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Thread: Epson 3800+Harman FB AL Tidbit

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    Epson 3800+Harman FB AL Tidbit

    Just a little tidbit for any new 3800 owners with Harman FB AL (larger sheets).

    I love my 3800 and the Harman FB AL (normal and warmtone). However the paper will scratch if you so much as look at it sideways.

    On letter-size sheets, no problems with wheel/marks scratches. However on 13*19 and up FB AL, the extra flex of the paper seems to cause it to JUST touch the pizza wheels causing some fine marks visisble in the right light/angle.

    No such issues using rear feeder for other less-glossy papers at 13x19 or larger such as Ilford GFS, various satin and Pearls using rear feeder or for smaller sheets of any paper, including FB AL, using rear or sheet feeder.

    So, following Eric Chan's suggestions, used the front feeder for a 13x19 sheet - fed fine, worked great, no scratches, ghosting, etc. Just take your time carefully feed it in as can take a little getting used to.

    If anyone has any other ideas - or an easy way to remove the pizza wheels, I'm all ears ;>

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    Re: Epson 3800+Harman FB AL Tidbit

    Print > Page Setup > (Main Tab) Mode > Custom > Advanced > Paper Config > Paper Thickness - set to 4; also in the Paper Configuration Dialog Box: Platen Gap - set to Wide

    Give it a try.

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    Re: Epson 3800+Harman FB AL Tidbit

    In this case the paper settings were PGPP, thickness 5 (with FB AL at 327 mu it actually should have been 4..) and 'Wide'.

    Looks like the ink-swollen paper just kissed a couple of pizza wheels when exiting the print head area -> 2-3 parallel thin hairline marks in direction of paper travel in right light. Ink drying time set to default.
    Last edited by robmac; 25th January 2009 at 19:18.

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    Re: Epson 3800+ Large Sheet Harman FB AL

    Just some further thoughts. As an FYI these are B&W images via ABW.

    Again, have not noticed ANY issues printing any papers, regardless of gloss or thickness re: marks when limited to 8.5x11, only at 13x19+ and only on FB AL - because of the extra flex of the larger FB AL sheets and from my observations how the FB AL reacts to ink.

    1. As an aside, followed one poster's suggestion on another site and and used Thickness 5, Wider, loaded paper via top feeder, advanced the paper and let it sit, pre-curling as it were on the leading edge for a couple of minutes while readied the image for print and my Mac burned wood processing the file to the printer. The process helped quite a bit - only one faint short scratch on leading edge visible in just the right light.

    2. Looking at the prints (again only 13*19 or larger FB AL) it appears as if dark areas, once inked, swell/warp just enough vs lighter deposit areas to just breath across 1-2 pizza wheels when using the top or rear feeder. Front feeder (with backing board) is obviously not an issue. You can actually see the effect if you watch the paper start to emerge with a (B&W in my case) print you're familiar with - paper that went in flat has developed a slight wave form shape (peaks being heavily inked areas) as it emerges.

    3. Handling unprinted and then freshly printed 13x19 Ilford GFS and FB AL sheets you can tell the difference with how the papers react to ink. Both papers handle similarly when unprinted and handled by both outside edges - both hold their flat shape, no real desire to want to bend/flop, etc. Things change when freshly printed. Even though the GFS is marginally thinner (315 mu vs 327 mu) than the FB AL, the larger Harman sheets, once inked, handle more like damp darkroom prints - tend to want to bend/'flop', etc if held by the outer edges. On the other hand, the newly inked GFS will stay flat/rigid when held by the outer edges. Very little if any swelling or waveform behavior due to inking.

    4. While I like the uber detail the Harman delivers, am starting to develop a greater fondness for GFS in everyday use for B&W. With a smidgen extra output sharpening on the GFS, you'd have to look hard to spot the deltas in detail delivery between the two (sheen aside). The need to feed (larger sheets only) via the front with the Harman aside, the high gloss of the FB AL does have downsides. In addition to being VERY soft and EASILY scratched, every fleck of dust, etc jumps out at you, and the gloss can also be a little too reflective when hand viewing - you can see people shift the prints around to avoid glare from the glossy surface. The fact that GFS is also a lot cheaper than the FB AL also doesn't hurt matters any ;>

    Think I may limit my large FB AL use for those prints that I really want it for and then use the front feed method (barring a way to remove the 3800s pizza wheels).

    Another alternative (of many) for a glossy paper is of course EEF which has done really well in my testing at 8.5x11.

    A 4880 with it's vacuum retention system, especially with the current rebate, would be tempting, but the MK/PK swap costs look to be just NASTY (13% +/- of all ink carts - each way), vs the miniscule waste (and quick flipping) of the 3800.
    Last edited by robmac; 26th January 2009 at 05:50.

