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Thread: New to LF Printing... where to start?

  1. #1
    Shelby Lewis
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    New to LF Printing... where to start?

    Hey All,

    I was just basically GIVEN an epson 7800. It has been sitting for a while, so given the chance that I can get past the clogged head... I'm about to drop into the world of large format printing. It's something I've wanted to do for a LONG time.

    The printer itself was acquired in a business merger by a biz associate of mine and has been sitting idle for a while (NOT GOOD)... and I've done a bit of homework on how I might get it running again.

    The good part? In the printer's menus, the service life indicators show almost NO USE...

    So, if you have a moment... I'd be interested in your take on fine art matte papers as well as smooth surface "traditional" photo surfaces (including glossy surfaces). I've always been a matte surface person, but there are ssssoooo many beautiful papers out there. I think, in the end, I'm more interested in natural papers without OBAs that would have the greatest potential for longevity in combination with beauty... any of you that know me know that my work features people pretty prominently... and I have some fine art portraiture projects on the horizon.

    I'd also be interested in thoughts on current web resources for printing... and maybe some info on print head unclogging (even though I think I've found most of the sites out there).

    Thanks All!!!

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    Re: New to LF Printing... where to start?

    It's hard to beat the Harman papers...whether for matte or glossy...The CrystalJet RC is a good standard photo paper like old RC paper, and the Baryta Fiber papers are beautiful in both matte and glossy. The glossy looks the most like a real darkroom print of any inkjet paper I have used. I have standardized on Harman for my printing service. Most people (here at least) don't want to pay for the better papers though, so if you are selling work keep that in mind. Unless they are connoisseurs, people will generally opt for the cheapest paper they can get, so my take is to find the best cheap paper that I can be completely satisfied with. The CrystalJet RC is that for me (and I am sure you can find cheaper papers, but probably not ones that are as good for the price).
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
    My lab is here: http://www.customphotolab.is and on facebook

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    Re: New to LF Printing... where to start?

    once you select a paper, i recommend you get a custom profile made, in the $20 range. they send you a test file which you print with color management turned off, send the print back and they e-mail the the profile. works great.
    I don't the profile maker, will have to check my records

    http://www.drycreekphoto.com/Learn/profiles.htm
    Last edited by jlm; 10th May 2010 at 14:53.

  4. #4
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: New to LF Printing... where to start?

    Thanks Guys... much appreciated. I'll give it all a look and get back.

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    Re: New to LF Printing... where to start?

    inkjet art for profiles, $25 per paper type

    www.inkjetart.com

    jm

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    Re: New to LF Printing... where to start?

    If you plan to make a lot of profiles, another option would be to use Chromix's profiling service. ColorValet Pro is a great service if you like experimenting a lot or using a lot of different profiles. They will make an unlimited number of profiles for you for one printer over the course of 18 months. It is 179 bucks. So if you do more than a couple papers, or want to re-profile every once in awhile, it is a very good deal.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
    My lab is here: http://www.customphotolab.is and on facebook

  7. #7
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: New to LF Printing... where to start?

    Thanks guys for the all the suggestions MUCH appreciated.

    So... I've replaced the majority of the cartridges with new-old-stock ones that were given to me with the printer... ran about 10 head cleanings (no power clean)... and replaced the matte black with photo black since the sinlge roll of paper on the printer appears to be some sort of generic epson professional glass photo paper.

    guess what.... WE'RE UP AND RUNNING.

    Even after being in storage and not being used, the head and all appears to be in perfect condition. I've got only about 10' of paper, but a printer in basically new condition that's full of ink.

    Installed the drivers and then pulled up some sony a900 print files that went to WHCC this past summer ('09). Soft proofed them with my best guestimate paper profile (Epson 7800 PGPP 250)... made some mild adjustments... sharpened a bit more.

    WOW!!! I know this is an older generation printer, but even with approximate (and uninformed) printer settings, this thing really turns out beautiful color and sharpness. I can see I'll be able to sharpen even a bit more than I'm used to if I want.

    Anyway... just thought I'd share an enthusiastic moment from someone who's brand new to the use of large format photo printing. I can see this is going to be a fun experience.

    Cheers!

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    Re: New to LF Printing... where to start?

    A second vote for the Harman papers, especially the Harman Gloss FB Al.

    In addition to inkjetart.com, Atlex is a good source for supplies as well.

    http://www.atlex.com/

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: New to LF Printing... where to start?

    Shelby,

    Congrats on your printer!

    I know it may seem odd to some, but this is what I was told by an Epson tech---and in practice I have found to be true.

    Keep the humidity levels up in your printing area. Apparently the humidity keeps the print heads from clogging. I've only experienced one true head clog early on---can't recall if it was on the 7800 or the 9800, but after talking to an Epson tech, I removed my dehumidifyer from my studio and bought a hygrometer. Since then---I have not experienced any head clogs, only some errant media (canvas dust) that was easy to remove with a nozzle check. Not one power clean ever. And yes, I've left my printer unused for extended periods on vacation, without any issue whatsoever.

    If you are in drier climes, it may be worthwhile to invest in a humidifyer. I've got a couple nice extra ones....brand new and in the box. Don't ask me how/why!

  10. #10
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: New to LF Printing... where to start?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    I know it may seem odd to some, but this is what I was told by an Epson tech---and in practice I have found to be true.

    Keep the humidity levels up in your printing area. Apparently the humidity keeps the print heads from clogging.
    Fantastic! I'm moving to southern Louisiana in August... home of year around 60%+ humidity, lol. And it'll be plenty humid here in TN the rest of summer.

    I'm betting this thing was stored in a humid basement for the last few years... and it was in indianapolis (which is pretty humid in the summer... not so much in the winter). Sometimes you get lucky, huh?!

    Thanks Ken for the advice. Much appreciated!

  11. #11
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    Re: New to LF Printing... where to start?

    Shelby,

    I cannot think of a better person for lady luck to shine on...! Well done and keep printing, i was talking to a couple of the guys in B&H last week, in the printer dept, like me, they rave about the Ilford gold silk, it really did set the scene a little while ago. Also, Epson now have reduced the price of their Exhibition Fiber, basically nobody bought it at the silly high prices they previously wanted. Now it's a deal.

    The most common ink to need a clean from time to time is the Yellow, it is the heaviest of all the inks and does clog a little... but not in your part of the world fella...

    Again, well done...!!!

    Best to you and yours,

    Steve

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