Old 02-08-2016   #41
Vince Lupo
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About a year ago I met a Piezography aficionado here on RFF and we exchanged prints from the same files. My peer group and I couldn't see a consistent improvement in his Piezo prints over my three-toned ones, but a number of variables weren't under control.

Kirk

BTW, the blog mentions inadequacy of Cone's tiny sample prints. I bought both sets, and IMO they're just awful: besides being too small to see, they exhibit considerable inconsistency in shadow detail; and some, with a proper viewing light, even look green. I wish some more convincing samples were available.
I've posted my thoughts in other Piezography threads, but I went through the Piezography conversion with my Epson 3880. Like you, I could not see any discernible difference in prints made with it and made with Epson OEM inks (actually, when I did 'blind' side-by-side tests with friends and my wife, they all seemed to prefer the Epson prints). I think I'm a pretty good printer and have about 35 years of printing experience (both darkroom and digital), plus I exhibit and sell my black and white work (just sold four pieces to one new collector this past week, and I have a solo show at the Leica Store in DC later this year). Personally, I'm sticking with the Epson inks, as the prints look great, are consistent, and there is the odd occasion when I need to print colour for a client (so it's nice to have that flexibility). They are often mistaken for fiber-based darkroom prints (even by those with experienced eyes). But to each their own. While I'm sure that the prints from Cone inks are indeed excellent, I personally think the prints from the OEM Epson inks look every bit as good.

BTW if you're using a 3880, one way to reduce the possibility of 'pizza wheels' is to use the 'front manual feed' mode.
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Old 02-08-2016   #42
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Vince, I greatly enjoyed your BW series on Flickr called Mapping the West.

Kirk
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Old 02-08-2016   #43
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Vince, I greatly enjoyed your BW series on Flickr called Mapping the West.

Kirk
Many thanks - I'm heading back out there next week for two weeks.
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Old 02-09-2016   #44
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Oh to be as young as you guys!

I've received answers from Jon Cone to my question about what's forthcoming, and he didn't say it was Top Secret or even confidential, so here are his 3 points:

1. Re: the rumor of a new Pro system, he's aiming for April;

2. He'll have a version in a couple of weeks for Epson P600, but won't have one for P800 because it can use none but Epson inks.

3. The Canon project from a number of years back was abandoned because once a Canon printer has been used for color inks, it can't be cleaned/purged/converted for other inks. I'm particularly sorry about this because I have an idle Canon 6300 with vacuum pump that I was hoping could be converted.

Let me assure you and Harry that I haven't given up and do plan to try Piezo printing when the new products are available. I could use a P600 and limit myself to 13x19, but sometimes I merge files into a square and would like to be able to do 14x14" on 17" paper (same image area as 2:3 format printed 11.5x17.25" on 13x19"). So my best bet is to keep waiting to see what printers the Pro system is designed to use best. Maybe I can abandon the 24" Canon and replace it with a used 7xxx Epson with vacuum, if that's really what works best.

Anyway I'll keep reading your experiences and Jeff's blog regularly, and with thanks.

Kirk
Kirk,

I heard about the lock out on the P800 that does not allow using non OEM ink. I would be hopeful that Jon Cone will eventually figure out a workaround. He has a reputation and work ethic of a Pit Bull. This is a guy who never gives up...

In comparing my 3880 to the 7800, it is basically one is a Pro printer and the other is not. Even if 13x19 is your size the paper handling is kinda wonderful on my 7800. I down loaded the service manual for free; they made many and it was a long production run; parts are still available; and it is not beyond the scope of a clever guy to keep a 78XX around for decades like an old pickup truck. For the long-long haul, and because I am like Jon Cone (stubborn), I went with the Pro printer.

I first started looking into Piezography three years ago and over the two years before I built and started actually using my system a lot of things developed. My system is kinda basic, but I can see me hunting for another 78XX; for parts; for a seperate dedicated GO printer; for a different inkset; for a backup...

Keep posting. I never imagined that I could have a studio like I now have. Please explain what advances might be in the Pro System over what I have now? My understanding is the Pro System has seamless digital negative capabilities. For digital negatives I would need mucho studio space, and ten I could just get yet another printer (78XX). I'm kinda locked into being modular with 78XX.

BTW I bought my 7800 for $100.00 and it only made 1802 prints before I got it. The owner was a large format film guy, and somehow over the 9 year life of the printer (now ten) it was used frequently enough not to have clogged the heads. Currently stored with Piezoflush after cleaning the capping station and three power flushes.

