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Author Topic: What is the best Inkjet Printer for making neutral Black and White prints?  (Read 6842 times)
sunshine1234
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« on: June 16, 2013, 10:10:35 AM »
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I'm buying my first inkjet printer.

I would like to buy one that can make reasonably neutral B&W prints for exhibition and portfolio.

The size needs to be at least 16" wide and no wider than 24"

What is the best Inkjet Printer for making neutral Black and White prints?

Many thanks for your thoughts, opinions, and recommendations.?
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Chris_Brown
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2013, 10:22:22 AM »
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Canon iPF6400 or Epson 7900.

If you don't print frequently, go with Canon, which uses thermal print heads. They plug less frequently.

What will really determine the look of your work is the paper. There are many excellent products to choose from. I use hahnemuhle and am very content with my results.
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2013, 10:39:46 AM »
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I agree with all except I use Canson papers.
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hugowolf
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2013, 11:48:06 AM »
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If you don't need roll feed and can make do with 17 inches, then the Epson 3880 is an excellent printer.

Brian A
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Damir
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2013, 02:46:17 PM »
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HP Z
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Sal Baker
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2013, 05:22:48 PM »
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I use the 3880.  Never clogs, inks last for years in the printer, no worrying about humidity levels, can go weeks/months between print sessions, and produces stunning neutral B&W prints.  I regularly make 16x30 prints (I know, very strange ratio) from roll paper with no problems.

Moving to a 24 inch printer is a big jump in printer size.  The 3880 sits nicely in the space about the size of a 13 inch inkjet printer.  The 24 inch models are monsters in comparison, and really need a lot of print volume to keep the heads in order.   I've read that the Canon LF printers have less clogging issues than the Epson counterparts.

Sal
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Eric Brody
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2013, 08:17:52 PM »
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Another vote for the Epson 38xx series. They are at a sweet spot for price, size and maintenance. If you're earning real money with your images and have the space, a 24" printer is nice but I find it hard to place, let alone sell, frames much larger than 16x20. I love the black and white prints I make with my 6 1/2 year old 3800. It's given me not a lick of trouble in all this time, and it just keeps working. I usually use the QTR rip and have great control over the tonality of my images. I tend to prefer slightly warmer tones but anything is possible. Even using the basic  driver with appropriate icc profiles will produce an essentially perfect neutral black and white image. Black and white printing with current inkjet printers is a mature excellent technology.
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Roscolo
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2013, 12:34:00 AM »
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What is the best Inkjet Printer for making neutral Black and White prints?



HP z3200

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shadowblade
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2013, 12:45:10 AM »
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I'd say it depends more on the paper, the profile and the custom black-and-white inkset than it does on the printer.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2013, 12:54:50 AM by shadowblade » Logged
Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2013, 03:39:13 AM »
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I'd say it depends more on the paper, the profile and the custom black-and-white inkset than it does on the printer.

If you can create the media presets, the ink chemistry (or ink choices) then that is correct. Considering the matte black inks (including HP, Canon, Epson) Eboni MK from MIS inksupplies is actually the most neutral (and very stable in many ways) and MIS has also a new PKN in development that is more stable on the printer. With QTR as the driver and good partitioning + a neutral paper quality you would have a strong contender with customised Epson printers. If Paul Roark adds some nice curves/profiling to that combination it can be a winner. Though he might go for 2-3 color inks extra to make that printer a more universal B&W printer.

Custom solutions are almost all Epson based. The True B&W RIP for the Canons is using the Canon OEM inks, no other ink choices possible according Bowhaus. I have an experimental custom HP desktop printer setup but it is difficult to transfer that solution to a wide format model like the Z2100. Not impossible though. Other 6 channel (CAD) models of HP have quite large droplet sizes, the Designjet 130 might be possible with its 4 picoliter droplets. It will cope with the modern Vivera pigment inks I am sure despite being a dye ink model. I would not risk the use of pizo head inks in thermal heads, the other way around is without problems like the use of HP Vivera pigment inks in Epson models has shown. It would be interesting to have a go with the Canon CAD 5 channel models like the iPF510 and upwards. 4 picoliter droplet. True B&W RIP does not support them though (I have asked why not? but got no answer) There are some quirks in the Canon CAD driver though that would make it hard to use that driver with custom B&W curves in Paul Roark style.

