Fine Art Matte Inkjet Papers

Darren wrote this at 9:34 pm:

Edwin Leong over at CameraHobby.com has done a nice roundup review of several fine art matte inkjet papers from Crane, Legion, and Moab.

I like the way Edwin has published two sets of results – one titled “Technical, Nitpicky and Anal-Retentive Comments” to keep the pixel peepers happy, and one titled “Aesthetic Comments after I Power Slammed the Technician Out of the Way” for people who just care about how their art actually looks.

Edwin also requested review samples from Hahnemuhle, which are very highly regarded by many fine art inkjet workers, but they didn’t arrive in time for his testing. Hopefully he’ll eventually get some, and update this article with those additional results.

Monochrome Printmaking

Darren wrote this at 6:00 am:

From Monochrome Photographic Printmaking with the Epson UltraChrome K3 Inkset:

I have seen my fair share of revolutions in photography over the years. I have owned and shot one of the few digital monochrome cameras in the world (the Kodak DCS 760m). For over a decade, I have been a participant along the path of the development of the digital photographic era. But never before have I been so emotionally affected by a new technology, as has been the case with these three products coming together. There is nothing as important to a fine arts photographer as seeing his or her own work in print, exactly as composed and intended. I can truly say that what I am creating with this body of technology is resulting in making fine art photographic prints—“an image that is printed to exacting standards, so much so that it cannot be reproduced by any other means.”

This essay by fine art photographer Pete Myers is a very comprehensive look at the current state of the art in digital monochrome printing. He seems to have had an almost religious experience with the convergence of three keys technologies this year – the Epson UltraChrome K3 inkset, ColorByte Software’s ImagePrint RIP, and Pictorico Photo Gallery Hi-gloss White Film paper.

Three Steps To Sharpening

Darren wrote this at 8:55 am:

Bruce Fraser has written an excellent article on the sharpening of digital images, and his suggestions for how it might fit into your photographic workflow: Thoughts on a Sharpening Workflow

Instead of trying to handle all the different issues that affect sharpening in a single edit, the sharpening workflow splits sharpening into three stages:

  1. Capture Sharpening is applied early in the image-editing process, and just aims to restore any sharpness that was lost in the capture process.
  2. Creative Sharpening is usually applied locally to accentuate specific features in an image-for example, we often give eyes a little extra sharpness in head shots.
  3. Output Sharpening is applied to files that have already had capture and creative sharpening applied, after they’ve been sized to final output resolution, and is tailored to a specific type of output process.

Bruce’s process makes sense, and would seem to be a great way to prepare images when you’re not sure of how they’ll be output. You can do all your capture sharpening and creative sharpening during the same editing sessions as other creative work – dodging, burning, color-correcting, etc. When it’s time to print, you can apply the last sharpening pass customised for the output size and medium you have in mind.

This system lends itself to some degree of automation, too. The capture sharpening is likely to be mostly dependent upon the capture device used, so you could have a pre-defined script for each digital camera and capture device you use. Similarly, the output sharpening is tailored to the output device and size of the finished work, so you could have scripts set up for each of your commonly-used output media.

FotoEspresso Number 3/2005 Released

Darren wrote this at 8:19 am:

The latest issue of FotoEspresso, an online photography magazine, has just been released: FotoEspresso 3/2005.

This issue includes:

  • Detailed look at a RAW workflow using the free Pixmantec RawShooter Essentials (sadly Windows-only)
  • Comprehensive Epson R2400 Experience Report
  • The RAW Flaw by Michael Reichmann and Jurgen Specht
  • Overview of the eBook The Art Of RAW Conversion

New 3rd-Party Ink For Epson Printers

Darren wrote this at 6:47 am:

(From a Colour Confidence press release)

Colour Confidence have announced the availability of Pantone ColorVANTAGE Inks. ColorVANTAGE Inks are an optimised set of pigmented inks, specially formulated, they feature a wide colour gamut, rich colours and superior lightfastness, all with a 20% saving in comparison to Epson original inks.

The formulation of ColorVANTAGE Inks gives them a deeper, more saturated colour without having to add black. This means brighter and more vibrant colours, and because they are pigmented they are not subject to colour shifts. ColorVANTAGE Inks appear significantly different from Epson original inks and offer a number of advantages in comparison.

