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View Poll Results: Do you print or prep digital negatives with B&W 3rd Party Inks?
Yes 9 42.86%
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Piezography and like-minded folks
Old 06-25-2018   #1
roscoetuff
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Piezography and like-minded folks

Like to find out how many of us there are out there who've decided to venture down the rabbit hole and pull out a Piezographic print, all carbon, black-only or what have you. So I've put together a poll for those B&W printing folks. Play along if you want. Attitude pro or against welcome; contributions, passion, etc. - it's all part of the game. Why? I guess I'm just curious. I sense from the Photrio group that more folks engage in alternative processes using historic methods than trying to create a "similar look" from digital ink. I'm not a wet print guy as much as I respect those who are. My interest with these alternate printing methods lies in the potential method involved for tying a print back to the negative in a way that otherwise seems less consistent or "regular" with inkjet prints than the old zone system. No, zone is not the end all and be all, but it can help with the process of seeing, or visualizing what I want. Having said this, I expect blow back, and each and every point about pre-visualizing not requiring this is absolutely valid. My defense is that there are grays I'd like to get on paper, and hope this gets closer to refining that in a systematic process. So it is NOT the magic bullet: Crappy photo printed this way is still a crappy photo, only what differs may be the speed of distraction. Call me one of those guys who holds there is more to a photo than sharpness. Yeah... it could have more gray, and go ahead and tell me to focus elsewhere. I'm doing that, too. Cone promises only that Piezography will reveal all the warts in the photograph, and somehow, there's absolutely an appeal in that as a challenge... a creative challenge. I'm in the game. Curious who else plays.
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Old 06-25-2018   #2
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Voted no, but because there wasn't a "Not Yet" choice.
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Old 06-25-2018   #3
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I used 3rd party inks for about 10 years. Then, about 8 years ago, Epson came out with the 2400 printer, the ABW driver and improved inks which eliminated the 3rd party ink need for me. I have no problem exhibiting large B&W prints made with Epson inks.

Do note that I am one who will always choose a simple solution over the complex one if both yield great results.
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Old 06-25-2018   #4
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"Do you print or prep digital negatives with B&W 3rd Party Inks?"
Yes, I do. My BW inks are third party. And my color cartridges are as well.

Do I print digital negatives? Yes, I do. For contact prints in the darkroom.

Do I print with black only inks? No. In addioton to comment above, here is commnet #2 in this link:
http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/...?topic=52243.0

Main reason - I don't think here is cost effective option for piezography printing. Just as now with darkroom paper prices.
So, I'll try to get more in the files as it mentioned in the same comment at the link. Maybe get Monochrome Classic later on or M8 again.
Right now I like BW files I could get from M-E. I recently printed in OEM BW mode from BW file I get with M-E in special BW shooting mode (not in-camera BW mode).
Prior to this I was excited about black as real black on my pigment inks prints, but this print came with more variations of grey. Different from BW prints I did before.
I was going to scan it to show it here, but mother-in-law took it to her place today.

Aslo, I never seen piezography prints, I wonder is here any place in GTA to see them.

Forgot to add. Halton Camera Exchange . Alex and Nathan. If I want best possible bw print I ask them. Single printer for all, color and BW, but Nathan constantly prints my BW files as amazing. I have them at the walls in our house and they are among my darkroom prints. I like Nathan's BW ink prints, they are not piezography and costs very reasonably.
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Old 06-25-2018   #5
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I ventured down the rabbit hole but I am glad I did...

It all started with a friend printing some of my images with his Epson printer with a Piezography Pro ink set. 12x18 on 17x22 paper. The larger printer wasn't ready and I gave a local camera store a try. They used the exact same paper but a large format Canon printer with a color ink set. I went for 22x34 on 24x36 paper. The print was $125, not exactly cheap. Although all the detail was there as in the smaller prints that my friend made, the Canon print is simply dead on paper.

The Cone Edition software with QTR (quad tone rip) allows a custom fine tuning of split tone adjustment (separate for highlights/mid tone/shadows) which at this level of accuracy is simply not possible in any wet printing process. I don't print on a regular basis, so owning a printer myself isn't an option, maintenance is a pain I'm not going to deal with.

The Cone Edition prints, 20x30 on 24x36 paper, that I have made with them in their studio in VT are so head and shoulders above the Canon print that once you realize what print quality is possible from a high quality image, then you are lost for anything else. The prints, portraits in sense, are "alive" on paper. They have an eerily realistic warmth to them.

The printing process clearly enhances the image from what I had achieved with the file preparation in LR. The images are great to begin with but these large prints are stunning.

Don't ask about the cost. If someone had told me 6 month ago that I was about to shell out this much money for printing, I had him certified as nuts. I guess I've gone nuts now.

If you have images that are worth it, then go for it, there is no other way, at least for me.
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Last edited by icebear : 06-26-2018 at 03:34. Reason: typo
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Old 06-26-2018   #6
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Thank you so much for these comments. Had some trouble setting up the poll and tried to junk the whole thing... but then it posted anyway and I had to try to "fix it". So there were only 2 choices as a result of my accident. But it is good to see folks who care about there prints enough to push their process as hard as they can. And I want to thank you folks for sharing that here.

Icebear: You're printing Monochrome M's shots? I think that's what I see on your linked images. Very nice. Like the stuff!

KoFe: Always like your stuff. On that link, "Mark's" comments always seem to some I credit most. He's LuLu's printing expert, and a very helpful guy btw. Pricing stuff out the other day, if you print no wider than 13-inches, Piezography doesn't have to be all that expensive. Even with a new Epson P400, you can get into it for less than $1,200 - which includes a set of PiezoPro inks - and enough ink to refill cartridges several times. Buy a used Epson 1430 refurbished ($200 or so) and the price falls further. Inks are cheaper than Epson prices for the same amount of ink, but paper is paper. I've been a fan of Red River inkjet paper, but Cone's own paper prices aren't all that bad - unless you use a lot. And my "learning to print" and translate your "vision" into the print you want is about more than simply the cost of one proof. Printing ain't cheap!!

Note that the comments are all from 2011... which while still relevant, may be stale. Cone's inks have changed, Epson and Canon continue to lift their game. I'm not sure where you end up. So for me, the key point as "Mark" (I think it's Mark Segal) points out, and by his account, many of the folks doing Piezo stuff care enough to push their negative scans and/or image files in the first place, and then to be finicky about the printing... so the results may speak less to the media and more to their technique. One often facilitates the other, however, so it's never that simple I guess. And it may be that by going to Piezo, you begin to push your process forward, chicken and egg style, "self selecting" as Mark puts it. There are other all B&W ink approaches out there, other RIP's besides QuadtoneRIP, etc. but Cone's is best known and his inks seem to be considered "best" at this. Guess I'll be finding out one way or the other... warts and all. But see some of Paul Roark's all B&W approach. He's got a photo of a tree that's outstanding: http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/ which of course I'm judging by the web!!! so my bad.
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Old 06-26-2018   #7
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I converted my R2400 quite a few years ago with a CIS neutral K7 inks from Jon Cone. I got interested in the inks over a decade ago when I saw some prints from an Epson 3000 next to some darkroom prints. From normal viewing distance, the two prints were so close I decided to give them a try. I have since done several exhibitions with those prints the most recent being a little over six weeks ago. I have found a system that works for me and I love the prints. Now retired, I have started doing more printing to leave for my family so they can see why I enjoyed this passion. I also believe in the saying it isn't a photograph until it is printed.
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Old 06-26-2018   #8
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The resolution and expanded tonality of Piezography is real, but it may not be realized unless one can create a technically great file, and unless you print really big. If you print big this is where Piezography can not only look like medium format, but also at times like large format.

In say 13x19 inch images you might not see much of a difference between a OEM and a Piezography print.

