Cone Color Inks vs Epson Color Inks in Epson 9900

9890
7900
9900
7890

#1

I have been using Cone Color Inks for some time now and have been very happy, both with the value and the results. But I had a strange thing happen today.

I got contacted by a potential new client who owns an Epson 9900, like me, but can not handle their volume of printing and wants me to print their overflow. After discussions we decided they would bring their own Mac Mini and make a test print using the workflow they use which included printing directly out of Aperture. So it was like they were in their studio just with a different Epson 9900 connected. I do not use or own Aperture, so it sounded like a good idea, they even offered if this worked out they would permanently leave their Mac Mini for me to use.

So we did a test print from it. They had brought several prints they had made from the same roll stock, so paper batch would not be an issue. [B]The print from my printer was noticeably lighter, slightly different color, and less d-max.[/B] I had figured that my printer would have a little bit of difference because I feel each printer has its own look, but the ONLY difference I can think of is the inks. They are using Epson OEM and I am using Cone Color.

When I first decided to change over to Cone Color I had purposely made some prints first with Epson inks and then later with Cone’s inks. There really was no visual difference. The test prints for this potential client were night and day.

So what am I missing? Are the inks really that different?


#2

Any ideas? Anyone? I need to get back to them if I can do work for them.


#3

Hello~

Sorry for not responding sooner, we were closed for holiday break last week, and had limited support during that time.

How often do you agitate your ink cartridges, and use your 9900 printer?
What paper are you printing on?
What profile are you using?

ConeColor inks are very similar to Epson, so you should be able to get extremely similar results using the same ink/paper/settings with the two inks.

Please let me know so I can help you resolve this and get back to happily printing.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:


#4

I am sure Jon filled you in on the thread going on Yahoo Group -EpsonWideFormat. I can repost some of my posts here:

>I print every weekday, I refill my carts about one time a month (350ml size). In between printing I remove all carts and do the agitation thing, so that is about 5-6 times a month. How fast can they settle?

I understand all the things about the profiles and making a custom one but:
Everything up to the USB cord going into my printer was the same setup they use to make the print they brought with them.

So if they have some strange setup, or color management, or anything else, the print coming off my printer should have those properties. I.E. the prints should look close. Even if off, weird, or whatever.

So if I was to roll my 9900 over to their place, have them make a print on their 9900, unplug the USB cord, plug it into mine and print again, it SHOULD look close.


#5

I just finished reading the Yahoo Group thread, thanks.

You already confirmed how close ConeColor and Epson inks are by printing the same image with Epson inks, then again with ConeColor after switching inks in your printer. You have also confirmed that your output is consistent by printing regular control prints, and comparing to past prints. In the Yahoo thread, you wrote that you just printed your control print and compared it to one made months ago, and they match, so output from your setup is consistent.

I have a few ideas/suggestions:

  1. Different printers of the same model can differ. Please check the firmware version of the two printers in question, as well as what paper setting that is selected on the printer’s control panel during printing.

  2. Aperture is an imaging program, like LightRoom, Photoshop, etc… and prints thru the Epson driver. I have experienced a very strange occurrence several times when printing from our various Macs (including a MacMini) to different printers: sometimes when I plug in a different printer and print (even if it’s the exact same model), then plug in the first printer, the output is dramatically lighter and very off. When this first happened, I rechecked all my settings, printed a nozzle check to make sure all channels were fully printing, shut down both computer and pinter, and nothing corrected the output until I reinstalled the print driver. Now, when I print to different printers, I always do a small test print to make sure output is correct before starting production, and if it’s off, I immediately reinstall the print driver.

  3. What is YOUR computer setup- Mac/PC, operating system version, etc? Since you have already confirmed your computer/printer is producing correct output, then I recommend printing their image with your computer to check the results.

I have never used Hahnemuhle profiles, and always use profiles we make, or sometimes the standard Epson profiles included in the print driver.
You said you can not post photos of the client’s output and yours, so I can see the differences, but can you explain the image you’re trying to print- is it monochrome, or what colors does it mainly contain?
In our studio, we import client’s images and print from our computers, which we know are set up in a certain way, and produce accurate/consistent output.

Please let me know so I can help you resolve this and resume printing.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:


#6

[QUOTE=Dana-IJM;4358]I just finished reading the Yahoo Group thread, thanks.

