Back when I did try to print with the 2200, I had no problem handling medium-weight/thickness papers, including Espon Velvet Fine Art; never tried anything heavier or thicker. Moab Entrada 190 Natural is the paper I'd recommend.
Thanks for the suggestion - I'll take a look at it!
Essentially, you're turning your photographs into watercolour paintings, in that the Dmax and gamut are very restrained, there is no reflective glare from paper sheen, and the paper texture becomes an integral part of the image. There is a slight loss of fine detail, but it isn't dramatic. Shadow detail isn't intrinsically a problem; the problem is that you lose the first 20 or so shades of grey on a 0 to 255 scale, as compared to only the first 5 or so for a good PK set up. This means you have to push any deep black detail distinctions up into the territory the ink can intrepret. A problem with shadows that can't be worked around is that the gamut falls off dramatically the darker you go. So much black ink has to be thrown at a dark area that other colours are overwhelmed.
Thanks, that pretty well covers my concerns. For the images at hand, none of that should be a huge problem although I certainly could see it being an issue for other images.
Finally, You undoubtedly heard this before and don't want to hear it again, given printing is not a big thing for you, but the 2200 is not the printer to own for the long haul. First, the cost and frequency of changing for those 15 mil cartridges. Second, each unit was almost guaranteed to be a different profile microcosm from every other. Third, neutral B&W isn't a possibility from all I've read, unless you switch to a BW inkset. Upside: obviously your 2200 hasn't gone to clog heaven on you after all this time. IAC: strongly recommend upgrading to 3880, even if you have no intention of printing larger than 13x19. If memory serves, the original Ultrachrome had significantly poorer PK Dmax than Ultrachrome K3, but only slightly worse for MK. 3800 with current rebate is about $600 when you subtract the cost of all the ink in those nine 60 ml cartridges that come with the printer.
It's certainly been on my radar given the prices it's going for right now, so it's a tempting option. For personal prints like this, the improvements from more modern inkset would be quite nice to have and being able to go bigger than 13" would be an asset for stuff that I'd like to frame. The caveat is that the 2200 has treated me well, and (knock on wood) I haven't had any major problems with clogs. I do have to clean the nozzles periodically, but I've been lucky enough to avoid stuborn ones like the horror stories I've read here (the most it's ever taken for me was two cycles). While I don't sell prints from it, I do do a good amount of proofing with it so I imagine that it gets enough regular volume to avoid that. The gamut and d-max are more than sufficient for those tasks and I don't really do much B&W stuff, so it's difficult for me to justify the capital outlay at this juncture. If I were buying new, it'd definitely be a no brainer to go with it over the current 13" line, but as I've already got the 2200 the equation is a little different.
The one argument that could tip the scales is the economic one. From a pure price per mL it doesn't seem that there is a huge difference there ($14 for 15mL (93c/mL) vs $65 for 80mL (81c/mL)). From that point of view, it'd take about 62 3880 cartridges to cover the $600 cost of the printer. At my rate of consumption, that would take a good amount of time to pay itself off with. With that said, I imagine that that doesn't tell the whole picture as wastage is likely less acute (ie ink left in the tank when it says it's 'empty', having to replace 'low' carts early because a clean is necessary, etc.) when working with bigger carts so the numbers are probably better than that. Unfortunately, calculating that sort of thing is pretty difficult to do from where I stand as there are a lot of variables that play into it but I'd certainly welcome any input on this matter. Naturally, the 2200 is a bit of a PITA with having to change cartridges often so it would be nice to not have to run out to get more quite as often but that's harder to quantify.
I guess the other aspect is how long Epson is going to keep making the inks for the 2200, as at this point it's ancient in computer terms and while they are still readily available I don't know how long that will continue
If you can settle down relatively quickly with a matte paper that works for you using the 2200, OK. But more likely you're just going to find you've fallen into a endless money-sucking labyrinth of test print, tweak, and re-test. In that case, the 3880 will save you money as well as grief over the medium to long haul.
That's kind of what I was worried about. The easy solution, as Mark points out, would be to just stick with the photo black papers and it'd certainly save me a good amount of trouble. Was just hoping to expand my quiver of tools a bit, but it's obvious that this is a bit more complicated than I originally thought it would be so it will require a bit of consideration. The 3880 would certainly get rid of a lot of complexities, but the original plan was just to grab one of the Epson matte papers and a matte black cartridge so that's a bit more expense than I was planning at the beginning of all of this
I recommend Epson's Ultra Smooth Fine Art Paper. If you can get their professional Matte paper (previously called Epson Enhanced Matte, I believe), use their canned profile and get your images to work with that first, then print on the Ultra Smooth Fine Art, then the Velvet, all using Epson's provided profiles. Use a box of each and then if you like the results, have custom profiles for your printer made. There will be a difference, but surprisingly it will not be way too significant if you manage to get acceptable results with the profiles Epson provides. This is all experimental with the 2200. That printer is definitely the "little Engine that thought it Could" - meaning that once you get everything dialed in, you can get some staggering prints with it.
I've actually got a box of letter sized Enhanced Matte already, so I might just do some experiments with that first and see how it works out. I'm currently running the PK cartridge in the printer (have until this point printed primarily on Premium Luster) and was just hoping to get all of my ducks in a row first so that I can do the tests and final prints in a batch before switching back.
With respect to Ultrasmooth, after a good deal of digging I was able to find a profile for it on the 7600 on the Epson web site. Naturally, while that printer uses the same inks the heads are different so would I still be better off using the 2200 profiles for different papers or would it do a better job? Ultimately it would obviously need a custom profile to be 100%, but for testing purposes I'm not sure which approach would be better.
If you want to just cut through all the bull, just change to PK ink and print on Ilford Fine Art Pearl. That is the all time bullet-proof combination. Absolutely stellar almost every time, unless you screw up, which is really hard to do with that printer, those inks and that paper.
I might end up doing that in the end, as it would certainly make for a good deal less work
Just saw an opportunity to try out the half of the printer that I have yet to explore - now I just have to figure out if it's worth going down that road.