Posts Tagged ‘pigments’

Piezography K7 B&W kit available for Epson R2880

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Jon Cone’s Inkjet Mall is now shipping the Piezography K7 continuous ink system (CIS) for Epson’s Stylus Photo R2880. The system, which is designed solely to print black-and-white images on matte-finish papers, comes in three distinct toning combinations—neutral, sepia and selenium—as well as a special edition mix, which produces “a gentle split-tone featuring crisp neutral highlights, melding into selenium, which melds into sepia shadows, and finally into black.”

The Piezography K7 inkset is optimized for Roy Harrington’s QuadTone RIP software, and comes with profiles for a number of papers from Epson, Innova, Hahnemuhle and more.

The kit is priced at $508, and includes everything you need to get started, including inks, cartridges and profiles. Inkjet Mall is offering $75 off through March 17 – use the code ‘BEST2880BW’ when checking out.

For those of you interested in a color-based CIS for the R2880, Cone isn’t yet offering a version of its ConeColor system; you can send an email requesting one on this page.

The Stylus Pro 3800: Still the king

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

In my Stylus Photo R2880 review, one of the biggest questions I get is not about the quality of the printer, or even comparisons with HP and Canon printers in the same price range. No, it is: “How does it compare with Epson’s Stylus Pro 3800?”

This is understandable: while the R2880 is a very good printer, it does suffer from a few issues, notably the smaller ink tanks and the necessity to swap the matte and photo black ink cartridges when you want to move between matte and glossy papers. The 3800 also requires a switch, but the process is automatic and requires no user intervention. The 3800 does waste a few dollars of ink per switch, which is troublesome, but given the rarity with which people change paper type—and its high-capacity (80ml) cartridge size, this is a lesser issue for many pro users.

Right now, the Stylus Pro 3800 is under $1,200 at Amazon (a savings of $100 or so), while the R2880 is priced around $650 ($150 off the list price). If you’re looking at the two printers, how do you choose between the two? I think it’s pretty straightforward: what follows are some of my thoughts, based on fairly heavy usage of both printers (and nearly every other photo printer in the $300 to $5,000 price range).
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Epson announces Stylus Pro 7900 and 9900 printers

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Epson America today formally announced the Stylus Pro 7900 and Stylus Pro 9900 wide-format inkjet printers, which were originally announced outside the U.S. in May (click here for our original item on the printers).

The 7900 and 9900, which have maximum print widths of 24 inches and 44 inches, respectively, use Epson’s new 10-color UltraChrome HDR inkset, which adds two new ink colors—orange and green—designed to give the printers the widest possible gamut available in inkjet printing today. According to the company, the new inkset, in conjunction with improved screening algorithms, will produce “greatly enhanced photographic print quality with exceptionally fine photographic blends.”

Both units incorporate a 10-channel micropiezo printhead with an ink-repelling coating (also found in the Stylus Photo R1900 and R2880) designed to reduce clogs and improve ink efficiency. The 10-channel head also lets you switch on the fly between matte and photo black inks.

Another first for Epson is the inclusion of an optional spectrophotometer from X-Rite, the SpectroProofer, designed to provide a streamlined color-management process for prepress and proofing situations.

The Epson Stylus Pro 7900 and 9900 will be available in November for $3,995 and $5,995 respectively. We hadn’t received pricing for the optional spectrophotometer at press time; we’ll pass that information along as we receive it.

Epson is billing the 7900 and 9900 printers as the ultimate inkjet printers for packaging, signage, and other commercial applications, as well as the top-of-the-line photographic printer on the market today. From the limited number of prints we’ve been able to see, we think that the company has once again taken a leap ahead of the competition in terms of print quality and performance. We’re hoping to get our hands on a unit to test: we’ll keep you posted.

First look: HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

At Photokina in Germany, HP today announced the Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer, a
wide-format inkjet printer for professional photographers and designers, with a new ink formulation, speed and paper-handling improvements and other enhancements over previous models.

The Z3200 is the successor to HP’s the Designjet Z3100 Photo Printer, which, when it first shipped late in 2006, was one of the most innovative photo printers we had seen in a long time. The Z3100 utilized 12 pigment-based inks (including a gloss optimizer) to produce high-quality, gallery-ready prints, but it was the printer’s embedded spectrophotometer (from X-Rite) and seamless integration with networked Macs and PCs that set it apart from competitors like Epson and Canon. HP spent considerable effort streamlining the process of printing: everything from unboxing the device to profiling and adding new paper types had been thought through by HP’s hardware and software engineers. The result was a printer that created top-quality prints and was a joy to use, day in and day out.

