Any news from Epson at Photokina?

Started Sep 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
NeroMetalliko Regular Member • Posts: 237
Re: Any news from Epson at Photokina?

Dan Wells wrote:

On the other hand, I've been surprised by just how good the 3880 is - I bought mine as a bit of a compromise (size, weight and cost), and was not expecting the print quality to be quite as good as it is (including some images that are very heavy on saturated oranges and greens). Epson says that the real purpose of the extra orange and green inks is hitting tough Pantone colors in the graphic arts market, not printing photos (Ultrachrome HDR is just Ultrachrome VM with two extra inks - the other inks are the same). I haven't used the HDR printers, but I'm very familiar with the 12 ink Canons, and the 3880 holds its own against those (it has better neutrals than the Canons - although both use three blacks at a time, plus one that is not on use, the Epson blacks seem to be better inks, and doesn't do as well in the deep blues, where the Canon inks with the dedicated (and dark) blue are really special).

Nobody seems to be doing much to ink sets recently! Ultrachrome VM is 5 years old, and the current generation of Canon Lucia is 3 years old. The HDR addition to Ultrachrome is 3 years old as well. One problem the printer manufacturers are having is that almost all recent gamut improvements have been outside Adobe RGB (which means you can't see them on any monitor - even expensive NEC and Eizo monitors are Adobe RGB, NOT ProPhoto), and the only way to get a photo that has colors outside Adobe RGB to the print stage is to use either a medium-format camera (they're all natively ProPhoto) or a higher-end DSLR with the raw conversion software set to ProPhoto (which few people do). No DSLR can produce ProPhoto JPEGs, and no raw converter that I know of (except for Hasselblad Phocus) defaults to ProPhoto for PSD, TIFF or JPEG output. Lightroom DOES use ProPhoto internally, which means that prints from recent DSLRs going direct to the printer from Lightroom will take advantage of the expanded gamut, but that's about the only common case.

Even many relatively advanced photographers still use sRGB, which any reasonably competent printer from the past decade can reproduce. As far as I remember, the first printers that could handle all of sRGB and reproduce a significant range of colors outside sRGB were the HP PhotoSmart series with three blacks (in one cartridge) in around 2003-2004. Interestingly, those printers used exactly the same colors as Ultrachrome VM (although they had the Photo Black duplicated in two cartridges instead of a Matte Black). It seems like 3 blacks, 5 colors and an "extra" black for switching between matte and gloss papers has become a standard approach, probably with good reason. Both Canon's 12-ink Lucia and Epson's 11-ink Ultrachrome HDR are based on 9 ink sets, and both, in fact, sell the 9 ink version of their inkset as well (Epson much more than Canon - the 9 ink Canons are the high-speed variants). Epson's ink appears to be stronger in the 9 basic colors, needing less of a boost from extra inks, while Canon has really done a nice job with their RGB additions.



one reason why I would like to have the HDR ink set instead of the K3 is, curiously, related to get a better light fade resistance and not only to have a wider gamut (probably not so important for my kind of shots).

According to Aardenburg test and this article on LL

the presence of the green and orange inks could help to limit the yellow usage in both color and BW prints (the yellow ink is the weakest one for fading), so HDR prints have a better gamut AND a better fade resistance.

Due to the fact that I will keep my printer for long time and that it could happens that I will be able to sell some printed images these aspects are important for me and I will be happy to buy an entry level HDR printer if this is possible and still within my budget.


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