Out of the box and with a slightly less neutral matte black ink (compared to Eboni) and with the other gloss monochrome inks being the most neutral of all right now, the HP Vivera pigment printers are in my opinion the best choices in that case. Add to that the excellent fade resistance of the HP Vivera pigment inks and the media presets not having composite (CMYetc) grey mixes, the Z3100 + Z3200 are hard to beat on B&W neutrality with proper neutral paper choices. With 6 extra hue inks to steer B&W prints from neutral where desired or to build an adapted B&W tone range on non-neutral media. Not to mention splits. The Vivera pigment color inks are second to none in fade resistance. Fade resistance is important with B&W, any hue shift along the tone range is more visible in a monochrome image than in a color image. There is also the severe ruler of silver halide B&W print longevity we measure B&W inkjet longevity against. The choice of gloss/satin media for the HP Vivera pigment inks can be tricky. Even with the full dose of gloss enhancer ink there are several gloss papers that show bronzing which is a real issue with B&W prints. The post iPFx100 Canon pigment models do better on that aspect.

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NancyP
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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2013, 04:33:06 PM »
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What size beast do you want? Epson 3880, 42#, sits on a shelf of an industrial wire shelving unit on wheels, vs Epson 4900, > 100#, and needs its own stand. I took one look at the weight and dimensions (and COST) of the two units, and decided that I could live with sending out the rare print job wider than 17". My office space is rather limited.
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TMARK
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« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2013, 01:26:08 PM »
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What size beast do you want? Epson 3880, 42#, sits on a shelf of an industrial wire shelving unit on wheels, vs Epson 4900, > 100#, and needs its own stand. I took one look at the weight and dimensions (and COST) of the two units, and decided that I could live with sending out the rare print job wider than 17". My office space is rather limited.

I went with a 4900 over a 3880.  Yeah, its heavy, and huge.  I have it sitting on a dresser.  While both are 17" printers, the advantage of the 4900 over the 3880 (aside from full roll support) is build quality, particularly in terms of tolerances of image alignment on double sided paper, which I use for my printed sleeveless portfolios.  The image needs to alighn, on both sides, perfectly.  I found that teh 3880 was unable to acheive an acceptable alignment about half the time.  The 4900 hits it about 95%.

As to B&W printing, the HP Z's are fantastic. although the Epsons are nice as well.
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kuau
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« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2013, 08:32:52 PM »
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What's the latest and greatest B&W paper for use with the HP Z3200?
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artobest
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« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2013, 03:39:30 AM »
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Paper choice is a personal thing, but HP is very good at supporting third-party papers, both with its built-in spectro and the way its paper-preset system is set up to manage them. That said, I do love the way Hahnemuhle Bamboo warms up those cool-neutral HP greys.
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deanwork
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« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2013, 08:25:11 PM »
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I agree. HpZ best single printer with oem inks for neutral bw. Best dmax, totally linear, and permanence off the charts.

Having said that Canon and Epson are very good too if you know how to work the system to its best advantage, QTR and True Black and White workflows.

john
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robgo2
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« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2013, 04:28:01 PM »
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My recommendation would be an Epson 3880 with ImagePrint as the printer driver.  IP has excellent gray profiles for almost any paper that you can use for soft proofing.  The prints are about as neutral as you can get.  Although the program is a bit pricey, it makes printing a breeze, and the results are second to none.

Rob
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JohnBrew
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« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2013, 06:33:57 AM »
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Either Epson or Canon printers turn out exceptional images. For totally neutral prints I prefer the Canon (and I have both). But as others have pointed out, your choice of paper is more important. I use Ilford GFS and Hahnemuhle.
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zippski
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« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2013, 01:07:45 PM »
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Another vote for the HP z's.

One thing that needs to be emphasized is the incredible ease with which a Z can produce those beautiful neutral (or, for that matter, toned) BW prints.  That is the beauty of the killer built-in spectrometer.  I had heard from more than one source that nothing on the market beats an original z3100, not even a z3200.  Every time I see the quality BW prints rolling off my trusty old z3100, I have to agree.

Zero clogs, and zero ink switching as well. But then, you all knew that!

Leigh
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shadowblade
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« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2013, 01:33:08 PM »
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Another vote for the HP z's.

One thing that needs to be emphasized is the incredible ease with which a Z can produce those beautiful neutral (or, for that matter, toned) BW prints.  That is the beauty of the killer built-in spectrometer.  I had heard from more than one source that nothing on the market beats an original z3100, not even a z3200.  Every time I see the quality BW prints rolling off my trusty old z3100, I have to agree.

Zero clogs, and zero ink switching as well. But then, you all knew that!

Leigh

Unfortunately, HP printers aren't compatible with Piezography inks.
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zippski
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« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2013, 03:57:01 PM »
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I did not see that as a requirement anywhere in the original post.

Leigh
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