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Author Topic: how to get best result with my R2400  (Read 5531 times)
mminegis
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« on: July 11, 2007, 02:54:20 AM »
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hello,

I would like to make most of my printer R2400 as I am in the process of making prints for sale. With that being my purpose, I would like to seek advice on the following questions:

- I am using the Epson driver v. 2.32 while they have 2.5 available on their website. Should I install 2.5? Will I see any 'improvement' if I do?

- Is a custom made profile worth it? Ctein recommends Cathy Stratton's profile for example. Or is Rip a better idea? I am reading QuadTone Rip's tutorial (not yet purchased) and that's for BW, right? What is your recommendation for Colour?

- For paper, I am using Fine Art Pearl.  FAP with its .icc looks slightly better than with R2400 Premium Luster .icc (standard), but I need more experiments on this. Both .iccs, I used Relative C. + Black P. Compensation On. I also like Photo Rag 308g very much and want to make BW prints with Photo Rag. Any thoughts on these combinations of paper and the printer, to get the best results?

So far I have made mainly colour prints so I am new to BW printing. I do not forsee any majority change - probably will do 30% or less in BW.  

Thank you in advance for your suggestions!

Mari
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2007, 09:32:05 AM »
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hello,

I would like to make most of my printer R2400 as I am in the process of making prints for sale. With that being my purpose, I would like to seek advice on the following questions:

- I am using the Epson driver v. 2.32 while they have 2.5 available on their website. Should I install 2.5? Will I see any 'improvement' if I do?

- Is a custom made profile worth it? Ctein recommends Cathy Stratton's profile for example. Or is Rip a better idea? I am reading QuadTone Rip's tutorial (not yet purchased) and that's for BW, right? What is your recommendation for Colour?

- For paper, I am using Fine Art Pearl.  FAP with its .icc looks slightly better than with R2400 Premium Luster .icc (standard), but I need more experiments on this. Both .iccs, I used Relative C. + Black P. Compensation On. I also like Photo Rag 308g very much and want to make BW prints with Photo Rag. Any thoughts on these combinations of paper and the printer, to get the best results?

So far I have made mainly colour prints so I am new to BW printing. I do not forsee any majority change - probably will do 30% or less in BW. 

Thank you in advance for your suggestions!

Mari
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1) The newer driver has a slighty different and cooler looking interface, though functionality is about the same. A few of the defaults are different, so you have to be careful the first time through to make sure you have the right settings. As usual the best color results are obtained with application managed color printing to a good profile.

2)The existing "premium" profiles on Epson's website are quite good. I've also been very satisfied with profiles from the Hahnemühle and Crane websites for their papers. No doubt you can get slightly better results, particularly for images with a lot of out-of-gamut colors, with a custom profile, but you're probably approaching the point of diminishing returns with papers from Epson and the major players. I found that canned profiles for Innova's papers were another matter; not that good, especially for black & white.

3) I've also been delighted with the quality of prints on Hahnemühle fine art pearl with the Epson 2400 using Hahnemühle's profile. Photo rag 308 is a nice paper, but the blacks will be a bit weak for B&W prints, unless you're going for a lower contrast "platinum print" look, in which case it's fine.

4) I bought the 2400 mostly for black & white, since color prints on my Epson 7600 were already very good. The very deep D-max from the 2400 on luster or semigloss papers (including FAP) really brings B&W to life, providing a dynamic range on paper exceeding that of a darkroom print. Epson's black & white mode in the printer driver is pretty good; I use it to tone prints just a bit in the purple/cool direction, which works on relatively cool/bright papers like FAP or Epson luster. Warmer toned papers like Crane silver rag really demand a warmer toned B&W print, or the highlights turn olive green. I found Quadtone RIP a necessity for black & white prints on the bigger 7600, as it greatly reduced metamerism and gave me more predictable results on photo rag. With the 2400 at least for my needs the basic driver and profiles are more than sufficient.

5) For what it's worth, I print a line of note cards on Crane's museo with the 2400, and they sell as fast as I can print them. Ink would be cheaper printing them on my larger printer, but that's a bit like using a sledgehammer to crack an egg.
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madmanchan
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2007, 09:37:45 AM »
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If you are truly looking to "make the most" of your printer, then yes I would invest in custom profiles.
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2007, 10:51:44 AM »
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Quote from: madmanchan,Jul 11 2007, 02:37 PM
If you are truly looking to "make the most" of your printer, then yes I would invest in custom profiles.
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The fact that you provide custom ICC profiling for $ couldn't have anything to do with your opinion?
Just sayin.

