View Full Version : Archival Glossy Inkjet Prints
I've always been a huge fan of dye transfer prints for color work. I've kept up with the latest and greatest in inkjet printing technologies (print with a 2200) but have so far been unable to make acceptable glossy prints. The problems have been primarily with the papers. All of the glossy papers I have tried have yellowed over the course of a year (and some of the matte papers). However, now we have the new archival glossy papers from Hahnemuhle, Crane et al.
So, my thought is to try these out and, if satisfied, purchase a printer to go with them. Since the papers are designed to work with photo black, would the R1800 be a good match for these papers? Of course, I'm considering the R2400 and DesignJet 90 as well but the R2400 is just a bit too close (feature-wise) to my 2200 whereas the R1800 seems to cover a different area. Sorry for yet another post about all of this but it seems things have changed a bit recently as have the available options for us all. I won't necessarily be framing everything and will be using the 2200/QTR for my black and white work.
How can a person who says they admire dye transfer prints even consider inkjet prints as a comparison?
How can a person who has never seen a K3 print on Museo Silver Rag be so dismissive of inkjet prints?
Bruce M. Herman
I don't agree that all but the most recent papers have yellowed within a year. Highly stable papers have been available for a number of years, unless your desire is to display them in direct sunlight. See Wilhelm's site for more info.
As for printer, you should await the new printers from Canon.
I have an Epson r2400, and find that it does an admirable job. I do think that it wastes a lot of ink because it cleans the all jets after each individual tank is replaced. That may be an issue with the new Canons, too. No one knows yet. If you think that you will work on one kind of paper (matte vs glossy) for an extended period, and if you need to purchase a printer now, you should consider the Epson 4800. You'll save on ink costs and be able to print on larger paper, too.
Thanks for the reponses!
I have worked with many top commercial photographers and their equipment. Inkjet prints are not that far off. Some would say they have exceeded dye transfers (including Joel Meyerowitz who has had wonderful dye transfer prints made over the years but has now switched to inkjet printing with HP printers, just like Charles Cramer, another experienced dye-transfer printer). My own personal gripes have to do with the papers and not the printing technology. I have seen Epson R1800 and even 1280 prints that looked exceptional by any standard. It's really the archivability of the papers that has had me waiting to print on glossy papers.
As far as I know, there have been (until recently) no bonafide archival glossy papers (acid free, etc.). Check if you don't believe me. I have 1 year old unused Espon Luster, Olympus Pictorico papers (and others) that have yellowed at the corners. No smoke, humidity issues here and this is in one year. I have seen the same thing occur (yellowing of paper) in professional environments.
I have also heard of glossy printers using the Olympus Hi-Gloss film with the photo black and K3 inks. Just looking for anyone's experience with the newer Crane, Hahnemuhle (and possibly Innova) papers.
I'd forget the R1800 and get an R2400 at minimum. But really why not a 4800? Much more economical on ink, better performance, bigger prints.
I've used the 4000 in a studio many times and found it to be, well, clunky. Awkward handling of thicker media; difficult to front load single sheets and a poorly placed rear-feeder. It also clogs much more easily with infrequent use. The 4800 is supposedly similar in terms of technology and build quality and it would require a wasteful ink-swapping procedure. Finally, the step up to 17" prints doesn't justify its footprint, bulk and cost (IMO of course!).
Museo Silver Rag is supposedly the hot new "it" paper for the Epson K3 inks right now. There are a number of very recent threads discussing it in the archives here, just do a quick search on it. For color it reportedly yields results quite similar to dye transfer. Here is one digital lab's write-up on it: www.westcoastimaging.com/wci/page/info/events.html (http://www.westcoastimaging.com/wci/page/info/events.html). There is another review at www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/printers/Museo_Silver_Rag.shtml (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/printers/Museo_Silver_Rag.shtml), albeit from the perspective of B&W printing.
Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl paper is also becoming available, there is one mini-review already posted at www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/printers/h-fap.shtml (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/printers/h-fap.shtml).
Until the K3 inks came along, I coated my glossy prints from the 2200 to eliminate the gloss differential and to protect them. Mostly I used Golden UVLS over a non-UV filtering barrier. Now I use Krystal Topkote applied by a 2200.
I'd certainly choose the R2400 over the R1800. The R1800 does do an excellent job on glossy paper, thanks to the glop, but I've never managed to get as good matte prints from mine as I get from my 2200, never mind an R2400. There are no bulk OEM inks for the R1800, so you are stuck with the little cartridges. With the R2400 you can use K3 inks from 4800 etc cartridges. However, at the moment, I'd wait for the new 12 ink Canon 17" printer.
If you have a 2200 and QTR here's a suggestion for what you could do when you have a new printer for colour, and want good glossy prints, whether on the normal microceramic materials (Epson Premium Glossy, Inkjetart Microceramic Plus, etc etc) or on the newer papers (Innova F-Type, Silver Rag, Oriental baryta FB, etc). Switch your 2200 over to a B&W only, K3 inkset and add a channel for Krystal Topkote. You could get MK (same ink in 2200/4000 and R2400/4800), K3-PK, K3-LK, K3-LLK, K3-LC, K3-LM and Krystal Topkote all loaded up at once. No ink changing. That would allow you to print excellent B&W matte and glossy prints, and to overcoat your colour glossy prints. That's pretty much what I do, except that I use R800/R1880 blue diluted 1+4 with MIS base instead of the LM, and I use IJC/OPM instead of QTR.
I'm still waiting for my second load of Silver Rag, but when I get it I'd be happy to send examples of K3 prints with and without Topkote. If you want a sample on another paper (eg Innova F-type or Oriental baryta FB) I could do that now. You might like the Innova more than the Silver Rag...
How does one switch a K2 printer to K3 inkset? I suppose I'd have to switch to bulk inks? I was considering switching over the 2200 to B&W only which woulod leave the new printer for color. If I went with the r1800, I wouldn't worry about matte printing since I'd have another printer for this purpose. Thanks for all of the helpful responses.
The R2400 cartridges don't fit the 2200, as you probably know. You can either empty R2400 cartridges (which is what I did while experimenting) or the bulk cartridges for the 4800 etc - they are just a bag in a box. The MK is the same.
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