Best ink system for digital negs?


#1

Hi there!

As I have explained on another post, we are about to buy another batch of piezo inks for printing digital negatives. So far, we have been using K7 system with conventional black shade #1, selenium tone, on the 9900. Now that the ink levels are low, we are considering buying more ink to go on printing digital negatives in our 9900, or fit out an Epson 9880 we also have in the studio.

We would need to use the best solution possible for printing digital negatives. I know that at this day, the state of the art for digital negatives in terms of inks are the Shade 1, 5 shades of grey (#2 to #6) and the GO. That means I could very well use the Epson 9900 and a K7 system, or the Epson 9880 with a Piezography P2 system if I want to print matt prints with a K6 system. I am not interested in printing on glossy paper, and for what I have read a K6 system provides as good prints as a K7 system, even if the shade 7 is missing…

Our questions involve the choice of the new HD black, the choice of tone (selenium or other) and even the possibility of waiting for the new Pro inks. Again, the main use is digital negatives, with occasional printing on matt fine art paper (hahnemuhle photo rag). We could be ok in having just one tone at this point… the important thing would be to make sure we have the best possible solution optimized for printing digital negatives because that is the main use of the printer.

In order to make the choice, I would like to know:

-Does the new HD black #1 provide better results for printing digital negatives than the conventional lower density shade#1?

-Is it correct to assume that we need to recalibrate the curves made with the conventional black shade when changing to the new HD black shade #1?

-Have you already updated the master curves for PiezoDN by taking into consideration the new HD black?

-Is is still true that the selenium toned inks are those which perform with more consistence in terms of UV density, and therefore would provide more consistent results when using the inks for digital negatives? Or can we use any other tones for the Piezo2 – K7 system with the same guarantees of consistency in terms of UV density?

-With the arrival of the new printing driver that is in preparation, would still a Piezography P2 HD Selenium kit for the 9880 provide the best possible digital negatives? Would it be better to use a K7 HD on a 9900? Or would it be better to use the new Pro inks?

Thanks again!
Cheers,
Rafael


#2

Rafa - I wrote a long reply to this several days ago but it never showed up! I’ll try again tonight.


#3

Oh no, I hope you did not lost it. Your long replies are loaded with wisdom Keith! :slight_smile: Thanks so much in advance for your help… I have to say that I have been having real troubles with the inks and the printer… I need help!

Cheers and happy new year Keith!

rafael


#4

Hi there!

As I have explained on another post, we are about to buy another batch of piezo inks for printing digital negatives. So far, we have been using K7 system with conventional black shade #1, selenium tone, on the 9900. Now that the ink levels are low, we are considering buying more ink to go on printing digital negatives in our 9900, or fit out an Epson 9880 we also have in the studio.

We would need to use the best solution possible for printing digital negatives. I know that at this day, the state of the art for digital negatives in terms of inks are the Shade 1, 5 shades of grey (#2 to #6) and the GO. That means I could very well use the Epson 9900 and a K7 system, or the Epson 9880 with a Piezography P2 system if I want to print matt prints with a K6 system. I am not interested in printing on glossy paper, and for what I have read a K6 system provides as good prints as a K7 system, even if the shade 7 is missing…

Yes. K7 is not even used for PiezoDN, only shades 1-6 and GO.

Our questions involve the choice of the new HD black, the choice of tone (selenium or other) and even the possibility of waiting for the new Pro inks. Again, the main use is digital negatives, with occasional printing on matt fine art paper (hahnemuhle photo rag). We could be ok in having just one tone at this point… the important thing would be to make sure we have the best possible solution optimized for printing digital negatives because that is the main use of the printer.

In my opinion, the best negative to be printed on the 9900 will be the Pro inks once we are done the Piezography Driver. It is in private Beta at the moment but I am slowly opening it up to those on this list who need it for particular reasons. I can send you details off list. It requires some investment of time as it’s very early stage.

In order to make the choice, I would like to know:

-Does the new HD black #1 provide better results for printing digital negatives than the conventional lower density shade#1?

Matte Black ink rubs off of film. Not good for negs. The HD-PK is good though!! (and it has a much finer particle than WN1).

-Is it correct to assume that we need to recalibrate the curves made with the conventional black shade when changing to the new HD black shade #1?

Yes.

-Have you already updated the master curves for PiezoDN by taking into consideration the new HD black?

Yes. In fact I did this over a year ago somewhat secretly. But the dMax will still be slightly different. It will be enough but calibration will need to be done if your are just switching from WN1 to HD-PK.

-Is is still true that the selenium toned inks are those which perform with more consistence in terms of UV density, and therefore would provide more consistent results when using the inks for digital negatives? Or can we use any other tones for the Piezo2 – K7 system with the same guarantees of consistency in terms of UV density?

Yes, historically yes. The Pro inks are also built to be consistent. The carbon ink is also very consistent.

-With the arrival of the new printing driver that is in preparation, would still a Piezography P2 HD Selenium kit for the 9880 provide the best possible digital negatives? Would it be better to use a K7 HD on a 9900? Or would it be better to use the new Pro inks?

Pro inks on either the 9880 or 9900 in my opinion. On the 9900 all 9 ink channels are printed (GCO is not printed).

best,

Walker


#5

Hi Rafael, I’ve just switched from the old Meth3 to P2 Selenium. I’m going to start the process of getting everything sorted for Pt/Pd in then next few weeks. In the meantime with the small amount of time I’ve had available, I’ve actually really enjoyed being able to print gloss images with P2 - I’ve lived in a rather matt world for many years. With a bit of work I’m getting prints that can do a really good impersonation of Ilford FB papers, using Han Baryta inkjet paper.