I shoot a Monochrom with a 2X Heliopan filter on my 28 Cron to minimize post processing, and my files only require minor tweaking. The idea here is to minimize post processing as to minimize digital artifacts and noise, because Piezography does not use a "Dither" to blend tone like with an OEM inkset.

What makes Piezography costly is the paper and ink. The ink is about half the cost of OEM, but you kinda use about twice as much ink, so there is no real cost savings. In a 50 foot roll of 24 inch wide paper I only get 15 prints 20x30 image on 24x36 sheet.

Then I run two printers and I use two different inksets/systems. In one year I spent $10K on paper and ink, loading up the truck, bulking up for savings, and taking advantage of sale pricing to save money. Because of this I was invited by Jon Cone to be an "early adopter" of Piezography Pro. This was like being a "beta tester" for almost a year before this inkset/system was available to the general public.

Currently I use Piezography Pro in a Epson 3880 and I print only glossy on Baryta coated papers for simulated wet print look. These inks are all carbon based, the black is likely the highest D-max available, and there are warm and cold darks, mids, and lites blended in the printhead to be able to create an infinate blending of split-tones.

What is striking about PP is the remarkable contrast, and the flexibility for tweaking and tailoring the splitone for different papers. This is one-pass printing (gloss overcoat gets printed with the blacks) so this takes half the time of printing K-7 Glossy.

I have a Epson 7800 that I call the "Jersey Barrier" because it is kinda big and heavy. I use this printer for K-7, where I print with 7 shades of black and I blend my own splitone where I have warm shadows and cool highlights. My K-7 can be upgraded to K7 "High Density" where I use the black developed for Piezography Pro with my six other inks and new curves.

K-7 I think is capable of higher ink loads because of being a two pass system. First 7 shades of black are printed. Generally I like the print to dry for a full day, and then I print the gloss overcoat. Each printing takes about 40 minutes for a 20x30 image on 24x36 sheet.

The PP has a more compressed range of contrast that is very punchy when compared to K-7 HD. K-7 HD has the broad tonality of large format and a more detailed midrange. Of course all this gets exaggerated in big prints.

There is a level of perfection to be exploited, but I'm not so sure this could be harnessed and utilized by everyone. Any defect becomes evident. Big prints don't lie, and if you don't want to print big, or emulate larger formats, all this precision and perfection is not required and would likely be wasted.

About 3-4 years ago I brought a small print to gift to Robert Rodriguez, the Canson Artist-In-Residence who I see at PhotoPlusExpo who has been a helpful mentor over the years. The image was a dramatic image of the Domino Sugar Refinery on the East River taken with my Monochrom, 28 Cron at F5.6 with a 2X yellow Heliopan filter from the Wiliamsburg Bridge with Madhattan in the background. The print was only a 13x19.

After giving the print to Robert I went to the Leica booth with my SL2-MOT as the SL was newly released, and I asked why would I need a new SL when I have an old one? So this Leica Rep named Richard Herzog starts talking with me asking me about my work, and I excuse myself saying I'll be right back.

I returned with the print I had gifted Robert Rodrigueiz and pretty much blew everone in the Leica booth away. Really crushed them. Richard Herzog use to be a manager for Phase One in California, and is a large format shooter. He asked me if the print was a wet print, and he was blown away that image capture was with a Leica Monochrom.

He gave me his card and wanted to know more about Piezography. They made me show this print to some old guy with a thick German accent. He offered to give me a show if I ever go to California. He also gave me his card.

The initial attraction to Piezography was the concept of contact printing silver wet prints. Now these systems are so evolved and are basically turn-key. I am very happy I went this route. BTW I never printed with OEM inks ever. I gave away the entire inkset from my 3880 to my friend Joe. Also know that if I had a 44 inch printer I would/could print bigger.

Cal
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Old 06-26-2018   #9
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"What makes Piezography costly is the paper and ink. The ink is about half the cost of OEM, but you kinda use about twice as much ink, so there is no real cost savings..."

Fairly, I think this is true of ANY printing exercise where you care enough about the output to have a "proof" print to tune up your image. As I read it, this was common in the wet darkroom, and I find it's still true of ink printing today. It's why most people DON'T print. But it is also a good way to drive your image making forward which is in part my interest. So I'm not so sure I'd blame the cost on Piezography per se so much as your own desire to produce an excellent print - which you have by all accounts. But at least in my (limited) experience, that'd be costly almost no matter what medium you used I think.

You also mention what I find close to the greatest payback in photography: Producing an image which shares your joy with someone else. You can't put a price on that!!! I've seen great images on Pictorio that you'd have no idea weren't wet prints - even in color.

Inkjets have nothing to be embarassed about and in fact I think they do yield their secrets if you put the effort into it. There's a video of a Cibachrome guru out in Oregon/Washington who puts so much into his one-of-a-kind Cibachromes... there's a measure of what it takes. Forget about the disappearance of Cibachrome. That's not the point. The point is that even with great materials, he puts enormous effort into getting everything out of his images he can. Even with my OEM inks on my Epson P800, I've burned through a lot of ink and paper "learning". "Tuition" isn't inexpensive. But it's cheaper than an addicton to golf!!! so I don't complain. And the truth is, every image isn't worth this kind of effort... only the "keepers". But you really do see it.

That said, I have a new P600 which I sweated bullets over whether this would be worth it, and I'm still in the baby steps of getting it up and running and converted to the PiezoPro ink set. Cone and Blackwell suggest that you really need a printer in top form... so a new one (or equivalent). Maybe that's just for beginners? Dunno. Until the firmware problem gets resolved, my P800 is stuck as an Epson OEM machine... but I'd love to use it! Smaller, the P600 should still be able to handle up to 12 X 12 for me, or maybe even some 12 X whatever panoramas. Good enough to prove the concept. And for now, if I want bigger, I'll send Cone or someone a file and let them print it after I've done some proofs.

Much to learn... and a confusion of information to absorb. What else is new? For me, the calculated cost of failure is some ink and a slightly used P600. If you look it up, the cost of a green fee at Pebble Beach is $495. Add lunch, air fare to get there, cost of developing a golf game worthy of the outting, and I think my P600 and PiezoPro ink sets, cartridge sets (yes, you need 2), etc. all comes in for a lot less, and yield more than 3 hours of fun.
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Old 06-26-2018   #10
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So, if I don't print larger than Letter size I have permission from Cal to skip piezography. And M8 is OK for small sized (< or = L) BW prints.
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Old 06-26-2018   #11
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Roscoe,

I'll cut the chase.

When I first started with Piezography, there was no Walter Blackwell and Jon Cone's website was information overload and one had to have a Master's Degree in Journalism to put everything together. Also is lucky that I have a boring day-job and access to the Internet to dig in.

The addition of Walter changed all that and things are all updated (curves/profiles included) and all the headaches of sorting through information overload are gone.

So here is some of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I bought my 3880 from B&H new. I took advantage of a $250.00 rebate, so I paid only $750.00 for the printer, and the inkset costs $450.00 alone. One of the first things I learned is that it was going to be expensive, and that I could really use a larger printer right away.

The 3880 does not have the best paper transport of the truely "Pro" printers. On some prints that have large areas of shadows and black I would get this artifact called "Pizzawheeling" from the 3880. I use a workround that was given to me by Walter Blackwell, but that limits my image size because I need at least a 1 1/2 boarder. With this workaround if I don't observe this minimum border I get "Head Strikes" on the last upper right at the very end of printing.

The 7800 has a superior paper transport that uses muffan fans to suck and create a vacuum to hold the paper flat. If you have the space get a 7800, 7880, or even a 9800 or 9880. These are said to be the most durable printers with the longest print head life.

