Hi, I would like to know if there's a profile for printing b/w prints on the epson 2400. I am using Hahnemuhle fine art cotton rag paper and have tried using the quad rip profile which is a real pain to work with. The prints always looked great but feeding the paper was always an issue. Recently I started using the printer profile, the advanced b/w printing and my prints are either too dark or too light in comparison to other prints when I was using the quad rip. Any help in this area would be appreciated, thanks Joanne
Profiles are not really applicable and functional unless a B&W grayscale file is converted to RGB. However, if you do convert the file to RGB so that the use of a printer profile applies, the print is actually created using the full palette of color inks. If your printer profiles are custom made and are carefully made this does not create any problems in neutrality in the prints. However over time the tone of the print may shift if the ink colors age differentially.
Printing from a grayscale file using the Advance B&W printer driver mode does allow considerable adjustment in the lightness or darkness of the prints output if you use the dialogue control options, although it is a trial and error process to obtain a desired print density. But the Advanced B&W does have the advantage of reproducing a B&W image made up of mostly black ink with minimal color ink included depending on the tone balance selected.
Is there an option on the 2400 for printing with black ink only, as there is on the 2200?
Update: I checked the Epson site, and lo and behold, the answer was in the FAQs. Apparently, a small amount of color ink is used even when "Black Ink Only" is selected, "to keep the heads clear". Then, Just out of curiosity, I checked the FAQs for the 2200 (which I have), and found the same answer, word for word. Looking at my BW prints, which I print using "black only", I would never have suspected that - not a hint of metamerism, etc. I also would not have suspected it based on ink depletion.
This whole thing came up as the result of complaints on another forum about excessive ink depletion and metamerism in BW prints from the 2400 when printing in "black only" mode......
This use of color ink during "black-only" printing that Epson is referring to may very well be the socalled "spitting" into a spongelike material that is installed somewhere away from the normal printing area. This is done for every color and black ink sometime before or during the printing process. It doesn't necessarily mean that color ink gets used for the printed image. This spitting prevents clogging and mixing of colors on the orifice plate. This would be worthwhile to verify with Epson.
Frans, you're probably right, based on my experience with the 2200. Which is why I don't understand why someone would complain about "metamerism" when printing in "black only" mode on the 2400, if it uses the same system as the 2200. I'll see if I can get an answer from Epson.....
That color ink is in fact applied in printing when "black" is selected can be detected and measured by use of a spectrocolorimeter. The one person, a very respected photographer (B&W) and someone who is quite expert and knowledgeable in this, who also formulates B&W inks for MIS Associates, is Paul Roark. You may want to refer this question to him as he has done the testing and determined the ink (color component) of B&W prints made by a most popular printers.
His web site URL is http://home1.gte.net/res0a2zt/photos.html
Thanks, David, I'll try that. I had sort of mentally deleted Paul Roark when I gave up on MIS inks.....
The 2200 doesn't have a black only mode that is of any use for photography, so that is quite different from the situation with the 2400.
Frans, I get excellent BW prints printing in black ink only mode on my 2200. Maybe not as good as the 2400, but still excellent. Of course, an upgrade is planned.....
When I set the 2200 driver to Black Ink Only, two things happen: I get the warning "The Black ink setting is suitable only for text or draft printing. The print quality is not suitable for photographic images"; when I ignore the warning and print anyway I get a print that is very grainy/noisy, most noticeably in areas like blue sky and other light areas without a lot of detail; the results are just awful and unacceptable.
When I don't check the Black Ink Only, I don't get this noise/grain, but there is a very slight greenish hue in some areas; the overall results are not perfect by any means (that's where the K3 inkset comes into play), but infinitely better than if I check the Black Ink Only box.
I would appreciate your comments.
I used to get the same warning, when I was switching back and forth between the Photo Black and Matte Black cartridges. My solution was to reset the printer by shutting it down and restarting it after switching cartridges. Since I now use matte paper exclusively for photo work, I just leave the Matte Black cartridge installed and the problem is solved.
Also, I used to modify my color management workflow in PS somewhat for BW printing (don't ask how - it's been a while), but now I leave everything the same in PS and just select the black only mode. One thing that may be making a difference is that I've recently begun scanning BW negatives in 48-bit color mode, and saving them as 16-bit RGB TIFF files. This is especially useful if I want to add a sepia tone to the print, but it may be enhancing overall print quality as well. It's too soon to tell, and my experimentation isn't exactly scientific.
I don't understand why you and I see such different behavior of - presumably - the same printer and driver. I use only matte black cartridges, but I get the warning every time I check the Black Ink Only box and the print looks really noisy/grainy, in certain areas more than in others. Looking at the print with a loupe, it is obvious that this mode doesn't work well at all; instead of a decent fill-in in the normal mode, this mode shows many separate dots of black ink to compose the image.
