I got a look at the gamut of these two printers on Epson Premium Luster today. Joe Holmes sent me his profile for Epson Premium Luster (260) using his best settings (Color Density +15), and I sent him the profile I made for Epson Premium Luster on the iPF5000 with Special 5 Media Type and target printed through the plugin.
Total gamut volume: 732,000 for Canon, 784,000 for Epson (7.2% larger)
Dmax: L* of 3.3 for Canon, L* 3.0 for Epson
Usefulness of gamut for colors that appear in nature. Comments are by Joe Holmes:
--Canon gamut larger in pure green, which is of almost zero value
--Epson gamut significantly larger in the yellow to red range, which is very important
--royal blue to magenta gamut is still better with the Canon but not in the darkest blues and not in a way that is likely to show up in pictures as those colors are pretty rare too.
Apart from the figures on the total gamut that can be quite objectively counted it must be harder to estimate the differences on the hues. How well they fit the user's color practice is another step to subjectivity I think. For landscape-, wedding-, product photography, computer art and art reproduction it may not be as uniform as sketched above. This does not deny the fact that I see more people struggle to make the right profile for their Canons with and without RIPs. For some it is the need or wish to create Epson alike color that makes it harder but underneath the complexity of N-color mixing as described in the media profiles should not be ignored. I know of at least one Canon user that got a RIP + the service of a color profiling company from Canon to meet his requests and it still isn't solved.
What I miss so far on the Vivid Magenta story is how different this ink is if compared to the Epson 9600 ink set. Remember that the 9800 K3 got a magenta that shifted to the yellow if compared to the 9600 UC ink set. Now it shifts back to the blue in the 11880 ink set. I presume that in the two steps chroma was gained but I wonder if that return to cooler magenta isn't also the main contribution to the 28% gain (below) in chroma for the blue to magenta range. It also will suit proof printing better. In other words isn't part of this gain not describing a flaw in the 9800 ink set. Joseph's 11880 page says the following on comparing to the 9800 inkset:
>>Together, on photo papers, these changes yield a considerable increase in gamut in the blue-to-magenta range (up to 28% more chroma), with a little spillover gain in the blue-to-cyan and magenta-to-red ranges, plus some surprising gain in the green range (around 3 or 4% at most) and a small loss in the red-to-yellow range (about 2%) with the default profiling/driver setup, or a slight gain in the setup I choose for Premium Luster (260) -- that being to use the Luster (260) driver table and to set the Color Density slider at +15. <<
>>The total gamut volume of the best profile for Luster (260) that I can make for the 11880 and the Vivid Magenta inkset is 7.6% better than the total gamut volume of my best profile for Luster (250) and the 9800. I suspect that if the paper were not a variable, the difference would be more like 9%, because this new paper is dimmer, even absent UV light in the measurement process (the new paper fluoresces far less, about 1/4 as much).<<
End of quotes.
If there's an "absolute deltaE numbers" 7.6% gain compared to the 9800 and a 7.2% gain compared to the iPF5000 profile you provided then I do not think this is a dramatic difference. The Epson 9800 scored lower in Dmax than the Epson 9600 (at least on matte papers and on film in the default setting) and it looks like there's no improvement between the 9800 and the 11880 on that aspect. One wonders if part of that gamut gain in the darker colors for the 9800 and 11880 is a result of a more transparent black. Would be interesting to compare the new Canon iPF5100 blacks with the iPF5000 black on that aspect and while at it check if they are a bit warmer too :-) Canon's comments on that new black are not in contradiction to a more transparent black.
Do you have access to a 9600 profile for Lustre (made by Atkinson for example) and could you compare that with the 11880 profile ? The 15% ink addition in Joseph's media profile is something that can be done with the 9800 and 11880 but not in the 9600 driver a far as I know but the 9600 default probably didn't need it.
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