Going down the Piezogrpahy rabbit hole!

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We found ourselves with 2 24" pigment printers... A Canon Pro-2100, and an Epson P6000. How did that happen? Well a customer of ours decided photography was not for him and just up and donated the 2100 printer. I think for day to day color printing the Canon is a better choice. No ink switching!

What to do with the P6000 then? Well we did try to sell it briefly but nobody made an offer really. One person was half-heartedly interested. Word to the wise, before you buy a large format inkjet printer, you better have a plan to use it regularly and/or embrace the money pit that it is. Honestly, these things would make boat owners look askance.

Well when you have an unused and basically unsellable 24" printer, you should make use of it! So I've ordered the Piezography Pro starter ink set. In the past I've been skeptical of the technology but recently I've seen a few things and spoken to a few people who have convinced me it's still relevant. I'm particularly interested in the gloss optimizer and the improved dmax on matte papers.

The learning curve is pretty enormous but I'm going to get started on the conversion soon. Current literature from Cone Press indicates that you should just hot swap the inks and do various printing runs to purge out the color casts from the old inks.

Maybe it's 100% the real deal, maybe it's pure snake oil. Either way I'm going to find out. One thing I'm excited about is the ability to make real-deal 720DPI prints from our Eversmart Supreme II scans.

The first paper I'm going to profile is the new "Arches 88" inkjet paper from Canson.
 

Steven Lee

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Unfortunately I do not have enough volume to justify owning a printer, but I've been casually curious about all things photography, including the Piezography thing. One question I wish I could find the answer for is: if this is so amazing, how come a small company with limited resources managed to keep this goodness all to themselves, with behemoths like Canon staying behind? This never happens with any other form of tech. The larger players either develop their own technology or simply acquire the upstart who owns the IP.
 

Alan9940

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Good luck! I went with inkjetmall's software and inks back in the day when their solution was really the only solution for B&W printing on the desktop; this was something like 20 years ago. I'll spare you a long, hair-pulling story but suffice it to say that I eventually moved on to ImagePrint using the Epson EOM inks and I never looked back. Looking forward to hearing of your experience.
 
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Unfortunately I do not have enough volume to justify owning a printer, but I've been casually curious about all things photography, including the Piezography thing. One question I wish I could find the answer for is: if this is so amazing, how come a small company with limited resources managed to keep this goodness all to themselves, with behemoths like Canon staying behind? This never happens with any other form of tech. The larger players either develop their own technology or simply acquire the upstart who owns the IP.

Well it's pretty much a niche within a niche. When they developed the technique inkjet B&W was pretty bad. It was challenging to get even a neutral tone. You might say in response Epson developed ABW mode (advanced black and white). I haven't done any testing yet so I really don't know, but according to people who do Piezography you get better dmax, higher resolution, and smoother gradients. The downside is...no color prints. That's pretty limiting! Like I said, the only reason we're in a position to do it is because we have 2 printers at the moment. I'm looking forward to seeing for myself whether it lives up to the hype.
 

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The dozen or so Piezography prints that Cone Editions made for me are fabulous. And I didn't opt for any of the fancier papers they offer, just the proof Hahnemuhle stock. Well worth the investment if you can justify it.
 

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@NortheastPhotographic re: limited market for B&W-only printers as an explanation makes sense. I could have thought about this before. I guess my biases clouded my thinking here :smile: I can't imagine a color photograph on a wall being appropriate in any kind of interior setting, except maybe at a dentist office. To me all printing is B&W printing. Will be looking forward to your updates here. Thanks!
 

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Doesn't anybody here make their own piezo prints? That's the question. If a person can't make good B&W inkjet using OEM pigments and PS, why imagine piezo would be better?

In long-term B&W inkjet print exchanges it's been obvious that piezo could look great...when used by people who did as well without piezo. The best tools for me are OEM Canon and NIK/PS.
 

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Doesn't anybody here make their own piezo prints? That's the question. If a person can't make good B&W inkjet using OEM pigments and PS, why imagine piezo would be better?

In long-term B&W inkjet print exchanges it's been obvious that piezo could look great...when used by people who did as well without piezo. The best tools for me are OEM Canon and NIK/PS.
Why, when I can send my files to be piezo printed by Cone editions.
 

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I currently run a 3880 with Piezography Pro inks and a P800 with OEM inks. The 3880 was converted to Piezo Pro roughly four years ago. Before that I ran a 1440 with Piezography warm neutral inks for several years.