You already confirmed how close ConeColor and Epson inks are by printing the same image with Epson inks, then again with ConeColor after switching inks in your printer. You have also confirmed that your output is consistent by printing regular control prints, and comparing to past prints. In the Yahoo thread, you wrote that you just printed your control print and compared it to one made months ago, and they match, so output from your setup is consistent.

I have a few ideas/suggestions:

  1. Different printers of the same model can differ. Please check the firmware version of the two printers in question, as well as what paper setting that is selected on the printer’s control panel during printing.

[B]I know I have the latest version, not sure what they have. Since this is a potential new client I have a limited relationship with them so far. When they left here on Friday they were pretty disappointed.[/B]

  1. Aperture is an imaging program, like LightRoom, Photoshop, etc… and prints thru the Epson driver. I have experienced a very strange occurrence several times when printing from our various Macs (including a MacMini) to different printers: sometimes when I plug in a different printer and print (even if it’s the exact same model), then plug in the first printer, the output is dramatically lighter and very off. When this first happened, I rechecked all my settings, printed a nozzle check to make sure all channels were fully printing, shut down both computer and pinter, and nothing corrected the output until I reinstalled the print driver. Now, when I print to different printers, I always do a small test print to make sure output is correct before starting production, and if it’s off, I immediately reinstall the print driver.

[B]I will agree with you on that. I have installed the driver several times. See my other notes at end of this post.[/B]

  1. What is YOUR computer setup- Mac/PC, operating system version, etc? Since you have already confirmed your computer/printer is producing correct output, then I recommend printing their image with your computer to check the results.

[B]Mac 10.6.8, Epson driver, ethernet connection[/B]

I have never used Hahnemuhle profiles, and always use profiles we make, or sometimes the standard Epson profiles included in the print driver.
You said you can not post photos of the client’s output and yours, so I can see the differences, but can you explain the image you’re trying to print- is it monochrome, or what colors does it mainly contain?
In our studio, we import client’s images and print from our computers, which we know are set up in a certain way, and produce accurate/consistent output.

[B]The image(s) is an RGB 16 bit color image. The client strictly said I can not “disclose” the image. But its a blue swirly star sky like thingy. There is plenty of beep blues in it, and specs of magenta and white.[/B]

Please let me know so I can help you resolve this and resume printing.
Best regards~ Dana :)[/QUOTE]

[B]Notes: So what I have done today, because they did leave me the file(s), was run tests on Epson Glossy and Hahnemuhle Photo Rag using both the profiles I made, the canned ones, and the ones from your website. I can not get close to the print they left me. The blues go very purple, the magentas go green. Almost like film crossover (gee, I hope you are old enough to know what that means?) I starting to realize if they have something seriously wrong with their printer or workflow that the prints they are getting are just not right, but that is how they like them and have been selling them. I wish some of the images were of some normal “object” so at least visually I could say “well that color is just not right”. These will be like printing swirls of color.[/B]


#7

I would like to add something new to the equation. I took a print I had made some time ago with the Epson inks, the print has been in dark storage, and printed a new print with the Cone inks.

Now I realize its different paper batch, different print profile (because I update mine from time to time), but the Epson print seems to have a better d-max. I asked two other people here in our studio and they agreed.


#8

Dana,

Response?


#9

Thanks for the update. Sorry for not responding sooner, I have been involved in a workshop, and away from email.

Have you checked the image information in Photoshop, to see what RGB values the areas are, to help determine if they are printing correctly?
How does output of their image from your computer compare to output you were getting from their MacMini?
Do you have a media type setting on your printer when you load paper?

Unfortunately, I don’t have a dMax measurement of Epson MK ink on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag paper, but have measurements of several other black inks at 80% density (from the Ink Separation image, printed thru QTR Calibration Mode to evaluate individual inks). I may be able to get an Epson MK measurement on Monday, but the CCP MK dMax at 80% density is 1.61, which is pretty good. How do the colors compare from your Epson and Cone Color prints, is the only difference you see in the dMax? What paper were these test images printed on?

~Dana


#10

[QUOTE=Dana-IJM;4374]Thanks for the update. Sorry for not responding sooner, I have been involved in a workshop, and away from email.

Have you checked the image information in Photoshop, to see what RGB values the areas are, to help determine if they are printing correctly?

[B]I think it would not matter since we used the same file on both printers.[/B]

How does output of their image from your computer compare to output you were getting from their MacMini?

