Printing

Epson launches EcoTank, including two years’ worth of ink! 

Save up to 65% on the cost and get hassle-free everyday printing

Epson L355

 2nd October 2014 – EcoTank printers come with enough ink in the box to print up to a massive 4,000 pages in black and 6,500 pages in colour, that’s around two years’ worth of ink, without needing to change a single ink cartridge. Continue Reading

Ilford-Canvas

ILFORD introduces Canvas Natural 340gsm to GALERIE Prestige range

 

Free of added OBAs to ensure the most accurate colour rendition with a natural look, the 340gsm Canvas Natural offers superior printing performance with a traditional canvas structure for professional quality mounting.

Marly Switzerland – 1 March, 2013 – ILFORD (www.ilford.com), a leading developer and manufacturer of professional quality media for inkjet printing, graphic arts and colour photographic processes today announces that it is expanding its popular GALERIE Prestige range with the introduction of the new 340gsm Canvas Natural media. Designed in response to customer demand for a canvas with natural looking characteristics, this cotton/polyester blend canvas will complement the bright white distinctiveness of the existing GALERIE Prestige Smooth Fine Art Canvas.

Featuring a matt surface and natural tint, GALERIE Prestige Canvas Natural is free of added optical brightening agents within the coating layer, making it ideal for stunning gallery wraps, exhibition and museum displays or other large format prints. Ideal for pigment based printers, Canvas Natural incorporates an advanced inkjet receiving layer for excellent colour gradation that ensures sharp and vivid images. A sturdy platform with a hefty feel, the 340gsm canvas offers reduced ink bleed and ensures optimal print accuracy. The new canvas media is available in 17”, 24” and 44” rolls to meet the varying demands of both in-studio printers as well as professional photo labs.

Incorporating a 1:1 weave structure for high quality applications, Canvas Natural’s robust, stretchable canvas features solid dimensional stability and contour definition. The dependable material can also be sewn for use as a banner, or for framed art with superior framing performance and decorative effect that is free of edge cracking or damage.

“A high quality print mounted on canvas has long been an industry staple. With our new GALERIE Prestige Canvas Natural, we are able to offer our customers the choice of canvas media to meet bright white or more natural look of their creative vision” said Jane Dixon, Director of Global Marketing for ILFORD Imaging. “The versatility of our new Canvas Natural should provide both at-home and in-studio printers, as well as professional labs with a unique deliverable for their most demanding client.”

The new ILFORD GALERIE Prestige Canvas Natural 340 gsm is immediately available in the following roll sizes.

  • 43.2cm (17”) x 12m
  • 61cm (24”) x 12m
  • 111.8cm (44”) x 12m

 ABOUT ILFORD

Founded in 1879, ILFORD is a leading player in the development and manufacture of photo quality media and other consumables for both inkjet printing and colour photographic processes. The worldwide digital imaging and colour photographic businesses, which include R&D and manufacturing operations in Switzerland, are owned by Paradigm Global Partners LLP. ILFORD hosts its U.S. sales operations from its offices in Avon, CT

PermaJet Mercury Ultra White Matt Canvas +
PremaProtect varnish review

 

PermaJet

PermaJet is a market leader in high quality papers, they offer the world’s largest range of inkjet papers and canvases, these include Digital photo papers, Fibre based papers, Smooth and Textured Fine art papers and canvases.

Canvas has been around for hundreds of years as a popular artist medium. It’s now a favourite for portrait and landscape photographers who want to produce a Fine Art or artistic look to their work. Printing on canvas is no more complicated than standard inkjet printing, albeit there are a few extra steps. In this review we are testing PermaJet’s latest products, Mercury Ultra White Matt Canvas and PermaProtect canvas varnish.

