Digital Help
Q&A For Digital Photography

This department will attempt to provide solutions to problems readers may have getting into and using digital cameras, scanning, and using digital photographic images with a computer and different kinds of software. All questions sent to me will be answered with the most appropriate information I can access and provide. However, not all questions and answers will appear in this department. Readers can send questions to me addressed to Shutterbug magazine, through the Shutterbug website, directly via e-mail to: editorial@shutterbug.net or fotografx@mindspring.com or by US Mail to: PO Box 2830, Lompoc, CA 93438.

Epson Stylus C82
Q. I want to buy an Epson Stylus C82 printer but would like to get some experienced feedback on it if possible. I make note cards and want to know if the cards are not enclosed in glass or framed will they fade? Can you print on paper that is not ink jet coated and still get sharp results?
Esther Kowalke

A. To answer your last question first, because the C82 inks are pigment based they do not soak into the paper and diffuse as much as dye inks applied to "plain" uncoated papers, so provide better print performance. In fact Epson has optimized print performance for the C82 with plain and fiber-based matte-coated papers.
Print image life is also enhanced by the fact that the C82 uses pigment-based inks which are inherently more stable and impervious to changes affected by exposure to the elements. However, there are two considerations that must be taken into account. Even pigment inks will change and fade eventually when exposed to sunlight, moisture, and airborne contaminants, all of which will also affect the paper on which the image is printed. This is especially the case with plain, non-pH-balanced stock with an acid-residue content.
That said I am sure images printed with the C82 on good quality neutral pH paper stock will maintain color integrity under any conditions much longer than those printed using dye inks. I don't believe for the purpose you described you can obtain any better printing solution at such a reasonable cost.

More On The Epson C82
Q. Your digital reviews and Digital Help department in Shutterbug are great! Prior to the introduction of the Epson 2200 and the smaller 960 printers, you have not been satisfied with gray scale printing using black ink only. But all of that changed this year with the 2200 and the 960, both of which impressed you very much when printing gray scale using black ink only.
Now, in the May 2003 issue of Shutterbug, you have high praise for the black ink only printing of another Epson Stylus printer, the C82, which sells for about $149. You state, "Black and white photographic images are reproduced exceptionally well by the Epson Stylus C82...not just using the color ink mode, but using the black ink only mode which reproduced very sharp, crisply detailed images with a full range of neutral tones." The C82 also has separate ink cartridges, however, nowhere near the number that the 2200 or the 960 use. My question is simply this: Does this relatively inexpensive Epson printer "really" do a bang up job in gray scale using the black ink only selection? Or, am I reading more into your review than is actually there?
Ken Duke

A. The black ink only gray scale (black and white photo) printing on the newer Epson ink jets is far improved over older versions of the printers for two primary reasons: 1) these printers have a higher resolution at which they can print and 2) there are more and finer ink jet nozzles. The ink applied is done more finely and has a greater range of potential tones even though you might be using one ink color and set of jets. However do not expect the inexpensive C82 to produce prints with quite the same refinement of quality as the much more expensive Stylus Photo 2200--that would be unreasonable to assume or expect.

Color Management Support In Applications
Q. In a recent Digital Help you wrote: "First of all, neither PaintShop Pro or FreeHand are color managed applications as are the Adobe applications like Illustrator and the recent versions of Photoshop including Elements."
No questions or complaints here, just an FYI. After spending some time learning and reading this weekend, it appears both programs actually do have some kind of color management in their latest versions (PSP 7.04 and FH-MX). How well this works compared to how Adobe does it, I cannot say.
FreeHand uses a different system for color management and I haven't totally figured it out yet. They say, "The Kodak Digital Science and Apple ColorSync color systems use standard profiles approved by the International Color Consortium (ICC) to help you manage color in FreeHand. These model-specific, ICC-compatible profiles supplied by the manufacturers appear in the FreeHand Color Management dialog box, along with custom profiles. FreeHand reads all ICC Version 2 compatible profiles. Additional manufacturer profiles are available on the Internet at www.colorsync.com. Device manufacturers' websites may also include profiles."
Bill

A. I looked into PaintShop Pro's latest version. What they are calling color management is simply enabling control via sRGB color space. This is to be avoided like the plague, because sRGB reduces the color gamut to the mean average of standard monitors, a color gamut that drops out as much as 30 percent or more of the information in a scan from an Ektachrome transparency. sRGB is intended only for web use, not for full photographic image processing and reproduction.
In other words, if you have this latest version of PaintShop Pro you should not enable color management. However, without it you are working in monitor color space, and unless your monitor is calibrated and profiled, your system and printer is blind in terms of knowing what the source is you're printing from.
With FreeHand in the latest version apparently the Windows version installs the Kodak Precision CM engine for internal use by FreeHand. This should allow printing from a known source to a specific printer profile via the printer driver from FreeHand. However, that does leave the question whether or not FreeHand is using a proprietary standard workspace profile as Adobe does or if you are working in monitor color space. You will have to establish that from Macromedia documentation.

 

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