Cal

POSTSCRIPT: Understand that the difference between a 7800 and 7880 is basically the inkset upgrade to K3 Ultrachrome. My understanding is the printer itself is the same.
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Old 02-09-2016   #45
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BTW if you're using a 3880, one way to reduce the possibility of 'pizza wheels' is to use the 'front manual feed' mode.
Vince,

Thanks. This is very helpful.

Cal
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Old 02-09-2016   #46
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Vince,

Thanks. This is very helpful.

Cal
Another thing you can do is to adjust the platen gap, as well as turning off 'high-speed' printing, if you use that.
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Old 02-10-2016   #47
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Another thing you can do is to adjust the platen gap, as well as turning off 'high-speed' printing, if you use that.
Vince,

I do open the platen gap, and I print slow speed unidirectional for higher quality.

Thanks again.

Cal
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Old 02-12-2016   #48
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Not that it necessarily matters to purchasers of new Epson printers, but out of curiosity I just called Epson and asked if the use of Cone inks in a 3880 voids the warranty. They said yes it would.

I also asked if there were any plans for Epson to introduce their own 'black and white exclusive' range of inks, and they said no.
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soft proof or hard proof?
Old 02-12-2016   #49
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soft proof or hard proof?

Perhaps because of responses on this thread, I can be identified as a printmaker who prints piezography (B&W) only.

I get to where I need to be by making hard proofs, just as I did in the darkroom with enlargement strips.

Now I'm thinking of soft proofing, and Jon Cone recommends an Eizo monitor. Perhaps, I can get some feedback from users on this thread. Which monitor should I be considering?

HFL
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Old 02-12-2016   #50
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Soft-proofing is helpful, but you don't need an Eizo to soft-proof. And I know you're a scrupulous printer, so my guess is that when you've added soft-proofing, you'll still be making a number of hard-copy work-prints.

My friend whose day job is color management recommends the high-spec NECs for photo printing. When I asked for monitor advice he asked whether I have to work straight from the monitor, or whether I work from work-prints. Video, cinema, and pre-press folks have to work directly on the monitor without a hard proof. And now for fashion and product photographers, the final version is a file without a print. But as a print-making photographer I can't imagine making a large and final version without seeing it on paper first.

If you can't expect to eliminate this step, then any difference between an Eizo and a cheaper but competitive NEC is unlikely to justify the expense.

Soft-proofing is helpful but imperfect, and it's not the only variable between what you see on the monitor and what you get in the print. The difference between transmitted and reflected light will always be tricky. Areas that 'glow' sufficiently on the monitor may need more work to look as exciting under reflected light.

My work-prints usually involve some varying 'interpretations of the score,' so the monitor rarely has the final word. I have to see the image on paper and then look at it again the next day. As often as not, I find something to change in the final print. One reason is that with PS/LR we can make highly-controlled adjustments to small areas that couldn't be managed with old-fashioned dodging and burning, or even with split-filter printing (or even bleach). And unless we're using a Monochrom camera, we can use the color conversion sliders to shift the tone of different colors as we convert to BW. Many of the changes I end up making are small, for example a Levels adjustment of .03. I can see changes as small as this on the monitor as I move the mouse or click the key, but even with soft-proofing I don't have the visual acuity to make such fine judgments from the monitor without having looked at and thought about a work-print.

Kirk
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Old 02-13-2016   #51
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"At 58 years old at this point in my life I splurge because I don't have as many decades left."

Yes! At 63 I know I'll be lucky to make pictures for another 17 years before I lose my marbles.

It's always time to concentrate on what's important.
Well, I'm 18 years older than 63, and I still have (most of) my marbles.

Just play it as it lays; don't count on disaster, but do have a Plan B.

Now, where the hell did I leave those car keys. Hmm, maybe under the street light outside?

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Old 02-13-2016   #52
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Soft-proofing is helpful, but you don't need an Eizo to soft-proof. And I know you're a scrupulous printer, so my guess is that when you've added soft-proofing, you'll still be making a number of hard-copy work-prints.

My friend whose day job is color management recommends the high-spec NECs for photo printing. When I asked for monitor advice he asked whether I have to work straight from the monitor, or whether I work from work-prints. Video, cinema, and pre-press folks have to work directly on the monitor without a hard proof. And now for fashion and product photographers, the final version is a file without a print. But as a print-making photographer I can't imagine making a large and final version without seeing it on paper first.

If you can't expect to eliminate this step, then any difference between an Eizo and a cheaper but competitive NEC is unlikely to justify the expense.

Soft-proofing is helpful but imperfect, and it's not the only variable between what you see on the monitor and what you get in the print. The difference between transmitted and reflected light will always be tricky. Areas that 'glow' sufficiently on the monitor may need more work to look as exciting under reflected light.