Further benefits of ColorVANTAGE Inks include:

  • Three 100% pigmented black inks improve output for glossy and matte papers: Photo Black, Light Black, Matte Black
  • Print deeper colour tones without adding black
  • Neutral pigmented blacks inks
  • Bulk inks available
  • Quick drying to reduce ink rub off
  • Demonstrate minimal bronzing effects
  • Water resistance

The following printers currently support Pantone ColorVANTAGE Inks:

  • Epson Stylus Photo 1270, 1280, 2100, 2200, 4000, 5000, 5500
  • Epson Stylus Pro 9000, 9500, 9600, 7000, 7500, 7600

If you’ve tried these new inks, please post in the comments section and let us know what you thought of them. It sounds like their profile would be quite different from the Epson inks – did you find that a problem? How does the price compare?

Epson UltraChrome K3 inks on test

Darren wrote this at 4:07 pm:

Ian Burley has put Epson’s new UltraChrome K3 photo printer inks through their paces using an Epson Stylus Pro 4800 inkjet printer.

Ian compares various printer inksets and paper types against each other in a purely technical range of tests, measuring the color gamut of each. You’ll have to read the article to find out what he concludes.

Kodak to Stop Making Black-and-White Paper

Darren wrote this at 8:01 pm:

Ending a century-old tradition, Eastman Kodak Co. will soon stop making black-and-white photographic paper, a niche product for fine-art photographers and hobbyists that is rapidly being supplanted by digital-imaging systems.

Source.

Kodak is really throwing its hat into the digital ring, trying to reverse its recent poor fortunes. This is probably a good move by them, allowing them to pursue newer technologies and not have to worry about fighting the inevitable downslide their B&W photographic paper business would have faced.

More and more people are now printing monochrome prints on inkjet printers. The quality and archivability of prints coming out of the latest generation of Epsons (such as the Epson Stylus Pro 4800) rivals high-end darkroom prints, with much less hassle, lower per-print cost, faster reproduction speed, and near-perfect repeatability.

Just as there are still people shooting and selling tintype photographs, there will always be people shooting and developing film and printing in their darkroom. It will become a niche artform, though, with mainstream photographers embracing the newer digital technologies.

Epson Stylus Pro 4800 Blog

Darren wrote this at 7:26 pm:

Australian photographer Pete Walsh has started a blog about his experiences with his new Epson Stylus Pro 4800 printer. It’s both entertaining and informative joining Pete on the journey from manhandling the printer out of his car and up a ladder into his attic office, to charging up the ink lines and watching $500 worth of ink dump into the ‘nappy’, to his delight with his first B&W print.

Over the next few days Pete will be testing out the printer with both color and B&W photographs, checking for bronzing (especially on glossy papers) and overall color accuracy and print quality. It should be very interesting to follow his progress.

While you’re there check out Pete’s Magic Pixel main site. He has some excellent photos on display in his galleries, and sells them for very reasonable prices.

Epson Wins Four TIPA Awards

Darren wrote this at 8:39 pm:

The Technical Imaging Press Association (TIPA) has awarded Epson four awards in their annual review of the best products in the photo market.

The awards were:

Also see our reviews of the Epson P-2000 Multimedia Storage Viewer.

PhotoshopNews Interviews Greg Gorman

Darren wrote this at 1:07 pm:

Interview with Greg Gorman about the New Epson Printers

I interviewed Greg Gorman at his home in Hollywood by phone this last Sunday, May 15th, 2005. In particular, we talked about the new Epson Stylus Pro 4800 printer and the new UltraChrome K3 inks.

Greg is a good friend who over the years has been an avid and enthusiastic adopter of all things digital. In addition to photography, we share a certain, well, shall we say, “zest” for great wine and great food. But we also share a real passion for photography – B&W photography.

Jeff Schewe has made the 21-minute interview available as an audio download, and he’s also included some images Greg shot of actor Richard Gere to demonstrate the B&W printing capabilities of the Epson Stylus Pro 4800 printer. Very impressive indeed!