Beautiful photos on your website, by the way.
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mminegis
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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2007, 02:34:00 PM »
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Thank you so much for your suggestions.

I will definitely try FA Pearl for my B&W, though I tend to prefer 'platinum' looks to higher contrast. The only thing with Photo Rag is that it needs careful handling, ie scuffing. From that point of view, FA Pearl is fantastic, of course it's a semi glossy surface  

I'd like to try Crane Silver Rag too. Yes, I love experimenting different papers, so making a custom profile for every paper could be a bit too much of $.

Another observation is that my prints have overall darker colours/tonality, compared to my laptop monitor (yes, it is calibrated every 4 weeks). This could be because I am printing them from LR, instead of CS2, without soft proofing. My prints have been consistently darker, though. I remember that Uwe recommends 10% less ink when the photo has lots of shadows. What is your take on this?

One more thing: FA Pearl is very hard to load with single/manual loading. I had to load 5 times before I could get it going, without getting 'paper jam' warning (and it wasn't jammed!). That could damage the surface, and I guess I will just use normal feeding.

Mari
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madmanchan
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2007, 06:23:44 PM »
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The fact that you provide custom ICC profiling for $ couldn't have anything to do with your opinion?
Just sayin.

It is true that I offer a custom profiling service, and perhaps my advice can be seen as a conflict of interest, but I stand by my original recommendation: to get "the most" out of a printer, esp. one such as the R2400 which isn't calibrated to tolerances as tight as the Epson Stylus Pro models are, get a custom profile. There are many reputable places, such as Andrew Rodney (Digital Dog), Chromix, Cathy's Profiles, InkJetArt, etc. No need to get them from me.
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2007, 08:27:20 PM »
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Thank you so much for your suggestions.

I will definitely try FA Pearl for my B&W, though I tend to prefer 'platinum' looks to higher contrast. The only thing with Photo Rag is that it needs careful handling, ie scuffing. From that point of view, FA Pearl is fantastic, of course it's a semi glossy surface   

I'd like to try Crane Silver Rag too. Yes, I love experimenting different papers, so making a custom profile for every paper could be a bit too much of $.

Another observation is that my prints have overall darker colours/tonality, compared to my laptop monitor (yes, it is calibrated every 4 weeks). This could be because I am printing them from LR, instead of CS2, without soft proofing. My prints have been consistently darker, though. I remember that Uwe recommends 10% less ink when the photo has lots of shadows. What is your take on this?

One more thing: FA Pearl is very hard to load with single/manual loading. I had to load 5 times before I could get it going, without getting 'paper jam' warning (and it wasn't jammed!). That could damage the surface, and I guess I will just use normal feeding.

Mari
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Even when calibrated, it's hard to tell very much from a laptop monitor. Most are sensitive to viewing angle and sometimes even battery charge state. Photoshop CS3 actually has an accurate soft proof right in the print dialogue box based on the chosen profile, and I have found this extremely helpful. I must confess that I briefly tried Lightroom but never really "got" it; I just couldn't live without curves adjustment layers. If your prints are still too dark after soft-proofing, it's a simple matter to apply a curves adjustment layer just before printing to correct this.

If you're using the Epson 2400 advanced black & white mode, be aware that the default tonal setting is "darker". Changing this to "dark" or "normal" may solve your problem for black & white prints.

You're right about fine art pearl being difficult to load on the 2400; silver rag is even worse. There's a simple work-around. Ignore Epson's advice to load the paper from the front using the straight-through paper path; this forces a very high print-head height that kills sharpness, and the paper frequently skews during loading, tearing the edge of the page. I wasted about 8 sheets of (very expensive) paper figuring this out. Instead you should place the paper in the normal rear (upper) loading slot, and apply gentle pressure to the top edge of the page with your fingers as it starts to load. This works every time.
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mminegis
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2007, 02:40:35 AM »
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Great to know that it wasn't just me being clumsy, or worse still, my printer rejecting a fine paper such as FA Pearl   and the heat is helping neither of them! I will use normal loading.

