More on Piezography

Well I’ve had this new printing system for a while now and have learned quite a few things about it. And for that matter I suppose at least a couple of new things about me too. As I originally expected nothing is ever as easy as it seems at first blush. There are certainly aspects of printing with this new printer that drive me crazy. I’ve been using higher end Epson printers for over 5 years now and going back to something that is built to a $300.00 price point brings along with it a few frustrations. The biggest two have to be the fact that the ink cartridges are so small, and that the printer doesn’t have and adjustable paper thickness settings and that can result in frequent print head strikes against the paper.  Due to the small size (11 ml I think) of the cartridges, I’ve been having to refill one or two carts every day or so. This is really annoying to me. I’ve been printing with the Epson 3800 for over a year now and have become used to the large 80ml ink carts, that usually only require replacing 1 every month or so. If I wind up dedicating this printer to B/W printing with the Piezography inks then I will have to plunk down the money for the continuous ink system (CIS) just so I’m not spending a little bit of time refilling cartridges every day. Right now it seems like that is a distinct possibility for me since I can get my hands on an old Epson 2200 printer that my wife and kids can use for making color prints. I checked online at my favorite Epson supply store ( and the 2200 carts sell for only about $8.90 each while the Epson color carts for the 1400 are about $16.00!

Once I got a few things explained to me multiple times by Jon Cone I was able to make some pretty nice prints with this new system. However, frequently when I first pull a print off of the printer I’m a little bit disappointed in the look, sometimes its too flat, or too red/brown, or just not right in some way. But then, I wait a few hours and the inks begin to stabilize and work more in concert with one another and the paper, then the prints begin to grow on me. And usually by the next day I’m thinking, man this image looks pretty darned good now. I didn’t really get around to printing the same file with the new inks and comparing them to a print made with my 3800 and the ABW mode until tonight.  I took the image that will be the third in the triptych that I’ve mentioned before and printed it with both systems on the Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 paper. By printing the same file (which was optimized for Piezography) I could immediatly see that the ABW print was simply outclassed. The ABW print was much darker in the lower tones, and looses some detail due to blocking. Additionally, the mid and upper tones of the ABW print just lacked the spark that I see in the Piezography print. This may be the result of the subtle split tone that you get out of the Piezography print.

At some point in the next few days I’ll have to tweak that file for ABW printing and redo this comparison to make it a little more fair. I suspect that the Piezography print had a real advantage here in that I was able to use the provided ICC profiles for softproofing, and all of my fine tuning edits were made with that in mind. This is one area where printing with Piezography really does have a leg up on the ABW system. The only way to get softproofs with ABW is through the somewhat laborious QTR Create ICC program. I had tried it before a year or two ago and wasn’t that thrilled with the results. The ICC profiles that Cone provides are actually pretty darned accurate….zzzzzz I’m dozing at the keyboard again.

One Response to “More on Piezography”

  1. Hi,

    Nice work. I ran into your website googling QTR profiles. I’ve been using the Con inks since the beginning and an just now have gotten to the point where I am trying to make some custom curve/Ink/Paper combinations!! Learning comes slowly!! Spent all weekend with Eye-one, Yahoo Groups, books, various how-to’s on it, etc.. , my wife thinks I’ve lost it..

    I have starting of a blog as well linked from my website if you want to have a quick look.

    Cheers my brother in arms on the “Bleeding Edge” of fine art B&W photography.


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