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Thread: Are there Epson 9600/7600 users in the group?

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  1. #1

    Are there Epson 9600/7600 users in the group?

    After sitting for a while on the project, I am again considering making the jump. Are there any photographers out there who have made the switch from Lightjet or Lambda to Ultrachrome inks and who would share their impressions? (excuse the pun!). And also their techniques for mounting and framing the prints? Thanks!

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Mount Horeb, WI

    Are there Epson 9600/7600 users in the group?


    I have been printing with the 9600 for about 8 months now. It's a pretty incredible printer and I have the ability to control not only my print making, but my inventory. Prior to getting the 9600, I had either Photocraft of Boulder, CO. or LaserLight in CA. making my prints for me. And while both did a nice job, it was sometimes took a while to get the right look. I'm now able to get my near"perfect" results at home. I say near perfect because I find my printing process to be an ongoing thing. While I get most images scanned by West Coast Imaging (drum scan), I will scan some of my 4X5 or 5X7 transparencies with my Epson 4870 with very nice results. As I type this, I'm printing a 16X20 image that has every bit of color and sharpness I could want.

    I like printing on the photo type papers - luster, semi-matte, and semi-gloss. They give me the photo look that I like. As someone who does about 15 art fairs during the summer, I get constant questions about the type of prints. Seeing I have a combination of both Lightjets and inkjets, I always ask the viewers if they can tell me which are which. Only one person ever could, and that was because their eyesight was so bad, they could focus on the image from one inch away. My inkjet images look every bit as good as the Lightjet images and people don't seem to care whether it's an inkjet or Lightjet as long as they like the image.

    I own a small gallery and frame shop so I do all my own mounting and framing. Here is how I work with my images. If I'm just selling the photo/print, I mount my print which has a two or three inch white border to a 2 ply museum board and trim off the excess 2-ply board. I use PMA(positional mounting adhesive)to do this. This gives the photo some "weight" and now it can be handled much easier. For mounting it to the foam core backing I use mylar corners. Then I double mat in a white museum mat board and frame. Using the mylar corners allows for easy removal should someone want to remove it for whaterver purpose.

    If the 9600 has any particular drawback as far as I'm concerned, there can be a little bronzing where you get a little bit uneven reflectance. It's rare and only noticeable if you are trying to find it. Otherwise I don't find it to be a problem. All in all, I think the 9600 gives me results that rival the best labs in the country and I get to control the whole process. Hope this helps. Jim

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Middletown, Ohio

    Are there Epson 9600/7600 users in the group?

    What resolution do you normally print. There is a debate at work over resolution verses spooling time as to which is best. We are a camera shop/photo finisher. My IT guy says to print at economy resolution to keep spool time down, that nobody will see the difference between 150dpi and 2880dpi on this printer.



  4. #4

    Are there Epson 9600/7600 users in the group?


    Thanks for the push in the back! Good to hear such encouraging report. I wonder if Epson is about to release a new model with two black cartridges as on the 4000P (just a guess). Anyone heard something?

    Jim, do you know how archival is 3M PMA used on paper prints? Are they any tests that have been made such as the Wilhelm tests? My fear is that the glue could eventually affect the print over time. Maybe my fears are unfounded, it's just a thought. I don't know if inkjet papers have the same resin coating that prevents from soaking the chemicals as photo papers have. Thanks so far!


  5. #5

    Are there Epson 9600/7600 users in the group?

    Paul: I've been printing with the 7600 for nearly two years, and it took nearly two years of worry and frustration to decide to quit printing color with UC inks on RC inkjet papers and move back to Lightjets for my color work. I now only use my 7600 with Roy Harrington's QTR for my b/w work on Photorag. Color prints on matte papers are not for me as they don't have the punch I want (looking more like watercolors than photographs). Good for the work of others, but not for me.

    Why the switch back to Lighjet? Two huge reasons. Gloss Differential (AKA bronzing) and outgassing. Everyone knows about inkjets and bronzing, so I won't mention it. More importantly, outgassing was killing me. I tried a number of tests to speed the release of glycols and drying of the prints, but they still outgassed, leaving greasy fog on the inside of the glass. The issue is well known, and it's not fun to have framed prints come back with the problem.