Mercury Ultra White Matt is a textured, heavy weight product (405gsm) with a brilliant white surface which is ideal for bringing out details in a photograph. The canvas is compatible with both Dye and Pigment ink printers from desktop size through to large format printers.  The media is available in the following sizes; A3+ (10 sheet pack), 17”, 24”, 36”, 44” and 60” wide rolls (length 15 metres). For this review we are using an Epson Pro 3800 printer together with a custom profile.

For producing colour accurate prints on specialty media you need to use a custom profile, most printers, from Epson Canon or HP do not offer profiles for third party media. However, you can in most cases, download a profile from the paper manufacturer’s web-site. At the time of writing PermaJet do not  have a profile available for this new canvas, but you can download a target file from the PermaJet web-site and print it using your printer. Post the printed targets to PermaJet and they will create a custom ICC profile for you, free of charge. The profile will be unique to your printer, ink and media combination,  new profiles need to be created for each media type being used.

Canvas-000

For printing, select Photoshop Manages Colour and from the profile drop down list select the custom profile (I have created one called PermaJet MUW Canvas). Go into the printer’s properties and make sure that No Colour Adjustment is selected, this prevents the printer from also applying a profile. The media type should be the same as used when printing the target files. The Media Type setting controls the amount of ink that is placed on the media and determines whether Photo Black or Matt Black ink is used, for our test prints we used the Epson Watercolour – Radiant White as the media type.

Canvas media is best suited to large format printers that have the facility to accommodate roll media, smaller desktop printers require rigid media. A support sheet is provided with the A3+ media as you can’t load canvas via the rear media tray, it needs to be loaded via the front  straight paper path together with a rigid support. Place the canvas sheet onto the support sheet and feed this into the front straight paper path holder. The rigid sheet ensures that the media is gripped and pulled into the printer. Now you can use the printer in the same way as you would with using any other media.

Flower

The Mercury Ultra White canvas has a brilliant white textured surface which may not suit all subjects, for traditional style portraiture it can look too cold and clinical. However, it is well suited to a contemporary style of photography that makes use of a whiter than white backdrop. Generally, subject matter printed on the smaller A3+ canvas needs to be large and fill as much of the area as possible, otherwise the textured canvas surface can break up some of the finer details in a photo.

BW

The PermaJet canvas produced dynamic colour photographs using a variety of subject matter. Colours have a wide gamut and are vibrant to the point that they seem to jump of the canvas. Primary colours are particularly strong, yet at the same time the subtle colours maintain a delicacy of tone.  Black and White photographs worked particularly well, the blacks are strong whilst still retaining sufficient shadow detail. There was also plenty of subtlety in the lighter grey tones although on close inspection the actual canvas texture was showing more than I would have liked.

Canvas texture can interfere with image

Canvas texture can interfere with image

The other new product is the PermaProtect, this is a fast drying water based varnish that is applied to the printed canvas. The clear varnish offers protection against, UV, handling, abrasion and airborne pollutants as well as increasing the lightfastness of the canvas. The varnish also has the benefit of increasing the colour saturation and density of blacks.  PermaJet claims “that the varnishes will not discolour or change over 85 years.”  This claim is based on independent tests by a well known UK laboratory. The varnish is available in Gloss, Matt and Satin in 250ml pots and 2.5 litre cans. There is also a custom foam roller kit (sold separately) for applying the varnish. The roller has very fine pores to ensure an even application, don’t be tempted to use a roller from your local DIY store as these are generally designed for use with thicker emulsion paints. The varnishes can also be applied to other canvases and Fine Art papers.

