I've had several people ask me about the new 13 inch Epson R-1800 printer I am testing for a report for Shutterbug. Most are wondering if this printer in any way replaces the Epson Stylus Pro 2200. The R-1800 is a consumer product that is in nearly all respects just a larger R-800. It uses the same inkset as the R-800 with Gloss Optimizer and also includes the support for printing labels on CD's. If the R-1800 replaces any printer it is most likely the venerable 1280.
Any thoughts on Rip Sftwr for use on the 2200? Is it worth the cost? Which ones (if any) would you rec. I've been tweaking my profiles and trying to squeeze as much out of my 2200 with only modest success.
Software RIP's are highly recommended by some, but usually those recommending them are people who are doing printing commercially. Not too long ago I tried a software RIP in large part because the price was attractive. What I found was that it was intended for proofing press simulations for pre-press and the profile management was not readily adaptable to printing RGB for photographic output. And since, I find that many of the RIP's available, even more expensive ones are similarly intentioned.
The most affordable software RIP is an Adobe Postscript model sold by Epson on their store web site for $200.
Adobe PostScript Printing Made Easy
Have you looked at any of the other RIPs such as ImagePrint? In addition to a large library of excellent profiles, the key advantage to ImagePrint is much improved black and white printing.
My review of IP 6 can be read at Shutterbug: ImagePrint RIP
Although I have not worked with ImagePrint myself, I have done considerable research interviewing a significant number of fine arts printers running commercial print services who use several different RIP's.
From everything I can gather relative to the high cost of a RIP for the individual user printing from RGB there is little a RIP does which provides any real advantage that cannot be achieved more effectively by other means. Many of the claims made by some RIP purveyors are dubious, misleading and just plain false. Like one that claims their RIP reduces metamerism. There are literally thousands of scientific papers on metamerism on the web and the evidence is pretty conclusive metamerism is the physical function of the medium (ink) not of the device that applies it.
As to canned profiles, I would not give a plugged nickel for any of them no matter how skillfully made. The reason is quite simple: any printer is subject to the variations in performance of any mass produced complex mechanism that involves an unavoidable range of manufacturing tolerances. Unless a profile is made custom for a specific printer so the tolerance variations that make the printer unique are taken into account the performance of the profile will not be accurate with the exception of dumb luck of chance.
Custom profiling is neither difficult nor any more costly than many of the higher-end RIP's. I have been using the under $1,000 ColorVision Spectro Suite (as well as its predecessor) for some time. I find I can significantly improve color matching and effective ink control compared to standard Epson canned profiles as well as even their Premium profiles. And of course obtain optimum color matching for printing with 3rd party fine arts papers.
There is one solution to effective black and white digital printing which also provides an acceptable limit to the effect of metamerism, and that is to use all black inks to make the print. Careful custom profiling can provide accurate neutral gray performance without a RIP, but a grayscale image printed using 6-8 colors of pigment ink will be prone to metamerism, looking very different in color tone, in different display lighting environments.
The only advantage I can see provided by a RIP for printing RGB photographic images, is that some RIP's do provide specific ink-color channel control so inking can be fine-tuned. However to do that successfully does demand a lot of skill and a good digital color densitometer to measure and plot the densities of each ink applied to paper. I don't think anyone but a full-time professional printer would go to that extent.
I agree with most of your comments. Certainly one can't expect to eliminate metamerism when using the same inks, regardless of how they are laid on the paper. It's possible to reduce the effect by using less of a color or less ink in total but not eliminate.
For the person doing RGB color prints there is little benefit to a RIP, other than perhaps layout tools and print queueing - not an issue for many owners of smaller printers.
I do think though that RIP's such as ImagePrint offer a considerable advantage when it comes to black and white printing. I too use the ColorVision Spectro Pro, and recently have started testing the Monaco Pulse Elite, both in the $1000 range you mention. Neither is as capable of generating a black & white print with the same neutrality and tonal range as ImagePrint.
Another option that many people are very happy with is Qimage. Particularly if you want or need the layout functions and use papers that they have profiles for.
I would be very interested in how the Monaco Pulse Elite compares to the ColorVision Spectro. Some time ago I was quite favorable to Monaco System's affordable color management software. But then there was a serious shake-up of the Monaco team and the releases of the software since have not impressed me. However, that is not any reflection on their pro product line, which seems to maintain a good following.
As long as we are dealing with pigment inks unfortunately, enthusiast access to effective custom printer/ink/paper profiling remains pretty pricey at just under $1,000. With dye inks and some flatbed scanners which can produce a true raw scan the Monaco EZ and ColorVision software worked reasonably well. CV says they are working on something better, but so far I've not seen anything. So, good custom profiling or an effective RIP solution remain pricey add-ons. For now I'll take the Spectro option and profiling if a coin has to be flipped.
Although I have seen claims of good B&W prints using the full color gamut of inks using a RIP, but I have not seen any results that are at all convincing stacked up against prints made with inksets that are designed for dedicated B&W printing. And, dedicated B&W is a much more affordable option in most cases as there are quite a few questionable performing color printers available very reasonably, like the 7500/9500, which convert very readily to dedicated B&W printing.
There's also the Epson Gray Balancer which is available from a few places now, including here, that shipped with the European version of the printer (the 2100) but not with the 2200 here in NA for some unknown reason.
A review of it here, and a tutorial on using it here.
And best of all..... it's free.
Had a quick look through this thread and not sure I saw anyone mention the Harrington QuadTone RIP which is available for download for free to try and if you like it, he only asks for $50 in return which is far cheaper than the ImagePrint software. It's a little more quirky to use but works well.
Hi Bob -
I hadn't heard of this RIP. I'll take a look and see how it works.
The Quad Tone RIP was mentioned in my article on B&W printing in Shutterbug a few issues back.
