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Printer of quality

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daniloj

I'm a old fan of analogic darkroom and for many years I have printed (b/w & color) with a great satisfaction.
Now, with a digital camera (coolpix) and a photo printer (epson) I don't have good results. Someone knows if there is a printer that give a good results (almost at 18x24 cm) as my old enlarger?
 

ilkka

Member
I thin i know the answere to your promlem, but to get perfect B/W prints from your inkjet printer you need to hawe a RIP-engine connected to your printer and everything must be adjusted. Printer, screen and PS and you need correct icc profiles too. Otherwise in's a waste of money!
 

lnbolch

Well-Known Member
> Posted by Danilo Janno (Daniloj) on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 10:59 am: > > I'm a old fan of analogic darkroom and for many years I have printed > (b/w & color) with a great satisfaction. > Now, with a digital camera (coolpix) and a photo printer (epson) I > don't have good results. Someone knows if there is a printer that give > a good results (almost at 18x24 cm) as my old enlarger?

Remember how long it took to learn to make great prints in the fume-room? Well, you are not quite starting over from the beginning, but the digital darkroom has an even steeper learning curve for those who are starting green.

Interestingly other than skills that need to be developed, the main culprit in poor quality images is not the printer, but the monitor. One processes the image so it looks good on the monitor. If the monitor is out of calibration, the printer has no way of knowing. It just prints what you send it. If the monitor contrast is abnormally high, you will get muddy prints. If the monitor contrast is low, then the opposite prevails. If the monitor is biased to red, your prints will have a cyan bias.

It is also vital to choose the paper you are printing on from the list in the printer driver dialogue. Choosing correctly invokes a profile for that ink and paper combination. Also choose one of the highest quality settings for printer resolution.

My old workhorse, a 13" dye-ink 1280 is worn out and in the shop. In the mean time, I bought the bottom of the line letter sized photo printer. I am getting superb results and it is very quick. If the 1280 can not be repaired, I plan to buy the pigment-ink R2400 to replace it. The 2400 at its sisters, the 4800, 7800 and 9800 represent the current state of the art in fine-art printers. The gamut is equal to or better than dye-ink printers, and properly framed and displayed prints may last one to three centuries without showing any fading.

The museum community is very excited about these third generation printers. The first generation of pigment-ink prints had great longevity, but small gamut that was strongly influenced by the light under which the prints were viewed. Blacks looked bronzed when light reflected off the glossy paper. The second generation extended the gamut, but there were still some problems with the blacks and the longevity was shortened somewhat. This generation seems to have solved all the previous problems.

However, even with a colour managed and calibrated monitor and the best profiles for each paper, it still comes down to the skills of the person doing the printing. In the fume-room, one could make the print lighter or darker, and adjust the colour balance. Beyond that the only controls were dodging and burning. The digital-darkroom adds curves and gamma, precise control of dynamic range, saturation, sharpening, noise control and so on. A thick book could be written on the power of layers alone. Much more challenging.

If it took you a year or two to become a master printer in the fume-room, it will take several times that to reach the same level of virtuosity in the digital darkroom. Be patient, and learn processing thoroughly. I have made stunning prints 13"x19" {329mm x 483mm) off my first camera a CP990, as well as my CP5000 and CP8400. I started learning image processing on an Amiga computer in the late 1980s and am still learning with a high-power Pentium workstation and Photoshop CS2. No one knows it all, but the prints get better and better.

larry!
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ICQ 76620504
 

lnbolch

Well-Known Member
Ultimate B&W from inkjets has been a problem. There have been a number of third party ink sets made for the Epson 1270 and possibly others.

In this generation of pigment-based printers, the issue has been addressed and evidently solved. The R2400 for ex&le carries both a gloss black and matte black cartridge along with two levels of lighter black. The reports say that now it is pretty much the equal to silver-based monochrome prints.

Of course, it also requires the user to have the skills to exploit this potential. There is absolutely nothing automatic available that will ensure good print quality. A printer will only print the quality the photographer provides for it. Being a master printer in the fume-room does not ensure the ability to do the same in the digital darkroom.