Finish

Before applying the varnish, you should ensure that the ink on the canvas has dried for at least 24 hours. Stir the varnish for 2 minutes and then pour a small amount into the tray, this has a milky white look but will dry clear. Load the roller evenly for consistency and then apply a single coat to the entire canvas making sure all areas are covered. You can apply more coats to increase the colour vibrancy but it will extend the drying time. The canvas will be dry in less than 20 minutes. Applying the varnish using the roller kit was a simple task, we didn’t encounter any problems, although you should apply it in a well ventilated room. The roller and tray can be washed in water after use and then re-used again. The finished canvas print can be mounted on acid free museum board or stretched onto a wooden frame, PermaJet can supply all the necessary items for this

Conclusion

Colours

PermaJet produced vibrant colours on our test reels

Large photographs printed on Canvas and displayed on a wall look impressive and can add another dimension to your pictures. The PermaJet Mercury Ultra White Canvas produced vibrant well saturated colours on our test photographs, together with an exceptional brilliant white canvas base. However, I should point out that we used our own custom profile created with an X-Rite i2Pro spectrophotometer. We were informed by PermaJet that this is the same spectrophotometer that they use to create their profiles, so in theory you should be able to achieve a similar result.  A coating of PermaProtect varnish ensures your photographs will be well protected against dirt and air borne pollutants.

 

Price:

  • 10 sheets of A3+          £ 47.95
  • 17” roll (15 mtrs)          £102.00
  • 24” roll (15 mtrs)          £144.00
  • 36” roll (15 mtrs)          £219.00
  • 44” roll (15 mtrs)          £264.00
  • 60” roll (15 mtrs)          £360.00
  • Foam roller kit              £    4.50
  • Varnish 250ml              £    7.49  Gloss, Satin & Matt
  • Varnish 2.5 Litre          £  53.99  Gloss, Satin & Matt

 

Highly recommended

www.permajet.com

Epson Expression Photo XP – 850 review

Most of today’s dedicated single function photo printers are A3 or larger. A big printer may be the ideal choice for photographers who own a well specified DSLR camera but in reality many hobbyist and home users probably don’t need to produce big prints on a regular basis.

So if you have a space restriction and want to produce great looking photos then maybe look no further than a Multifunction or All-in-One printer. Epson introduced their latest All in One printer the XP-850 in October 2012, this is a compact 4 in 1unit which is up to 40% smaller than previous models. So let’s put it to the test

Overview

The Epson Expression Photo XP-850 is a well specified compact all-in-one printer which features; six-colour dye based Claria Photo HD inks, a 8.8cm touch screen, flatbed scanner with automatic document feeder for single and double sided scanning, duplex printing, Epson Connect service with remote print driver and scan-to-cloud, automatic Wi-Fi setup and Wi-Fi direct connectivity, dual media trays, memory card reader, rear speciality media feed for heavyweight photo paper, CD and DVD printing, motorised control panel and output tray.

XP-850 installation screens

The unit is very easy to setup, once the inks have been installed and the heads have been primed you can install the printer drivers on your computer. Insert the Driver CD and chose the option you want. I have chosen the first option “Start & Connection”, this leads you into a second screen, from here you can just click on the Install button or select the Install Latest Version. This will take you to the Epson website and download the latest drivers. A series of splash screens are displayed to thank and re-assure you that you have made the right unit choice – we will see! Once completed you are prompted to choose which connection type you want to use, I have chosen the USB wired connection for this review.

Reassurance from Epson

Thank you from Epson for purchasing this printer – children not included

When the driver installation has been completed you can then choose the software that you want to install; Epson Print CD/DVD, Epson Online Guides, Photo Printing Software and Abby FineReader Sprint (OCR software). I have only chosen the first two options as I use Photoshop and PaintShop Pro and have no need for Optical Character Recognition software.

Select connection type and software

For further installation of hardware just watch our overview video for full details (top of the screen). In this review I just want to look at how well everything works, and of course the scan and print quality. So I will jump in straight away with our first test prints.

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Epson Expression XP-30 review

Photo-i has been live for over 10 years now and in this time we have reviewed almost all new printers, although the focus has been mainly on top of the range photo printers. In this review I want to take a look at the capability of an entry level printer the Epson Expression Home XP-30, a printer that only cost’s £39.99.

