How close of a colour match should I expect 3rd party inks to be?

AndrewB

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Hi, I've been using a new Epson SC-P400 for a few months and recently switched to a CISS system by Marrutt, I also switched to the chipless firmware which works exactly as advertised. The CISS system was fairly easy to install but has been an absolute bear to get working, I was plagued with air in the head despite properly priming the system and having absolutely no air in the ink lines or dampers. I actually found that doing head cleans or printing purge pages would progressively make my nozzle checks worse! Eventually I ignored the instructions and elevated the ink tanks approx. 45mm above the table level (ink level still slightly below the print head, so no ink flooding out of the head) and that seemed to immediately fix my problems, now I can actually get a good nozzle check and printing doesn't seem to progressively make it worse.

My next issue is that the colour accuracy of these inks seems very different to OEM, which is surprising to me given on the website they claim that in most cases the original ICC profiles would be fine with their ink. It's not like it's even close really, if I use an ICC profile made for the OEM inks I get an extremely dark and very blue image that looks terrible. They also provide generic ICC profiles for their papers and inks which give a vastly better result but now with a noticeable red cast. They do also offer a free custom profile service which I'll have to take advantage of and which I'm sure will solve this issue, but I am surprised at how far off even their own profile for their own ink is, and how wildly different it is to the OEM profile results. Given what you read about 3rd party inks on various websites you'd expect only minor differences in colour without a custom profile, not absolutely NEEDING a custom profile to get anything close to accurate results.

Is this a normal thing? I don't know if it's just understood that if you use 3rd party inks you have to have custom profiles made, or if this ink is just more different to OEM than most.
 

palombian

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I have no experience with Epson printers and ink, but if your result with the Marrutt profiles is also wrong, maybe you should review your driver and print application settings.
Could be you are double profiling.
With custom profiles the best way is to set the printer profile in the application you print from.
This assumes your printer driver color settings are on manual and NONE.
Lots of video's and literature on this.

The best check is to download a test file, this must print as it should be when your settings are correct.
If this is so, then compare with your monitor.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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I must admit that I don't believe any of such claims about color matches with genuine OEM inks (except a very few suppliers like e.g. precisioncolors) and don't really care; I do the profiles for my inks on my papers and just compare the gamut with an OEM ink, I see the weak or good aeras and either continue to use that ink or get another one; there are more criteria for an ink - fading performance, gloss/bronzing , pricing to make a purchasing decision.
 

AndrewB

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Thanks for the replies, I was mostly just checking to make sure that I wasn't doing something wrong to cause this.

Definitely not double-profiling, using the same settings and workflow as with previous prints and as I said Marrutt's profile was much closer to correct than the profile for OEM ink that I had been using. I can even see to the naked eye when doing a nozzle test that the Marrutt cyan is darker than OEM (the rest of the colours appear more similar).

I'm also comparing a standard test image that I'm printing to one that Marrutt supplied to me along with the ink, using the same paper and their generic profile for that paper and their ink, and again what my printer produces is noticeably 'warmer'. So I can only assume that either the ink I have is a little different to what they printed with or my printer is a bit different to the one they generated their profile with.

Either way it doesn't concern me that much because as you say as long as I profile what I've got the results should be fine. I can get Marrutt to make a profile for me for their paper and I've just ordered a second-hand relatively basic spectrophotometer to have a go myself too.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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I would recommend you not to go for Datacolor/Spyder print profiling solutions, I have seen significant misreadings resulting in completely screwed up profiles.
 

AndrewB

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I would recommend you not to go for Datacolor/Spyder print profiling solutions, I have seen significant misreadings resulting in completely screwed up profiles.
Yeah I saw some relatively bad reviews for those, I've ordered a 2nd hand x-rite colormunki photo which seemed to have pretty good reviews for making printer calibrations. I know it's fairly old but I think for my purposes it should be fine.
 

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palombian

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Yeah I saw some relatively bad reviews for those, I've ordered a 2nd hand x-rite colormunki photo which seemed to have pretty good reviews for making printer calibrations. I know it's fairly old but I think for my purposes it should be fine.
Despite some bad press on this forum lately in my experience the Colormunki Photo (rebranded as i1Studio) delivers sufficiently consistent measurements for amateur use.
Maybe not enough for more demanding professional use, but the variations are smaller than my eyes can discern.
 

palombian

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There must be plenty of Colormunkis with a hardware fault laying in drawers.
The position of the wheel can't be recognized anymore.
Reason is the markers faded.
This can be repaired rather easily as found out by users of this forum.
Simply glue pieces of aluminum tape on them.

Worth the gamble if you can find one cheap.

https://www.printerknowledge.com/threads/colormunki-photo-repair.10986/
 

AndrewB

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Thanks for that thread, the seller for the colormunki I've ordered didn't mention anything about it playing up but if it does I'll definitely have a crack at repairing it, seems like a simple enough process.
 

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