I would like to make most of my printer R2400 as I am in the process of making prints for sale. With that being my purpose, I would like to seek advice on the following questions:
- I am using the Epson driver v. 2.32 while they have 2.5 available on their website. Should I install 2.5? Will I see any 'improvement' if I do?
- Is a custom made profile worth it? Ctein recommends Cathy Stratton's profile for example. Or is Rip a better idea? I am reading QuadTone Rip's tutorial (not yet purchased) and that's for BW, right? What is your recommendation for Colour?
- For paper, I am using Fine Art Pearl. FAP with its .icc looks slightly better than with R2400 Premium Luster .icc (standard), but I need more experiments on this. Both .iccs, I used Relative C. + Black P. Compensation On. I also like Photo Rag 308g very much and want to make BW prints with Photo Rag. Any thoughts on these combinations of paper and the printer, to get the best results?
So far I have made mainly colour prints so I am new to BW printing. I do not forsee any majority change - probably will do 30% or less in BW.
Thank you in advance for your suggestions!
1) The newer driver has a slighty different and cooler looking interface, though functionality is about the same. A few of the defaults are different, so you have to be careful the first time through to make sure you have the right settings. As usual the best color results are obtained with application managed color printing to a good profile.
2)The existing "premium" profiles on Epson's website are quite good. I've also been very satisfied with profiles from the Hahnemühle and Crane websites for their papers. No doubt you can get slightly better results, particularly for images with a lot of out-of-gamut colors, with a custom profile, but you're probably approaching the point of diminishing returns with papers from Epson and the major players. I found that canned profiles for Innova's papers were another matter; not that good, especially for black & white.
3) I've also been delighted with the quality of prints on Hahnemühle fine art pearl with the Epson 2400 using Hahnemühle's profile. Photo rag 308 is a nice paper, but the blacks will be a bit weak for B&W prints, unless you're going for a lower contrast "platinum print" look, in which case it's fine.
4) I bought the 2400 mostly for black & white, since color prints on my Epson 7600 were already very good. The very deep D-max from the 2400 on luster or semigloss papers (including FAP) really brings B&W to life, providing a dynamic range on paper exceeding that of a darkroom print. Epson's black & white mode in the printer driver is pretty good; I use it to tone prints just a bit in the purple/cool direction, which works on relatively cool/bright papers like FAP or Epson luster. Warmer toned papers like Crane silver rag really demand a warmer toned B&W print, or the highlights turn olive green. I found Quadtone RIP a necessity for black & white prints on the bigger 7600, as it greatly reduced metamerism and gave me more predictable results on photo rag. With the 2400 at least for my needs the basic driver and profiles are more than sufficient.
5) For what it's worth, I print a line of note cards on Crane's museo with the 2400, and they sell as fast as I can print them. Ink would be cheaper printing them on my larger printer, but that's a bit like using a sledgehammer to crack an egg.