DPP Home Gear Printers Black-&-White Printing Redefined

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 printersNew Media Options
One of the reasons black-and-white printing is becoming more popular is the availability of media that mimics the traditional darkroom prints of the analog world. High on this list are a variety of baryta papers from Ilford, Inkpress, Hahnemühle and Harman, among others. With smooth surfaces ideal for holding detail, these papers produce denser blacks (and more saturated colors), along with a feel that reminds one of a traditional print rather than the more plastic feel of many RC (resin-coated) papers.

Monochrome Utilities RIPs (Raster Image Processors) have been a popular option for black-and-white printing. A RIP like ImagePrint (www.colorbytesoftware.com) and QuadTone RIP (www.quadtonerip.com) both give full control over the printing process, with profiles that are optimized for printing monochrome images.

bw printers
Epson Stylus Pro 790
QuadTone RIP includes features to let you build your own ICC profiles that are optimized for black-and-white printing with soft proofing support in Photoshop. By bypassing the printer drivers and communicating directly with the printer, a RIP has total control over ink placement on the page and often can provide improved output. With the latest printers discussed here, the need for a RIP is reduced, and you should certainly experiment with the printer prior to investing in a RIP that may or may not give you better results than from the standard print driver or plug-in included with the printer.

Canon imagePROGRAF iPF5100/6100/8100/9100
The flagship Canon printers use 12 Lucia pigment inks, including four blacks (Photo, Matte, Gray, Photo Gray), along with Red, Green and Blue primaries in addition to Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Photo Cyan and Photo Magenta. All four printers (17 inches, 24 inches, 44 inches and 60 inches, respectively) support borderless prints from roll media. Black-and-white prints use three blacks for tonal range, with Photo Black being used on RC papers (think gloss and luster), as well as the new fiber-based and baryta media available from a number of manufacturers. On fine-art papers like photo rag and watercolor, the Matte Black ink is used. Because both Matte and Photo Black inks are installed, there’s no swapping cartridges required when moving from one black to the other. Contact: Canon, www.usa.canon.com.


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