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    Re: Epson 3800+Harman FB AL Tidbit

    was having the same issue with the 17x25 size, I would get a surface scratch because of the wheels. Seems the ink was causing the paper to buckle.

    this was following Harman's instructions of wider, 5mm and +20 drying time.

    on a hunch, left the drying time compensation at zero thinking just get the paper past the pizza wheels FAST.

    worked. paper buckles but is already past the wheels when it does. no scratches.

    at least in my humidity/temp conditions...

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    Re: Epson 3800+Harman FB AL Tidbit

    Robert - interesting. My drying time was left at 0, BUT I was printing at 2880? You?

    That said, I've pretty well settled on GFS and the (VERY, VERY) surprisingly sweet Epson VFA. Does an amazing job on Color and with an ABW profile, B&W.

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    Re: Epson 3800+Harman FB AL Tidbit

    only 1440. the only difference I can see is that the 2880 image is slightly darker. do you see a difference?

    the GFS seemed too mat for me, haven't seen the VFA. velum?

    my standard was ilford multigrade fb from days of old. the harman reproduces that very closely. and I like what it does to color images, feels more like dye transfer to me.

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    Re: Epson 3800+Harman FB AL Tidbit

    And without the registration pins!

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    Re: Epson 3800+Harman FB AL Tidbit

    The 2880 was recommended by Eric Chan on his site (http://people.csail.mit.edu/ericchan...800/index.html). Never tried at 1440 on gloss (just matte).

    I am thinking maybe the extra ink laid down might be causing just enough incremental swelling vs your scenario.

    I like waht the Harman produces, but the scratching is a PITA and the GFS, even though a tad thinner than the Harman, handles better after inking to me - flexes less. the Harman sheets seems to distort more when inked - at 2880 mind you.

    The VFA or Epson Velvet Fine Art has some texture that seems to give images a more 3D pop. It also has amazing Dmax for a matte paper. I've tried all the usual high-end matte suspects and NONE come close to it. I was VERY surprised after the first print.

    The factory VFA profile is nice for color, but for B&W, download the free ABW profile from Eric's site - gives better results by far.

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    Re: Epson 3800+Harman FB AL Tidbit

    well I am glad that such a good paper (vfa) is matt. relieves me of trying it out

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    Re: Epson 3800+Harman FB AL Tidbit

    I hear you. I never liked matte. Must have tried 8-12 different samples from all the usual suspects. Colors were always washed out, weak blacks, too much texture, etc etc. The colors would be made better by custom profiles, but Dmax is Dmax. That is until, on a lark, I tried VFA. Damn near floored me.

    One interesting aspect of it is that the texture is only noticeable in areas laking ANY detail - in areas with any detail, the texture fades into the image but the paper's subtle texture, great saturation and high dMax give the images that extra 'depth' beyond what a SG or G paper does. I never would have thought it, but...

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    Re: Epson 3800+Harman FB AL Tidbit

    ok so you convinced me!

    is it like hannemuhle fine art pearl? sort of? that is my other fav. paper.

    sometimes the pearl is an issue with reflectance but it does impart a depth texture that enhances the print.

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    Re: Epson 3800+Harman FB AL Tidbit

    It is like the pearl in that any area with image detail seems to have no overt paper texture, BUT VFA is a very white and VERY matte paper. One issue with many matte pearl and satin paper I also didn't like was the reflectance off the paper texture in the right (wrong?) light. VFA lacks that entirely.

    Everyone's tastes are different, but try a small pack - you might like it. Jack F uses it and Eric C quite likes it as well (see comments on his site re: his fave papers).

    If you do try it, let me know what you think. Oh - you really need to do the damp finger test to pick the printable side - they are very close in appearance. You MAY find in some images with very dark areas you need to lift the darkest blacks/greys a bit - the paper's rendition of blacks is that good, especially if your used to other mattes/pearls, you might crush the darkest blacks if you don't soft proof carefully (for me anyway).

    Think matte with the blacks bordering on that of FB AL and exceptional good color saturation rendition. Just above my desk I have a recent small 8x10 close-focus color test shot of our red/black dog on a gray deck with his fave B&W stuffed toy taken with a 1Ds2 and Leica 35/2 at about F5.6 printed on VFA that is vivid, with exceptional detail in the fur, desk grain, toy texture that actually (I swear) seems to impart that "Mandler glow" the 35/2 is famous for. You'd also almost swear you could reach out and touch his fur - it has that much of a depth effect.

    You may hate it, which is cool, but as a semi-gloss/gloss devotee, it sure surprised me. The factory (color) profile as well - seems very accurate so far. The factory profile when printing ABW - not so much.

    My settings:

    Manual rear feeder
    1440 DPI
    High-speed off
    Thickness: 5 (driver will auto-select "5" when you chose VFA in paper choice anyway)
    Platen: Wide

    ABW - Eric Chan ABW profile, Dark, perceptual
    Color - factory profile, PS manages color, perceptual

    Have fun
    Last edited by robmac; 24th February 2009 at 11:04.

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