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B&W printer recommendation?

Posted by alisande (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 22, 06 at 21:36

I'm inspired to post this after reading reponses from Joe and Joe to the request for printer recommendations below.

I've been saving for an Epson R2400 to print my dad's old b&w negatives and slides. Trouble is, I've been saving for so long that there might be something else on the market that I should know about, but don't. What do you think? is the R2400 still my best bet? It's expensive!


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: B&W printer recommendation?

Your best bet is to take those negatives into a darkroom, the R2400 is your second best bet.

If you don't have darkroom equipment, people are just about giving it away these days. I bought three enlarging lenses in the last four months. Each lens new would have cost over $250.00 and I didn't pay more than $20.00 for any one of them.

My reason for the darkroom suggestion is this: Photography has always been somewhat paradoxical in its position in the art world. A silver print (B&W) made in the darkroom and properly processed has the longest life expectancy of any known art media -- a stainless steel sculpture might compete. At the same time color photographs hold the position on the opposite end of that scale. It wasn't until the 1970s that color photographs were even tolerated in art museums (Sarkowski bought some Eggleston prints for MOMA).

The right inkjet materials are an improvement over old chemical based color, but in comparison to darkroom silver prints inkjet prints are still ephemeral. A B&W print from the R2400 is still made with inks that will fade.

Darkroom not a reasonable option, then the R2400 makes really superb B&W prints. I use that printer. I have a friend who just bought the newest Canon (also designed to do B&W) and she is raving about it, so based on her recommendation I'd endorse that option as well.

P.S. it is possible to beat a decent B&W print from a "color designed" printer. There are three ways to go.

One: Give up on expecting neutral B&W and add a color tint to the image; make a brown and white print and use the color inks. Be happy.

Two: Get a custom profile for the printer and software that will allow you to edit that profile (not necessarily cheap) and then painstakingly adjust the profile (could require expert help).

Three: There are companies (see link below) that make special inks. Lyson's quad black inks make really nice B&W prints. The problem is you have to take the color inks out of the printer and it becomes a B&W only printer. That could be an option however -- buy a used printer like an Epson 1280 and dedicate it to B&W only. This would cost less than the new R2400.


Here is a link that might be useful: Lyson quad blacks

RE: B&W printer recommendation?

I'm impressed, Joeclearly, I asked at the right place. My darkroom days are over, and I say that with no regret. I grew up in my dad's, and later my husband and I played around with printing our own stuff. There was actually a darkroom in the barn when we bought this place (from a filmmaker). And when I took pictures for a newspaper I had to develop my own film until we went to digital. I don't miss the chemicals.

Do you happen to know the model of that new Canon you mentioned?

I'm on my way out to go shopping for a new dryer this morning. Why do these things always come up to interfere with our fun? :-)



RE: B&W printer recommendation?

Hi Susan,

I'm not sure about the Canon -- I just got back from out-of-town, knowing my friend who just bought one it's going to be one of their higher end pro models and I'm going to guess priced up there with the Epson R2400. I know the standard set of inks for the Canon 9000 has only one black ink and I'm guessing (friend Jennifer) bought above that model. There may be an alternative ink set available for the 9000. Research time.


RE: B&W printer recommendation?

I've read about the Canon 9500, which is supposed to be better than the 9000 for b&w, but it's not scheduled for release until sometime in 2007 and no one seems to know how much it'll cost.

I'm thinking about the HP 9180 now. Very comparable to the R2400, and some people prefer it. Plus it's about $100 cheaper.

RE: B&W printer recommendation?

I just finished installing an HP Photosmart 3210 xi all-in-one printer and it is a vast improvement over my old printer. It uses vivera inks which have a good anti-fade rating for longevity. (Beware that most ink jet printers are publishing print life ratings based in having a layer of glass above the image. This provides some filtering of UV rays and extends the life of the print.) I have tried the photo print feature and am happy with the results especially compared to my older printer. I had a surprise feature - black print for photo images. With an SD memeory card inserted into the slot on this printer, I selected a color image and pressed the 'black' button. The result was a gray scale print of the color image. It was quite acceptable.

In the recent past, I have scanned negatives with an HP scanner equipped with a top light for negatives or slides and the results were pretty good. Better work can be done with a quality enlarger and darkroom, but the results were acceptable to all except for a prefessional with a discerning eye.

Here's another tip. Old 35 mm slides and b/w film can be copied using a digital camera as the copier. it's done by using the macro feature. Nikon sells a kit for mounting the camera and film holer for some of their cameras. This kit includes the back light for illuminating the object. I suppose that some of you handy tinkers could construct such equipment. The major part of such project would be how to illuminate the subject. The lighting must be even across the film and within the range of the adjustable 'white balance' of the camera.

While doing genealogical searches, I have been to places where there are no copiers available. A digital camera on a tripod makes a good substitue copier and the image is stored in digital form to boot thus eliminating a step later on. Also, copying by digital camera is more gentle on old, fragile documents than a copy machine would be. The date and time of the exposure is automatically recorded too. When on a trip, make sure you carry extra memory cards.

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