My work-prints usually involve some varying 'interpretations of the score,' so the monitor rarely has the final word. I have to see the image on paper and then look at it again the next day. As often as not, I find something to change in the final print. One reason is that with PS/LR we can make highly-controlled adjustments to small areas that couldn't be managed with old-fashioned dodging and burning, or even with split-filter printing (or even bleach). And unless we're using a Monochrom camera, we can use the color conversion sliders to shift the tone of different colors as we convert to BW. Many of the changes I end up making are small, for example a Levels adjustment of .03. I can see changes as small as this on the monitor as I move the mouse or click the key, but even with soft-proofing I don't have the visual acuity to make such fine judgments from the monitor without having looked at and thought about a work-print.

Kirk
Thanks, Kirk; lots of good suggestions there. And ditto on the visual acuity issue. I'll now look more carefully into the non-Eizo alternatives.

(Oh, and I'm also lusting after a Monochrom II.)

HFL
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Old 02-13-2016   #53
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Still slightly on-topic:

Perhaps, Harry, my new 'job' is to mention slightly different priorities that save $. My MM has been away in Leicaland for months for sensor replacement, and in the meantime I've been using an A7rII for BW landscapes. It's a clumsier camera, but on a tripod that doesn't make much difference. It makes fine files with retrofocus MATE and WATE, and also with a number of other Leica lenses over 35mm when theyre stopped down. The large Sony files are at least as precise as the original Monochrom files, and the new Sony sensor seems to me to hold onto more shadow and highlight detail, which is just what I'd expect from 246. So I'll keep the Sony, plus the original MM as a hand-held camera, and skip the expense of the 246.

Also, I'm impressed with the flexibility of large color files converted to BW. Ive re-shot some subjects with the A7rII and have enjoyed the tonal and contrast control afforded in landscapes by the R, Y, and G sliders, and especially the control over sky tones with the B slider.

I don't think I'd expect anything more than this, or perhaps even as much, from the 246 at the sizes I print (max 15x22.5 on 17" roll paper). So I cancelled my order for it - and that's how I'm going to afford a second printer and the new Piezo Pro system when it's available. (There - I finally got back on topic!)

Kirk
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Old 02-13-2016   #54
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Still slightly on-topic:

Perhaps, Harry, my new 'job' is to mention slightly different priorities that save $. My MM has been away in Leicaland for months for sensor replacement, and in the meantime I've been using an A7rII for BW landscapes. It's a clumsier camera, but on a tripod that doesn't make much difference. It makes fine files with retrofocus MATE and WATE, and also with a number of other Leica lenses over 35mm when theyre stopped down. The large Sony files are at least as precise as the original Monochrom files, and the new Sony sensor seems to me to hold onto more shadow and highlight detail, which is just what I'd expect from 246. So I'll keep the Sony, plus the original MM as a hand-held camera, and skip the expense of the 246.

Also, I'm impressed with the flexibility of large color files converted to BW. Ive re-shot some subjects with the A7rII and have enjoyed the tonal and contrast control afforded in landscapes by the R, Y, and G sliders, and especially the control over sky tones with the B slider.

I don't think I'd expect anything more than this, or perhaps even as much, from the 246 at the sizes I print (max 15x22.5 on 17" roll paper). So I cancelled my order for it - and that's how I'm going to afford a second printer and the new Piezo Pro system when it's available. (There - I finally got back on topic!)

Kirk
Any more advice from you, Kirk, and you'll have to start charging me. You caught my attention with your previous remarks about the A7rII, and I appreciate your additional input above. I haven't made any decision about the MM, but I'll certainly look into the Sony. And I am familiar with the additional controls available when one starts with a color file. This is how I process files from my M9-P, along with SilverFex.

To paraphrase a former US president: I do have lust in my heart, but I have not sinned - yet.

Thanks again,

Harry
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Old 02-16-2016   #55
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Harry,

My EIZO has a 5 year warrantee so while the my 27 inch EIZO cost $2.3K know that the warrantee is longer. Also know that my EIZO self calibrates and has this popup probe built into the monitor. Please consider this a great asset as your monitor ages. My Eizo adjusts upon start up to the ambient light in my room for accuracy. For me the more expensive EIZO was the right way to go. I just wish they made a bigger (larger than 27 inch) version because I would of bought it.

I use the canned soft proofing profiles that Jon Cone supplies, and when I click the soft proofing the histogram shifts and I get a sense of the tone on my paper. I find this kinda valuable, but understand that soft proofs only kinda get close to the look of a print.

