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by Mark Picard on Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:21 am
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I will be starting a limited edition of B+W prints and would like to know what papers people prefer for B+W. The papers must be available in rolls (up to 24") because I will be printing large panos in the five foot long range. I don't want to use Glossy, but a satin, luster, or mat finish would be fine. Thanks for your help.
Mark Picard
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by Royce Howland on Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:44 pm
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Mark, what printer (or more particularly, what inkset) are you going to use for these B&W prints? That may influence media choice a little one way or another.

My personal go-to luster-ish papers for B&W on Epson x880 or x900 class printers are Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk, a baryta fibre-based paper with a traditional looking semi-gloss surface, slightly warm toned. Or if you want something similar but a little whiter, then I'd say look at Canson Platine Fibre Rag. The surfaces of the two are a very similar finish but in addition to the the Canson being a purer white baryta paper, it's also a cotton rag base with no optical brighteners. The Ilford is an alpha cellulose base with some OBA's, so not quite as stable over a very long time period.

In a matte media, I really like the combo of Hahnemuhle Bamboo (slightly warm toned) and Hahnemuhle Photo Rag (white). Both are a very similar weighty matte stock with a similar smooth finished surfaced. The whiter Photo Rag is a cotton rag base stock but with optical brighteners, while Bamboo is an alpha cellulose base with no OBA's.

All of these are available in 24" rolls, and I like the look of them all a lot for B&W work.

I should also mention Jon Cone's K7 carbon monochrome inkset. It produces out-of-this-world B&W prints, far better than anything possible with the standard Epson color inksets IMO. I had a series done by a local master printer who has some K7 converted Epson printers, and I hung the series at a number of exhibits earlier this year. They were K7 neutral carbon prints (K7 is also available in warmer and cooler toned versions), on Hahnemuhle Bamboo matte paper. They completely blew me away and got a lot of very positive response at the shows.

I don't know what your latitude is for getting into alternative inks, but if you're not familiar with K7 I would strongly recommend at least looking into it. For a limited edition series, it would be a fantastic option. The most recent variation of the inkset has been adapted for 9-channel Epson printers and supports carbon printing on both matte and glossy stock, including an overprint gloss enhancer to equalize any gloss differential on glossy media. I recently bought an Epson 3880 expressly to convert it over to K7 carbon so I can proof my own B&W and make my own smaller sized K7 prints. I'll still use my local provider for larger work. I'm 100% sold on K7 for B&W and it's how I'm going for almost all my future B&W work, except in specialized cases where I want to print monochrome with a heavier color toning that needs to be done with an actual colored inkset...
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by Mark Picard on Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:26 pm
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Royce Howland wrote:
Mark, what printer (or more particularly, what inkset) are you going to use for these B&W prints? That may influence media choice a little one way or another.

My personal go-to luster-ish papers for B&W on Epson x880 or x900 class printers are Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk, a baryta fibre-based paper with a traditional looking semi-gloss surface, slightly warm toned. Or if you want something similar but a little whiter, then I'd say look at Canson Platine Fibre Rag. The surfaces of the two are a very similar finish but in addition to the the Canson being a purer white baryta paper, it's also a cotton rag base with no optical brighteners. The Ilford is an alpha cellulose base with some OBA's, so not quite as stable over a very long time period.

In a matte media, I really like the combo of Hahnemuhle Bamboo (slightly warm toned) and Hahnemuhle Photo Rag (white). Both are a very similar weighty matte stock with a similar smooth finished surfaced. The whiter Photo Rag is a cotton rag base stock but with optical brighteners, while Bamboo is an alpha cellulose base with no OBA's.

All of these are available in 24" rolls, and I like the look of them all a lot for B&W work.

