Some tests with the ET-8550

Ink stained Fingers

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The ET-8550 runs with 2 types of black inks - a photo black - PB - and a matte black - BK - and the selection happens automatically via the paper type selection in the driver - there is a Fine Art Velvet paper option which uses the matte black - only the matte black ink - and the driver does not offer you any quality settings - the printer justs prints in the highest quality level - with the slowest speed.
If you select normal paper - copy paper - uncoated - the driver uses both black inks - it prints with the matte and the dye black - this probably to enhance the black level. This can easily be tested by printing black patches onto glossy paper - you easily can wipe off the black pigments off the glossy paper - yout cannot wipe off the black dye ink with a finger. This black ink mix could cause some problems when you use a highlight marker on such prints on normal paper - the dye black may leave black tracks on the paper. If this is a problem you would need to switch to a printer more office oriented with pigment inks only.

The driver offer 2 different modes to print B/W - a simple grayscale mode for plain paper and Epson quality inkjet paper, all other paper types are supported by the Black and White Photo mode

BW 02.jpg


This grayscale mode does not offer many controls -just for brightness and contrast and a gamma setting

BW 02a.jpg


All other paper options let you activate an advanced B/W mode - a B/W Photo mode but not the grayscale mode

BW 01.jpg


This mode gives more control over the print including a Color Toning option with presets or with an individual adjustment via the color wheel. This implies that the printer still is using colored inks to a degree for this printing mode, and a toned print like this is more a monocrhome print than a real B/W print with the black/gray inks only - as available.

BW 01a.jpg


I have not tested these options in detail , I don't know how neutral such prints will be, there is always the problem that B/W prints with dye inks may exhibit some tint varying with the color temperature of the ambient viewing light. @Keith Cooper goes into more detail about this.
 
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Ink stained Fingers

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@Keith Cooper is addressing a problem when you print B/W with dye inks - there is always the effect that the blacks and grays get a different tone under different viewing light conditions - it depends on the color temp of the ambient light.

A neutral gray does not contribute to the perceived color, it reflects all light (almost) equally within the visible spectrum, without emphasizing particular color ranges.
I'm scanning an age old Asahi Pentax photo gray card and get this

Asahi Graycard.jpg

It is pretty flat across the visible range of wavelenghts and almost neutral as well - a and b < 1 .
When I look to the black level of a dye ink I get this

BW-1.jpg


It's rather flat across the range with a steep increase at the red end, all dye blacks show a similar effect, and the black level is not neutral at all with b = -10. If you just would dither grays with this black ink the cool look would remain. But the driver in the advanced B/W mode starts using not just the gray ink but as well the other ink colors to correct the color cast and to make the toning of the print possible at all - so the dye inks get used to print pretty neutral gray tones, and looking up the spectrum you get this, this gray spectrum has the same luminance as the graycard above - L*= 46....but a pretty different spectral composition.

BW-2.jpg


This can very well be a neutral gray under a particular light but most likely will shift as soon as you get into a different light - e.g. changing from daylight indoor to daylight outdoor or to dimmed incandescent light in the evening. All this makes B/W printing with the same tonal look across the image pretty difficult, it is somewhat easier with pigment inks, this is the spectral plot of the pigment black of the ET-8550

BW-3.jpg


It has a flat response across the spectrum which stabilizes the blacks, but the problems remain that lighter grays are mixed with a light dye gray and the other dye inks - the problems overall remain, the use of the pigment black is limited to the dark areas of an image.
 

The Hat

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Doing B&W turns everything on its head, where there is far less wriggle room..

What happens when you do a lovely neutral B&W print and two days later the inks dry’s, and you then got something else..:ep
 

maximilian59

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Printing black and white has its own mystery. I don’t do it often, but then when I want good results I use my Pro-1000. my Pro-100 also serves well and had no problems yet. The paper I used with it was mostly Moab Exhibition Luster. The other one a cheaper paper from Photolux, the studioSilver high glossy. No metal look, just glossy. The paper is ok for the price. Maybe I had good luck with my pictures or didn’t see the problem. So it must have been not that obvious.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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The choice of the paper type is adding to the complexity of the subject - B/W printing which I didn't want to address - the surface - glossy - matte - metallic - velvet - optical brighteners - baryta - etc - all these have a visible impact onto the look of a B/W print, and be glad that you found a combination of inks, printer, paper, driver settings working for you. It's not an out of the box thing - you just buy a great printer and everything works fine.
 
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Ink stained Fingers

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We had quite an active thread covering resolution - dot sizes etc recently

https://www.printerknowledge.com/th...-details-at-1440-ppi.14925/page-6#post-130109

let me just show you how my ET-8550 compares with the L1800 - both running with 1.5pl and a native resolution of 720dpi as Qimage tells me, this for the driver settings used below, the prints are done with the Ultra Glossy - UG - paper setting

The L1800 prints like this with the high quality setting

L1800 UG high.jpg


and the 'normal' quality setting
L1800 UG normal.jpg



Line gaps 1 pixel wide are not resolved between 1 pixel lines , line gaps become visible wtih 2pixels wide which results in an effective resolution of about 360 dpi , the edge definition is better with the 'high' quality setting.

The ET-8550 prints like this - normal quality

ET8550 UG normal.jpg


with high quality below
ET8550 UG high.jpg


and with the 'best' quality setting below

ET8550 UG best.jpg


This 'best' setting is only available for the 'Ultra Glossy' paper selection, other papers can only be printed with a standard or high quality setting - or 'draft' for the Photo Glossy.
I don't see much of a difference between 'high' and 'best', it just prints slower, the gamut is the same as shown at the beginning of this thread, and I won't do other resolution pattern test prints to find out if it's 320dpi or 342 dpi in this or that direction.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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Let me add a scan of a print with a WF2010W - a simple 4 color printer running with pigment inks, it prints slow when it comes to images but speed is not the relevant parameter in this comparison

WF2010W UG high.jpg


it's printed with pigment inks - 4 colors and with 3pl droplet size, pigment inks apparently cause less ink spread between the black lines than dye inks resulting in a better definition of the 2px patterns.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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And there is yet another aspect of perceived print quality you can look into. Almost all colors in the RGB 24 bit color space - with 16 Million combinations - are colors mixed with each other in any combination. When you print a monochrome patch with a color you should see the droplets placed in particular ways which causes an impression of granularity which depends on various parameters like paper and quality settings. The user does not have any direct visibility of the technical settings like print resolution or droplet size(s) used to render a given color. The driver just let the user specify the paper type and quality level which calls up internal table values to render and print that color. Here is just one example how colors with different tones can look - look specifically to the coarseness of the print

ET8550 UG high.jpg


You can print and compare light colors or more saturated colors with different quality settings or between different printers and check visibility of this granularity under normal viewing conditions, but you probably need a magnifier. The color patches above are cropped out of the profile patch sheet and their size is 7.5x8 mm each. The larger blotches in the top left violett patch are jpg artifacts.
 
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