As for the CS3, I've been resisting to upgrading from CS2, but soft proof from Print dialogue sounds  great and perhaps that's the call. I just didn't want to go through yet another tutorials and like, to get used to its new features, while I am still updating myself with LR 1.1. I do love LR, I have to say, I don't think I could do without it  

So my next work is: to print on Photo Rag all the photos I have printed so far on FA Pearl. Plus, get out of LR and actually use CS2 (or CS3) for soft proofing, and see if I can correct the darker tonalities=discrepancy between monitor and print. I will post observations or questions when I am done.

mari
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mminegis
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2007, 01:59:38 AM »
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Here's an update on my experience with R2400.

-On darker tonalities

I thought it was an overall tendency but there has been only 1 image that I cannot get it right, either on FA Pearl or Photo Rag, amongst 10 images. It's that particular green (dark to mid dark lawn green) that becomes a way too dark, compared to the monitor... must be out of gamut. Sure, the colours on monitor are still more 'glaring' looking overall, but that's normal, let's say.  

- On Photo Rag

I so love this paper! The scuffing has suddenly become non-issue. Perhaps I had a bad lot before, I don't know. I have been blowing away anything attached on the surface with a blower, before I load the paper though. Manual loading is much easier with this paper than FA Pearl.

I think I will choose the paper according to the subject. For certain things (like water reflections) I want a shinier look (ie FAPearl) and for others I need a softer/warmer look (ie Photo Rag). Even though that would mean that, in the same presentation, OBA difference would certainly be noticed.  (And if I am certain that I will stick to these two papers, I may still consider custom profiling for the combinations).

So what's next? Of course, CS3/CS2 and soft proofing... because I am still deeply in the world of LR  

Also, I found these articles very useful (must have picked up somewhere in this forum but I just post them here too):

http://www.computer-darkroom.com/ps10_print/ps10_print_1.htm

http://www.computer-darkroom.com/ps10_colour/ps10_1.htm
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free1000
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2007, 11:38:05 AM »
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Finally got around to profiling Fine Art Pearl and Photo Rag Pearl on my 2400 today. I used the Eye One Photo which I've had for about three years.

1) For B&W I have used the Quadtone Rip in the past (shareware www.quadtonerip.com). I used the Eye One to make a custom version of the Silver-Rag-Neut printing curve. Both the canned one provided with QT rip and my new one gave very good prints.  I got great prints on both the PRPearl and FAP with this appoach.

2) I also made a pair of colour profiles using Eye One Match. Then I made some B&W prints from Lightroom. These were also very good.

Final result for me was that the QTRip custom profile was the most neutral. With FAP this is very neutral because of the white paper base. With PRPearl the print had a creamier look and of course a lovely feel.

The FAP seems more photographic to me somehow.

The grail for me was a reasonable print using the Epson print driver as I want to print portfolio books out quickly which have both colour and B&W prints using inDesign.

However, I think I would continue to use QTRip for B&W prints I intended to sell.
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2007, 12:59:20 PM »
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Mari,

The instructions in the 2400 manual on "Printing your color-managed photo" are pretty good. I follow them with excellent results on FAP.

It would be hard to beat this paper for its whiteness, finish, and weight. It's softer than Premium Luster, but framing under glass is a great equalizer. I use Hahnemuhle's profile for soft-proofing and printing, and don't feel the need for a custom version.

John
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David Good
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2007, 03:35:45 PM »
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Using the rear feeder on the R2400 takes some getting used to, the trick is to make sure the paper is loaded straight and to apply light pressure for the three times that the printer pulls down. It usually takes after two, but the third tug pulls it down to check for paper alignment. It is recommended to close the sheet feeder and use the rear one for thick paper, probably raises the heads.

The Epson drivers are very good for this printer, I also use Hahnemuhle's profile for FAP with Rel. Col. and BPC. A well built custom profile can only improve the accuracy of the softproof and output as it describes your printer with those settings. Try setting the Drying Time about half way to help reduce any "pizza roller" effects if you are experiencing this with thicker glossy papers.

For my eye, and many others I have asked, ImagePrint can't be beat for grayscale prints (and interestingly sepia toned, browns are perfect), although ABW is not bad when configured as mentioned above. I have not tried Quadtone RIP.

Hope that helps...
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mminegis
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2007, 10:26:13 PM »
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As much as I like FA Pearl, when I comapre it to Photo Rag 308 gsm, it feels 'light' in my hands. What to do, there's only one version of FA Pearl = 285 gsm, right?

