Are any of the older 13x19 printers capable of BO (black only) prints?

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momus

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My old BO prints still look pretty good, and they were done w/ just one cartridge full of Eboni Black carbon ink. They were made w/ Epson 2200 and 1280 printers, but those would be long dead now, probably. Would any of the later printers by Epson (or anyone) be capable of making decent BO prints? I'd prefer 13x19, but smaller might work.
 

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If by "BO" you mean "uses Eboni" the answer is probably no. That's because third party inks/pigments eventually (or quickly) kill all printers other than the 1280 (which dies of old age ). If by "BO" you mean "excellent black" I think you'll find that the multiple black/grey and other toner renditions in current Canon photo printers (Pro-1 and Pro-100) are better than BO because a) they don't clog/destroy and b) they do a great job emulating Portriga Rapid and other classic silver papers, using a wide variety of inkjet paper brands/types (I especially like Gold Fibre Silk from Ilford, Simply Elegant Gold Fiber (looks same as Ilford's) and various mattes such as Canon Pro Premium Matte and Epson Velvet Fine Art. If you even half try they are all capable of excellent black and white prints .
 

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Are you thinking along the lines of Epson Sure Color P800 or P900? There is a Black Only Print Option plus Photo Black and Matte Black choices of output.
 

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"black" inks and pigments are not visually as black as many think. Similar situation with tones on B&W silver paper. Toner typically helps with silver paper and helps bigtime with inkjet.

IMO the ideal is to tone pigment in relation to paper and even anticipated viewing light, which varies more than does the old Kodak stuff. The ideal is to tone in accord with viewing light...which is typically warm in households but cold in "office lighting" ...I make a point of viewing test prints in various settings before committing to big prints.
 
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momus

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Well, it turns out that this is an idea that came and went upon examination. It started one day when I saw an old 13x19 black only print from days past laying on the couch, and it looked really good! But then I remembered what it had been like to make: stuck hour after hour in front of a computer monitor, and dealing w/ cranky printers that ate expensive inks and papers, the ink clogs, the whole, miserable, nine yards.

To get the great tones that BO print had any other way (BO meaning black ink only, and using carbon based Eboni Black ink) would mean getting an etching press and a lot of equipment, or taking a class just to use their studio, although there may be some non toxic/nonhazardous ways to make etchings now. In the meantime, back to the darkroom.
 
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jtk

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Use NIK to come up with
Well, it turns out that this is an idea that came and went upon examination. It started one day when I saw an old 13x19 black only print from days past laying on the couch, and it looked really good! But then I remembered what it had been like to make: stuck hour after hour in front of a computer monitor, and dealing w/ cranky printers that ate expensive inks and papers, the ink clogs, the whole, miserable, nine yards.

To get the great tones that BO print had any other way (BO meaning black ink only, and using carbon based Eboni Black ink) would mean getting an etching press and a lot of equipment, or taking a class just to use their studio, although there may be some non toxic/nonhazardous ways to make etchings now. In the meantime, back to the darkroom.

In ancient times BO was an almost good solution for people who were prepared to discard the Epson printer itself...sooner or later. The answer is Canon, who makes it's $$ by selling proprietary inks/pigments to people whose printers are reliable (i.e. Canon printers, not Epson printers).
 

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Incidentally, pure carbon isn't black only , it's somewhat red. That means you need to use certain papers to neutralize the red or you need to be non-critical skills-wise.
 

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My poorly explained point is that carbon, itself, isn't pure black in "daylight" lighting...many hobbiests have chased that idea of B&W perfection while ignoring the color characteristics of ambient/room lighting and most photo papers, which are more neutral than carbon itself. The idea of pure black is amusing but it's only that, an idea.
 

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IMO your limiting your options and quality when printing with black ink only. How can you match it to a desired outcome.
 
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jtk

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IMO your limiting your options and quality when printing with black ink only. How can you match it to a desired outcome.

Yes. For example, wouldn't you like to make brown-toned prints, or prints that look like Agfa's Portriga Rapid? Inkjet prints can look like that easily with slight changes in printer adjustment AND/OR simply by using warm toned paper (my favorite is Hahnemuhle Photo Matt Fibre Duo). Neither approach is nearly as effective with conventionally cold papers.
 
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fwiw hardly anybody, including hardly any galleries, view any sort of print...including inkjet prints, in "daylight" quality light. They mostly view everything under some sort of tungsten light (including plain old fahioned light bulbs). In other words they view prints under warm light or..sometimes...under real daylight.

For my own purposes I view my test prints first under tungsten, then maybe window light (which is cold sometimes and warm others).

Hardly anybody who followed Clayton Jones / Black Only is/was aware that "pure black" is blackish only because cyan is added to the fundamental red-tint of genuine carbon.

Darkroom silver gel prints offer one variety of black, but that's not an "official" or absolute black, it's just the way silver looks...and the whiteness is not even desirable to people who tone their prints or instead use warm-tone silver gel paper (such as Agfa's Portriga Rapid...which isn't available any more)

Epson's early "Enhanced Matte" was initially called "archival" but the paper itself shifted to a faint warm tone after a couple of weeks out of the box, no matter what kind of light. Many of us loved that paper until we realized what was happening. The problem had nothing to do with the pigment, it had to do with the "brightener".