It takes time to master the differences.

The easy thing is to blame the equipment. However, expect to be embarrassed when someone with skills using the same equipment shows everyone prints of superb quality, making your attempts look like drek. As with all aspects of photography - it is the photographer not the equipment - that makes the difference.

larry!
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ICQ 76620504

larry!
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ICQ 76620504
 

coyot

Well-Known Member
I'm looking for suggestion for a standalone printer for 4x6 prints. I have a backlog of several hundred shots I need to print. I bought an Epson Personal PictureMate (PhotoLab) two years ago. This printer I consider a piece of junk. Headache after headache. Slow. Any suggestions? Ideally, I am looking for low cost per print. Sheed feeder of 100 4x6 prints. Less than 30 seconds per print and reliability. Quality needs to be great for both printer and prints and I prefer a standalone so I don't have to tie up my computer.

Thanks,

Michael.
 

lnbolch

Well-Known Member
Unfortunately, the quality of the print for any contemporary photo printer is totally dependent upon what you feed it. Running straight from the camera digital shots into one with a card slot is the equivalent of running a roll of negatives through a machine printer, using a single setting for all. If you are lucky, out of 100, perhaps 5% will give you an unexceptional but acceptable print.

This is why darkroom workers spend years developing their skills, why printing machine operators take courses even though current machines incorporate a great deal of sophisticated automation, and why Photoshop users spend the rest of their lives learning. Cameras do an excellent job at collecting raw material on the shoot, but it is the darkroom worker who makes the print. No inkjet has that sort of imagination, sensitivity, creativity, skill and experience. Without those skills, the printer can only print what it is given, and almost no picture will be what you want, without your imagination, sensitivity, creativity, skill and experience fine tuning it.

Prepare to be disappointed with every printer on the market. They are all junk if you expect them to do the thinking for you. On the other hand, even the cheapest photo inkjets will do a fine job, providing you have an accurate monitor and a degree if imagination, sensitivity, creativity, skill and experience.
 

coyot

Well-Known Member
> Larry,

I understand what you are saying. But over the years, I have gotten pretty good at batch printing in bulk for larger size prints. Once I figure out the color profile, and how each print should be optimized, I can setup a job to do printing enmassed. My problem is printing withoug a computer a bunch of 4x6 prints. I always use Photoshop to "make ready" the image for printing, and then copy them up to a compact flash, which I then plug into the Epson Personal PhotoLab ...

The problem, is that the Epson is consistanlty jamming, or giving a "general error" or some such nonsense. Epson says if you get the "general error" turn the unit off and back off. This sometimes works, but now does not work. And what a headache. My Epson 2200 prints non stop print after print after print. But, of course it ties up my computer ... hence the desire for a standalone printer.

Thanks.
 

lnbolch

Well-Known Member
My apologies - as you phrasedit, it came across as a "newbie" question.

Of course if the pictures are shot under similar conditions, you could create an Action that will batch process the whole lot.

After many years of heavy printing, my 1280 simply wore out. At the moment, a letter-sized printer will handle what I need, so I bought the absolute bottom of the line Epson photo printer to tide me over until am ready to buy a larger format again. Once I am back to big prints, I will buy whatever is best for my needs at that time.

Prints look very good and it is many times faster than the 1280 even when printing at 5760 dpi - that which Epson calls "Photo RPM". While this is pretty much indistinguishable from lower resolution settings, the machine is so fast that I use it routinely. I have never had a jamming problem with it, though I have never done anything approaching a batch of 100. If I did, I would probably break it into smaller batches.

I have my printers set for print spooling, so once I hit "Print", it is all done in the background. I have never tried batch printing, but I see WindowsXP has such a function in Windows Explorer and a wizard to lead one through the process. At the moment, I have the printer on my A/V computer, so once the print file has gone across the network, it spools to that one. None the less, even if the printer is attached, the hit on performance would be minimal.

larry!
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ICQ 76620504
 
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