This issue has been covered in bits and pieces in a variety of posts. I have reviewed the archives, but I still have a number of questions. Hopefully, I can benefit from the collective wisdom of this group.
Since the birth of my two young children, ages 3 1/2 and 19 months, I have not had nearly the time I used to have for darkroom work. My old darkroom is once again a bathroom (my kidsí), so I have been sharing a darkroom outside of my home. This is great, but the fact is that my family commitments make it difficult to devote the necessary time to producing any quality work in the darkroom. Lately, I have had less and less time for darkroom work. When the kids are older, or if I am lucky enough to someday have a house large enough to have a darkroom (so I can print late at night when the rest of my family is sleeping), I intend to spend more time in the darkroom again.
However, I truly miss creating images. Making negatives and developing them is not satisfying enough and despite fewer opportunities to make photos, the backlog is growing. (It is far easier to develop the negatives than it is to print them.) I have a fairly powerful Windows based computer and room for a printer (or two). So with all that, I am considering an entry into the world of digital inkjet black and white printing. I have some experience in this, but not too much.
I have used an Epson 2200 with the Epson inks, and have seen samples of the old Piezography. I have never seen samples of prints made with inks from Lyson, MIS, Luminos or others. The Epson prints are good, but do not give me the satisfaction of traditional prints. I have not figured out how to beat the metamerisism, and don't really like the greenish color cast.
Here are my questions.
1. Has anyone used the Canon i9100 for black and white? I have seen samples of color photos made with this printer, and have been impressed. The ability to replace the print head without sending the printer in for service seems to be a really good design element. Although I have sent out a few e-mails to third party ink manufacturers, none have yet responded regarding their support for this printer. (Perhaps this means that they donít have products for the i9100 - who knows?)
2. Of the third party ink manufacturers, what are your experiences? I heard of clogging problems with Piezography, and have read some threads somewhere about fading problems with one of the Lyson inksets. My preference is for neutral or selenium-like tone in my black and white prints.
3. What papers do you use? It seems that the paper selected has a big impact on print quality when using the third party inks. Does anyone have any source that compiles the papers that go with the various inksets?
4. Does anyone think that dedicating a printer to black and white is a mistake? Conversely, do you think that one can obtain great results from a printer's standard inks and creating duotones, tritons or quadtones in Photoshop?
5. Do any of you have any suggestions for books on the subject of printing black and white on an inkjet printer? I know that Barry Thornton wrote and self-published one, but it has been unavailable since his untimely passing.
6. Have any of you tried the same path to find a creative outlet when your family obligations made it very difficult to venture into the darkroom?
By the way, although my wife has a new Nikon D70, my intent is to scan 4x5 b&w negatives rather than go straight digital. For now, my scanner situation is set.
I hope this is not too much to ask in one thread.
Thanks in advance.