Originally Posted by Richard G
I am a novice, but i have had some great results with the Epson 3880 and good Ilford paper. You can download the precise printing profile for the chosen paper eg Ilford Prestige Gold Silk etc. I've actually found that just letting the printer handle everything works well with that paper. Make sure to choose printer settings and choose Advanced B and W. On this forum if you search for printer threads Calzone is one of the most sophisticated printers. I'm not ready to follow him all the way but a thread where he contributes is well worth tracking down. I've found RFF better for getting my bearings in a new area than looking at web sites no-one's vouched for.
Thank you for the kind words.
I too have an Epson 3880, and it is a good sized printer that is a work horse. Being a 17 inch printer it allows making 13x19's and also allowing big borders if 17x22 is used.
There are limitations to the 3880 though because the Monochrom produces such clean files of high resolution that one can print really big. I use Heliopan 2X yellow filters that are marked "Digital" that enable me to shoot 10 zone histograms with broad midrange at image capture. It seems these "Digital" filters besides offering added contrast also feature both UV and IR filters that removes signals that otherwise would be recorded as noise that also add to clipping, and by removing this floor of noise one can shoot more to the right (add exposure) and not have clipping.
Anyways the point is to shoot a Monochrom like a large format shooter to make a perfect histogram that requires the least amount of post processing.
Know that I use Piezography and I print B&W glossy which uses 7 shades of black and a second printing of "Gloss Overcoat" that adds detail, contrast, and durability. My ink jet prints are durable and can be handled without damage. My results look like medium format and at times even large format as far as tonality and detail. For me the M-246 has more shadow detail and smoother highlights, but the original MM has the vast midrange of larger formats.
Anyways I have friend who also print with the 3880 using the Epson OEM color inkset. Also there are many here on this forum that print 13x19 and have compared Piezography against Epson OEM. I would be in agreement that at 13x19 that the Print IQ are both very high and there is no clear winner, but I will say if you go crazy and want to print "Monster" big prints where 20x30 image size on 24x36 paper for huge borders required for museum framing exhibition prints then Piezography becomes my choice.
Just know that once you start printing that you are compelled to print on a regular basis or you will have maintenance issues and problems with clogging. Currently after spending about $8-9K on paper and ink this year my 3880 and 7800 are in storage mode loaded with Piezoflush where my printers can remain unused without ill effect.
Even if you don't decide to use Piezography, Jon Cone's site, Piezography.com has a lot of helpful understanding, but realize it is a bit of information overload. If you decide to print B&W using a color inkset I would look into eventually buying refillable carts and buying Jon Cone's color Pigmented inks for a major cost savings. Be aware that the costs of running a printer gets costly. Do all the research before you start, but know that printing made me a better shooter.
This year at PhotoPlusExpo I hope to secure another promo/special that involves pre-paying and doubling my purchasing power to get a 4 foot by 6 foot silver wet print made on fiber paper by Digital Silver Imaging. I just want you to know that with proper technic guys like you and me can do a "Salgado" and print crazy big.
BTW I consider myself just a serious photographer who is perhaps a bit crazy. LOL.