[B]I can not even come close to what they got.[/B]

Do you have a media type setting on your printer when you load paper?

[B]I had them use the same settings they use on their printer. On my printer I do not have any other then normal settings used, except platen gap when I print on my papers. Again, they set it for what they use on their printer.[/B]

Unfortunately, I don’t have a dMax measurement of Epson MK ink on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag paper, but have measurements of several other black inks at 80% density (from the Ink Separation image, printed thru QTR Calibration Mode to evaluate individual inks). I may be able to get an Epson MK measurement on Monday, but the CCP MK dMax at 80% density is 1.61, which is pretty good. How do the colors compare from your Epson and Cone Color prints, is the only difference you see in the dMax?

[B]No, there is color shifts.[/B]

What paper were these test images printed on?

[B]Hahnemühle Rice Paper and Epson Glossy Paper.[/B]

~Dana[/QUOTE]
And why do I get this error when trying to make this post “The message you have entered is too short. Please lengthen your message to at least 10 characters.”


#11

If the image information shows RGB data with strong R, and/or low G, then printing with a magenta cast would be normal/accurate, but if the image data is strong in the B and/or G, then you would know it should print more blueish and less magenta- this is why I suggested checking the image information, to determine which system/printer is outputting correctly.

If their MacMini to your printer is printing differently than your computer to your printer, then we would want to look into the computer setups. If you are getting different output from two computers to the same printer, than it’s obviously not the printer that is the only factor in this situation.

As I mentioned before, the firmware versions of the two printers is a possible factor as well.

You originally wrote that you did a print comparison from your printer of Epson inks before switching to ConeColor, then printed the same image after switching to ConeColor, and felt the results were identical. If your output is now different in both color and dMax, that makes me suspect 1. something has changed in your setup (such as OS version, Photoshop version, print settings, profile, print driver, printer firmware version, etc…), and/or 2. you’re dealing with the effects of settled pigment (in which case shaking your ink carts and doing a few Power Clean Cycles should help bring the ink density/color back to where it should be).

There are too many variables in this situation, which make it difficult to troubleshoot. Whenever troubleshooting a printing problem, I consider all the possible factors, then rule them out by testing and using a known base- including using a known test image (I just emailed one for you to use, since you can’t disclose the client’s image).

Please keep me posted, thanks~ Dana


#12

[QUOTE=Dana-IJM;4387]If the image information shows RGB data with strong R, and/or low G, then printing with a magenta cast would be normal/accurate, but if the image data is strong in the B and/or G, then you would know it should print more blueish and less magenta- this is why I suggested checking the image information, to determine which system/printer is outputting correctly.

[B]Not sure what you mean by this, please explain in detail.[/B]

If their MacMini to your printer is printing differently than your computer to your printer, then we would want to look into the computer setups. If you are getting different output from two computers to the same printer, than it’s obviously not the printer that is the only factor in this situation.

[B]In this case is was from one computer, their mac mini to their printer and then their mac mini to my printer.[/B]

As I mentioned before, the firmware versions of the two printers is a possible factor as well.

[B]I agree on that but do not have access to their printer. [/B]

You originally wrote that you did a print comparison from your printer of Epson inks before switching to ConeColor, then printed the same image after switching to ConeColor, and felt the results were identical.

[B]Yes, this is why I am confident that prints from either ink sets will be a very close match.[/B]

If your output is now different in both color and dMax, that makes me suspect 1. something has changed in your setup (such as OS version, Photoshop version, print settings, profile, print driver, printer firmware version, etc…),

[B]Yes, a few things have changed: same printer, updated custom print profiles, updated firmware, newer OS, obviously different batches of paper and inks[/B]

and/or 2. you’re dealing with the effects of settled pigment (in which case shaking your ink carts and doing a few Power Clean Cycles should help bring the ink density/color back to where it should be).

[B]Pretty sure this is not an issue, I am religious about cart shaking.[/B]

There are too many variables in this situation, which make it difficult to troubleshoot.

[B]I agree on that too, this one has me stumped.[/B]

Whenever troubleshooting a printing problem, I consider all the possible factors, then rule them out by testing and using a known base- including using a known test image (I just emailed one for you to use, since you can’t disclose the client’s image).