I have two questions for you:
- do you see similar noise/grain problems?
- what driver version have you installed? The Maintenance tab in the driver should have this information in the left lower corner; mine says "Version 5.50".
I really would like to understand this as you seem to get a reasonably good performance with black ink only, while I get unacceptable results.
I also have driver version 5.50. Epson hasn't updated this driver for two years (except for the 64-bit version of Windows XP).
I'm at a loss as to why there should be a such a dramatic difference beween our results, but the fact that you keep getting the warning message is a clue. Try this, if you haven't already: On the printer dialog page, click on the "Maintenance" tab, then "Printer and Option Information" at the bottom. There will be a window at the top of that page where you can select either the matte black or photo black cartridge. (It's been so long since I last used this that I completely forgot it was there!)
I do have some grain/noise problems, but they're mostly related to scanning BW negatives in BW mode. Scanning them as color negatives improves them a lot. The only serious noise problem related to printing appears in BW conversions of color digital shots, even at ISO 100. Similar to your experience, it shows up mostly in shots where the sky is prominent. Fortunately, I don't do a lot of those conversions, and converting film images from color to BW is not a problem at all.
The Printer and Option Information screen correctly identifies the matte black cartridge.
I've reread Epson's manual again just to be sure. I continue to believe that this printer is not intended to be used in the Black Ink Only mode for images and the poor results that I get when using Black Ink Only seem to confirm this. I went through exactly the same exercise with the same results a couple of years ago when David Brooks said he got excellent results using Black Ink Only.
Based on the available Epson information and my results I suspect that your system or settings somehow prevent you from getting the intended warning.
When using Black Ink Only there is - in addition to noise - a shift toward warmer blacks and grays and I wonder if you noticed that also.
I assume you guys are still talking about the 2200 regardless the thread is 2400.
With the 2200 quite a few serious B&W printers have adopted the use of a RIP, which really serves to provide a tighter driver control so B&W can be printed with good gray neutrality using the full ink color spectrum.
I believe this option (shareware and inexpensive) even though a bit of a hassle to install and get running has been due to the fact that during the time the 2200 was current custom profiling that would do the same thing was a very expensive proposition.
Now since ColorVision PrintFIX Pro has been available I have found you can obtain very good B&W printing Mode changing grayscale to RGB using custom profiles with most printers. A warm or cool B&W image tone can be adjusted readily in the profiling process as well. And with the same UltraChrome inkset, also used by the R1800, metamerism has not been a serious issue.
Thanks for your response. Yes, we've been discussing the Epson 2200. Where can I find a good, inexpensive RIP for the 2200 and instructions on how to install and use it?
ColorVision's PrintFIX Pro at about $500 is a little too steep for me and that money would pay for more than half of an Epson R2400 with K3 inks.
This is not something I can recommend based on personal use, but when I was doing research on all of the B&W printing options awhile back Quad Tone came up a lot and was recommended by many users. Go to this URL http://harrington.com/QuadToneRIP.html#macdownload, or just - http://www.quadtonerip.com
Another resource for information support to get good B&W solutions is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DigitalBlackandWhiteThePrint/messages
There are also commercial RIPs available and some of the earlier, simpler versions are not too expensive if you aren't into putting some time into making a shareware solution work, and you might try ColorByte, but their lite version for the 2200 is $495!
The R2400 may not be the only and best color and combined B&W option. I'm currently working with a Canon iPF5000 17" printer that should be followed soon by Canon's Pixma 9500 Pro. There is plenty of info on the Canon web site. One of the interesting and advantageous features I have found is 16-bit printing using the printer's Photoshop plugin driver. I'll be writing about this canon pigment ink printer solution for Shutterbug for an early 2007 report.
Thanks for the information. It looks to me that trying to get up to speed on using RIP's would require more effort than I am willing to invest. It also appears to me that this approach of addressing color hues in b&w prints on the 2200 may still be a compromise and could require substantial tweaking and related expenses. Knowing that once I get started on such an undertaking anything less that perfect will not be acceptable, I think a better approach for me will be to wait until the 2200 b&w results no longer are acceptable and then look for a better b&w printer.
With all three major photo printer makers, Epson, Canon and HP with new pigment ink printers in 13" wide format competing next year, it really does not make any sense to hang on to older less capable technology when access prices should be increasingly affordable. And the results are easier to achieve while being less compromised as far as B&W quality is concerned, along with even better color than past generations of printers.
$800 or so for the R2400 is a lot of money for me personally to cure an occasional light green or pinkish hue in b&w prints that is hard to notice. On top of that, when I replace my 2200 there is the lure of the 17 and 24" wide printers at way steeper prices. For now, it's going to be the 2200 and I'll keep a close eye on what develops.