Epson Exhibition Fibre 100% flat

I purchased a pack of Epson Traditional Photo Paper (Epson Exhibition Fibre in the US) after Jon recommended it as the next best thing after the Jon Cone Paper. First up I printed a 21x4 patch set using the supplied curve. Both before and after applying the GO coat, the 100% patch looks blotchy and flat. I don’t have a strong enough loupe to really get at the patches but the 95% looks OK.

I’ll measure the patches in the morning but it’s something that I haven’t seen on IGFS or HPR Baryta. I’ll attach a grab of my setup. I’d love to know what’s going wrong.

Here’s what my linearisation looks like:

Do your images look like your linearizations when you print them? If so they would begin getting too dark in the 1/4 tones and then go much much darker through the shadows… Wicked dark. If yes - then something is amiss with your setup. But if the images are printing so that they are actually good - then its just your process of trying to make a linearization. Let us know… You are all using unsupported linearization checker means and it may be that this is an exercise in futility. Maybe not - just saying…

Thanks Jon. I’m just packing it in for the night. I haven’t printed anything yet, other than the patch set. I don’t understand what you mean about unsupported linearization checker. It’s your one with averaged numbers from the 21x4 chart. The black patches are really weird. They look flat and blotchy. Is that likely to disappear on a print?

I believe that we provide either a 21 step for the EyeOne or a 21-step for the DTP70 but not a 21x4 kit for other instruments. So, I am assuming that you were devising your own method.

Why not just make a print following our instructions. The idea behind Piezography is that you do not have to do a lot of jumping through hoops, etc to make it work. You’re only printing out targets which is good to practice the workflow, etc… but make a print and see if it imitates what your linearization checking method is doing. There may be some issue with your target, process, etc.

Make a print and let me know if you end up with hollow blacks as your test suggests. If you do - you have an issue that needs to be discovered. I want to assume that the Epson 3880 in Australia is the same as the Epson 3880 that Roy Harrington supports. But - possibly not. Or - there is just some issue in your workflow. Or the inks have been contaminated, etc… and the time you are spending on all this needs to be refocused to what the issue is. Your linearizations are anywhere near normal and we can not correct them with a custom. So either your setup is messed up, your workflow is incorrect, or just your method of checking your linearization is not working.

Make a photograph and let us know…

Thanks Jon. To answer your questions:

I used the 21x4 target and averaged it. That way I get multiple samples and can also use it for making a soft proof profile with QTR. It still give me the 21 steps to drop into your linearisation checker. This is what I’ve been using for a while now.

Not having a darkroom background, I am used to relying on measurements to tell me what will happen. I also don’t have a lot of deep black in what I do, not my aesthetic.

AFAIK, the 3880 in Oz is the same as in the US. I’ve bought carts from Shades of Paper in the past with no issues. I’ve never heard it suggested that there is a difference.

I’ll do a couple of prints and be back.

Ok, I’m really tied up with family but I printed the Proof of Piezography with both EEF and IGFS. The EEF looks flat at the 100% and the IGFS without GO looks fine. I have an image with lots of black, which I will print in the morning when things are a bit quieter.

I just printed an image with lots of black in the last 5% and it look terrible. I haven’t bothered with GO, a miracle might do better. The deep blacks are really blotchy and flat. I’ll attach a grab of my setup. I can scan it if you want to see what it’s like.

GO it!
u may be surprised

K7 prints on glossy or baryta NEVER look right without the GO and should never be measured or evaluated without it.

GO’d. It’s marginally better. The speckle is still there. It’s a bit better but still ugly. It looks better straight out of the printer, but, after a few minutes, the speckle becomes obvious.

On a side note, with 75%RH this stuff curls like there’s no tomorrow. The GO seriously scratched the print. Any suggestions on platen gap for this paper?

