Blacker blacks on Epson 2200

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by soboyle, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. I've been printing quite a few B&W prints on my Epson 2200 using
    Matte black ink on Enhanced mat paper. Even areas on the original
    file that are pure black are printing out with a slight greyish
    tone, I'm not getting nice hard punchy blacks. Any suggestions for
    tweeks to the workflow to achieve better black printing? Different
    paper suggestions? I'm currently testing the QuadToneRIP 2.0 for
    Windows by Roy Harrington and the results seem quite good, neutral,
    but the blacks need more punch. I could move to a different paper,
    perhaps the semi gloss but wanted to see if I could get the mat
    papers to sing for some portfolio prints.
  2. hard to get good blacks, i have the same problem, switch to luster or semi-gloss and you will experience the dreaded bronzing, read somewhere someone is coming out with 6-tone black and white inks for the 2200, maybe lumejet? Haven't seen a solution yet, which comes close to traditional black and white print on fiber paper.
  3. Shaun:

    If you want to stay with 2200, try the glossy paper called Pictorico High Gloss White Film. I have been using it instead of the Epson Premium Glossy, much better, with better tonality, much less bronzing. For just B&W printing, I would consider another printer like HP, that can handles B&W printing better than the Epson brand.
  4. Have you tried the image with Epson's driver and profiles just to check. In the end it could just a problem with the RIP. Generally density with the Matte Black ink is supposed to be very good.
  5. I get full toned prints out of my 2200 with epson enhanced matte with epson matte black ink, don't give up yet.
  6. Pigment inks on matte paper are good for a Dmax considerably less than 2.0, more likely in the range of 1.6. It's not really black, but more of a really dark gray, as you have noted. This is normal.

    Dye inks, OTOH, are capable of considerably greater Dmax, especially on glossy papers. Lyson's grayscale dye inks are rumored to have a Dmax of close to 3.0 on Lyson darkroom range gloss paper. But they are also rumored to be highly metameric.

    We trade away a lot of good properties going from dye to pigment inks, all to get longer life and better fade resistance.

    Sooner or later a good grayscale dye inkset will hit the market. When it does, I'll be among the first to switch. Until then, I'm suffering through the pigment problems like everyone else. Sigh...
  7. Have you tried Velvet Fine Art? It is a little punchier than Enhanced Matt. FWIW, this is a compromise with the current crop of pigment inks. Perhaps Epson's next generation printers, which are due, should address this problem.
  8. Having paid $700 for the 2200 I was hoping to skip purchasing the next generation of Epson printer, but it is becoming obvious that it is not the end all that it was touted to be when it first came out. Prints are fairly flat when compaired to the output of my epson 1270 dye based printer.
    I guess the dye printers are getting better in archival life, if they will go 75 years, thats pretty good, that may be the compromise to achive a full tonal range on the print.
  9. Hi Shaun, FWIW I don't get what I'd call "punchy" blacks out of matte paper either with my 2200. Everybody's a little different, but I like Epson's Semi-Gloss paper. I don't really like Epson's Premium Glossy paper with this printer because the blacks get a little *too* black and lose shadow detail, so perhaps the middle ground (the semi-gloss) might work for you too. Good luck!
  10. Beau, Have you had any experience using the Quadtone RIP with the Semi-gloss papers? I haven't tried it yet, but would be interested in hearing your experience if you have.
  11. The deepest, richest blacks I've been able to get from my 2200 in B&W prints has been on Hahnemuehle (sp?) Photo Rag paper. Their William Turner gives some nice black too. But both are a bit pricey and can be subject to flaking. EEM is a nice paper and I like it but not for B&W prints with large areas of black. The black looks slightly deep-deep greyish hazy and not rich. So I sometimes use EEM for proofing and then print my final prints, ready for the frame, on well-brushed PR or WT. I also get good blacks on Moab Kayenta Photo Matte.
    A good article on papers for the 2200 and B&W printing can be seen here:, the context is for 2200 B&W printing using the "black-only" method but still is relevant and discusses some interesting aspects such as black Dmax and a paper's base color effect on highlights and such. And those Hawk Mountain papers he discusses are really nice. Check it out.
  12. jem


    Ditto on The HM Photo Tag - great deep inky blacks for a matte paper, better than anything else I have seen. Quadtone RIP + Photo Rag is a pretty efefctive solution for the money...
  13. I had the same problem with the QuadtoneToneRIP on the 2200.
    I started printing with black ink only at 2880 dpi and it looks great
    on Epson Enhanced Matte. Also, try printing with the new black
    and white profiles available on Epson's web site, they work well
    for BO printing.
  14. "Also, try printing with the new black and white profiles available on Epson's web site, they work well for BO printing."

    I couldn't find any new (or old) black and white ICC profiles for the 2200. Any idea where they are? There is a page with 2200 profiles (, but the profile I downloaded and opened is about nine months old. I have these older profiles and never noticed anything B&W-specific.
  15. The Black Only method (a la Clayton Jones) does give punchier blacks.

    On my 2200 with either Matte Black or Eboni Black ink on EEM, I use BO for some prints and QTR for others. Some prints look better one way, some the other...I make little 4x5 proofs to decide.
  16. You may be aware of this already but print from Photoshop with "Print with Preview" select the profile within the Preview dialog window and disable Epson's color management in the printer's advanced options.
  17. Ive just started using QTR and would second that it gives mutch more neutral prints than the standrard epson driver and they are metamerism free , not noticed any issues with Black levels when using Matt black inks on enhancement mat.

    Are you sure your monitor is profiled correctly ?

    "Quadtone RIP + Photo Rag is a pretty efefctive solution for the money..."

    With rgs the use of photo rag with QTR whats the recommended profile / curves. Should I use the enhancement matt ?

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