I bought mine 7800 for only $100.00. A friend at the NYC Meet-Up asked me if I was interested, and Joe then kindly offered to be my driver since he owns a car. The deal was that this guy Mike was moving back to Japan and simply only wanted $100.00 for a working printer. Mike is a large format shooter and this 9 year old printer had only made 1805 prints over its 9 year life before I bought it.

I ran a few power cleans to test the printer and then loaded it with Piezoflush to restore and preserve the printer while I save money for paper and more carts. I remember spending about $500.00 on a set of refillable carts and a gallon of Piezoflush just to store the printer safely

So if you decide on doing K-7 I would say cut the chase and get a used 7800 or 7880. BTW these printers are user repairable and the 600 page maintenance/service manual is available as a free download. Of course I did this at work using their paper and ink. LOL. If I had the space I would buy spare 7800 and 7880's and maintain a printer "junkyard" for parts. Understand the difference between a 7800 and 7880 is basically an inkset.

I learned from a friend that the 7900 and 9900 are the perfered printers for Piezography Pro. There are something like 10 or 11 cart slots in this series of printer and the output is mucho superior over my 3880 because there are additional carts used for an added lite-light warm, and a light-light cool. What you get here on large prints is the smooth roll-off in the highlights that resembles the smoothness in film.

So in comparing K-7 HD verses Piezography Pro it really requires a side by side test in 12x18 image size (my proofing size: my small print size is 13x19 1/2 on 20x24). The PP has a more compressed range of tone and the effect is higher perceived contrast.

The K-7 HD voices itself in a broad midrange. Perhaps the rolloff in the highlights with K-7 HD als has a smoother roll-off also like say PP on a 7900. The K-7 being a two pass system seems to handle extreme use of blacks better and can print higher ink loads due to its being a two-pass system. With some prints I experienced problems with Piezography Pro when either mucho shadows or blacks are present in the image. The difficulty is buckling of the paper due to ink load and then having the print head scuff the print. Might be due to the paper transport in the 3880. This printer has been heavily used for about 5 years.

I think PP is less prone to clogging, but I think that is mostly due to usage. The 7800 I print big so less frequently. Also because it is two pass that either the "Gloss Overcoat" or the 7 shades of black alternatively get exposed to a lot of "air-time." I use to print in batches, but now I tend to moderate this practice to avoid one day when I just print 7 shades of black and the next day gloss overcoating. Pretty much these were the reasons for any clogging: bad practice. No doubt that the 7800 is a heavier duty printer with a superior paper handling.

So in the end if you decide to go off the deep end, find a now discontinued 78XX or 98XX for K-7; and secure a 7900 or 9900 for PP. I would want both because they are that close in IQ, but the best printer for the job depends on the image and how you want to voice it.

Understand that with Piezography Pro pretty much I use the same setting depending on paper. With K-7 HD I just have to add a bit of contrast using the tone curves in Lightroom for a file I proofed using PP.

Sadly my 3880 is too small and is not the best. I have beaten the snot out of this printer though with both K-7 and PP, and I think it will be further recycled back to a color printer using Jon Cone color inks. These color inks are about 1/10th the price of Epson OEM so in this case there is a vast cost savings.

Also know that I can "Gloss Overcoat" a color print to gain added depth and saturation. This "second printing" of K-7 Gloss Overcoat is easy, but that means having the 7800 online. Even more crazy would be to have all three printers online, but that would require another computer (I already have two). LOL.

I think at this level I consider myself a printer as well as a photographer. Also I think printing makes one into a better photographer. My technical skill really is minimum, but now I have a lot of experience and mostly I rely on my keen eye.

Cal
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Old 06-26-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
So, if I don't print larger than Letter size I have permission from Cal to skip piezography. And M8 is OK for small sized (< or = L) BW prints.
KoFe,

Nothing wrong with small prints, Nothing wrong with Epson OEM prints either.

But if you really want to exploit Piezography and make files from a MM be mistaken for medium and even large format, perhaps Piezography is for you.

Also if you want to print digital negatives for contact printing pretty much we are at a level where I can do a Salgado without having the best French lab in Paris making me 4 foot by 5 foot silver wet prints.

Contact printing with a vacuum frame is about as large format as you can get. But then again some people don't like Fuji Acros because it looks "too digital." Like I said not for everyone and unless you go off the deep end and go all the way you might not see any or much of a difference. Again, "Big prints don't lie."

BTW I don't have to change inksets to make digital negatives anymore. Those days are gone as things now are turnkey.

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Old 06-26-2018   #13
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Cal: Good information. For now, I've got the small guy, a 13-incher and that's enough to get started. The advice on the larger machines may come in handy down the road, for printing larger.Thanks! Due to size, these are Craigslist not ebay in my area.

But thank you especially for the detail on the K-7 inks. That explains a lot. Everyone seems to love the K-7 ink sets. Now I understand: it's in the (gray) mid-tones. Good to know.

Thanks, Cal. Great info.

- Best, Skip
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Old 06-26-2018   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roscoetuff View Post
...

Icebear: You're printing Monochrome M's shots? I think that's what I see on your linked images. Very nice. Like the stuff!


...

Indeed, all images that I have printed with PiezographyPro were shot with the MM.
Natural sunlight, wide open aperture, close focusing distance, light yellow filter, shutter speeds between 1/1000 and 1/4000, ISO320.
Only general adjustments in LR4.2 output for printing as tiff sized 20x30 inch at 400dpi.
If the image capture is squeezing the max. possible IQ and you don't loose too much along the way, then be prepared to have a print in front of you, that will make your jaw drop, gives you the goose bumps, makes your spine tingle or all of the above.
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Old 06-27-2018   #15
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Cal: Good information. For now, I've got the small guy, a 13-incher and that's enough to get started. The advice on the larger machines may come in handy down the road, for printing larger.Thanks! Due to size, these are Craigslist not ebay in my area.

But thank you especially for the detail on the K-7 inks. That explains a lot. Everyone seems to love the K-7 ink sets. Now I understand: it's in the (gray) mid-tones. Good to know.

Thanks, Cal. Great info.

- Best, Skip
Skip,

The K-7 transcends format and has that mid-tone voice of the bigger formats. The give away that image capture was small format is the 6x9 aspect ratio. Change to 4x5 aspect ratio and pretty much confuse people further.

For speed and smaller prints Piezography Pro is so convenient. I understand that 7900's are not known for long print head life, but with Piezoflush many have been resurrected. I want to find one for no-money because the results with those extra channels is mucho smoothness in the highlights that compares with film on wet prints. I'm talking on big prints (20x30 image on 24x36 sheet).

Minimizing post and doing everything right like Klaus suggests at time of image capture is key to printing big. "Less is more."

Cal
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Old 06-27-2018   #16
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Cal: So you're saying PiezoPro is like "nice and handy... sews its own clothes, everybody loves it, but K-7? that's is to die for"? Is that what you're suggesting? So next round... I should be looking at K-7 and flush out the PiezoPro?

FWIW, I'm a Capture One user. Went there back in my Fuji days 'cause the others didn't really handle Fuji greens well. In my Sony days, it was fine, too. Mostly shooting film these days, it's partly because it's how I grew up, partly 'cause it's less computer time, and partly 'cause I wasn't ready to spring for an MM. So I did a film Leica and took the step of acquiring lenses... which then led to MF, and Rollei. But one day could just as readliy still lead to a MM, yes... but not yet. FWIW, Paul Roark shoots a Sony adapted to a red shift (Kolarvision) sensitivity for his B&W and switched to Zeiss lenses, too. As a Zeiss man, I was headed there, and may still... but not yet, too. One step at a time.

Looked on ebay and there are some bargains on the 7800/7900 and 9000 series... especially if you live in New York!! So go for it! Down here, Craigslist is kind of shy at the moment. My view is you figure out this Piezography thing in general before gearing up to go big time and snag one of these. I'm trying to clear out the basement of other stuff, and warehousing printers ain't top of the list at the moment. I like the idea... but fairly, have some work to do first.... keep the better half (and me, too) happy kind of thing.
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Old 06-27-2018   #17
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Skip,

If I could only have one printer and one inkset it would be my 7800 and K-7 HD. Pretty much I can be happy the rest of my life. None better.

