Matte inks for Epson printers

Ink stained Fingers

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I was reading ConeColor's posting about their new ultra black matte ink

https://shop.inkjetmall.com/blog/ink-on-paper-blog-2/post/inkjetmall-newsletter-11-23-2020-1508

and wondered how far away other inks are from the reported D=1.86, and this triggered me to do some testing.

I'm not a regular user of matte inks on FineArt matte papers, but I found a few sheets left from sample packs I tested some time ago - a Hahnemühle Fine Art Photo Rag Satin 310g and a farbenwerk Fine Art Bright Velvet 275g , and I'm using this advertised ConeColor Ultra black matte ink, the Epson 105 matte ink of the ET-7750 printer, the Epson 113 matte black of workforce/office type Ecotank printers with 4 pigment inks, the matte black of the P600, and the matte black of Canon PFI 105MBK. I printed all test sheets with a small WF2010W printer with refill cartridges, scanned the sheets with the i1io robot arm to run profiles and let it scan each spot 3x to get an average reading for a more reliable readout.


These are the results I'm getting from this test:

__________________________________Epson 105_______________________Conecolor_________________Epson P600MBK

Bright Velvet 275_____Lab=___13,34 0.54 1.09---D1.79___ 13.83 0.63 1.74---D1.77_____14.88 0.66 1.79---D1.72

Hahnemühle PhotoRag_______12.92 0.13 0.47---D1.81___ 13.49 0.01 -0.67--D1.79____ 21.14 0.45 -0.37---D1.48

These numbers are examplary for a few more numbers I'm not showing, the Epson 105 ink performs even slightly better than the ConeColor black, and I'm getting already here a D of 1.81, pretty close to Conecolor claims on an Epson paper of 1.86. This is quite possible since the black level depends very much on the paper in combination with the ink.

The values for the Epson 113 ink and the Canon PFI105MBK both are pretty close together and are in between the results for the Conecolor and the Epson P600MBK inks.
It is interesting to see that the Epson P600MBK is not state of the art anymore in terms of deep blacks, the Epson 105 does better in all cases, as well on some more papers. And it is remarkable that the Epson 105 ink is by far the cheapest one - it is bottled ink for an Ecotank printer and runs at about 15 Euros for the 140ml bottle, a bargain compared to the Conecolor pricing. The Epson 113 is priced similarly. Be aware that this is just a short snapshot, and I'm not measuring any other characteristics and potential benefits of a carbon based ink.
I'm posting above as well the 'a,b' color values , they are all pretty close to the neutral point of a,b=0,0 , you could use a few drops of cyan to tint the black closer to the neutral point but that's not subject of my measurements. And be aware that a different printer - with a different driver - may create more or less ink saturation overall, but I would expect that the relation between the inks would remain.
 
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pozzello

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I'm getting L=12.5 for the cone ukhd inks on PhotoRag 308. What are you using to convert L to density?
 

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Thanks for pointing it out - I'm using a Hahnemühle FineArt Photo Rag Satin 310g, not a Photorag 308, which may explain my reading of L=13,49; but that is actually not so much different to your number.
I was creating a profile with i1Profiler and did 3 readings per spot with an i1iO scan table, the D values are directly taken from the i1Profiler program screen. I must admit that I don't like the D measure so much, it stems from the analogue days and was originally used for translucent material - films - and not reflective material - paper. I'm comparing the results with the ConeColor matte black with the other mentioned inks.
 
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pozzello

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Oh I didn't realize i1Profiler gave you the D directly - I use a colormunki and colormunkiPhoto only gives Luminance values. I thought you might have found an alternative to Bruce Lindbloom's companding calculator.

12.5 is really black for PhotoRag 308. The latest epson inks are very close in density but lack the richness and smoothness of the Cone Piezography inks when printing in black and white. With the cone inks you really get a sense of continuous tone.
 

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I can add some more information to the test of black inks for matte papers; the HP inktank printers use a 4 color inkset - CMY dye and a pigment black , very similar to the Canon-G-series printers, HP calls these inks GT51/52, names may vary in different business regions. I tested the GT51 black ink on several papers, the GT51 inks performs quite similar to the Epson 105/113 pigment inks, the HP ink may be slightly darker than the Conecolor or Epson inks on one paper type, and it may be the opposite on other papers, here just the L* values as an example on normal/copy paper

Conecolor ___ Epson 105 ___ HP GT51 -- 19.8 18.70 18.50

it's slightly different on an inkjet paper - 15.3 16.96 17.73


That's pretty close overall, and the user would not see a difference on regular printouts - mainly text .

The HP GT51 black ink could be an alternative for users in case the Epson 105/113 inks are not easily available in some business regions, or users with an Hp and an Epson printer don't need to stock both types of pigment inks.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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I started this thread to report performance of various matte black inks but let me report here the blackest glossy black which I ever measured during a profiling process, I'm using the Photo Black of a P800 printer running as a refill ink on a small WF2010W A4 printer with the Aldi Netbit glossy paper, I'm getting an L= 1.1 with a=0.04 and b=-0.10 color shifts which is as a neutral black as it can be, I scanned the patch sheet several times but just got small reading variations, so this number is not an outlier in the measuring process. I treated the patch sheet in this case not with a gloss optimizer but with hairspray as a light acrylic varnish. It's impact overall is similar to the gloss opt. effects improving the black level and increasing the overall gamut - but as always depending on the paper/ink combination

Pk800 1.JPG
 

Ink stained Fingers

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I received the matte Epson 114 ink for the new ET8550 ahead of the other inks and did some tests of its black level in comparison to the other matte black inks reported here as well.
This 114 matte ink is basically as black as the Epson 105 ink, just about a Delta L=0.3 lighter on some papers, and darker as the Conecolor ink on a FineArt velvet, so it is perfectly usable and you just can purchase by the price and availability in your country
 

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Before and after a cleaning cycle, you can weigh the cartridges to make sure they are clean. An inexpensive spice scale or a tiny weight scale for measuring spices should be available to you. once before and once after the cleaning procedure. Instead of relying on the printer or software's estimates, I prefer to use real measurements.

Cleaning cartridges does not necessitate the loss of any consumables on your part. As a result, either your printer will squirt ink onto paper, or the printheads will sink to the bottom in a bath of solution. But I don't know how many ml would be consumed.
 
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