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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Gadget Bag: Large Format Printers

Ansel Adams was a master landscape printer. Take the same type of control with your prints by finding the perfect 17-inch printer to meet your preferences.

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If you have an ink preference, it's particularly important to note this before choosing a printer, as printers often are only compatible with one type of ink. If your printer is compatible with both, flush the printer before making the switch to reduce clogs and contamination. Printer manufacturers create inks to go with their products. There are third-party inks, but these often void the warranty of your printer, so check into those specifics before taking the dive.

Media Selection
One printing choice that provides an instant visual reference to the viewer about the entire mood and emotion of your photo without even touching on the image itself is the paper you choose to print on. The paper quality not only has its own sense of character to complement your image, but it also affects the look of the ink and has an effect on permanence.

The two major types of paper are glossy and matte, and within each lies an entire world of subtypes. With a smooth, reflective quality, glossy includes luster, semigloss and satin. Generally, glossy paper does a great job of covering the entire color gamut, matching a wide range of hues and deep saturations. Matte, with a very wide range of textures, is thought of as "fine-art" paper and includes rag, watercolor and canvas. Matte papers can give a specific effect, such as pen to paper, and they tend to mute the color gamut, including absorption of blacks. Experimentation with a particular paper will help to refine and achieve a particular look.

Printer manufacturers create their own papers and inks that complement one another, so you may want to use them in tandem for optimal results. Also, your printer will dictate the thickness of the paper you can print on. Heavier art paper, around 1.5mm, is usually supported with 17-inch printers.

Monochrome Printing
If you're going for a true Ansel Adams look, you're probably printing landscapes in black-and-white. Just as quality was added to color prints through the addition of light colors of the CMY color gamut, the quality of black-and-white printing has increased by adding multiple levels of diluted black ink. Using two or more levels of black makes it less necessary to use as much color ink to create the monochrome, reducing the metamerism and sometimes negating it completely. Additionally, with more dilutions of black available, the grayscale tonal range becomes smoother.

Printers may also offer different Black and White Mode options. These may include using only the black and black dilution inks, or using the printer's driver software to ensure your photo prints with the correct look.


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