    IMO, the inkjet industry (i.e. Epson) has plenty of work to do to further develop inks and substrates. It is still an emerging technology. Most Epson papers are junk, IMO, and I've made prints on Premium Luster up to a year ago that still have a nasty surface chemical stench about them to this day. The Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl does beautifully with bronzing, receives the ink well, and has the best surface of any RC paper I've tested, but it is not immune from outgassing.

    I honestly cannot encourage you to go with an Epson UC inks unless you plan to print entirely on matte papers, which are mostly immune from obvious bronzing and outgassing. I'd sign on to the Yahoo EpsonWideFormat group and do some research.

    Feel free to email me with any questions.

  6. #6

    Are there Epson 9600/7600 users in the group?

    I've had an Epson 7600 for about two years and I'm very pleased with it. I print primarily on Premium Luster because of the vibrancy of the colors compared with matt. It would be nice to be able to print a glossy print but I can live with the limitiations.

    If I have a framed print sitting out in the sun then there will be outgassing. However, even outdoors at a hot summer art fair, if the prints are in the shade, I don't see outgassing. I have a rep who sells my work to corporations who also represents Charles Cramer among others. I asked what Charley was making his prints with and it turned out to be a 9600. I've never heard any complaints from my rep about out gassing with mine or Charlie's prints.

    - Dan.

  7. #7

    Are there Epson 9600/7600 users in the group?

    Hi Dan! I obviously cannot dispute what you say, but I'd also say look harder. I'm extremely picky with my work, and for this reason will no longer settle for the imperfections of Epson UC's. I'd rather do Lightjets and return to UC prints when things have been better developed. Outgassing occurs far and wide, and you'll find plenty of reports from other printers - however anecdotal - about their problems with outgassing. I refuse to get involved with laminating, lacquering, or coating of any sort when an excellent and economical solution exists (Lighjtets). That people are resorting to such tactics is clear indication that the problem exists and R&D is in definite order.

    If anyone would care to see what outgassing looks like: This print was on display, indoors only, for about a year. It received only reflected light, but may have received some direct sunlight for a short period each day. The red line (added in PS) delineates the edge of the outgassing. I've used the sunlit reflection to help see the outgassing. Outgassing occurs more greatly where more ink has been laid down.

    To clarify, Charles Cramer very recently told me he still gets Lightjets for his prints with significant areas of black and or white. This is where inkjet RC papers are really not up to par (although as aforementioned, the Ilford paper smokes Epson's and does quite well - image dependent).

  8. #8

    Are there Epson 9600/7600 users in the group?


    Ultrachromes are simply as good as it gets or bloody awful depending on the paper used and the individual's requirements. Print on papers such as Hahnemhule Photo Rag or William Turner and no other process is in the same league. The resulting prints could not be further removed from a high gloss Cibachrome or LightJet but this is their appeal. Horses for courses.

    Keith Laban Photography

  9. #9

    Are there Epson 9600/7600 users in the group?

    Why isn't everything as easy as a Polaroid shot? I was aware of the potential problems mentioned, but didn't think they could be as bad as to turn people away from the process. The problem that appears as the worst is outgassing. I have had the problem with dye prints and it is really annoying. I thought it was only because I had not respected a time lapse to let them dry properly. But it sounds as they will outgass forever if placed under a heating light. I would not want a glossy finish, as this is not even noticed once the print is framed. I have access to Ilford papers. Have yet to understand what makes the difference in practice between the ceramic coated and the resin coated papers. As I understand, the first dries quicker and the second lasts longer. Thanks for the food for thought and for the inspiration from your work!

  10. #10

    Are there Epson 9600/7600 users in the group?

    Things that are easy are rarely worth doing, Paul

    Matte papers have the benefit of evaporative drying on both sides of the paper. RC papers - being plastic coated on back - can only dry from the front. The plastic coating really hinders the dry time. A particular member of the EpsonWideFormat yahoo group claimed his tests showed a seven-week dry time for inkjet RC papers! Ridiculous! I never did specific testing to determine just how long in my situation, but my last steps involved drying by hanging the prints; hair-dryer 'treatments' to expedite the outgassing; and finally spray coating - way too much BS necessary to produce a good print. I can send a prepped file to Calyspo (in California) and get a 24x30 Lighjet for just over $50. There is still plenty of profit margin in my pricing to absorb the slight additional cost and to have a 'real' continuous tone photograph on Fuji CA paper. I'm happier.

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