However, for the purpose of printing only B&W, both a more effective and easier method was detailed for anyone who wants to dedicate a printer like a 1280 or 2000P to printing B&W.
I noticed light Cyan and Light Megenta are missing, is it discernable in the prints?
My 2200 is having printing issues and the good ole' compusa warranty will allow me to replace it with the 1800 when available, if I want to wait.
With Epson's new R-1800, and the already established R-800, light cyan and light magenta have been replaced with a blue and a red ink. Technically the reason is there are some inherent weaknesses in cyan and magenta inks and a solution to a more even and complete reproduction of all colors was to add the red and blue. The result in practical terms after using an R-800 for about a year now and doing about 150 prints to test the R-1800 is, compared to the 2200, better over-all saturation and more nuanced and rich complexion tones in people pictures and distinctly more realistic greens representing foliage.
In addition the printer functions easily and reliably, and prints with considerable more speed than a 2200. However, the R-1800 is not a replacement of the 2200, and is definitely intended to be a consumer product. However the results are definitely professional quality.
As to accepting the CompUSA warranty offer, you need to consider the price of the R-1800 is substantially lower than what your 2200 cost!. You should not have to wait too long as R-1800's are being delivered to some stores already.
I read that article David and enjoyed it. Not everyone has the resources (or space) to be able to justify dedicating a printer just to b&w. I was referring specifically to this thread as far as the Harrington RIP not being mentioned, just to remind people that there were less expensive options out there.
I grant what you have stated may be the case, but like most things "digital" there are often many threads that lead to a satisfactory conclusion. So, in this context for those who have not read the article, the resources needed to produce great black and white without any metamerism problems can be inexpensive and involves modest space. What I am referring to is the under $100 Epson C-86 printer loaded with the MIS Associates Easy B&W inkset. The B&W prints I have seen made with this modest combo are about as good as it gets for anyone satisfied by making letter-size prints.
We're in agreement David. For letter sized prints that is a great option (and reasonably inexpensive). When I said "less expensive options" I was just thinking of the Harrington RIP in comparison to the ImagePrint or the Epson Grey Balancer, which is free.
I'm trying to agree with you David, not undermine.
I am not particularly looking for either argument or agreement. But, when I see a statement which to me begs for elaboration and expansion I will try to accomplish that if I have something to contribute. And, I read the posts from an editor's perspective out of habit I'm afraid, often finding more needs to be said in fairness to the diversity of problems and possible solutions that are available.
I am curious, how is the Epson stylus R1800 different than the 2200 (Other than the lack of ability to handle canvas and flat load heavy stock paper?) I am in the process of purchasing one of these now, and would like to know the details of your research that prompt the statement that the 1800 does not replace the 2200. Is the 1800 simply a newer as yet untested competitor that will eventually overshadow the proven 2200, or are there significant reasons to avoid the 1800 and chose the older 2200? Thank you for your information.
The biggest difference in output is the ink itself. The R1800 does not use the same UltraChrome inks as the 2200. They are still pigment inks, but a different color mix. The R series printers also include a gloss optimizer that is not found on the 2200. Personally, I would suggest using the R1800 if you like glossy paper, the 2200 if you use a mix of glossy and matte or want to use fine art papers.
It is now safe to report that the 2200 is being replaced by an R2400. Although no production models are yet available, the R2400 imaging strategy as far as the ink color set is concerned targets a very different kinf of use than the R1800, more to satisfy professional including those who require CMYK proofing, as well as a black and white capability.
Clearly the R1800 is a superior printer to what has been available previously, almost identical in print performance to the smaller R800. I think users will find some colors like green foliage as well as diverse complexion tones in people reproduce with greater fidelity to the subject and more richness. It is also for a 13 inch wide printer pretty fast, as well as being readily adaptable to a wide range of printing media, being very effective printing Premium Glossy as well as printing on fine arts matte papers including quite heavy stock. At well under $600 its a lot of printer for the money in initial cost, but maybe a bit pricier in ink cost than the Epson Stylus Photo 1280 the R1800 replaces.
My understanding is the R1800 uses the same ink as the R800 which I have. I would agree like the R800 the 1800 will do its best on photo glossy paper. I found Epsons Premium photo glossy paper produces nice results in both BW and color prints. Monte Johnson.
R800 and R1800 are using the same cartridge and ink, but the driver is different.hence the prints are different too.
But R800 and R1800 are using same bulk ink system that designed by InkRepublic.com :
I've read many positive threads about InkRepublic.com's CIS
and its reviews:
how is their ink ??
Don't you think it a bit curious that these messages saying favorible things and referring to 'reviews' of the product that are always on the Ink Republic's own web site. In addition the people who post these messages are always "anonymous" and never registered. I traced one of them and the return e-mail address was a sales info address of a computer products company.
I suspect these posts are made by shils, friends and associates of Ink Republic and are no more than disguised "spam".
Thank you for spotting this. I was a little confused here from where this was coming from. You know I do not have a problem if something truely works, but I do know that printers like Epson and some of the other companies design there printers to work best with ink that were made for those printers. Saving money is always in the mnd of all of us, but if saving money cost us more in repairs and we sacrifice quality in the process then what is the point. I only base my thoughts here on what I have read about using other inks. I do know that Epson inks in Epson printers produce nice prints and are reliable. Thats enough for me. Monte Johnson.
Have been using the InkRepublic CIS/Ink in my R1800 for 6 months now. Nozzle blocks common and finally had to remove and reinsert the OEM cartridges to clear them
Ink OK using EAM but poor on gloss media.
NO replies to 2 emails when queried the ink
Ink posted from Johnli City Taiwan. Have my doubts as to Quality/ archival properties. I am certainly not buying any more and will go back to a US supplier MIS.