Best new printers for Black and White

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by allen_rudolph, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. What is the best printer for high end home printing for Black and White. Things in the marketplace are changing so quickly I can't keep up. I wold like to get a printer with readily available ink cartridges and not one I need to modify to use special toners or inks. I am also considering buying a scanner to scan my black and white negatives so any help there would be appreciated. Thanks I am new to Photo Net so I am sorry if I am listing this question in the wrong place or if it has a current thread that I missed, the only thread I could find was from 2004 and I know there have been many changes since then.
  2. My vote is for the Epson 3800
  3. 2400, 2880, 3800..whatever you can afford and need to print as for the size. the 3800 is really good, and you have the opportunity to print on matte and glossy paper without too much ink lost.
  4. all from epson..sorry i forget to mention it : )
  5. Canon iPF5100 / 6100 or the Epson 3900 printers
  6. Any Epson printer supporting the K3 ink set. R2400, R2880, R3800, R4880, etc. NOTHING else does as good a job on B&W printing.
  7. I own a 3800 and it is nothing short of amazing. The right paper ( I use Ilford gold fibre ), and the right settings ( Epson's own advanced black and white), and your done. I've had a chance to use most other printers before I bought mine and nothing comes even close to what I get with this printer, especially for B/W.
  8. Obviously everybody has their own experience and opinions about which is best. However, you need to decide which is best *for you*, so start with these two questions:
    How large do you want to print? (8x10? 13x19? 16x20?)
    How much can you spend? ($500? $1000? $2000?)
    I've gotten good prints out of a $100 Epson R280 using the "black ink only" option in the driver, but they're not very archival. Good is a relative term too - some detail is lost and the types of papers are limited to Epson inkjet printers. If you're looking to get display quality prints using pigment inks then you'll be looking at a significant jump in price coupled with a significant jump in quality over a basic consumer dye-based ink printer.
    The three market leaders right now are Epson, Canon, and HP. Their introductory models that have the capability to do high-quality black and white are:
    Epson: R2880 (R2400 is the previous model, you can find it refurbed for a slight saving over the 2880, there's also the R1800, however, I haven't seen good reviews of it's B&W performance although it's supposed to produce excellent color prints)
    Canon: Pixma Pro 9500 (the 9000 is a dye based printer, but odds are the clerk in the camera store won't explain that)
    HP: B9180 or B8850 - same print mechanisms, the B9180 can use thicker paper, has an LCD display, and built-in ethernet.
    The prices of these printers varies pretty widely from around $550-800 depending on where you buy, current rebates, the phase of the moon, the mood of the CEO, and a numerous other factors. There are many reviews of these printers online, so check them out.
    The Epson 3800 some have mentioned is a step up from the 2400/2880. It prints on larger paper and uses larger ink cartridges. The downside - it's more expensive and it will cost you more up front to replace the cartridges. The upside is that the ink is actually cheaper - you're paying twice as much more for a cartridge that holds ~3 times the amount of ink of a 2400/2880. If you print a significant amount the 3800 will cost less than the 2880 due to the savings on ink.
    Kodak's new "all-in-one" printer/scanner/copier is supposed to use a pigment based ink, but I haven't seen any reviews or buzz about it on photographic sites. It'll only print up to 8x10, but Kodak is advertising the ink as costing much less than other manufacturers.
    There are also printers that do higher quality, larger print sizes, and cost a lot more from HP, Epson, and Canon. Unless you are thinking about starting a pro printing business or you have a huge budget for your hobbies they probably aren't what you're looking for.
    I'm looking for a printer right now too. I'm leaning towards the HP B9180 or the Canon Pixma Pro 9500. They'll cost about the same, both do very high quality black and white prints along with very high quality color, and they both have their quirks. The Canon is (apparently) more of a pain to use w/ non-Canon branded paper, while the HP seems to have intermittent quality control issues. I'm probably going to hold off on the purchase for a few months to see if HP releases a new/revised version of the B9180 or if Canon improves the driver for the 9500.
    So - how much do you want to spend and what size do you want to print?
  9. Hello. For scanning, I would recommend the Espon V750 if you really want good scans. If you can afford it, the Nikon 9000 35/120 format scanner is ideal and spring for the anti newton glass carrier. We use that in our lab and have been making very large (Up to 30x40) prints on true b&w photographic papers.
    As for inkjet printers, the latest Epson printers do an excellent job. The 2880 in the advanced b&w mode is good. The thing to keep in mind is that all inkjet printers use some amount of color to build density to create a gray scale image, so you cannot completely avoid some color shift. There are dedicated all black ink systems, however this involves altering your printer and you cannot go back to color, never mind voiding the warranty!
    Alternatively, you can work on your scans and upload the files to a place like ours for true black and white prints from a digital file. We use a Durst Digital photographic laser enlarger to expose one of two Ilford silver gelatin papers and then process them in b&w chemicals. You get no tonal shift, just beautiful neutral tone images!
    Hope this helps. Eric at
  10. So far, I've been happy with my Epson 1400 using MIS UT14 Black inks.
  11. Wow, thanks to all for the information. Looks like an Epson will do the job and DIgital Silver Imaging for the special prints when I get there. I just wish I had room for my old darkroom, man I used to love spending time there, the process with all that equipment and the solutions and trial and error and the quiet time alone, the concentration, it was so relaxing and the sense of fulfillment and accomplishment felt so good. It was such a Zen....chop wood carry water kind of craft, "The life so short the Craft so long to learn" Hippocrates ( I got that off the wall in the Storytellers Cafe in Disneyland) I miss it. Thanks again for the help everyone. Al

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