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Monday, August 1, 2005

Seeing The World As Black-And-White

A new breed of inkjet printers is lighting the way for a resurgence in top-quality black-and-white printing from a desktop darkroom

Epson Stylus Photo R2400
Three black inks deliver better black-and-white prints
By Ibarionex R. Perello

Although inkjet printers produce amazing color prints, black-and-white prints have been more of a challenge. The inability to deliver neutral monochrome photographs that render the subtle tonal changes of a traditional silver print have more often than not resulted in frustration rather than a satisfying result.

The Epson Stylus Photo R2400 printer promises to eliminate the problem by producing monochrome prints that rival, if not surpass, a silver-based print. In addition to delivering a wide tonal range, the printer creates black-and-white prints with a lightfastness of up to 200 years.

Printer performance in both color and black-and-white is a result of Epson's UltraChrome K3 inks. Including cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan, light magenta, and photo and matte black inks, the new system now adds light black and light-light black inks (actually grays, but the black name is used to support the K3 nomenclature). This expanded range of black inks gives the printer greater control for a wider range of tones without introducing unwanted color casts.

The three black inks also offer improved midtone and highlight details that often were lost or adversely impacted by color shifts. Rather than depending on the colored inks to render the nuanced changes in tone, the new lighter black inks fill this role, resulting in the neutral prints. For photographers who prefer tinted images, the printer's driver provides easy controls for producing platinum or sepia prints.

The R2400 supports a resolution of up to 5760 x 1400 dpi, but it's the printer's delivery of inks in droplets as small as 3.5 picoliters that provides the fine detail and smooth tones needed for high-quality black-and-white prints. Other benefits include reduced bronzing and metamerism, and increased scratch resistance.

The printer's ability to create gallery-sized prints on a wide variety of paper surfaces promises to make this a popular printer among serious and professional photographers. Capable of prints of up to 13 inches wide, the printer produces 11x14 prints in as fast as two minutes in photo-quality mode. The unit features three paper paths to accommodate papers of different thicknesses, including canvas and posterboard. It offers a maximum printable area of 13x44 inches.

As the popularity of the digital darkroom has increased, so has an interest in quality black-and-white prints. The Epson Stylus Photo R2400 fits a much desired niche among photographers. Estimated Street Price: $849.

Contact: Epson, (800) GO-EPSON, www.epson.com

Printing Technology: Thermal Inkjet
Inks: Pigment-based—cyan, magenta,
yellow, light cyan, light magenta, photo black,
matte black, light black, light-light black
Direct To Print: n/a

Key Features

• Creates black-and-white and color prints with a lightfastness of up to 200 years

• Three paper paths for media of different thicknesses

• Three densities of black ink provide neutral monochrome prints

• Increased color gamut improves the range of color prints


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