But because I'm a lazy slacker and also a greedy American PP with its one-pass printing and also for its own distinctive look is also worth having, not just because of its convenience, but also for its own rendering.

I checked my Piezography Pro inks stockpile because a 700ml bottle of Gloss Coat Optimizer is near empty and I refilled all my carts last night as well as made a print. I still have full unopened 700ml bottles for a full complete inkset, as well as my open stock.

The 3880 is really good for proofing, and this allows for me to put the 7800 into storage mode filled with Piezoflush. The carts on the 7800 are oversized, I removed the doors because I can't close them, and I figure these oversized carts take 350-400 ml to fill. Pretty much Jon Cone supplies funnels to pour/empty bottles of ink into the carts. Also know that the initial fill exceeds 100 ml. On a 44 inch printer expect even more.

So I end up having to refill my gloss overcoat about every two weeks when it gets below half empty, and about once a month I do maintenance like cleaning the capping station and the wiper. At that time I top up the other carts. This is for either printer, big or small. The 7800 goes through mucho paper and ink. It is actually terrifying how these supplies get depleted, even if I print 13x19 1/2 image size on 24 inch wide roll which is cheaper than cut sheets.

So the only practical way to do what I do is to warehouse paper and ink when Jon Cone has sales. Also pays to bulk up for savings.

Having a small printer is good, because it saves a lot of wear and tear on the big printer. My big printer I basically run in the winter. Also I run a humidifier and try to maintain over 50% humidity in the winter to avoid drying the print head.

In a side by side of 12x18 images the differences between K-7 HD and PP is subtle. It is clear that k-7 with more shades has more dynamic range, and of course this all gets amplified when printing big. The difference though is very small. I was actually surprised because I thought the K-7 would crush the PP, but this was not the case. Hmmm...

Pretty much PP holds it own. But then there are those PP prints I saw that utilized a 7900 with the bonus light-light warm and cool.

So in the side by side PP verses K-7 HD of the same file and same image the better print depended on the shot. Not so much of a difference, both were great prints. The only solution to resolve this conflict is to have both. I'm already ruined.

I happen to find a 9900 that is available that has been refurbished (Epson???). A print head OEM replacement is about $1.6K alone for a 7900/9900. Good thing is a replacement Printhead for my 7800 is only about $1k. Not sure my gal would appreciate a 235 pound printer in our one bedroom apartment. LOL.

In the end it really comes down to do you prefer mids or contrast as the most important element to your photography. Also is this pursuit of perfection what you want to do? Again not for everybody.

Cal
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Old 06-27-2018   #18
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Cal:
Yep. One step at a time. Remember I just got a P600 Friday, and a table to put it on today (have to assemble it). I haven't even filled a cartridge yet. So I'm way back the curve. Like you, I let my eyes lead me. I've tricked up my game in so many places, I have to absorb for a bit before the next one. Did you ever do one of Cone's workshops? or did those start happening after you learned how? My guess is that seeing a side-by-side might tell a lot, and that'd probably be a good place to see a lot of different work. Meantime, I'm excited to get an opportunity to print on just a small scale for now. It will take a few days given the calendar before I get the chance, but I'm really looking forward to it. Maybe 4th of July will have some down time? Will keep you posted.

Let me add again, thank you! You've encouraged me just the way I'd hoped. Your enthusiasm is wonderful. And I agree that a lot depends on the image you're printing - which it should. There's a lot of room to run between the two printers I have on hand now - especially if Jon and Walker get their next P800 tricks to work. But I am going to keep your comments on mid tones very much in mind. I've been re-editing a number of recent images the last few days really bringing those out. Sounds also like you mostly print glossy. I'm looking forward to seeing how that comes off as the Epson ABW versions didn't impress me much - even with Colorbytes Imageprint to manage it, the results still left me underwelmed and a convert to matte printing. I'd sure be nice to have glossy as an option again.
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Old 06-27-2018   #19
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Skip,

I only print glossy. I also only print on Baryta coated papers. I live in a very small universe, but I'm happy.

Sounds like you are further along than you think. My friend John says the best tool is a trained eye.

I went to art school in the 70's and initially I was a painter. Back then I was a pretty good wet printer. As for Jon Cone's workshops: one day... My friend Scott from the Piezography Pro Forum from Texas recommends that I take a workshop with Jon Cone to learn how to fully calibrate my system. What interests me is the digital negative workshop.

I was a die-hard film only guy, and then Leica came out with the Monochrom which kinda remains a dream camera for me. I like the CCD rendering, I like that is primitive, not advanced, and is so basic. Pretty much it is so basic that it is like shooting a film camera. For me the CCD sensor has the mids.

Don't get me wrong, the M-246 is a vastly superior camera in every way: better shadow detail, smoother roll off in the highlights, better high ISO, more resolution, better dynamic range, faster, better screen...

The histogram on the CMOS sensor is kinda scooped though, and for me the guy who is trying to emulate larger formats the mids are everything.

Pretty much I shot my Monochrom for two years while I saved up to buy a 27 inch EIZO, the 3880 went on sale. Meanwhile I did my data mining to learn as much as I could. Some of the info on why the 78XX and 98XX series of printers that I shared here is gone. Pretty much I'm good and can keep this printer going for decades.

If I had a house and a basement I would collect and refurbish 78XX and 98XX printers. Remember the only difference between a 7800 and a 7880 is the inkset: the hardware is the same. This was a popular printer, parts are still available, and it was produced for a long time. Kinda like buying and refurbishing old pickup trucks. Does not hurt that these were the Epson printers known as the most durable and that had the longest printhead life.

Know that I built a 84 Jeep Scrambler that a Corvette engine in it with a Ford nine inch rear with Lincoln Continental disc brakes. It had a half cab and with the top was a micro sized pickup truck. Of course it sported big tires and a lift. Rebuilding printers would be a playful regression for me. Also I have an electronic background.

Cal
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Old 06-27-2018   #20
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Skip,

The Epson P7000 utilizes 10 carts, lists for $3350.00 at B&H, and currently has a $750.00 rebate to bring the actual cost to $2.6K. Selling the brand new unused inkset can further reduce the cost.

I looked back in my e-mails and soon to be released are these Jon Cone carts that are 700ml. There is this workaround where the chips have to be replaced after 700ml of ink has been used. No big deal.

The idea here is a new printer instead of securing a used 7900 for Piezography Pro use.

The ugly is this printer weighs 223 lbs. My 7800 is also a 24 inch wide printer, but it only weighs about 125 lbs.

Cal
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Old 06-27-2018   #21
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Cal:

Thanks! Might not be on the prowl yet, but I have a friend who just sold off a printer for $200... and he's got enough experience the two of us might be able to handle something like this and give it enough biz to keep it
occupied. I'll float it by him (even though he's a color man). Adding that a 225 pound machine....!!!! Needs a nickname besided P7000. Something like Kowabunga or Godzilla. Just sayin'.

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Old 06-27-2018   #22
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Originally Posted by roscoetuff View Post
Cal:
Thanks! Might not be on the prowl yet, but I have a friend who just sold off a printer for $200... and he's got enough experience the two of us might be able to handle something like this and give it enough biz to keep it occupied. I'll float it by him (even though he's a color man).
- Skip
Skip,

The thing I learned from doing Piezography is to think ahead. Also remember that you can also print digital negatives for contact printing. There is a bigger picture here. It does not get better than this.

