Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Gear Up For B&W
Quick guide to the essential equipment you need for taking and printing the best black & white photos
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
There are a number of items that can help you produce better black-and-white digital images. In this issue of DPP, we have an article about cameras that are specialized for monochrome capture, "Monochrome Specialists." Here, we want to show you some of the key tools for shooting and printing sharp, crisp, richly toned black-and-white images. We have a particular emphasis on printers and papers in this article. There's just something about black-and-white photos that calls for making prints. Even photographers whose images exist almost entirely in digital form—seen exclusively on monitors, tablets and other screens—feel the call of a paper print for a well-made black-and-white image.
Seeing the fine detail, rich blacks and bright highlights in a proper print is distinctly different than seeing it on a glowing screen. A good print invites the viewer into the image. It's an immersive experience. Getting to that quality print is a matter of coupling your vision with the right equipment for the job.
Epson Stylus Pro 3880
Early inkjet printers didn't do black-and-white well. If you used all the inks, you'd get unpleasant color casts in shadows or highlights, and if you used only the black inks, you'd get a harsh, grainy look. So third parties started offering special monochrome inksets, consisting of black and several shades of gray inks, which produced much better results.
Today, inkjet printers from Canon and Epson can produce terrific monochrome prints because their standard inksets include multiple gray inks along with the black and color inks, and printer driver technology has advanced a lot. Some printers use a bit of colored ink along with the multiple monochrome inks to produce top monochrome results on a variety of papers.
Some inkjet printers use dye-based inks, while others use pigment-based inks. At one time, dye-based inks (consisting of 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 today use pigment-based inks.
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