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Thread: Black and White Printing

  1. #1

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    Black and White Printing

    I'm returning to large format photography after several years and just joined this forum. I no longer have a wet darkroom so I'll be printing in inkjet machines. I currently have an Epson 2200 I bought new some time ago.

    I'm curious about how those of you who print your own black and white are doing it. By that I mean are you using a standard inkset on a good printer and getting good black and white through Photoshop or Lightroom? Or are you using one of the all black ink sets like the Quadtone or MIS systems.

    The few times I have tried to print black and white, I've not been happy with the results. But then I haven't spent the time working with it. Most of what I've been printing the last everal years has been color portrait prints.

    I want to get back to my first love, black and white. I understand shooting on film, scanning and all that. It's the printing I need to learn. So I want to pick the brains of the Masters of black and white here.

    Thanks!

    Dave

  2. #2

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    Re: Black and White Printing

    I've heard the Cone inksets are great. My choice for me is mixing my own dilutions from Eboni Black ink.

  3. #3
    Octogenarian
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    Re: Black and White Printing

    Look into pigment inks and baryta coated inkjet papers. Today's state of the art materials for B&W inkjet printing.

    For scanning, strive for a thinner negative (less contrasty) than you would normally use for wet printing.

  4. #4

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    Re: Black and White Printing

    Gem, any particular brands in mind? I'm not sure what you mean by pigmented inks.

    Dave

  5. #5
    Resident Heretic
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    Re: Black and White Printing

    Quote Originally Posted by David Williams View Post
    The few times I have tried to print black and white, I've not been happy with the results. But then I haven't spent the time working with it. Most of what I've been printing the last several years has been color portrait prints.

    I want to get back to my first love, black and white. I understand shooting on film, scanning and all that. It's the printing I need to learn. So I want to pick the brains of the Masters of black and white here.
    Some resources. First, the yahoo group DigitalBlackandWhiteThePrint which has a large membership and a lot of history in its archives. If you have a question it's probably already been asked and answered there. Another resource is the yahoo group QuadtoneRIP which as a lot of information about the shareware QTR software RIP.

    If you want more in depth information from a single source, there's Amadou Diallo's book Mastering Digital Black and White. Mr. Diallo is certainly a master B&W printer using inkjets. I speculate that George DeWolfe's new book Digital Masters: B&W Printing: Creating the Digital Master Print is also a good book (I'm speculating because it came out just three days ago and I haven't seen it yet). He also is a master printer in color and B&W, and his last book Digital Photography Fine Print Workshop was just excellent -- but is almost entirely about color printing.

    There are some things you'll have to decide before you can pick a direction. First, can you dedicate a printer to B&W only? Second, can you live with matte surface papers only?

    Another question is: how good is good enough? QTR can drive your 2200 with color inks to produce a pretty good B&W print. But the Cone K7 inks in your 2200 will be considerably better IMHO. So, how good is good enough for you personally?

    Like I often say, if you can't define the problem you can't solve it. So figure out what you want to do first; you need to be more specific than something like "print B&W inkjet prints." I'm not trying to be mean here, I'm just sayin' that it's not that simple (yet). Would that it were.

    Bruce Watson

  6. #6
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    Re: Black and White Printing

    Dave,

    These items have been around for a while and are readily available. Check out www.atlex.com:

    Example of pigment ink----Hewlett Packard Vivera. Epson also makes a line of pigment ink.

    Example of Baryta coated paper-----Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk Baryta. Harman and Hahnemuhle also make baryta coated papers.


    B&W inkjet printing has made rapid strides improving it's look.
    I have not made a B&W wet print for over a year now. My B&W inkjet prints look as good, or better.

  7. #7

    Re: Black and White Printing

    For decent B&W from large format imagery in my opinion no less than three black inks is required. There are several determinations to narrow the choices down from there. If you require the ability to do both matte and gloss, probably an out-of-the-box solution with a newer printer would be the least trouble. The newer HPs do all this well, but at some cost with the smallest printer at 24". The newest Epsons with the K3 inksets will also do this, with some smaller units, though some will require changing out the black ink manually. Your 2200 will only do reasonable B&W with the Epson inks if you install and learn QuadtoneRIP, a viable option for many. It will perform even better with a K3 printer.
    I am no longer familiar with the MIS inksets, for more info about those options I would ask at-

    http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/D...WhiteThePrint/
    and look here-
    http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/

    In this day and age, for matte, I find the K6 and K7 systems are the state of the art in terms of linearity, resolution, and print beauty. The Cone systems have become total plug and play, with QTR support and easy setups. I've had people totally unfamiliar with QTR or anything Cone printing in 5 minutes. The ink technology has continually evolved and in my experience are more problem free than even the Epson inks.
    They have a few different hue sets and will send sample prints to help decide.

    If your 2200 is in reasonable condition and now works well, the most cost effective route is probably a CIS, and a black and white inkset from MIS or Cone, assuming matte will work for you. If you want photo surfaces, a new printer, or overspraying with one of the B&W inksets, would be required.

    You might consider Amadou's book-
    http://www.masteringdigitalbwbook.com/
    it's still relevant, I should know as I was tech editor <G>.

    We live in a good era for dedicated B&W ink printing, no more dinking around is required with dicey systems, the inks perform well and easily, and in my opinion some of the most beautiful B&W photography prints I've ever seen are the result.
    Good luck in your efforts,

    Tyler
    http://www.custom-digital.com/

  8. #8

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    Re: Black and White Printing

    Bruce,

    Thanks for your reply and I don't take it as mean. This is what I want, honest advice. I guest I don't know enough yet to ask the right questions.

    I'll check out the resources you mentioned. I can dedicate my 2200 to just black and white, and I like matte papers. Most of what I do will end up framed, so that's not an issue.

    Several years ago I ordered some sample prints from the peizo website and was very impressed by them. I guess what I am asking is has the technology advanced enough to do that kind of work with standard inks or does one need to use those or the K7 type inks to make prints that look close to darkroom prints.

    I'll check out your resources so I'll know better what to ask. I was a decent darkroom printer, and I'd like to get as close to that look and feel as I can without the darkroom.

    Thanks again,

    Dave

  9. #9

    Re: Black and White Printing

    Bruce types faster than me... what he said<G>
    Tyler

  10. #10
    Joanna Carter's Avatar
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    Re: Black and White Printing

    From my experience, forget all the old printers, special ink sets and RIP software; they just aren't necessaary when you can buy an Epson K3 printer and, once it is profiled for your paper, use it straight with the Epson driver and get superb B&W prints.
    Joanna Carter
    Grandes Images

    UKLFPG

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