Has anyone used Photo Rag Pearl 320 gsm? Does it have a nice pearl finish like FAP on its beautifully textured Photo Rag (would be ideal   )? Or is it a totally different thing? The only reason I didn't pick it up the last time I was in a local store was that it said on the box 344 gsm! According to their website, there's only 320 gsm Photo Rag Pearl... so I don't know, maybe I saw something else.

m.
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madmanchan
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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2007, 05:54:22 AM »
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Photo Rag Pearl is quite a different paper. For starters, it's a much warmer paper ...
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mminegis
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« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2007, 08:10:50 PM »
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OK, here I am back again, with my saga with R2400.

In the meantime, I watched Camera to Print, as you all did (or are doing). Just as I thought I was set to make best prints on earth (no such miracles allowed) I realised after watching the whole CtoP:

- my sharpening skill/knowledge sucks
- I never fully understood curves

Hopefully reading two books by Bruce F. and Amadou D. (I ordered them before watching Michael and Jeff recommend them in the dvd! timely!) will correct the above.

Also, I thought I was sold to FA Pearl, and now Photo Rag seems the right choice. Especially after seeing the difference in dark blue (water) - on FA Pearl, it goes towards purple and looks depressing.

In summary, to get best result, I have to get better first.   wasn't it obvious?

have a good weekend!
m.
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ScreamLordByron
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« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2007, 12:33:44 PM »
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I came across this thread because of a search I did, because I just received a box for Photo Rag Pearl from Adorama, which is marked 344gsm. I was bemused because I was expecting it to be 320 gsm.  Does anybody know what the deal is here?

Quote
As much as I like FA Pearl, when I comapre it to Photo Rag 308 gsm, it feels 'light' in my hands. What to do, there's only one version of FA Pearl = 285 gsm, right?

Has anyone used Photo Rag Pearl 320 gsm? Does it have a nice pearl finish like FAP on its beautifully textured Photo Rag (would be ideal   )? Or is it a totally different thing? The only reason I didn't pick it up the last time I was in a local store was that it said on the box 344 gsm! According to their website, there's only 320 gsm Photo Rag Pearl... so I don't know, maybe I saw something else.

m.
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mminegis
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« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2007, 04:59:49 PM »
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Yes, I was in the same store a few days ago, and saw 344gsm again, instead of 320. I also saw something else by Hahnemuhle - can't remember what exactly but looking at it, I thought: huh, that's different from what it says on their website too. OK, maybe, they make different gsms for North American market??? Or simply they haven't updated their website in english, and in german it's written 344gsm?

Now that I am here, to update the thread I started: I read the book on Sharpening and it was probably the single most useful book I've ever read on the argument. Now I confidently do the sharpening in CS2, using his method for the source and content sharpening (the first phase) and then do the second and the third with Photokit sharpener. On paper, I compared the sharpening in LR and in CS and concluded that CS is better. If I use LR for printing, the files have to come back from CS, after having been properly sharpened in CS. Otherwise I stay in CS and print from there.

I also had custom profile made for my R2400 and that produces better prints especially on Matte paper (photo rag).
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tad
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« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2007, 10:30:36 PM »
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In the last couple of posts mention of books on sharpening are mentioned. Would you please let me know the titles. I really need to read these.

Thanks
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2007, 10:34:03 PM »
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Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop CS2 by Bruce Fraser
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2007, 10:51:30 PM »
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On paper, I compared the sharpening in LR and in CS and concluded that CS is better. If I use LR for printing, the files have to come back from CS, after having been properly sharpened in CS.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=136650\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I think LR does a pretty nice job of "capture sharpening", but I think many are going out to either PS or Photokit Sharpener for creativing and output sharpening. Some come back and print from LR with LR output sharpening off, others just print it from PS. (that's where I'm at).

If I remember right, Michael and Jeff both discuss this in Camera to Print (been a couple of weeks since I watched it), and indicated they were hoping (hinting) that Adobe might add better output sharpening to LR in a future version.  It's current output sharpening isn't optimal - low, medium or high.  Just what does that mean?  

Those that need to crank out lots of smaller prints probably find LR output sharpening adequate (wedding photographers etc.).

I'm currently reading Bruce Fraser's book as well ... incredibly helpful.
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