[B]What do you want me to do with the test image? Do you want to see a print of it, perhaps compare to what you get? [/B]

Please keep me posted, thanks~ Dana[/QUOTE]

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


#13
  1. Checking the image information to see if the output you’re getting is correct for the image. I have included two examples below to illustrate what I’m talking about.
    [B]A.[/B] The screen capture below is checking the info for the blue patch. As you can see the info is reading primarily blue in the RGB section, and cyan in the CMYK section. The second highest RGB value is G, which is the opposite of magenta. The low Y value is indicating strong blue (opposite of Y), and the K value is 0, so this color patch is expected to print medium blue.

[B]B.[/B] The screen capture below is checking the info for the purple patch. As you can see the info is reading primarily blue in the RGB section, and magenta in the CMYK section. The second highest RGB value is R, and the lower G value indicates more magenta. Considering the RGB and CMYK info, this color patch is expected to print medium/dark purple.


If the print output is printing different from what the info window indicates a color should be printing, then you know the output is not accurate for the image, and would look into determining the cause of the difference.

  1. In my post on 7/18 (post #9 above), I asked "How does output of their image from [U]your computer[/U] compare to output you were getting from their MacMini?"
    The reason I asked this is because you have extensive experience with your computer/printer setup, and have taken steps to closely monitor your output accuracy over time.
    You have: 1. verified your ConeColor output matched your Epson output after switching inks (in a controlled test: with the same printer, driver, paper, etc…), 2. regularly agitated your ink cartridges and used your printer to ensure in-suspension pigment for consistent output, 3. frequently print a control print to check the accuracy/consistency of your output over time, 4. made new profiles for your system to ensure your output profile is accurate. I have more confidence in and knowledge about your setup, so expect your output is likely accurate, so am curious how output of the same image from your computer to your printer compares to output from their MacMini to your printer, and their MacMini to their printer.

The reason I sent you this image is because it’s a well known color test image, that we (and many others) have used for years to evaluate color output. I’ve printed this image thru every profile I’ve made over the past several years, and can quickly notice if it’s correct or there’s something wrong. Using a standard/known test image gives a solid base point to help rule out variables, and help trouble shoot to narrow down and determine the cause (and solution) to your output differences.

Above (in post #6) you wrote that you have used profiles you’ve made, CCP-9900 profiles from our website, and “the canned ones”, and with all those profiles, your output is consistent in that the blues go purple and magentas go green (with the client’s image). This makes me think the profiles are accurate (especially if you get the same output making a custom profile specific to your exact setup).

We print for a wide range of artists and photographers from around the world (at our studio, ConeEditions Press), all using different equipment and setups. We carefully maintain our printers, computers, color management systems, etc… to keep a consistent “known good” viewing and print systems. Often times, output from our stable setup doesn’t match the prints clients send us (depending on their printers, inks, papers, color management, printer maintenance, etc…), so we make adjustments to the client’s files so our output matches what they want, and send them proofs to evaluate/approve before printing finals. We keep the approved BATs to match for future printing, to ensure consistency over time, as printers can shift over time, paper batches differ, etc… so when they reorder in the future, we print a small test and compare to the approved BAT we have, to make sure everything is the same before making final prints.

Does this make sense?
Please keep me posted, let me know if you have further questions, or there’s anything else I can help you with.

All the best~ Dana :slight_smile:


#14

Dana,

At this point I don’t think they have much confidence in me anyway. So can I possible send you their file (pretend I never did) and have you look at it? Please, please.


#15

Sure, I would be happy to look at their file and let you know what I see/think. You can email it to me.


#16

Just sent it to you via HighTail, look for e-mail. Thanks for doing this Dana!


#17

I just received it, and will take a look shortly- appropriately named :wink:


#18

You should see what the real name was, it would make you gag.


#19

I have used cone HDR inks in my 7900 for a year now and I have been for the most part happy.
I hired a color management consultant, when I noticed that the output from the 3880, with Epson inks, was a larger color space (Greater D-Max) than the 7900 with Cone inks
After printing the color test charts, sure enough, the 3880 with Epson inks was printing the proper color gamut.
The most visible problem seems to be with the cone inks is with the Cyan and Green. The Magentas are very close,
I will replace the both Cyan, Green and Orange, Both Magenta and report next week.

Glen


#20

Hi Glen~

Keep in mind that you’re also comparing two different printer models.

After reviewing your order history, I see you purchased the 7900 refill carts and ConeColor in early 2013.
How often have you been agitating the cartridges?
How often have you been using the printer vs. how long does it sit unused?
What paper(s) are you printing on?

~Dana