This the smallest A4 printer that Epson has produced to date, it’s aimed at the home user and student who may be short on space (and cash). The printer uses four individual Claria ink cartridges; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, which are available in Standard or XL sizes. Epson uses images on the cartridge packaging to clearly identify the right ink for each printer model, this ink set uses a photo of a Daisy flower.

The printer has a very small footprint of 390 x 215 x 130mm (Width x Depth x Height) and weight of 2.3kg. But don’t be put off by this small size, Epson have packed some very sophisticated technology into the box including, Epson’s Micro Piezo™ print head which uses 128 nozzles for black and 42 nozzles for each colour with a 3pl droplet size. The printer has a resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi.

The overall construction is perhaps not up to their top of the range models but nevertheless I don’t get the feeling that Epson have made any drastic money saving compromises on the quality of materials used.

Epson XP-30 ready to load inks

The printer has a two section rear gravity feed media holder with a simple grey slider to hold the paper in position. At the front is a two section tray with a folding flap to prevent printed pages from falling on the desk or floor. On the top are two buttons, Power and print cancel. The printer uses a USB connection, (cable not supplied), a mains cable is included together with four inks. And that is it, a simple no fuss printer.

Installation

Plug in the power cable and press the Power button, open the cover and the print head cradle moves into position ready for you to install the ink cartridges, remove the yellow tab on each cartridge and fit the inks into the printer.

Four ink cartridges are easy to fit

Next insert the Drivers CD and let the Wizard install the printer. The software connects to the Epson web site and downloads the latest drivers and on-line manual, this process also downloaded the latest firmware which requires you to turn the printer off and on again. The update took approx 2 minutes.  Epson’s Easy Photo Print software is also installed. When prompted, connect a USB cable to the printer and computer and that is it, we are now ready to produce the first print. The installation process took approx ten minutes.

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All-in-One Photo Printers for photographers

There is no shortage of photo capable printers, in fact you can pick up an entry level Epson printer for less than £40 (XP-30). However, having spent your cash on a decent camera and lenses you are probably going to want something that does justice to your camera equipment.

 

Canon, HP, Epson & Kodak

Most of today’s dedicated single function photo printers are now A3 or larger. A big printer may be ideal for digital cameras with 16 to 23 or more megapixels, but the downside is that large format printers take up a lot of desk space and the reality is that many hobbyist and home users probably don’t need to produce large prints on a regular basis. Of course large format printers are capable of printing A4 or 6×4 prints, but unless you intent to produce a lot of small prints then the extra cost of larger capacity ink cartridges may be an overkill, especially if the ink dries up before it is used.

Epson 3880 A2 printer

So if you have a space restriction and want to produce great looking photos then maybe look no further than a Multifunction or All-in-One printer. These printers incorporate a flatbed scanner with sufficient resolution for most scanning and copying work, memory card reader, WiFi and Ethernet, PictBridge, Remote printing, CD/DVD label printing and maybe a FAX capability. These units have become very popular due to their low cost, versatility and capability of producing high quality photographic prints.

In this review we will be looking at photo quality and photo capable multifunction printers that we consider to be worthy of your serious consideration. To clarify the difference between Photo Capable and Photo Quality, Photo Capable printers are usually supplied with four colours; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, referred to as CMYK. Photo Capable printers are great for day to day printing a variety of document types, including; text, newsletters, greeting cards, graphics and photos. Photo Quality printers generally include six or more inks, which include Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan, Light Magenta and Black. These are the printers that are going to reproduce the best quality photos. Some of the more advanced single function printers have 8 or more inks which may also include Light Black inks for cast free monochrome printing (B/W). However, regardless of which printer type you want to use, to achieve the best quality photos you need to use premium photo quality media (paper).

Multifunction printers can cost less than £50 or up to £250, obviously higher specified printers are going to cost more and no doubt produce better quality photos.  In this review we will take a look at five printers, from Kodak, Epson, Canon and HP, all our review printers are in the £90 to £250 range.

 

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