I should also mention Jon Cone's K7 carbon monochrome inkset. It produces out-of-this-world B&W prints, far better than anything possible with the standard Epson color inksets IMO. I had a series done by a local master printer who has some K7 converted Epson printers, and I hung the series at a number of exhibits earlier this year. They were K7 neutral carbon prints (K7 is also available in warmer and cooler toned versions), on Hahnemuhle Bamboo matte paper. They completely blew me away and got a lot of very positive response at the shows.

I don't know what your latitude is for getting into alternative inks, but if you're not familiar with K7 I would strongly recommend at least looking into it. For a limited edition series, it would be a fantastic option. The most recent variation of the inkset has been adapted for 9-channel Epson printers and supports carbon printing on both matte and glossy stock, including an overprint gloss enhancer to equalize any gloss differential on glossy media. I recently bought an Epson 3880 expressly to convert it over to K7 carbon so I can proof my own B&W and make my own smaller sized K7 prints. I'll still use my local provider for larger work. I'm 100% sold on K7 for B&W and it's how I'm going for almost all my future B&W work, except in specialized cases where I want to print monochrome with a heavier color toning that needs to be done with an actual colored inkset...

Thanks for your response Royce. I have both the Epson 4880 and the 7900 printers. I'm pretty sure I will be using each one for the B+W's - probably using the 7900 more (large panos). I have looked at Jon Cone's inksets, but I only looked at the color versions. Now that my 7900 is just out of warranty, I think I might switch over to his color inks, having heard good things about them. 

I see that in order to use the carbon ink set that you must remove all your color inks and install his B+W set. I would consider doing this if I printed more B+W's, but my B+W prints will be about 1% (or less) of my overall printing, and it will be somewhat sporadic in terms of how many I'll actually print. Although I'm sure you're right in that his inkset will produce superior results, I'm afraid I'm just gonna' stick to the Epson inks (K3) for now.   

Thanks for the paper suggestions - my friend that runs a custom photo lab also uses the Hahnemuhle Photo Rag for his customers B+W's, so I think that might be a good choice.
Mark Picard
Website:  http://www.markpicard.com
Maine Photography Workshops
 

by Royce Howland on Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:51 pm
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Yes, the need to dedicate (at least) one printer to the K7 inkset is the primary downside of that printing process. I do heartily recommend a bit of exploration, though; think about getting some of your B&W images printed by somebody who has a K7 rig and is good at running it. At least then you'll have an idea what the results could be. Everybody will have different taste, budget and willingness to put up with alternative processes... but for me K7 prints are not just "superior", they're in a whole other playing field to the Epson OEM K3 inks for B&W. Especially on matte papers like the Hahnemuhle Photo Rag and Bamboo.

If you don't want to in-source K7 prints, it's possible that like me you'll find them compelling enough (and able to contribute to commanding a price premium ;) ) that you decide to out-source them to somebody... at least as an available production option for specific limited editions.
Royce Howland
 

by pleverington on Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:36 pm
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Hey Royce which printers altogether do you have??

Paul
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by Royce Howland on Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:25 pm
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Paul, personally I just have a 3880 converted for K7 Carbon B&W printing, and a 4880 for colour work. Because the 4880 is such a beast to switch between PK and MK black inks, I typically just print with PK on glossy or semi-glossy stocks with it. I hate to enrich Epson while flushing large volumes of black ink down the waste tank. I'd like to upgrade the 4880 at some point but will not get a 4900 due to some reported issues with it that make me nervous. But I miss being able to do colour printing on matte papers at the drop of a hat.

I would get a Canon if their 17" pro desktop model was current, but it isn't. Their iPF 5100 is a few models old, and has not been updated to stay in step with their large floor-standing models that went from the x100 -> x200 -> x300 -> x400. I've worked with the current Canon models a fair bit over the past few months, and really like what I see with them. The printer, ink and head design of the Canon x400 series is really good. A pro-featured 17" iPF 5400 would, I believe, win a strong chunk of market share for Canon if they were to put one out. They've learned a lot and made a lot of improvements since the flawed launch of the iPF 5000, and the "okay" update of the 5100. The current x400 series is very solid and highly capable.