Cal
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Old 06-28-2018   #23
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Cal: While we're at it (speaking of K7 inks), did you focus on one of the ink sets, pick out a custom set by ordering one bottle at a time, or go with a ready-made set of "Warm Neutral", "Carbon", "Selenium", "Special", or "Neutral" route? or did you try them all? (I think the Pro set is supposed to offer the printer the sense of "having it all" in one set, but at perhaps a bit of a give-up relative to a dedicated single purpose set - if that's right). Or do you use the K7's for Digital Negatives? And is it fair to assume you have the DN's printed by Cone or someone else?

Sorry to pester with questions, but it's what comes to mind... THanks for your patience!
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Old 06-28-2018   #24
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Cal: While we're at it (speaking of K7 inks), did you focus on one of the ink sets, pick out a custom set by ordering one bottle at a time, or go with a ready-made set of "Warm Neutral", "Carbon", "Selenium", "Special", or "Neutral" route? or did you try them all? (I think the Pro set is supposed to offer the printer the sense of "having it all" in one set, but at perhaps a bit of a give-up relative to a dedicated single purpose set - if that's right). Or do you use the K7's for Digital Negatives? And is it fair to assume you have the DN's printed by Cone or someone else?

Sorry to pester with questions, but it's what comes to mind... THanks for your patience!
Skip,

You ask thoughtful questions, so it is no bother.

With K-7 I decided to go splitone. I blend my own inkset for cool highlights (Selenium) and warm shadows ( Warm Neutral). In effect I get a three way split because the black is a tone of its own that brings out mucho depth in the shadows. Really dramatic in night shots.

K-7 really is about shadow details. Many people crush the blacks in their prints. I can be a bit of a jerk, and one of my friends from the NYC Meet-Up, Joe, gave me a remarkable file to print shot near Columbus Circle, but within Central Park where somehow remarkably he captured the surrounding skyscrappers without blowing them out. This file had incredible amount of dynamic range (shot on a Monochrom) on a otherwise bright sunny day.

Understand that I dim down my EIZO to about 50 Lux to lower contrast, and this is in a darkened room. So of course I really pull the contrast down and maximize everthing for dynamic range. I use the image on my EIZO as well as the histogram to draw out all the maximum detail.

So in this print I compared the print to the image on my EIZO and discovered a squirrel in the foreground in the shadow of a tree that was not visible on my EIZO. This was an epiphany for me because I learned that I can print what I can't see. Pretty much there is mucho shadow detail available in my files, and most people, including me crush out detail in the shadows.

Now I learned that at this level I have to proof prints and actually have learned how to tease out even more detail. If you look at and admire large format prints you will take notice of the enhanced amount of shadow detail that is present, and the amount of depth displayed.

In my prints there is a certain amount of depth created via the split tone. My early K-7 prints blended my split 50%Selenium/50% Warm Neutral at shade 4, but this was too much warmth, so I further diluted shade 3 25% Selenium/ 75% Warm Neutral. Understand all Piezography inks can be blended, the only rule is not to mix shades (exception was for an old digital negative system that now is obsolete). Pretty much I made my own custom inkset by blending inks.

After experience with Piezography Pro with the new PK-HD, I decided to upgrade my inkset to K-7 HD. Pretty much it involved just changing out the PK (black) cart for a cart filled with PK-HD (Glossy Black High Density) and using brand new curves developed by Walter.

You need to know that this PK-HD is the same glossy black developed for Piezography Pro. This black is so dense that interesting to note that in use not a lot is used in printing, and mostly on my printers the inks most depleted through use are the mids.

Also know that from using PP extensively I learned to moderate my splitone in K-7 even further, so I increased the dilution in shade three, and even went a step further and started diluting Shade 2 with Selenium to tone down the warmth.

Basically I made the splitone more subtle and nuanced. Some might say I kinda neutralized the warmth from the ink, but the proportions of 50/50 don't work that way, especially since all the papers I use/like are kinda warm, and that interaction of warmth from the paper interacts with the warmth or coolness from the ink. There is mucho complexity going on here, but in a print it is very clear: a new layer of detail.

I would say my initial K-7 prints are inherantly overly warm, especially images/files that have mucho blacks and lots of shadow details. On some prints it is a bonus, but on others overdone. This is one reason why I say PP is a great thing, dispite the wonder of K-7 HD. In particular NYC night shots are rather spectacular in a splitone.

Selenium is the most favored inset at Piezography. It is hyped as being most like a wet print when used on Baryta coated papers. The amount of depth created with cool highlights verses warm shadows with the blackest-black available is pretty hard to imagine.

If you look into Piezography you will learn that each shade is a very long curve that interacts and overlaps with many others. It seems in the bigger prints things really open up, the image becomes less about contrast, and is more about fine gradation and detail revealed mostly in the mids.

This is how I am able to transcend formats and get medium and large format results from a small format camera. Also I will repeat that the original Monochrome has an innate huge midrange to exploit, and that the M-246 (a better more advanced camera in almost every way) has scooped mids in comparision, but smoother roll-off in the highlights, and better/more shadow detail.

For K-7 I have the ultimate printer, Epson 7800, (same as 7880 as far as hardware, only thing different is the inkset), the only thing better would be a 98XX. All I need for my glossy printing is eight channels: 7 for black inks; and one for Gloss Overcoat.

Pretty much from PP I learned once dialed in the splitone settings are really paper dependent. The Canson Platine Fibre Rag and the Jon Cone Type 5 I use are both rag papers, both are Baryta coated, and both look great with the same blend of split one, but the Canson is a true glossy, and the Jon Cone Type 5 has a "satin" finish and to me is not a true glossy. In effect I use this as my "matte" print.

Another point is that the Gloss overcoat adds durability and protection to my prints. At Meet-Ups I horrify people where I spit on one of my prints and squeegee the wetness off with my hand. No damage occurs.

For more detail on how "Big Prints Don't Lie" check my post on Bill's thread "Splitting Hairs." It further explains why I like printing big and the effects that others disregard. It takes a lot of "balls" to print big, it definitely will be judged, and judge by many who don't know or understand the impact and meaning of a big print.

Cal
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Old 06-28-2018   #25
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Skip,

Part Two. LOL.

With Piezography Pro I already have digital negative capabilities. The only thing I have to do is buy some software and a device like an I1 Pro. No ink change is required.

The bottleneck for me is lack of studio space, but that can change as I am now 60 and will retire in the not too distant future.

So contact printing bigger than 8x10 requires use of a vacuum frame for optimum results. I figure I would want to print 20x24 so a good amount of space/darkroom is required.

Currently I live in Madhattan...

I'm afraid that for doing digital negatives would be best served by doing a Jon Cone Digital Negative Workshop. One day I want to meet this man, and also I have heard from many that these workshops are really-really great and in one weekend you learn a lot (mucho).

So I have the capability to make digital negatives today, but have not, and I lack the required studio space to wet print. One day...

I figure wet contact printing is a good way to go if printing limited editions, and this very much would be akin to simulating large format contact printing, except exploiting small format digital or along with maybe scanning medium format film.

Cal
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Old 06-28-2018   #26
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Cal: Thanks once again. I've seen very much as you post elsewhere, but your detail and discussion makes it all make sense. THanks!
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Old 07-02-2018   #27
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Cal: Just thought I'd follow up to say that after a weekend running paper through the printer - okay maybe not THAT many prints, but re-processing shots and then printing a few, I'm finally comfortable saying I've started with the process and I'm lovin' it.

