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Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 Remembered in photos

I have gathered a selection of links to this historic day in photography.

New York Mag Photo Gallery

Photographs for TIME by James Nachtwey/VII

And we all must remember those who passed on that day. One of the most touching stories of one of our "own" Photographer Bill Biggart

Review - Hands On with the Epson 2880

By Brendan Cavanaugh
The “new” Epson 2880 is the successor to the very popular pigment-ink 2xxx series that started way back with the 2000p in 2000/2001. Though nothing has come close to the 2000p’s clamed 200 year light-fast rating, nor to its speed (matched only by growing grass) the 2880 is a worthy sibling and contender in the 13-inch printer market.

With swappable matte and gloss blacks that require only a minimal ink-loss, this printer is good to have for any pro that uses both types of surfaces.

Over the past few months my 2880 has run hundreds of prints, CD’s and various material tests and has won my heart hands down in all but paper-size handling and ink-cartridge size.

So how does it do overall? Continue reading past the jump.

Ok, now my background and comparing printers. I have been printing with inkjets since 2001 with an Epson 1280 and have upgraded over the years to the R800/1800 that I have loved for speed/light fastness and finally got a “pro-printer,” a 4800 (used) a year and a half ago that I have loved the most for overall usage until now.

My 1280 did wonders, and the R800/1800 series was the closest IMHO to the 1280 in color vibrancy with a Pigment-base ink until the 2880. The 4800 comes very close too, but on pure gloss paper, the R1800 still wins., and may still win for overall super-gloss capability (the R1900 may do a tad better, but I have not really looked at it) but this is because of its GLOP (gloss over coating) that it uses to totally even gloss-surfaces.

The 2880’s strength’s are reds; they do pop much more compared to any other Printer I have ever used. This is in part to the Epson UltraChrome K3™ with Vivid Magenta ink set. The new Magenta ink really helps reds stand out more than any other previous Epson printer that I have seen. I was let in under NDA back in early 2008 on this printer and was excited to see the results compared to both the competition and their own printers. When I finally got my hands on one early this year I was not disappointed.


Its drivers are similar to any other previous Epson desk-top printer and size is on par with all other 13” Epson’s. It has capability of handling Roll paper, CD’s, regular sheet paper, thick “art” paper and a direct pass-through for up to 1.3mm thick “boards.” I have run canvas, paper, “art-paper” (art-paper is thick water-color-type paper) and direct-print CD’s. My favorite type of media with this printer is any matte surface, be it the Canvas I have tested and run small prints on, to beautiful highly-textured art papers or even just plain matte-photo paper. This printer pops colors and produces neutral wide-tone B&W prints on all surfaces, but the matte-surface is where it shines. I cannot say more. I am typically a gloss/luster surface person until now. I like this so much that I have even thought of buying a new 3880 with matte-black to print larger matte-photos. (I, like many photographers and printers, have dedicated my 4xxx to one surface/black type unless a large enough job makes it profitable to do 2 black-ink swaps)

Ink usage:

Now so the ink-swapping issue. Unfortunately you still must manually swap blacks on this printer. However because its direct-cartridge to head design (carts sit on top of the head unit, no “real” lines to purge) mean that ink-loss is minimized, Is able to swap the same 2 cartridges (M-k and P-k) 4 times with at least 4-6 letter+ size prints per time before having to change any other cartridge (so an estimated 20sqft were printed with 4 ink “purges” before any cartridge ran out) Your results may vary but this is what I got. Other than that I have found that it does gently sip ink when printing and produces very reasonable costs for this form/type of printer. (Larger printers will still be more economical but if you’re not doing 1-200+ prints per month you will not feel much of a dent in the wallet. I do love my 220ml carts for the 48**, they seam to never run out)

Other-surface printing:

I have not tried super thick board, but on a variety of non ink-jet paper from the art-store it does a great job. I ran a bunch of odd-paper prints on this for a friend for a class project and she got complements left and right for having the best prints.

I must say this produces the best direct-CD printing I have ever gotten from any printer, I think this is in part to the Matte-black which is best for all CD’s I printed on. It gave rich deep blacks and vibrant color on Fuji-silver printable and Memorex white-printable disks. It’s reasonably fast for CD printing, though for multiple disks you have to baby-sit and manually load each one, but it is rather fast. Epson’s included CD printing software is easy and simple to use and provides great pro-quality results with a few minuets of learning combined with some artistic layout/design.

Color Handling:

I ran mostly with Epson’s ICC profiles from their website and was more than happy, but for custom paper, and paper I used from Lexjet’s summerset series I created custom profiles using the X-Rite ColorMunki with excellent results. I tried comparing what I made to the Epson stock profiles for matte and luster, and in both cases the difference was so little that I would recommend the “box” profiles from Epson for their paper unless you have an extremely color-sensitive client or matching project. I printed using Print-preview in Photoshop, letting Photoshop handle the color rendering (relative colorimetric) and also with Q-Image, also making Q-Image do the color rendering. (Note with Q-Image I have a “permanent” setting for “lighter” (minimal lightness) as I find this to match the results I get from Photoshop)

B&W prints are on par with the previous 2400 printer and my 4800. Very good neutral prints using the print drivers B&W mode, along with the toning feature to provide nicely color-toned B&W’s. With 3 blacks, like all the newer Ultrachrome “pro” printers black and white prints really pop and in some cases truly rival what I could do in the darkroom. However this is not exclusive to the 2880, the same really applies to the 2400, 48/78/98** series. You can get a great print of the start and as with everything, a little tweaking gets you even better results.


Who is this printer for? Well at $800 it’s not for your 2-print a month amateur, nor for your super gloss-only hound. Its best for anyone who prints a decent amount of photos up to and larger than letter size per month/year and really likes textured surface papers, Lustre or real matte papers. Not to say that Gloss doesn’t look good, it looks great, but I still think the GLOP is needed for best gloss-surface “texture” This is because I was raised on super glossy prints in photo class and have a very good eye for un-even surface texture, however this is just me, I do think its good enough for 99% of my or your clients. An overspray would take care of this issue too, but it’s so minor of an issue It would not stop me from buying this for all-around photo printing.

At $800 it is also pricey and almost double the cost of the R18/1900 printers and just about $200 less than the 3800 (after current rebates, though the new 3880 this fall should widen that gap to about $400) so one must consider if its benefits (over the R1900) outweigh the cost increase, and/or if the space and budget is flexible enough to afford the 38** (IMHO if the 3880 is as good the slight increase in cost for ability to do 16x20’s is worth it.)

Overall I would highly recommend this to any photographer who can afford it. If budget is tight, take a look at the R1900, and for those needing larger wait for the 3880.

Direct Link to Epson's site for the 2880 (stats, specs, other features etc)

By Brendan Cavanaugh for P3N&R

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