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Dimitris Servis

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Hi all

I am new to the forum but I already appreciate the wealth of information. My main interests are to print my b&w photos at home and produce digital negatives for alternative processes. I have been using an MP640 for the latter but feel I need to make a step up with regards to the inks that I use. Calibrating alternative processes from preparation to exposure is tedious and inks are an integral part especially their UV absorption properties. So I want to experiment with some refills to find better inks for reproducing tonal ranges adequately using my home made UV printer.

Thanks in advance for all responses to my upcoming flood of questions!
 

turbguy

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Alternative Process negs are a niche use for an inkjet. I doubt that anyone here is much aware of the UV absorption properties of typical dye or pigment based inks. I suspect pigment inks would have a greater absorption, particularly if finely divided METALLIC particles are used in the pigment.

Typically we deal with fade resistance to UV exposure.

That said, your MP640 has only one cart that holds pigment, the PGI cart, which is black pigment. The remainers are DYE colors, with a print head with nozzles designed to suit dye inks. The PGBK nozzles can handle pigment inks. The PGI cart is only used for black text. Photo black comes from a driver-driven combination of the available dye inks.

When you have made "alternative process" negs in the past, what inks have you used? Since you are making continuous tone "negs", you must be using the dye inks...
 
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Dimitris Servis

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Alternative Process negs are a niche use for an inkjet. I doubt that anyone here is much aware of the UV absorption properties of typical dye or pigment based inks. I suspect pigment inks would have a greater absorption, particularly if finely divided METALLIC particles are used in the pigment.

Typically we deal with fade resistance to UV exposure.

That said, your MP640 has only one cart that holds pigment, the PGI cart, which is black pigment. The remainers are DYE colors, with a print head with nozzles designed to suit dye inks. The PGBK nozzles can handle pigment inks. The PGI cart is only used for black text. Photo black comes from a driver-driven combination of the available dye inks.

When you have made "alternative process" negs in the past, what inks have you used? Since you are making continuous tone "negs", you must be using the dye inks...
Hello turbguy

Thanks for your response.

I have only used dye inks, never pigment. I have also used inks from different manufacturers. Often it is not black that absorbs UV light best and different inksets have different behaviour. You need to carefully select the color that allows for the appropriate tonal range and then create curves for that color. Often this is reddish but with one inkset I used I had to calibrate to a yellow tone. So usually, at least so far, I am not so concerned about the black inks. Note, the whole process is calibrated for a specific inkset, transparency, chemicals, paper and exposure time.
 

turbguy

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I would expect red inks to be best, but you feed the printer CMY and BK. You might try red inksets. But a PIGMENT printer may be superior for absorption...

What inks are you using? And are you achieving sufficient UV absorption with what you use to get a full range of tones in the final output (I assume you coat your own papers with sensitive materials and the like)??
 
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Dimitris Servis

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I also expect pigments to be better but no experience yet. This is why I am between getting a new Pro-100 or a used R2880... Currently I am using Canon and Pelikan inks. I used others as well but I did not like them. With these two I have got surprising absorption from different colors. I do coat my own papers and use simple and slightly more complicated cyanotype formulas. However different formulas behave differently because they are more or less sensitive to UV and get absorbed (or not) by the paper. The rug of course has its own say here. With some formulas you might need double coating to reach the tonal range. Plus my UV printer is low energy for safety but also for fine tuning the exposure time...
 

turbguy

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I would get a PRO-1, which uses pigments, but "your milage may vary"...

I assume you've done Google searches on this obscure subject?
 

turbguy

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Is cyanotype really appropriate for continuous tone output? My experience was it acted more like litho processing, with an extreme contrast...usefull for "blue"prints...
 

Dimitris Servis

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Proper processes produce proper tones. In general I am able to produce really nice wedges. Different emulsions have different behaviours though, some are more sensitive. Also black ink negatives have the highest contrast. Not so with other colours. Let's not forget that originally it is a photographic process, before it was used for blueprinting. It also has significant advantages: chemicals are safe, easy to handle and easy to bleach and tone, easy to colour with watercolours, easy to combine with other methods. Toning can be as easy as windex bleaching and tea bath. Take a look here

https://www.flickr.com/groups/61907246@N00/
 
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