Here's my take: "Is Piezography worth it?" just isn't the right question. It's not cheap - and that's often the biggest beef with it. But for my bit, printing in B&W has been fine without Piezography but had its limits in that I've not felt like I'm getting the best I could. So why go there? Because I know that "better" is out there, and Jon Cone and Walker Blackwell are both master printers who have sorted out some ways that are accessible for the rest of us to produce similarly with our own inkjets. To benchmark ALL of this on price is to miss the fact that we're actually comparing the cost of using our small inkjet printers to output produced by master printers off the industry's top hardware. I've got a higher degree of confidence that we're getting a lot closer to that level of quality using this process than otherwise, but sure, it can be done some other way, too. To read their manual and to push your images according to how they suggest (at least in part) -or for the same objectives, you are producing the "best" you can from your source files (or scanned negatives). At that point, printing using their system isn't required of course, but it is very satisfying. My images now come out looking very, very very much like set up on the screen - even to the point that sometimes I haven't seen everything that's there and have to re-edit the crop or something else because my eyes simply elided over artifacts I meant to remove... as a result of over-familiarity (I just stopped seeing them until I printed). So I've gotten use to "proof prints" as a norm. And as long as I'm fine with the 7 X7 on an 8.5 X 11 sheet, then it's time to go into the real "keeper". Is this more work than I was used to before? Sure, but the images are better, too.

So far, I'm still using only the B&W matte 'cause I have only matte paper and the curves I'm using are the canned curves for the Cone paper and PiezoPro inksets. I'm running "Neutral" 'cause I'm not into "Warm" and "Cool" is probably better for glossy. I've seen the range that folks are able to produce with their own ink sets and with their own sets of curves, so I've hardly scratched the surface of the creative prospects within the system. To put that into context, if there really are thousands of potential combinations, the "one and only defaults" that I'm using barely do it justice. But they do a fine job. And the great thing for a B&W shooter is that now ...at last, I feel that I have all the tools I need.

And that's a sweet spot that turns the whole back from tools towards how to use them and putting the controls back into my head. I've only printed 10 images so far, but that's enough to say, "Hey you can really do a lot with this stuff. Ain't nothin' holdin' you back... nothin' (base line cuts in here I think)..." so it's time to dance off and get back to the photography. But fairly as Cal puts it, it took me more print runs to do that than just 10 prints. I've probably burned 20 sheets. Paper and ink.... it's what it's there for, huh? I've burned a lot of both over the last month or two and many many of these pushing one image for everything I could get out of it. Thought it was ridiculous at first, and would kick myself over the waste, burn rate, etc. But then if you look around, seems everyone who wants to push themselves finds that's really where the progress in producing better images comes from. "Don't fear the burn...". Yeah. I think that's why this is resisted in truth... BECAUSE we do fear it. And yet it is so worth it.

At the end of the day, can you make better prints another way? Wet? Dry? Sure. I wouldn't say otherwise. But you'd have to push yourself to edit the images to the "Nth degree" the way Piezography would too. But these inks, these tools, curves, profiles, and all the rest can make it easy to do the next step... not necessarily "better". That's a subjective word and always debatable, and I've been around the track to know that what took me some time to find the tools or talent to produce, a master craftsman out there will produce with a stick and some glue to my utter amazement, shame, etc. But however you get there, the goal is production that leads to pushing me back to my source images, and as I get that done, back into the field knowing what can be tangibly... yes TANGIBLY produced with confidence. And that's a thrill.

I don't see in B&W, but with an accessible feedback loop through the Piezography tools for B&W it's a lot easier to see what works and doesn't work in this medium, and the range of what works well may widen a smidgen as a result. The more you like the midtones, the better these tools work. I may even feel inspired to shake the dust off my dust off the Sony A7Rii and Zeiss Loxia lenses and see what those things can do as well.
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Old 07-02-2018   #28
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Skip,

Nothing wrong with matte prints. Like I said I live in a very small universe and only print glossy on Baryta papers.

I think you will do well in becoming your own master. I don't think I have it in me to be like Jon Cone and Walter who live in the realm of a much larger universe, and I'm perfectly happy in the small and very limited one I live in now.

You are correct in burning through materials, but this kinda creates your own style IMHO. The burn rate slows down considerably.

I think once you dial in a paper that my settings in Piezography Pro remain kinda fixed. Pretty much I optimize for the tonality and interaction with the paper warmth or coolness, and that is kinda fixed.

Good news is that I may have a printing gig. In the past I have printed for other artists who have sought me out. I don't promote or advertise printing for hire, and basically I get approached for these gigs because of my experience and reputation. So I will have a meeting later this week to collaborate with this Japanese historian who has all these vintage 5x7 glass negatives.

We both agree that the defects and damage should be printed as artifact. I proposed doing limited editions in two sizes. One hand holdable, say a 13x19 1/2 image size on 20x24 paper; and a 20x30 on 24x36 sheet.

I expect that when I show him some of my prints made from small format digital that he will see that I have the large format tonality and resolution at hand. Not sure how this will all translate, but we are talking large format vintage negatives being printed with Piezography.

I'm kinda excited over the possibilities...

Cal
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Old 07-02-2018   #29
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Cal:

I'm actually planning to try some glossy... just to see whether Piezo cures my distaste for glossy ink jet that came from some of my early Epson prints years back. If so, that could change a lot in what I do, or at least open up another possibility.

Your printing project sounds like fun. Wish you luck! Wouldn't it be great to find you could retire to be a printer? A fellow could do a lot worse!

Best,
Skip
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Old 07-02-2018   #30
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Cal:

I'm actually planning to try some glossy... just to see whether Piezo cures my distaste for glossy ink jet that came from some of my early Epson prints years back. If so, that could change a lot in what I do, or at least open up another possibility.

Your printing project sounds like fun. Wish you luck! Wouldn't it be great to find you could retire to be a printer? A fellow could do a lot worse!

Best,
Skip
Skip,

I'll cut the chase again.

I happen to like the added detail that glossy presents. The Piezography glossy had the guys in the Leica booth at PhotoPlusExpo fooled because my print resembled a wet print. Pretty much they could not believe my image capture was on the primative first version Leica Monochrom, and that it was a wet print shot of film and wet printed using at least 120 or 4x5.

The Canson papers I use are true glossy, but if this is overdone for you there is Jon Cone Type 5 which to me has a dull satin kinda look and does not have that mirror like gloss and shine. The JC Type 5 seems to be beloved by the color printers and can be described as a Crane's Silver Rag clone that has been optimized for Piezography for a blacker-black. This is an art paper and has a bit of texture. I kinda use it as my matte paper, but it holds the detail like a glossy paper.

Overall I think the Canson Photographic Baryta is the most glossy and brightest of the bunch of papers I use. I tend to use this paper for testing as it has a trace amount of OBA's, so for the main body of work I avoid using it. It is because Photographique is so inexpensive that I use it. It also prints the most/higher contrast.

The Canson Platine Fibre Rag is not as smooth and has the rag paper feel. I think Jon Cone designed glossy Piezography around this specific paper.

Walter is a self proclaimed "Canson Freak," and he actually helped develop Canson Prestige which is a heavy paper that is like a hybred between the Photographique and the Platine being a mix of cellulose and rag. I don't favor the Prestige because it is mucho expensive and premium priced, but also because it has trace amounts of OBA's like the cellulose Photographique mentioned above.

While the Canson papers print the blacker-black, the JC Type 5 has the vast midrange won. So now with PK-HD anchoring a black is not an issue either, just tweak and dial in the contrast a little on a Canson file for JC Type 5.

Under glass I think the JC Type 5 works and appears like a matte print without the glare/flare, but has that added detail. So if I had only one paper for the rest of my life it likely would be the JC Type 5. Kinda like a blend between matte and glossy with the best of both.

I will also add that the "Gloss Optimize" (K-7) or "Gloss Optimizer" (PP) adds a layer of durability and allows for a good amount of physical handling, so much so that I'm using prints to make books and bound folio's.

At age 60 1/2 I'm getting ready for retirement, a rich one. By age 62 I figure I have to be ready for any surprise since 66% of Americans don't work to full retirement age, many Americans just get forced out of work, and it is not necessarily because of health or disability or choice.