We’ve sometimes seen a speckle pattern on EEF paper, especially in the very dark and smooth areas. We have printed a lot on this paper, so know it’s normal results, but happens from time to time (I haven’t written down batch#s or details like that). Without knowing exactly what caused it, I noticed it changed from day to day, and felt it was environmental- possibly humidity and/or temp related (?) Try a second layer of GO, after thoroughly drying the ink and first layer of GO.

I hope this helps~ Dana :slight_smile:

Thanks Dana. I’m applying 30K in the first GO pass. How many should I do in the second? My understanding is that GO should be applied in the smallest amount to get rid of bronzing, and that too much starts to soften the image. I have my EEF paper in a dehumidifier now, and will try it again in a few days. I’d like to get this resolved as I like it a lot for the first 95%.

I figured that a couple of weeks is enough so I did another print. It’s not as bad by a long shot, but it’s still not good. I have nice smooth blacks up to 95%, and then it looks flat. It’s harder to see now but, on an angle, it’s still there. This is with a single GO pass of 30K.

I’ve had a play with this paper. Jeff gave me several sheets to test. So I printed that image above (one of mine actually) of the young jazz pianist in post #8. The image probably isn’t the best demonstration of K7, with all that black (not unusual for live jazz), but it is a good test of the behaviour of deep shadows. I think Jeff sent you (Jon) the original of the image in separate correspondence.

I printed it on my R1900 using the curve for EEF that ships with QTR, so quite a different printer and a different curve to what Jeff used. I am using K7 SE with WN Opaque, so only shades 6 and 7 are the same inks as the neutral set that Jeff used. My location is quite different to Jeff’s and humidity is not as bad, although it’s been raining here recently, so it’s not all that low either. So all in all it’s quite different. GO was 30K. Print was well dried before measuring and then coating and then remeasuring.

I first did a linearity check both without and with GO, the results of which are below. It’s not as linear as one would like, but it’s not the worst I’ve seen, and definitely nothing like Jeff’s, esp in the deep shadows. The GO helps the highlights but not the shadows. The gentle, non-extreme nature of the non-linearity can be dealt with using a Photoshop curve - I have a spreadsheet that constructs such curves from the linearity plot.

Without GO

With GO:

Scans of an extract of the printed image without and with GO are below. There was a fair bit of mottling in the very deep shadows in the uncoated print. The GO coating removed it some some areas completely, but in the areas where the K values in PS are 98%- 99% it’s still there to some extent. It’s not easy to see, and may be hard in the scan, but you can see in in certain types of oblique lighting.

Without GO:

With GO:

As a comparison, I printed this image on the same paper using my OEM 2880. I created an ICC profile for ABW EEF so I can roughly match the two prints. There was no mottling (or bronzing), despite the dmax being 0.4 higher, reaching 2.5 coated, compared to 2.1 coated.

My results seem to indicate that Jeff’s mottling problem won’t be eliminated by a custom curve, since my linearity is not that bad, and the problem still occurs.

Based on our experiences, it’s not a paper that I’d recommend for K7, although the K3 ABW print looks just fine.

p.s. Looking at the coated print again, something is odd. Just how visible the mottling is depends on the light and the angle. But more than that, in the areas that had clear mottling pre-GO, there’s a marked difference to the rest of the print post-GO. I.e. The rest of the print looks nicely glossy. But the real black areas - 98% K and higher - are not glossy at all - they look almost matte with some faint mottling. Why is this, since they’ve had a coating of GO too? This mixture of matte and gloss looks odd, and the matte-looking areas are quite different to the bronzing you get on most glossy papers before the GO coating.

