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Author Topic: In praise of yeoman tools  (Read 263 times)


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In praise of yeoman tools
« on: July 10, 2017, 12:02:27 PM »

Friends, for the past 15 years or more I have been printing work on Epson machines, beginning with the 2200. For the past 10-12 years I have had very satisfying output from the venerable 7800. A true work horse. No defects, repairs or even irresolvable clogs. Just last night I printed a test pattern after awakening the printer from a five month hibernation,  and there were only two line breaks which cleared after I printed a test image. It is good to have a printer that works when you want it to, especially after a decade of sporadic printing. My pal's 7880 was DOA with issues that were never resolved, even after a visit from the Epson tech.
Most important, my workflow produces extremely close screen (calibrated NEC 241w) to print matches. For me, that is the holy grail. Everything else is secondary.
Like most of us here, I sometimes get stars in my eyes when reading about the new generations of printers that spring up like sirens songs, but I have never read anything that persuaded me that a new machine would produce dramatically improved images, particularly under glass. If someone has a different experience moving from the 7800 to another, I would be most interested.
Over the years, I have played with different papers, both matte and coated. Some with fine tooth, some with jagged, some toothless. And while it is an interesting, if not expensive science experiment, I never felt that one paper was dramatically superior to another. Once under glass, and at the typical viewing distance, they all pretty much look the same to me.
With rolls of fancy papers behind me, my pal with the dead 7880 gave me a roll of Epson Professional Semi-gloss. After rubbing elbows with the likes of Harman and Hahnemuhle, I had little expectations that a paper that cost $73 for a 24" x 100' roll would satisfy my palate. Damn, if that yeoman paper did not make images look great. First off, best screen to print matches I have ever gotten - not just color wise but luminosity as well. Just the right amount of sheen and soft tooth (if any). The paper worked just as well with B&W images, with excellent black density and smooth tonal transitions. Truly, I do not feel that my work is suffering in any way despite the fact that I am not spending multiples on some of the latest boutique offerings. Beyond that, with the Epson paper I do not sweat making as many test prints as necessary given the paper cost. Say what you will, but when paper is costing you $3.00 a foot ($150 per roll) it is a consideration.
So a trouble-free, great-grandfather of a printer spitting old ink technology guided by a canned profile on paper that costs a fraction of the latest and greatest  leads me to wonder if I am just drinking my own cool-aid, or if there truly are advances in machines, ink or papers that make prints whose superiority is truly discernible under glass in the real world.
Appreciate your thoughts.
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