Understand that with Piezography it is no doubt in my mind much higher resolution than the OEM Epson system, and in fact my prints show more detail in the shadows than what I can see on my EIZO dimmed down to 80 LUX in a darkened room. Basically you are capable of printing stuff that you cannot see, even on a dimmed down calibrated monitor in a dark room.

Anyways I can see why some people see no difference between OEM and Piezography. Basically they are not printing the detail that is in the file. It is a bit of a misnomer that a calibrated monitor can match a print IMHO. It can get you closer, but the prints don't lie, but only if you know there is yet hidden detail that can be printed.

I have prints that look 4x5 in detail and tonality. The guys in the Leica SL booth were flawed by this one landscape shot of the Domino sugar refiner along the East River shot from an opening about 200 feet above street level on the Williamsburg Bridge with a 28 Cron and my Monochrom. Richard Herzog of Phase One fame who is a large format shooter was profoundly impressed.

The detail is there in the file, the Monochrom is that good, but many people do not know what is hidden in those files. Basically large format quality.

Also know that while the Monochrom is only 18 MP it is 14 bit, so the resolution is about 252 MB where 125 MB is recommended for a 13x19. The new M-246 is 24 MP, but only 12 bit so in doing the math 24x12 the M-246 makes 288 MB files which are not that much bigger than the original MM. While the M-246 has the MM beat in the shadow detail and rolloff in the highlights, the MM has the tonality and midrange of the larger formats. To me the M-246 has scooped mids. The Monochrom, warts and all is still a viable and great camera.

Cal
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Old 02-17-2016   #56
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"A picture is worth more than a thousand words."

I got an invitation to present a seminar at ICP (International Center for Photography) on how I utilize my Monochrom and Piezography to make my prints. The date is Friday evening April 15th, 6-9 PM.

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Old 02-17-2016   #57
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"A picture is worth more than a thousand words."

I got an invitation to present a seminar at ICP (International Center for Photography) on how I utilize my Monochrom and Piezography to make my prints. The date is Friday evening April 15th, 6-9 PM.

Cal
Cal,

Thanks for the comments re Eizo in your previous post. And congrats on the invitation from ICP.

HFL
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Old 02-17-2016   #58
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Cal,

Thanks for the comments re Eizo in your previous post. And congrats on the invitation from ICP.

HFL
Harry,

Thanks so much.

I never thought I would advance so far in so little time (about a year and a quarter this March), but I have been printing at a crazy rate due to a huge backlog of files (over three years of shooting the Monochrom). I'll find out how good I am when I get that 7800 online. I'm pretty sure that 20x30 or 24x36 won't be too big or get fuzzy.

Anyways printing surely has made me a better photographer. I feel really honored by this invite. I'm a bit anxious, scared and nervous.

Cal
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Old 02-17-2016   #59
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Grats, how did you manage that?
Someone was impressed by some prints, the IQ, and wondered how I got large format results from a Leica Monochrom.

Also helps that I manage the NYC Meet-Up and am widely known. Thats also how I got an Epson 7800 for $100.00 that only made 1802 prints over its 9 year life.

Cal
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Old 02-18-2016   #60
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Indeed a case of who you know, not what you know. May I get to know you?

Where can I find your work though?
Cal,

I do not post; I do not have a website; I do not do social media; I do not text; I do not carry a cell phone...

I decided a long time ago that presenting my work on a computer screen was not the best presentation of my work. I also decided that I would not scan my film images, but I may make digital copies of my negatives and print using Piezography as an editing tool for my film images.

I'm basically widely known because I stand out in a crowd, even in NYC. Some people think I live in Harlem because they see me in their hood so often. I am widely known because I've been doing all kinds of stuff in the arts. If you come to NYC PM me and let's meet-up.

It has gotten to the point that I can begin to think of myself as a NYC tourist attraction. I meet total strangers every day because I am personable and easily remembered, but what is important to me is to remain humble. Pursuing fame and recognition is not what I'm about. I get asked all the time if I'm a working pro photographer, and my response is "I'm just a guy with a poney tail." My girlfriend hates when I say that BTW. LOL.

Anyways I don't do what I do to be famous or well known. This is not what is important to me. I'm pretty realistic that the only person I need to make happy is perhaps my girlfriend and my dog, Beagle-Face.

If anything good happens: oh-well. Not really going to change my life or who I am.

Understand that I never knew anyone that had a complicated life that was happy. Call me a lazy slacker, but I live my life for me, and understandbly this is very selfish. BTW being widely known is a burden. Being famous is a headache IMHO. As widely known as I am basically I am a loner at heart in many regards.

Cal
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