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Thursday, March 11, 2004

"Dave:

Simply put, I print mostly B&W on an Epson 2200 using Colorbyte's Imageprint RIP and Photoshop.  Granted this is quite an investment but I would not trade Imageprint RIP for any other program, they have hundreds of custom profiles to match most any paper.  Truly stunning B&W, neutral or even tinted (via their tint picker).  In fact a new version is expected to be released sometime this month.  Very easy to use with Epson's Ultrachrome inks."  B.H.

http://www.colorbytesoftware.com/

This sort of solution seems to be where I'm headed, at least today.  I have that same whoosy feeling I had before I bought the Zone VI ten plus years ago.  Let's see how I do with my taxes this year and then I'll know.  I would rather spend the money if it is going to save me headaches and time (and of course if I have the money).

8:52:16 PM    

I guess I spent about two days printing, assembling and packaging (that part is still not done) about $60 worth of notecards.  I think at this rate I may need to outsource myself.  Let's see, where should I pick to work?  India seems to be the place.  Maybe my friends in the deli can suggest someplace in Punjab (I like the sound of that).

I'll begin to address myself as Sahib.

I don't want to go through the whole thing, but suffice it to say that after doing most of the printing I noticed a small smudge -- was that my imagination, or was it there?  No, it was there on each print.

Went through the physical cleaning routine (I don't even keep the screws in the top anymore)  but the first card came out purple, without any smudges.

Print head cleaning.

Card prints correctly, but smudge is back in same place. 

Eventually I got it figured out.

Then there was a problem that I've been discussing with another photographer who is using the same Strathmore cards and both of us noticed "cupping" of the card after it had been left out of it's box for a while.  Don't know what cupping is, let's just say, bending -- either convex or concave to various degrees.

So after the trauma with printing, I began to experiment with different glue techniques.  My thinking being that the glue was absorbed into the card and causing a change in density which in turn caused the cupping.  The thing was -- that a couple of cards that had been left out and didn't have photos on them, were also cupped, but to a lesser degree.

And the cards that were stored in sealed plastic envelopes weren't cupped.

Did I say I wasn't going to go on about this?

So I spent this morning using three different glues; some combination techniques using glue and the little sticky things that come with the cards; and then placing them into the press.  Which is where they are now.

And then found out that I had run out of shipping labels, so I went up to Staples.  While I was there I took a look at the HP 7960.  There was a little gizmo nearby that said press this for a sample print, but there was no paper in the thing.  I just took a box of the HP Premium Glossy paper that was nearby, and when no one was looking, opened it up, and stuck a couple of sheets in.

So I pressed the sample button and the machine hummed a long and printed a picture of roses and an HP Logo which looked pretty good (though actually there was a smudge on that too) but okay -- figure the machine is a demo and has been abused.

Not really fair to judge the sample print since I don't know anything about what resolution it was printed at, but it looked pretty good if you like that sort of thing (bright colors).

Why can't someone make one of these things for the professional photographer?  Or have they.  This guy has nice features but it has such a flimsy feel to it.  They all do.

Well, they also had two samples of  black and white print nearby: one with the gray cartridge, one without it.  I strained to see the difference but to be completely honest (as I sometimes am) -- I swear I couldn't see the difference. 

Basically, they both looked okay.  Then I realized that these weren't true black and white samples because nearby was the same shot in color.  So they must have taken the shot in color, and then desaturated it or whatever.

The glossy paper is definitely heavy stock though.  With a weird backing that is sort of fuzzy, or maybe I was going blind by then. 

Well -- e-mail keeps flooding in about this topic.  Here's the latest:

"Hi Dave, I sent you a piezo print years ago to show you how the process looked. I'm intrigued you are now using inkjet. I'm going the other way and am now using PS quadtones and printing on lightjet. I spent way too much time and money sorting inks, clogs etc With a colour managed workflow, what you see on the screen is what you get, every time, and you have huge tonal control. And you spend less time as a printer slave!"
Julian"

Julian -- with the system I have now, what I see is what I get plus extra: one smudge or some random lines.  Which might be a new art form in itself.  [pause] Maybe not.


 

1:50:16 PM    

New drivers available for Dektol.

Okay, just kidding.  But I have received a lot of useful information from a few photographers about printers and it is enough to make your head spin a bit. 

1) Banding problem with the HP 7960 'solved' with a new HP driver.

2) You really need the RIP software to print good b&w on the 2200

3) Is there a larger version coming out of the 7960?

I guess I could do a little article about all this since I don't want the old blog to turn into a board about printers.

However, one of the interesting tidbits that strikes me (ouch) is that the real cost with printers is not the printer, not the ink and not the paper, but the amount of time spent trying to figure it all out.  Figure your time at $25 an hour and then figure how many hours are spent a) choosing the printer b) doing your adjustments re: paper and ink.  In a couple of days, sometimes before you even buy the printer, it has already cost more in time than in the cost of the printer and supplies.

And then there is futzing time.  What happens if I use this print setting or that print setting.  Has anyone taken the site name FutzTime? Hmmm...

 

7:20:27 AM