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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Make A B&W Digital Darkroom

A master photographer needs a master darkroom. We’ll guide you through the key tools you need in the digital age.

Labels: SoftwareGearPrintersPaper
This Article Features Photo Zoom
Printers For B&W
Most of today's better inkjet printers produce very good black-and-white prints. While early color printers often produced tinted "black-and-white" prints (sometimes with lighter tones tinted a different shade than darker ones if you used the color inks and grainy prints if you used only the black ink), today's higher-end printers use multiple black inks (black, gray, light gray) and advanced algorithms to deliver much better black-and-white as well as color prints. For monochrome landscapes, you'll want a printer that can make at least 11x17-inch prints, with good longevity.

Some inkjet printers use dye-based inks, others pigment-based inks. Historically, dye-based inks (with fine colorant particles and additives dissolved in liquid) produced better colors, while pigment-based inks (with larger colorant particles and additives suspended in liquid) provided longer life and better water-resistance. Today, both types of inks can produce excellent colors (and monochrome tonal range) and long life. Most higher-end inkjet printers use pigment-based inks.

The top member of Canon's trio of pro 13-inch printers is the PIXMA PRO-1 (www.usa.canon.com), which uses a reformulated 12-color Lucia pigment inkset (including five monochrome inks: matte black, photo black, dark gray, gray and light gray for deep blacks and smooth grayscale tones) in 36ml cartridges. Canon doesn't provide a print-life estimate. A new 12,288-nozzle print head can deliver droplets as small as 4 picoliters, while OIG (Optimum Image Generating) ink-balancing technology optimizes image quality. The PRO-1 can print on cut media from 4x6 to 14x17 inches; manufacturer's literature says it can print a 13x19-inch color or black-and-white image in 4 minutes, 20 seconds. ICC profiles are available for Canon papers, as well as for some third-party papers. Dimensions are 27.4x18.2x9.5 inches and 60.9 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $999.

Canon's PIXMA Pro-10 features wireless connection via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, as well as conventional wired connection so you can place the printer where it's most convenient, and multiple users can seamlessly print from several printers (and Apple AirPrint allows users to wirelessly print photos, emails, Web pages and documents without installing device drivers). The Pro-10 features Canon's 10-ink Lucia pigment-based inkset (including three monochrome inks: photo black, matte black and gray) in 14ml cartridges. As with the Pro-1, Chroma Optimizer minimizes bronzing. Per Canon, the Pro-10 can produce a high-quality, bordered 13x19-inch print in color or black-and-white in 5 minutes, 20 seconds. OIG technology introduced in the Pro-1 enhances image quality. Dimensions are 27.2x15.2x8.5 inches and 43.9 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $699.

The Canon PIXMA Pro-100 is similar to the Pro-10, but uses the company's eight-color ChromaLife 100+ dye-based inkset (including three monochrome inks: gray, light gray and black) in 13ml cartridges and can deliver droplets as fine as 3 picoliters. Wireless Wi-Fi, Ethernet and AirPrint compatibility are provided as with the Pro-10. Per Canon, the Pro-100 can produce a high-quality, bordered 13x19-inch black-and-white print in just under three minutes—5.4 times faster than previous models. It also employs Canon's OIG technology. Dimensions are 27.2x15.2x8.5 inches and 43.2 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $499.

Epson's most popular 17-inch inkjet printer, the Stylus Pro 3880 (www.epson.com) uses the company's eight-color UltraChrome K3 with Vivid Magenta pigment inkset in 80ml cartridges: cyan, light cyan, vivid magenta, vivid light magenta, light black, light light black and either photo black or matte black (automatically chosen to suit the paper being used). The lightfastness rating is up to 108 years for color and over 200 years for black-and-white. AccuPhoto HD2 screening technology ensures precision placement of each individual ink droplet and optimal selection of ink combinations to maximize color gamut and provide smooth gradations. The MicroPiezo print head with Advanced Meniscus Control creates variable-sized droplets as small as 3.5 picoliters to deliver excellent detail. Advanced Black-and-White Photo Mode provides control and optimal results for monochrome prints. The 3880 can print on virtually any cut-sheet media from 4x6 to 17x22 inches; manufacturer's specs say a highest-quality (SuperPhoto 2880 dpi) 16x20-inch print takes a little under 19 minutes. Dimensions are compact (for a 17-inch printer) at 27x15x10 inches and 43.2 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $1,295.


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