Art Paper (VFAP) and 1440 dpi, then the results are really bad. Some colors are pasted and resolution are bad. With the same setings, if you increase the dpi to 2880, then things improve a lot, but still not really good. With the HM profile you must set media type to WCRW. Then the quality is good at any dpi. But only good. Especially in flat or very even colors (such as fog or cloudy skyes), the ink droplets can be appreciated to the naked eye. I tried with 1440, 2880, and high and low velocity (HV, LV). Slightly better with 2880 and LV, but not for fireworks.  VFAP setting doesn't work wit the HM canned profile.

This do not happen if you use EPSON WCRW paper (with the EPSON canned profile). With this paper it is impossible to see the droplets with the naked eye (even at 1440 HV) and hardly with a 4x magnifying glass. I'm still very impressed with the results of WCRW.

I tested Hahnemuhle Photo Rag with the Booksmartstudio free profile, with slightly better results than with the HM. Also tested with the DTG profile. The DTG profile gives me better results than the HM and the Booksmartstudio, and it is now my default profile for the Hahnemuhle Photo Rag.

Also I detected difference between 1440 HV and 2880 HV and LV (didn't test 1440 LV). I can appreciate increase in quality from 1440 HV to 2880 LV. If you are not in a hurry, it is worth use 2880 LV.

I also compared 3800 results with the EPSON 2100 I still have opperative. Whatever the profile and setting combination I have used for the Hahnemuhle Photo Rag in the 3800, results from the 2100 is always better than from 3800. ALWAYS.

This is not the case with the EPSON WCRW which you cannot distinguish results form 2100 and 3800, apart from that 3800 is faster and cheaper.

I also checked rendering intent, and differences from Perceptual No BPC and Relative Colorimetric BPC are, in most of the cases, just a question of taste. I tend to use Perceptual No BPC.

In general I'm a bit disappointed with the 3800 in the sense that I expected better results from using an expensive top of the line paper, and got the best results from a cheap and considered as low profile paper. And not a noticeable increase in quality from the old 2100. I never expected to se the droplets with the naked eye in the HM paper. And I'm sure it is not a printer fault because WCRW and even Archival Matte (with all of they problems) are perfectly OK.

I'm going to order some other more upscale EPSON papers to find a replacement for the HM paper, wich I have not been able to make it work with the 3800, and I do not want to devote to it any more time or money. At least until HM releases better profiles. I refuse to buy third party profiles for a paper. If HM wants me to keep using their paper, better provides usable profiles for the 3800.

Of course I'm using last versiůn of profiles, printer firmware, color managed by PS CS2, and so.

Regards

Manuel
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madmanchan
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« Reply #70 on: May 14, 2007, 07:46:57 AM »
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The benefits of the K3 inks don't really carry over to matte papers, except with regards to B&W printing through the ABW mode (which features a deeper black and improved longevity) and less metamerism.

One of the problems you may be running into is simply a poor profile for Photo Rag.
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ecemfjm
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« Reply #71 on: May 14, 2007, 09:44:01 AM »
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One of the problems you may be running into is simply a poor profile for Photo Rag.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=117434\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks for telling me what I already know. I didn't ask for solutions, just wanted to share my experience.

Anyway if you know about any canned profile for the 3800 that, in your experience, works better than the ones I've tested, with results that improve the 2100 results, that information would be really helpful.

Regards

Manuel
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madmanchan
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« Reply #72 on: May 14, 2007, 02:26:09 PM »
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I am simply pointing out that a poor profile has little to do with the capabilities of a printer or a paper. The best printer, inks, and papers in the world can easily be made to look poor with inferior profiles.

I'm pointing this out to reinforce the notion that if you (or anybody else) is dissatisfied with the results you are getting using a canned profile, consider investing in a custom profile.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #73 on: May 14, 2007, 04:39:31 PM »
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Manuel, we like to believe we are community of well-intentioned people here, so when members report problems, there is a natural human tendancy on the part of other members to offer potential solutions arising from their experience. That is one of the major benefits of this forum and shouldn't be misunderstood for something it isn't.

Anyhow, I agree completely with what Eric is saying - I would only add one refinement about the role of K3 inks - the structure of this inkset is said to improve B&W neutrality and tonality regardless of whether one works in the ABW mode of the Epson driver or does the conversion in the imaging application.

There is an additional clue in your post that may suggest your problems with results exceed profiling alone, but if you are interested in the feedback, you would need to provide additional information to help diagnose that. It is this. You say that you quit using Epson Enhanced (Archival) Matte due to "no good" blacks or dark tones. Actually if I may speak for him, Eric and I are both very interested in this issue and have collaborated with a fair bit of work on it eventhough we live in different cities. I would appreciate if you could describe more fully what is "no good" about Enhanced Matte. I use this media almost exclusively in my Epson 4800 and the results are on the whole very good  - acknowledging that the D-Max of ANY matte paper is lower than that on gloss media.
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« Reply #74 on: May 15, 2007, 06:59:15 AM »
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Hi,

I appologize If I sounded rude. It was not my intention.

I expected that the 3800 and the HM photo rag paper will work, but, fort me, it is not working. And since there are many other good papers, including some Epson's, I prefer to find the right combination of paper and standar profile than trying to make work a combination that the maker doesn't bother to make it work (HM photo rag and the 3800), or invest in custom profiles. I do not have the time nor the money to invest on it. And I do not thnik that the results will worth the effort. Especially because HM photo rag works OK with the 2200.

Regarding the Epson Enhanced Matte paper, the thing is related to the splodges that appear in the dark tones. As before, since the Epson WCRW paper gives very good reults, I quit trying to make the Enhanced Matte paper work in the 3800. I'll use the 2200 to print with this Matte paper, and the 3800 for the WCRW.

I've ordered a box of UltraSmooth fine Art Paper (325) from EPSON. I'll receive it in a few days and I'll tell you the comparison with the HM photo rag in the 3800.

Regards

Manuel
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madmanchan
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« Reply #75 on: May 15, 2007, 07:15:49 AM »
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Thanks for the clarification, Manuel. The splotchiness problem with Enhanced Matte on the 3800 does appear to be real and, as of today, not yet resolved. I have not seen any such problem on UltraSmooth Fine Art.

For a paper similar to the appearance, materials, weight, and price of Enhanced Matte, you may wish to consider Premium Matte 2.0 by Red River Paper (in the 47 lb version) or Matte BW by PremierArt.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #76 on: May 15, 2007, 08:16:29 AM »
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Manuel, thanks - just to add to what Eric said - I personally brought this issue to Epson's attention during the Tech Expo at PhotoshopWorld in Boston last month, and at their request gave them sample prints illustrating the problem. They expressed considerable interest in having this examined. We are awaiting their findings. One of the factors that may complicate resolving it is that it does not appear to be consistent behaviour accross printers or even from the same printer at different times. Anyhow, let us await their response.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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