Pk vs MK ink

Started Nov 25, 2019 | Discussions
Alexey Senior Member • Posts: 1,223
Pk vs MK ink

Lately I’ve been printing on matte papers with pk black. Mostly this is because changing blacks on 4880 printer is truly cumbersome. I delayed printing matte papers for a long time. But honestly, once I tried the results look great. I don’t have huge black areas on my photos. But black areas do look truly black. There is nothing shiny about pk ink on matte.
If I used matte black, in what areas would I likely see an improvement? What kinds of photos on matte most benefit from mk inks and in what cases it wouldn’t matter much? Thanks.

jrkliny
jrkliny Veteran Member • Posts: 4,264
Re: Pk vs MK ink

Years ago I replaced my MK cartridge with a cartridge filled with Piezo Flush.  I rarely print anything but luster/semigloss or baryta papers which use PK ink.  I did set up some custom profiles for using PK ink on matte paper.  The results look good but I don't have any way to compare the results with MK inks.  Even before I set up the custom ICC profiles, I used canned profiles for prints on matte paper and they looked good.

With my 3880 the simple way to print with PK on matte paper is for me to select my Qimage profile for baryta paper.  All the settings and ICC profile work well for matte paper.

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technoid Senior Member • Posts: 2,276
Re: Pk vs MK ink

I have a 9800 which is similar with an expensive MK/PK swap.

The main differences are that PK ink's black has a resin coating that, counterintuitively, makes for darker blacks on glossy type paper but lighter blacks on matte.

The minimum L* I get with MK is about 17 while the minimum L* is about 25 for Pk.

For matte prints that don't have or need darker blacks I prefer PK on matte since MK has a slight tendency to smudge from handling that the PK does not.

However, the 9800 canned profiles, which do include PK and MK for matte paper do not have the correct AtoB1 tables because they bake in BPC. The result doesn't affect printing but does mess up soft proofing which makes low key soft proofs look way too dark. Not a problem for me since I make custom profiles but something to look out for.

mike earussi Veteran Member • Posts: 8,757
Re: Pk vs MK ink

MK has a higher pigment load for a deeper dmax, so all you're giving up is that. I also print on luster using mk if there's little black in the picture.

technoid Senior Member • Posts: 2,276
Re: Pk vs MK ink

mike earussi wrote:

MK has a higher pigment load for a deeper dmax, so all you're giving up is that. I also print on luster using mk if there's little black in the picture.

MK ink has a lighter dmax than PK on luster with standard 45/0 spectros. It has darker dmax on spherical spectros but those are not used when creating profiles. MK strongly attenuates luster's specular reflections. It will appear darker than PK when specular reflections are present and lighter when they are not. MK's reduction in specular effects in the darker areas can create interesting artistic effects.

OP Alexey Senior Member • Posts: 1,223
Re: Pk vs MK ink

I read somewhere that while it is ok to use pk on matte, mk ink must never be used on glossy or luster. I remember reading that it smudges and never dries properly. Is that true?

mike earussi Veteran Member • Posts: 8,757
Re: Pk vs MK ink

Alexey wrote:

I read somewhere that while it is ok to use pk on matte, mk ink must never be used on glossy or luster. I remember reading that it smudges and never dries properly. Is that true?

To a point, i.e. if the picture has heavy areas of solid black you'll get smudging. But if there's very little black or dark colors then it really doesn't matter as the rest of the inks are the same, though if you want to do that then a separate profile will give you better results.

OP Alexey Senior Member • Posts: 1,223
Re: Pk vs MK ink

Thanks so much for the replies! If there are some areas of black, Would matte ink eventually dry out on luster? Or will it remain forever smudgeable?

mike earussi Veteran Member • Posts: 8,757
Re: Pk vs MK ink
1

Alexey wrote:

Thanks so much for the replies! If there are some areas of black, Would matte ink eventually dry out on luster? Or will it remain forever smudgeable?

Don't touch it, let it dry for a few hours (or longer if needed) and then apply a varnish spray (Moab, Hahnemuhle) to it several times. Once that drys it should be OK to touch.

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