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Printing fun!

BIll and i bought a new Epson r2400 printer. This is an 8 ink printer with swappable black inks optimized for matte or photo printing. We are using the machine with our macs via firewire and it is fast, quiet and gorgeous.

So far, we have worked with the Matte Paper Heavyweight, the Velvet Fine Art Paper and the Premium Luster Photo Paper. The Matte Paper Heavyweight is ok, with good tonal range, but a delicate surface and a lackluster low end. We have had to throw a more contrasty image at this paper to get good results. The Velvet Fine Art paper is gorgeous - when we print on the correct side. The instructions say to print on the "whiter" side of the paper. Neither of us (or most people on photo message boards!) can tell the difference! One poster suggested rubbing the paper gently to find the rougher side. We also found that the paper is printable side up in the envelope if you are looking at the instructions that come in the plastic wrapping for the paper. Once we found that out, we marked it with a sharpie so we don't put our oily fingerprints all over that beautiful paper.

The velvet paper has beautiful blacks and is a really rich paper. This was my favorite to print on.

I should say that the velvet was my favorite to print on, until we switched to photo black and ran a print through on the Premium Luster. When the print came out i felt like i was back in my college color darkroom pulling a matte print out of the processor. The paper has a weight to it that is really nice, thanks to its rc base, and a slightly pebbled surface that is not distracting at all. The tone was virtually idental on this paper to the same print on the Velvet Fine Art paper, but the blacks were much richer and it had a sheen to the surface.

My only complaint with working with the Luster paper is that the profile makes the prints much darker than they are on screen. While profiles are never perfect, the velvet and matte paper profiles required very minor adjustments to make accurate prints. For the Luster, i took the midpoint of the RGB curve and brought it up by 5-10%, which seems pretty drastic.

So far, it looks like i will be using the matte paper heavyweight for proofing and more throwaway stuff, with the final destination for some of my images will be the Velvet or the Luster. More detailed reports to come as we work more with this fabulous new printer!