We’ve had a production version of the 24" PostScript model, the Z3200ps, for about three weeks, and have tested it fairly thoroughly with a variety of papers and applications. Overall, we’re very impressed with the printer’s performance: HP is obviously determined to keep the pressure on Epson—the market leader—in the pro photo space. As was the case with the Z3100, we think that the Z3200 should be looked at by anyone seriously evaluating a wide-format device to create salable prints.

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New Epson wide-format printers announced

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

At the Drupa trade show in Germany this week, Epson announced two new wide-format printers, the Stylus Pro 7900 and 9900. The new printers, which have a maximum print width of 24" and 44",respectively, incorporate a new pigment-based ink set, called UltraChrome HDR. The HDR inks include photo and matte black inks, light black, light light black, cyan, light cyan, vivid magenta, vivid light magenta, yellow, orange and green, and use an 11-channel head that switches automatically between photo and matte black.

Ink cartridge size (a hot topic these days) is quite large — 350ml and 750ml — and Epson claims that the 7900 and 9900 offer significant speed improvements over the existing Epson wide format devices.

Also notable in the new printers is an optional built-in spectrophotometer from X-Rite, called the Epson SpectroProofer, which provides “automatic color measurement data to the printer, allowing user profiling and linearization, enabling professional color management while at the same time reducing labor costs.”

The Stylus Pro 7900 and 9900 are expected to ship this spring in Europe and Australia, although pricing was not announced. Epson America representatives stressed that this announcement was made by Epson Europe, although we would assume that ultimately the new printers and inks would reach the U.S. and Canada at some point not long after they ship elsewhere.

[Source: Print21, an online publication produced by the Australian trade association, Printing Industries.]

First look: Epson’s new Stylus Photo R2880

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Epson Stylus Photo R2880Epson today announced the Stylus Photo R2880, the long-awaited replacement to the Stylus Photo R2400. The $800 printer, slated to ship in June, is a B-size (13") inkjet that uses pigment-based inks, including two light-density black inks designed to produce optimal black-and-white prints on all types of media. And, while the R2880’s pedigree shows a clear link to the R2400, the new model takes advantage of Epson’s recent technology advancements from both the higher-end Stylus Professional printer line and the recently released Stylus Photo R1900.

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Review: Moab’s Somerset Photo Satin

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

We recently purchased some of Moab’s Somerset Photo Satin, a new paper that we first encountered at this year’s PMA show in Las Vegas.

Somerset Photo Satin is a thick (300gsm), 100% cotton fine-art paper made by St Cuthberts Mill, one of the oldest paper makers in the U.K. It is quite white, with a brightness of 97.5%, and it is free of whiteners and other optical brightening agents (OBAs). It does, however, contain buffering agents designed to help protect the paper from atmospheric contaminants.

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HP Photosmart Pro B8850 review

Monday, April 21st, 2008

b8850-small.pngIn mid-2006, HP entered the archival printing market in earnest with the Photosmart Pro B9180, the company’s first fully pigment-based printer. The B9180 produced great prints in both color and black and white and had a number of innovative features, including a smart mechanism for adding third-party paper types directly into the print driver. While the B9180 hasn’t knocked Epson off its perch as the king of the archival print, it has made it a much more competitive market, especially in that all-important sub-$1,000 market.

Now, hot on the heels of Epson’s Stylus Photo R1900, HP has released the $550 Photosmart Pro B8850 (Amazon link), which retains the best qualities of the B9180, at a lower price point (identical to the price of the R1900). We’ve been working with both pre-release and shipping versions of the B8850 for a few months now, and we’ve had few surprises: it produces very good prints with a few minor issues, much like its older sibling.

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Epson Stylus Photo R1900 review

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

R1900 smallEpson’s Stylus Photo R1900, which was announced in January to quite a bit of fanfare, is now readily available (Amazon link). We’ve been working with a shipping unit in the Printerville labs for about a month now, and overall, we have been quite impressed with this $550 photo inkjet.

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Stylus Photo R1900 speed test results

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

We received our Stylus Photo R1900 recently, and have been quite busy testing Epson’s new pigment-based photo printer. We should have a full review online in the next week or so, but overall, we’ve been quite impressed with the R1900’s output. The glossy prints are as beautiful as we’ve ever seen from a pigment printer, which is no surprise, given the gloss optimizer and the new screening technology. But we’ve also been quite taken with photos printed on matte and fine art papers — they are rich and vibrant, and look as good, if not better, than output from other printers in its class.

While we’re finishing up the review, we wanted to post the initial results of our benchmark tests. While print speed is rarely the first concern when choosing between two higher-end photo printers, it can still be a consideration — especially if you feel that the output is comparable. Below are two charts, noting the print speeds for six different print sizes on the R1900 and its predecessor, the R1800, as well as against the immediate competition: HP’s Photosmart Pro B8850 and Canon’s dye-based Pixma Pro9000.

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