I’d be interested to hear how you are getting on with the lab in Switzerland, and how the Pt/Pd work is going? Email me for a chat :slight_smile:


#6

Hi David! So great to have you here around :slight_smile:

The lab is going well, and took us quite some time…

P2 selenium is going to give you fantastic results. I am feeling tempted for the Pro inks, since my inks now are running low…

Lets chat, it has been some time and I know you have been busy building things over there!

Hugs,

rafa


#7

Sorry again - I’ve been sick. Walker said pretty much what I had written but in fewer words! And I saw in another post that you plan to mothball one of the printers, so my thought to run Pro in the 9900 and K7 in the 9880 is irrelevant. Go Pro. I’m still running K7 Carbon in a 3880 and a 1430. I’ll switch black from WN1 to HD-PK when I need to refill, then then fully to Pro when my current stock runs out which could be a while unless I start printing prints again as well as negatives. :wink: I wish I had space for a big printer again. Someday. Maybe.

The Eventone dither that is used in the new driver really does make a difference. I’m just completing my first set of trials and first full linearization. It’s a notable improvement over what I was able to achieve previously on the 3880, which is why I have stuck to the 1430 for actual negs up to now. If most of my images weren’t so high-key this would be less of an issue.


#8

Thanks Keith for the contribution!

Good to hear about the recommendation for the Pro inks. We have discussed about this offlline, but I would write it here for anyone who might be following this thread… and to know what Walker thinks about it.

Pro inks consist on black + 4 shades of grey for the 9900, in two different tones (warm and cool, but with same densities). Is it correct to assume that, if the two families of greys share the same densities (being only different in tone), then when it comes to printing digital negs we are only making use of one set, meaning we are actually using a K5 system? And if that is true, would not be logical to think that a conventional K7 system is better for digital negs (fitted out with the new HD inks) as we have more inks playing in the system?

I understand the Pro inks do shine when it comes to printing on paper with different combinations of toning, but when printing digital negs, are these inks also better than conventional K7HD systems?

Walker also mentioned the fact the new HD inks will have smaller particle size… I assume both for the K7HD and Pro inks alike? Would that suggest the smaller particles will help reduce the grittiness sometimes we can experience when printing highlights?

Thanks in advance!

Cheers,

Rafael


#9

The grittiness found in highlights is actually a problem with WN1 being very opaque and the QTR dither. This is solved with the new driver.

The Pro inks are actually 9 shades under UV light. The warm inks block more than the cool inks so this lets us overlap them like k10 for dig negs (at least UV process dig negs).

best,

Walker


#10

It’s definitely way better, but I wouldn’t yet call it solved, at least not with WN1. But this alone might be reason enough to switch to HD-PK, even with K6/7. I don’t think you had mentioned this particular detail (the opaqueness of WN1) before.

On the other hand, this issue is exactly why I wanted to experiment with using no K at all as I mentioned in the beta-tester group. (I really wish more of the testers would participate!) Unfortunately, and to my surprise, my attempts at that have not shown improvement in the upper 10% or so, even though there is no black ink and density is sufficient.

I might just have to switch to Pro inks sooner rather than later.


#11

Hi Keith - I’ll join in the beta group, I’ve just got a new darkroom running and have a massive back log of silver printing to do, so will get onboard ASAP - I switched from the Meth3 WN to a P2 Selenium set a week or so ago - makes nice inkjet prints, I’ve got a whole new set of very high key work to print in Palladium, so will see how it goes.

 


#12

I’d be interested in looking at a scan of your highlight scatter if you have one. It may be something I can modify in the actual ink underlay . . .

These are white dots?

-W


#13

Black dots - since we are speaking ink, I guess - rather than the spaces between. ( I like that phrase - the spaces between - may have to use it for a title of something.)

Here’s a crop of a scan of a target print. I tried to keep it as large as possible but small enough to post here. I can put full tif version on Dropbox if you want to see that. Sorry about the slightly blown out steps 1-4. This is from my Canon office scanner/printer, but I think it shows what needs showing. I can fire up the EverSmart if necessary. I can also make a scan of the neg.

I am very impressed with how nicely distributed the dots are, even though I’d rather not see them. :wink:


#14

This is not good at all! This is on 3880? I am not getting these black dots . . . :frowning:

I will verify tomorrow from my own printed targets.

-W


#15

Yes, 3880 with the standard K7 Carbon setup. Are you testing with Pro inks only?


#16

This is with Pro inks but it really shouldn’t be doing this with K6/WN1 either.

I’ll look into it.

-W


#17

Any chance this could be printer specific, I had problems with a 3880 - initially writing my own curves and pushing the ink load on the epson inks. I would get a similar grain pattern, when I switched to Selenium Piezo inks there was a mild improvement, but still issues with grain in high ink load areas. I found my front load position gave a worse grain than if I printed the conventional loading method, but of course then with paper handling problems.

Everything was so much better with the 7880 and its vacuum feed - and using WN at the time. I just thought my 3880 was a bit of a dud, but I was getting very similar issues to Keith - I’ll try and find some examples, but this is from about 5 years ago.


#18

Hello Walker,

Regarding Selenium vs Carbon inksets for digital negatives, are there any advantages one over the other in terms of quality of the particle? In other words, is one smoother and/or less grainy than the other?

Thanks for your time!

-Shane


#19

This is actually something I’m investigating. I have not seen it (problems with carbon K7 negs) myself (other than a time when I think I had bad developer).

For now stick w/ selenium.

 

-Walker