I had a thought about these areas that had bad mottling pre-GO and muted mottling with a matte appearance post-GO. I had a hunch that these were the areas where shade 1 is being laid down. In the R1900 EEF profile, shade 1 cuts in at 95%. So I created a mask for the image that showed all the areas darker than 95%. And the two areas corresponded exactly. QED

Hi Jeff (and Brian)~

I received your target to have a custom curve made for your 3880 with Neutral inks and Epson Exhibition Fiber paper. Your target shows what you’re describing as flat/matte and blotchy in the first two dark columns. I compared your target to a target I printed with Neutral inks on Epson Exhibition Fiber paper to make the P2 curves, and mine has some slight gloss differential in the first few patches, but nothing like yours, and yours covers a much larger area.

What black ink mode is your printer in? The 3880 has two black channels, and you must do a black ink change so the printer is in PK mode when printing on gloss papers. The flatness of your target looks like maybe MK ink was used… (?) I know Brian’s tests with his R1900 only have one black, so the dual black ink of the 3880 isn’t an issue with the R1900. I compared the curve structure of the 3800-3880-MPS-EPexFiber curve Jeff is using to the P2-NU-EPexFiber curve, and the P2 curve has a slightly lower (3 vs. 9) black ink limit. The R1900 EPexFiber curve has a black ink limit of 39, so uses considerably more black. Please note, the glossy K7 curves we have available online are custom curves we’ve made for various customers over the years, and we feel the curves are good compared to other known good curves for that printer model, and based on the quality of the printed target used to make the custom curve. We made all the K7 matte curves that are included in the QTR download, and all the P2 curves (both matte and gloss).

Although our targets look very different in the black range on the same paper and with essentially the same master curve (the P2 gloss master is the same as the K7 gloss master, just without shade 7, so the shadow range is identical), I have modified the P2-EPexFiber curve to use black in the black channel (instead of the yellow channel, like P2 normally uses), and attached it for you to try. Make sure your printer is in PK mode to use the Selenium shade #1 glossy compatible black ink (with a good nozzle check), and make a test print with this P2 curve, then let me know how your results look (after printing the GO layer).

Please let me know, thanks~ Dana :slight_smile: (3.05 KB)

Hi Dana,

Thanks. I hope your baby is better now. It’s a hard gig doing what you are doing.

Photo Black it is. That’s the first thing that I checked. IGFS and HPR Baryta both print without an issue. I won’t be able to try out the curve till the weekend but I’ll do it then and report back. I’m not doubting you for a second about the curves, and I really appreciate the way you support your product. I’d just love to get this sorted. I hate things that don’t work as they should.

Hi Jeff~

Yea, it can be tough working full time and being a mother, especially when kids get sick… He’s much better, and finally back at daycare today (hopefully the day goes well~ fingers crossed!).

The issue is certainly paper related, since you’re only experiencing the issue on Exhibition Fiber, and other glossy papers work well, but it’s still strange since we’ve done a lot of printing on Exhibition Fiber, and have had much better results than you. I’m curious if it’s paper batch related, since we bought a boat load of Exhibition Fiber a few years ago, so the paper we use is all a few years old, and bought at the same time, which may differ from newer batches bought recently (?) If the new curve I sent doesn’t work out, it may be best to abandon Exhibition Fiber and use a paper that works well.

Best regards~ Dana

The working parent thing is hard. Esp with very young children in day care as they pick up every bug. Having a sympathetic and flexible employer certainly helps.

There has been a lot of discussion about EEF today on this side of the planet. I will wait until Jeff is in a position to test the new profile in a few days before saying too much more. I guess lowering the black ink limit may help. I’ve seen some K7 curves that use almost no shade 1, and perhaps this is the reason - loading capacity. But like you I am suspicious about the paper. More after Jeff has tested.

Yes, it’s tough when kids are exposed to so many illnesses at daycare or school. Luckily, my employer is wonderful and very understanding :slight_smile:

I have experienced changes in several papers over the years (including Exhibition Fiber), and believe this is the case in Jeff’s situation, but am curious if the new curve gives him better results.
Yes, curves are designed to optimize the results for a specific printer/ink/paper, so if a paper doesn’t work well with a lot of black, we knock it back.

Warmly~ Dana