I'm lucky that I don't have to slave away with my printing to be happy, and if I sell any work it is extra money. A lot of momentum is going on lately in my art career that got put on the side so many times and was interupted.

Cal
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Old 07-03-2018   #31
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Cal: Finding that I've finally discovered / latched on to the Capture One tools for driving midtones in my photos, I'm a happy man and photos are coming along sweetly with the dimensions I'm looking for. So your comments on Cone 5 papers are on the mark for me. THanks!

Thanks as well for the rest of the discussion (again).Soon as Inkjetmall gets back from July 4th holiday week, I'll have to try their Cone 5 papers. I have a couple of boxes of Hahnemuhle FineArt Baryta Satin on hand though (25 pages per) and that's probably as good a place to start with the glossy and see if it's gonna work for me... now that so much has changed in the last year. Will have to give the Canson Photographic Baryta a shot as well.

Maybe my opinion on gloss will have changed, too, with the improvements wrought using Piezography. Hope so. Nevertheless, Paul Roark's case for "all matte all the time" - especially if you're going to frame it under glass.. remains pretty convincing. The good thing is now the "colors" of B&W, the grays and all the rest... at last have me satisfied that I really do love B&W as an expressive medium... as one that's not like everyone else's iPhone "snap", one that's worth the trouble, and has a beauty all its own.
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Old 07-03-2018   #32
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Skip,

Digging into printing has made me a better photographer.

My approach is to simulate a large format shooter and maximize image capture as if for contact printing a large negative to minimize required post processing, digital noise, and digital artifact.

Be aware that Piezography has mucho shadow detail and the look for me is of larger formats in my printing. This become more evident in larger prints that "open-up" in detail and tonality.

Also be aware that there is a HDR and resolution that can be overdone.

Trust your trained eye and think like a large format shooter.

Also for digital image capture use Heliopan filters that are marked "Digital." These filters have additional IR and UV filtering, and they clean up the histogram by removing signal that is not visual information. I would argue that this could be considered "noise." These "Digital" filters also curb or eliminate clipping.

Realize that the added resolution and fidelity of Piezography means making clean files and minimizing processing has great payoffs. Try to emulate the detail and tonality of large format that is contact printed. Print for proofing, and realize that you can print what you can't see even on a calibrated monitor that is dimmed down in a darkened room.

Jon Cone suggests dimming down your calibrated monitor to 50-80 Lux.

All the best.

Cal

POSTSCRIPT: I failed to mention that the histogram is a great tool to use to anchor your black and your highlight/paper white. Learning how to gauge tonality via the histogram cuts the "paper burning." A calibrated monitor can only go so far...
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Old 07-03-2018   #33
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Cal: Your postscript is on the mark. In Capture One, you get histograms for RGB, Red, Green and Blue (least significant of these and often untouched), and each with 3 "wands". I don't know what they're called, but you can use the ends of these to set the White and Black points at the base on either side of the humped histogram. This works very well and is actually much better than the eyedropper approach to setting it. I believe the middle one is for mid-tones, and this is the "new to me" (as of this past weekend) place to drive the grays. Yes, it should be a "DUH!" but there you are, there are a lot of tricks I'm sure I still have to learn in this program, and it just keeps getting better and better. I imagine Photoshop works similarly. I do this then set the RGB and Luma curves which I like to shape like a Bruce Barnbaum densitometry "zone freak" curve ( a little toe, a little head (?) and a lot of middle straight). Very little else is really needed... I will look at the Highlights and Shadows if necessary, but usually - since I tend to meter manually these days, exposure needs very little tweaking. I do tend to dial down Contrast. I will still use the B&W button even though I'm working with a B&W negative, just because the Hue/Saturation channels give me some tweaks on the grays. Biggest thing I forget is really making sure my crop covers the image I want printed, and since I'm scanning, if I haven't set it right, I end up with some black frame showing, so I end up having to re-export for Quadrip and print a 2nd (final) run.

I should use layers more for my edits, but haven't graduated to that yet. Played with one photo using this, and it was effective in removing distracting highlights on a foreground leaf, and I've seen how it could be useful. And yes, you can REALLY do a lot with these tools if you want and need to. Something to think about. But for now, I'm still pretty much a KISS method and work with the main image.

Cone suggests importing with a raw image scan rather than the Vuescan negative scan, and once upon a time I subscribed to that. But that succeeds chiefly in meaning you have to completely reverse the controls, or do a one time edit, conversion, export and re-import before making adjustments. So I'm not convinced that's worth the squeeze and dropped it. Yes, many of my Photrio (was APUG) friends insist you don't maintain control of the image if you allow Vuescan to convert your image... but I'm willing to save that until I really have a "signature" shot. For most of what I do, this is just fine and the other edits together with Piezography will do it for me at least for now.

I don't know whether you're using filters on your MM, but I still use filters on my Delta 400 films. Yellow's my favorite, but in Charleston, SC at the beach, I threw deployed the Orange and Red from time to time because the Rolleiflex I took with me only shoots up to 1/500th. Put some light grays in the sky and your clouds pop like they should.
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Old 07-03-2018   #34
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Skip,

I only rely on LR5. My tweaks are very so minor.

On my Monochrom, a very crude and not advanced camera, the on camera histogram with the clipping indicators set at 1% is a great way to learn perfect exposure for maximum detail and broadest tonality.

I think you have a lot more sophistication and experience in post processing than me, but my style is the slacker's way of simple and the minimum.

On my MM I use a 2X yellow that makes the contrast I need. I also get wonderful clouds, sky, and depth because the 2X yellow compresses the histogram into the "sweet spot" of my CCD sensor. Most of my histogram is mids, just where I want it.

Pretty much I adjust/tweak contrast by just using a "S" curve.

My contrast is set by the filter at time of image capture, and I don't use the contrast slider in Lightroom to boost contrast, but I use a "S" curve in the tone curve section to tailor the distribution of tonality. The highlights get the most boost and the darks get the most subtraction, with the mids only getting minor tweaking. In fact sometimes the mids I leave flat on some images.

Since I have no Bayer Filter Array, and no anti alias filter I never adjust the sharpening slider, and I use the Lightroom default setting of 25. The clarity control is kinda important to put a spread on the mids. The clarity slider is where perhaps increased sharpening is set in my case.

I will say that files from my SL require more processing. The highlights have a smoother rolloff than the MM due to the CMOS sensor. Some people say they don't see a difference, but if you print big and as your eye gets trained you will see the difference in the highlights.

Also you will see that the CMOS sensor has more shadow detail than the CCD sensor with an educated eye. The histogram clearly shows though that the CMOS sensor is kinda scooped in the mids. The MM histogram clearly shows most of the detail, information, and tonality is in the mids.

In practice I think I make the best B&W images with my Monochrom with Piezography even though it is only 18 MP. The SL takes more effort and tends to want to render via contrast (light and dark) instead of the mids.

The high ISO on the MM kinda sucks when compared with my SL, but I tend to only go as high as 800 ISO, like when shooting film for maintaning IQ.

For me less is more. I live in a very small universe, but I'm mucho happy.

Cal
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Old 07-03-2018   #35
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Cal:

I used LR for a while and I think it's fine. I switched to Capture One because it worked better with Fuji's greens and then with Sony it was more native. C1 is somewhere between LR and headed toward Photoshop. But the truth is that I went back to film in part to get a way from time spent on the computer. But what am I doing with my hybrid approach? Oh yea... scanning, C1, and Quadrip. So the effort to dodge the computer failed... only I'm NOT spending as much time as I did originally. Snobs will tell you LR's isn't up to snuff. Maybe they're right? "Right for them"? Yes, definitely the latter. Maybe even more.