My favorite Epson paper was "Exhibition Fiber" and didn't suffer from that problem...I think Epson realized and corrected that Enhanced Matte problem maybe 15 years ago.
 
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momus

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IMO your limiting your options and quality when printing with black ink only

This is true, but w/ Tri-X, the grain looked really cool when scanned and printed in black ink only. You need the right paper and ink though, as well as the right image. Skies could be a problem. The ink I was using was a carbon ink and 100% archival.

As much as I'd like to try the BO printing again, it's artistic suicide to actually do it. Selling or even showing a print in a gallery would be a problem, and who knows how long the inkjet papers last if they have coatings and OB's? It doesn't sound all that archival, really.
 

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As much as I'd like to try the BO printing again, it's artistic suicide to actually do it. Selling or even showing a print in a gallery would be a problem, and who knows how long the inkjet papers last if they have coatings and OB's? It doesn't sound all that archival, really.

I'd hazard a guess that the statistics will show that vast majority of gallery prints now are digital - a "darkroom" print is now much more the exception than the rule.
 
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I'd hazard a guess that the statistics will show that vast majority of gallery prints now are digital - a "darkroom" print is now much more the exception than the rule.

And the silver gelatin papers available today include optical brightening agents (OBAs) too. Only some inkjet papers lack OBAs.
 

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Not that this will add much to the conversation here, but I have a print that I bought from a photographer more than 20 years ago that was printed with an Epson 1270, I believe BO, and on cheap Epson glossy paper. I've stored it in the envelope I received it in and in the dark over all these years and, though I haven't looked at it for a couple of years, the last time I did it looked as good as the day I got it. Too long ago to remember specifics, but I really don't think any "special" black ink was used; just the Epson dye ink. Honestly, it has totally amazed me that it has lasted this long!
 

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It's hard to beat the deep velvety blacks produced by a piezography-modified Epson printer where all the colors are replaced with different backs (7 blacks vs 3 _ matte or gloss that are standard). https://piezography.com

.I've seen a few wonderful piezo prints...but it's also hard to beat a longer-surviving Epson with OEM or a 99.99% clog-free Canon Pro with its own OEM...which switches from color to B&W and back with same ink set (just in case you want to do both.
 

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Not that this will add much to the conversation here, but I have a print that I bought from a photographer more than 20 years ago that was printed with an Epson 1270, I believe BO, and on cheap Epson glossy paper. I've stored it in the envelope I received it in and in the dark over all these years and, though I haven't looked at it for a couple of years, the last time I did it looked as good as the day I got it. Too long ago to remember specifics, but I really don't think any "special" black ink was used; just the Epson dye ink. Honestly, it has totally amazed me that it has lasted this long!

I was amazed at the beauty of the first Epson B&W I'd seen, and bummed to see them turning purple and white after hanging for a couple of years in elegant chamber of conference room. The current Epson pigments, like Canon's are more stable.
 
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Alan9940

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I was amazed at the beauty of the first Epson B&W I'd seen, and bummed to see them turning purple and white after hanging for a couple of years in elegant chamber of conference room. The current Epson pigments, like Canon's are more stable.

Remember I said mine was stored in the dark? No question that these early dye-based prints weren't anything close to archival. Actually, the pigments of old were only slightly better. Back in the early days (early 2000's) I was involved with a group mixing our own B&W inksets in an effort to produce better B&W prints. We never got very far with it, but it sure was a learning experience.

Yep, the current pigment inks are a lot more stable. The only thing I don't like about my Epson printer is the constant maintenance to avoid clogs. And, I don't have the latest which have both gloss and matte black on board.
 
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...current pigment inks are a lot more stable...

Note that I don't sell my photography and print using dye inks, so I'm not really concerned with stability beyond what the actuarial tables say I've got left, i.e. a couple of decades with luck. However, if someone shooting digital were interested in putting together a small archive of family pictures that many generations of their descendants would have available, I suggest viewing the following on vimeo. PHOTRIO's software won't display the link directly, so go to it at:

vimeo dot com / 738958237/72f7e8e062​

replace the "dot" with an actual dot and remove all spaces.

The printer's Web site is here:

 

Alan9940

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Note that I don't sell my photography and print using dye inks, so I'm not really concerned with stability beyond what the actuarial tables say I've got left, i.e. a couple of decades with luck. However, if someone shooting digital were interested in putting together a small archive of family pictures that many generations of their descendants would have available, I suggest viewing the following on vimeo. PHOTRIO's software won't display the link directly, so go to it at:

vimeo dot com / 738958237/72f7e8e062​

replace the "dot" with an actual dot and remove all spaces.

The printer's Web site is here:


I don't sell my photography either and, honestly, I like the B&W prints on RR Big Bend Baryta 310 from my Canon Pro-100 better than most any B&W print I've made off my Epson R2880.

I've watched that video and his process is very intriguing, albeit too expensive for my budget.
 
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...I like the B&W prints on RR Big Bend Baryta 310 from my Canon Pro-100...

I make black and white prints using a Canon PRO-100 too, in my case on Hahnemuhle FineArt Baryta Satin. Have you tried that paper? If so, how would you say it compares to Big Bend Baryta 310, especially in terms of surface gloss? Thanks in advance.
 
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