To me the strength/uniqueness of the Piezo Pro system is the control one has over toning, especially split toning. One can split tone in Photoshop and print as a color image but the Piezo Pro system is easier (once you get over the learning curve), quicker and you have finer control.

My feeling is that when Piezography was introduced it was well ahead of OEM black and white printing. However, over time the OEM systems have improved.

The bottom line for me, though I love my Piezo Pro prints, is that when my 3880 goes south (as all electromechanical devices will eventually) I am unlikely to replace it. The difference in Epson ABW prints and Piezo Pro prints is simply not large enough for me to justify the expense of replacing the Piezo Pro system.

--- Frank

P.S. It is interesting to me that one of the selling points about Piezography early on was that that having 6 or 7 shade of black/gray was advantagous in term of smooth tones. However, when the Piezo Pro system was introduced they reduced the number of levels of black/gray in order to introduce the flexibility of warm to cool variations. As with everything in life one has to make choices and compromises.
 

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Why, when I can send my files to be piezo printed by Cone editions.

Like everything else in photography/art the decision to "do it yourself" vs. "send it out" is a matter of what you value most. Neither approach is better than the other... it is just different strokes for different folks.

Personally, I like the ability to experiment and the instant feedback that comes with the "do it yourself" approach.
 

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. Word to the wise, before you buy a large format inkjet printer, you better have a plan to use it regularly and/or embrace the money pit that it is.

They found this out in Mesilla, NM some time ago. Somebody had managed to get a huge pile of money from somewhere, and a brand new building was built to house digital art galleries, digital printing classes, etc. Unfortunately, they didn't seem to have done much, if any, market research beforehand, so all these expensive LF printers w/ inksets that cost many hundreds of dollars just sat there gathering dust. I'm not sure they sold even one piece of digitally produced art.

The one good thing I got out of going there came from a discussion w/ one of the gallery sales people. I asked her if she preferred the job there to her past experience in a painting gallery. She said, are you kidding me? These photographers are nothing like those painters. It didn't matter if the Mona Lisa was on their walls, they would march right up to her and demand to know why THEIR work was being hung in such a LOUSY place in the gallery!

I actually think that's sort of a good attitude to have. Location, location, location.
 

jtk

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They found this out in Mesilla, NM some time ago. Somebody had managed to get a huge pile of money from somewhere, and a brand new building was built to house digital art galleries, digital printing classes, etc. Unfortunately, they didn't seem to have done much, if any, market research beforehand, so all these expensive LF printers w/ inksets that cost many hundreds of dollars just sat there gathering dust. I'm not sure they sold even one piece of digitally produced art.

The one good thing I got out of going there came from a discussion w/ one of the gallery sales people. I asked her if she preferred the job there to her past experience in a painting gallery. She said, are you kidding me? These photographers are nothing like those painters. It didn't matter if the Mona Lisa was on their walls, they would march right up to her and demand to know why THEIR work was being hung in such a LOUSY place in the gallery!

I actually think that's sort of a good attitude to have. Location, location, location.

fwiw the Mesilla NM operation focuses in classes, not on sales. My second-hand impression is that the groups that gather there to study with notable photographers find that gallery/lecture format quite rewarding.

I don't think this OT has anything to do with "large format printers."
 

jtk

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I currently run a 3880 with Piezography Pro inks and a P800 with OEM inks. The 3880 was converted to Piezo Pro roughly four years ago. Before that I ran a 1440 with Piezography warm neutral inks for several years.

To me the strength/uniqueness of the Piezo Pro system is the control one has over toning, especially split toning. One can split tone in Photoshop and print as a color image but the Piezo Pro system is easier (once you get over the learning curve), quicker and you have finer control.

My feeling is that when Piezography was introduced it was well ahead of OEM black and white printing. However, over time the OEM systems have improved.

The bottom line for me, though I love my Piezo Pro prints, is that when my 3880 goes south (as all electromechanical devices will eventually) I am unlikely to replace it. The difference in Epson ABW prints and Piezo Pro prints is simply not large enough for me to justify the expense of replacing the Piezo Pro system.

