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Thread: Current Best Options for B&W printers

  1. #1
    Senior Member chrism's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
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    Current Best Options for B&W printers

    I'm getting pretty disillusioned with inkjet printers. Some years back, I bought an HP7660 because of its PhotoGray cartridge and was very happy with the prints, which were limited to 8.5x11. Briefly I went on to an Epson 2400, then an HPB9180, and finally an Epson 3000. All three worked well initially, but soon developed problems after a few system updates on my Macs, even though I installed all offered printer driver updates (even eradicated existing drivers and downloading the latest from the manufacturer's sites). Eventually each has suffered a deterioration in quality that is truly disheartening. The 2400 went through a trial of the QuadTone RIP, and even piezography black refillable cartridges (that rarely worked and spilled ink all over the paper when they did print. Briefly I went back to darkroom printing, but it was never my thing and I missed the ability to make digital adjustments on the images (I mostly use film and have invested more in expensive scanners than a sane person ought to do). The R3000 is beginning to act up. Black areas have a blue sheen. Lines across the print despite spending lots of ink on cleaning cycles. To top it off, I was so frustrated today that I printed a photo from the 7660 - lovely result! I'm happy to keep using the 7660 as long as it works and cartridges are available, but it's bound to give up the ghost one of these days. What's the best option these days for B&W photo printing if you don't particularly care about not being able to do A3? I've never had a Canon printer, so I know nothing about them. The HP site shows pretty much only multi-function machines that don't seem attuned to higher quality photo printing. Epson seem to restrict their photo-respectable offerings to the A3 printers, and I don't see any reason to replace my R3000 with another one the same.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Washington, DC Area
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    Re: Current Best Options for B&W printers

    Hi Chris,

    You seem to have invested in high quality links in every part of your image processing chain. For top-quality B&W, I would recommend that you try the Epson 3880 printer and Cone Piezography inks. I know that you indicated a past experience with the 2400 - that was quite a while ago.

    The 3880 is a very reliable printer, prints A2, and the Cone cartridge system for it is highly evolved. The Glossy Overprint for glossy papers makes B&W prints that are the best I have seen in inkjet.

    Personally, I now use an Epson 4880 that is dedicated to B&W with a cone Selenium MPS inkset and have been very happy with the results - the printers does not clog and behaves well.

    You can find several people, including cone studios, to make a test print from one of your favorite files to see the results before you make a commitment.

    Good luck in your search.
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  3. #3
    Super Duper
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    Nov 2007
    Ithaca, NY
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    Re: Current Best Options for B&W printers

    I realize that this is a relatively old thread, but I would like to suggest another option for Mac and Canon iPF printer users. I'm still using an old printing RIP from Bowhaus named "True Black and White". It hasn't been updated for several years, but despite all of the Mac OS updates (notorious for screwing up print drivers) this RIP still works perfectly fine for monochrome printing to my Canon iPF6100 with stock Lucia inks. I particularly like to use TrueB&W for printing sepia and warm tones which, can lead to problematic metamerism using standard RGB print drivers. The RIP uses minimal amounts of color inks that can produce metamerism. One of my favorite printing profiles is for a neutral/warm tone on Canson Platine. I used a QTR-RGB icc proofing profile here to create a toned image for screen viewing of an image taken recently with the Pentax 645z and FA 45-85 lens.

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