I've elected to stay away from the floor-standing models, myself. Whenever I need something large, I work with a really great printer in town who operates several Epson 7xxx, 9xxx printers plus an 11880 for really huge pieces. I let him take the hit of buying, operating, servicing and replacing the big guns. :)
Royce Howland
 

by pleverington on Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:27 am
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Royce Howland wrote:
Paul, personally I just have a 3880 converted for K7 Carbon B&W printing, and a 4880 for colour work. Because the 4880 is such a beast to switch between PK and MK black inks, I typically just print with PK on glossy or semi-glossy stocks with it. I hate to enrich Epson while flushing large volumes of black ink down the waste tank. I'd like to upgrade the 4880 at some point but will not get a 4900 due to some reported issues with it that make me nervous. But I miss being able to do colour printing on matte papers at the drop of a hat.

I would get a Canon if their 17" pro desktop model was current, but it isn't. Their iPF 5100 is a few models old, and has not been updated to stay in step with their large floor-standing models that went from the x100 -> x200 -> x300 -> x400. I've worked with the current Canon models a fair bit over the past few months, and really like what I see with them. The printer, ink and head design of the Canon x400 series is really good. A pro-featured 17" iPF 5400 would, I believe, win a strong chunk of market share for Canon if they were to put one out. They've learned a lot and made a lot of improvements since the flawed launch of the iPF 5000, and the "okay" update of the 5100. The current x400 series is very solid and highly capable.

I've elected to stay away from the floor-standing models, myself. Whenever I need something large, I work with a really great printer in town who operates several Epson 7xxx, 9xxx printers plus an 11880 for really huge pieces. I let him take the hit of buying, operating, servicing and replacing the big guns. :)


Thanks very much for the reply Royce.  I was asking because I want to start up maybe a dedicated black and white printer. But I'm not sure about a few things. My thoughts were that when I retired the 9600 after buying the 9900 I would convert that one to B&W. Sounds like a good idea after all It's sitting here. But then I read where Cone says the most awesome prints yet have been off that 1400 with it's small picoliter drop size (one something) and that makes me wonder will the 9600 at three something picoliters be up to the task. And then the 9600 only has 7 slots for cartridges where as later printers have enough slots fo the K7 inks and glossy black and GO so I'm not sure I'll wind up happy with the 9600 after a while especially when considering the cost of charging it with Cone inks. And that leads me to my next mind confusing problem. The paul roak inkset over at ink supply is a whole lot cheaper, is carbon, and has 6 or 7 tones--I think. So far I have not been able to find on the web anyone who has done a comparison study of the two of them side by side. I wouldn't think there could be mountains of difference, but I'm sure there is some. Allegedly the Roark inks are less warm and more neutral than the Cone's. But Cone seems to have worked out some nice choices with his different inksets. Cone also says when you see a glossy paper type printed and gone over with the gloss optimser you won't believe your eyes. Makes me wonder about going that way.

I have a lot of papers stocked up for B&W so I'm pretty good to go there. Early on I thought I would be printing a lot of color on these but that neve seemed to be that big of a difference. But I bought them so now I believe they'll be perfect for B&W.  Rolls and sheets of exhibition, hot press and cod press both bright and natural, all the Hahnemules, cansons rag, and many others so good to go on that note.

I suppose I could just flush out the 9600 and fire it up with the Roark inks and see how it goes and then later buy a 7900 or something and have greater flexibility. But should there be a difference that is hobbling lets say I wouldn't bother I don't think with the 9600..

Lot to learn with this B&W stuff....

Any thoughts??

Paul
Paul Leverington
"A great image is one that is created, not one that is made"
 

by Royce Howland on Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:53 pm
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Paul, let's hive off a separate topic since this one is really about papers for B&W...
viewtopic.php?f=44&t=242550
Royce Howland
 

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