--- Frank

P.S. It is interesting to me that one of the selling points about Piezography early on was that that having 6 or 7 shade of black/gray was advantagous in term of smooth tones. However, when the Piezo Pro system was introduced they reduced the number of levels of black/gray in order to introduce the flexibility of warm to cool variations. As with everything in life one has to make choices and compromises.

fgorga, how many photos will you print this week? I typically make a half dozen fwiw. Currently reprinting a set of portraits and a set of historic prints...
 

fgorga

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fgorga, how many photos will you print this week? I typically make a half dozen fwiw. Currently reprinting a set of portraits and a set of historic prints...

I, too, make maybe half a dozen prints in a typical week but it varies a lot. I sometimes go a week or two without printing anything. I belong to a monthly print sharing group so I print for that most months.

Living in NH (relatively cool and humid) I very rarely have any clogging issues with either system. On the rare occasion when I do, a single, simple head cleaning does the trick.
 

Pieter12

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Like everything else in photography/art the decision to "do it yourself" vs. "send it out" is a matter of what you value most. Neither approach is better than the other... it is just different strokes for different folks.

Personally, I like the ability to experiment and the instant feedback that comes with the "do it yourself" approach.

Do it yourself inkjet printing is a far cry from every other process. Too much trial and error plus buggy equipment. I do some inkjet printing at home, but for the important stuff, I send it to a pro.
 
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jtk

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I, too, make maybe half a dozen prints in a typical week but it varies a lot. I sometimes go a week or two without printing anything. I belong to a monthly print sharing group so I print for that most months.

Living in NH (relatively cool and humid) I very rarely have any clogging issues with either system. On the rare occasion when I do, a single, simple head cleaning does the trick.

I highly recommend Frank's website and blog, and especially his dedication.

fwiw I've never had clog issues with Canon Pro printer but couldn't afford to continue head cleanings with Epson (which when operating made prints as beautiful as Canon's).

Photo has always relied on trial and error at certain stages (eg in zone system). Buggy equipment represents operator error for the most part.
 

jtk

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We found ourselves with 2 24" pigment printers... A Canon Pro-2100, and an Epson P6000. How did that happen? Well a customer of ours decided photography was not for him and just up and donated the 2100 printer. I think for day to day color printing the Canon is a better choice. No ink switching!

What to do with the P6000 then? Well we did try to sell it briefly but nobody made an offer really. One person was half-heartedly interested. Word to the wise, before you buy a large format inkjet printer, you better have a plan to use it regularly and/or embrace the money pit that it is. Honestly, these things would make boat owners look askance.

Well when you have an unused and basically unsellable 24" printer, you should make use of it! So I've ordered the Piezography Pro starter ink set. In the past I've been skeptical of the technology but recently I've seen a few things and spoken to a few people who have convinced me it's still relevant. I'm particularly interested in the gloss optimizer and the improved dmax on matte papers.

The learning curve is pretty enormous but I'm going to get started on the conversion soon. Current literature from Cone Press indicates that you should just hot swap the inks and do various printing runs to purge out the color casts from the old inks.

Maybe it's 100% the real deal, maybe it's pure snake oil. Either way I'm going to find out. One thing I'm excited about is the ability to make real-deal 720DPI prints from our Eversmart Supreme II scans.

The first paper I'm going to profile is the new "Arches 88" inkjet paper from Canson.

Dedicated effort by people who alread made great B&W with OEM inkjet has obviously produced great prints in B&W inkjet print exchanges. The ability of OEM in skilled hands to produce both great color and great B&W is an important virtue.
 

Pieter12

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Photo has always relied on trial and error at certain stages (eg in zone system). Buggy equipment represents operator error for the most part.
While certainly true, I find the mechanical aspect of inkjet printing issues to be frustrating and given the cost of ink and paper, expensive. Maybe I just have just had limited bad experience wit the printers I've owned, but there is a limit to how many printers I can buy. My best prints have come from an Epson R3000, and when everything works it makes beautiful prints. But I have run into silly and frustrating problems with it that have soured me on using it unless necessary.
 
OP
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Yeah the bugs can be ridiculous. I was making 20x30s last week. Qimage was sending out partial frames so I made 2 or 3 of those before I switched to LR. Then the printer would just end a job before completing it. The solution, well it looks like I had the wrong P6000 selected on the network, even though they're both the same printer. Okayyyyy. So I finally get one completed print out. The next one comes out and there are a few splotches which probably happened because I tried to catch the print after the cut. So, out goes another one. Lots and lots of wasted paper, ink, time.

Some of this stuff you don't run into after you get into the groove of printing but in general for the occasional user it would be maddening.
 
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