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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Black-&-White Printing Redefined

Now is the time to upgrade your printer. The latest models can output prints that exhibit less metamerism, smoother tonal gradations and


This Article Features Photo Zoom

bw printers
Canon iPF8100
Black-and-white imagery is more popular than ever. We’re seeing an increase every month in the demand for quality monochrome inkjet prints, especially for portrait/fashion work and landscape images. High-quality monochromatic images from inkjet printers haven’t been without their issues though, with complaints of unwanted colorcasts and bronzing being common.

Printers have been making steady improvements in this area, however, and the latest models from Canon, Epson and HP are all capable of amazingly good output with the right settings and preparation.

What’s Changed?

Earlier generations of inkjet printers had to make do with two blacks—usually a photo or matte black—and a light black for improved midtones. Two inks are insufficient for a full tonal reproduction, so color inks are mixed in to expand the range of tones reproduced on paper. This is where the issues with colorcasts come into play. Depending on how the inks are mixed, you’ll often see a green or magenta cast to your prints. This use of color inks in the mix also leads to a problem with metamerism, which is the change in color balance seen when moving from one light source, such as daylight, to another, such as tungsten.

The latest models of large-format printers now use multiple shades of black ink when printing—a minimum of three and up to four—which greatly reduces the need to use color inks when printing monochrome. Both Canon and HP have a pure gray-scale print mode where no color inks are used during output. Epson uses an Advanced Black & White Mode where the use of color is greatly minimized.

In all cases, toning can be done through the print driver to reproduce a classic alternative processing technique like platinum or selenium. In these prints, there will be small amounts of color included to produce the desired effect while making maximum use of the gray tones available through the multiple shades of black inks.

 

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