One fact I've learned is that I know only where I am with all this today, but can't honestly tell you what would have happened had I stayed with what I started with. I know what I've learned along the way, but attribution is a bit dodgy. My guess is while there's clearly a benefit gained in switching gear and even software as I have, there's also a penalty in learning time sunk, and amount of learning, so it could be I'd have ended up at the same place only faster without the chimera of seeking the Holy Grail... which I didn't find, btw. Big surprise.

Yeah, the truth is, I'm toning contrast down, not up with sliders. If you want subtle grays for the richness of what's in the image, then I think you tone things down. But then by setting the Hue/Saturation stuff that tends to hit the grays... you make more of them (not less). This seems to change something of where your grays are I think, and that's useful when it's useful. This seems to leave the core of the image to stand out... from the grays. (I'm thinking of a shot of my little black dog on the flagstone). The S curves... what I called the RGB and Luma curves (Capture One), that's where most of it happens for me, too. Those are simple tools. But what you find in the others I mentioned is that these others set the outline of the histogram shapes you'll see in the S curves. Like I said, I'm just beginning to see how that can work for me. It is VERY quick, and it's a bit iterative, but then when I'm done, I'm done. As experience rises, you'll try some of the other tools, too. The S curves alone have their limits, and some restraint is welcome - even there. Well... actually everywhere. Especially in this software.

As you'll remember, I'm working with film negatives, and film works from over-exposure to capture the shadow detail before turn it down to recover the highlights. Digital's the opposite and you protect the highlights from blowing out to recover detail out of the shadows. With fillm, I almost never have a bad histogram. Digital can be harder that way. What intrigues me about the MM is the best of both! and simple menus. Most digital camera menus... uh... er... I keep a spreadsheet to record my settings. People rave about Fuji's and slam Sony's, but really its tweedle dee and tweedle dum. I think Leica is probably the only one really making an effort to dum it down to a reasonable level - which is where it should be.

So the tweak tools will vary a little, but the manner in which I think they allow you to fine tune - and that's the key here fine tuning, NOT recrafting. The great thing is what you're after is an image that doesn't look "digitized" or "made in the computer" but remains authentically tied to the camera's capture. I want the light conditions to look like what I saw. I know lots of folks change it, but I tend to look for the right time of day in the first place, and then I want my photo to look like what I saw. I don't want NIGHT to become DAY, though I see folks who do that a lot. There can be a reason for that... "journalism" or a dislike of flash when in fact it's needed, but it's not me.

Cone's Community Edition suggests basically four things: 1) Work on the grays (what I call the mid tones), 2) Exercise restraint, 3) Limit the controls you work with, and 4) Keep a log of what you do for each image. I haven't set up for # 4, but the other three are pretty much the norm. And fairly, what seemed like a LOT once upon a time, now seems less largely 'cause you learn what works and what doesn't. Capture One is great for customizing a workflow for B&W... and that's kind of what I do. But the greatest thing is to speed your way to "done".
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Old 07-04-2018   #36
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The Epson P7000 utilizes 10 carts, lists for $3350.00 at B&H, and currently has a $750.00 rebate to bring the actual cost to $2.6K. Selling the brand new unused inkset can further reduce the cost.

I looked back in my e-mails and soon to be released are these Jon Cone carts that are 700ml. There is this workaround where the chips have to be replaced after 700ml of ink has been used. No big deal.

The idea here is a new printer instead of securing a used 7900 for Piezography Pro use.
I thought that the P7000 didn't accept third party inks, that John Cone's decoder board only worked on the P800. Am I not keeping up on developments?
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Old 07-05-2018   #37
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Off the Inkjetmall website:

"SureColor P7000 / P9000: We are now testing a new solution for the Epson SC P6000, P7000, P8000, P9000, P10000, P20000 printers and it is looking very promising! REFRAIN FROM EVER UPDATING FIRMWARE ON ANY OF THESE NORTH AMERICAN REGION PRINTERS."

So perhaps they're in-between "No" and on their way to "Yes".
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Old 07-05-2018   #38
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I thought that the P7000 didn't accept third party inks, that John Cone's decoder board only worked on the P800. Am I not keeping up on developments?
PTP,

Somewhere around mid July new carts are expected to be available. for the floor standing printers. These new carts use/have a 700 ml capacity, and after 700 ml of ink is used the "chips" have to be replaced as expenibles.

This solution is different than the P800.

If you want PM me your e-mail and I'll forward you the e-mail.

BTW I have a meeting tomorrow about printing an archive of vintage glass negatives. I might have justification to buy a P7000 to dedicate to Piezography Pro.

Don't tell anyone but having large prints as work samples to demonstrate capacity, skill and high image quality pretty much creates paying work. I don't solicit or advertise.

Cal

POSTSCRIPT: I have a longer response and explaination in the NYC Meet-Up thread. Read Post number 23.
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Old 07-16-2018   #39
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Cal:

So now I see what you're talking about in terms of photo clean-up. Found a shot that otherwise looked fine on the screen printed with smudges which I've had to fix. Using Capture one, fixing involved learning a fair amount more about "layers", "heals" and other "repairs" ("clone") as my go-to "Dust" has a limit on the number of spots, but also doesn't "heal" as well as doing this in a layer. All my issues were in the sky. And yes, this was a cloudless sky... another reason to love clouds! So I had to make masks of a variety of sorts to hide it all. But finally was able to run a clean print. I imagine this is why Jon and Walker suggest making an initial print ASAP.

But all in, I think it took 5 rounds or so printing to get everything all fixed up. Maybe more. So I'm running through my 1st ink carts fairly quickly. Paper, too. And like you said, printing is where we spend the dough. And when you're done, absolutely... the print looks better than any other way of viewing your results. That's a good thing... even if it's a bit hard to explain to folks in this web lovin' world.
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Old 07-16-2018   #40
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Cal:

So now I see what you're talking about in terms of photo clean-up. Found a shot that otherwise looked fine on the screen printed with smudges which I've had to fix. Using Capture one, fixing involved learning a fair amount more about "layers", "heals" and other "repairs" ("clone") as my go-to "Dust" has a limit on the number of spots, but also doesn't "heal" as well as doing this in a layer. All my issues were in the sky. And yes, this was a cloudless sky... another reason to love clouds! So I had to make masks of a variety of sorts to hide it all. But finally was able to run a clean print. I imagine this is why Jon and Walker suggest making an initial print ASAP.

But all in, I think it took 5 rounds or so printing to get everything all fixed up. Maybe more. So I'm running through my 1st ink carts fairly quickly. Paper, too. And like you said, printing is where we spend the dough. And when you're done, absolutely... the print looks better than any other way of viewing your results. That's a good thing... even if it's a bit hard to explain to folks in this web lovin' world.
Skip,

The rewards are great.

Another thing I don't think people don't understand is that with even small format digital you can print crazy big. There is this thing I call "impact" between a small and large print.

I print in two sizes: one is 13x19 1/2 on 20x24. This print is designed to have big borders for framing, but the size is the ideal hand held size. It is just a little bigger than my 12x18 image size that I use from proofing on 17x22 cut sheets but the modest increase in size has a lot of "impact."

There is something very intimate about holding a print on rag paper in the hands. It is a very special experience. When I first started to learn how to print I printed small 8 1/2x 11's, but the bigger one prints the more detail gets revealed, so small prints were like looking at half a picture.

So on a 20x30 image on 24x36 sheet the image "opens up;" the tonality becomes less about contrast (the blacks); and the mids become the voice of detail to transscend formats to resemble medium and large format. These poster sized prints catch a viewer from across the room and invites then to approach for a closer view. Even on these sized prints nothing gets fuzzy on these Monochrom files. This is a very different experience where a print acts like a sculpture because it has mucho depth and occupies the room.

I doubt many challenge themselves. Printing big shows and amplifies any flaws and over processing. Good technic is well rewarded. Very few learn how good their equipment is, because if they did they would realize that their cameras and the technology is better than they are. "Big prints don't lie."

Cal
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