Solved: Ultra HD Matte Black lighter than original K7 Matte black

Walker, Jon, Dana
I recntly upgraded my 3880 K7 WN matte black to the Ultra HD Matte Black. Using the QTR-K-flush.tif I flushed out the Matte Black with Piezo Flush and then printing the same routine added in the new Ultra HD Matte black until it printed a solid black page. I have since printed 8 11x17 images and the deep blacks are lighter and much faded as compared to the original matte black. I have done three manual nozzle checks and an automatic nozzle check and they all look fine. I have also done a regular cleaning and no difference. The ink carts are agitated regularly.

I have a grayscale test image on the same Canson Rag paper printed two months ago with the original matte black and it is correct. The same test image printed with the new Ultra HD Matte is washed out and has much lighter deep blacks. Just to prove to myself that I am not crazy I printed the same grayscale file on my 7880 with the Pro inks with Highlights 75n25w and the same for Midtones and Shadows - this appears to be a very close approximation to K7WN. The print is excellent. I even printed the same grayscale image on my Canon IPF8400 using the monochrome settings at Warm Balck on the Canson Rag. It has even deeper blacks than the Pro inks and vastly blacker than the the Ultra HD Matte Black on the 3880. So it would seem there is something going on either with the 3880 or the inks in the 3880 or possibly both.

Any help would be much appreciated.

I have waiting orders for prints and the prints I am getting definitely will not acceptable to my clients.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


As you emailed me a few minutes before posting this on the forum as well, I’ll just repeat my reply on the forum so it doesn’t look like I’m shirking my duty here.

Make sure your printer does not have PiezoFlush left in the lines!

You should be getting a dMax in the range of 1.81 with the HD MK so there is something wrong with the printer or workflow here most likely PiezoFlush still in the lines.

You are sure you are printing with the correct curve? Use: K7-WN-UltraHDMK-MASTER.quad

We are using the same batch of ink as you (there is only 1 batch sold currently) on our 3880s in-house at CEP and getting a dMax between 1.81 and 1.85. This is well beyond current canon MK pigment ink let alone the older pigment ink.

Here’s a thread that posts L* values for current canon MK ink.

We are well below that in the 12.45 L* to 13.32 L* region.

So something is up with your printer or printers for this to happen.


That’s annoying!! All the expectation and build up and then you get lighter…

Well, I agree with Walker it does sound like the PiezoFlush is still mixed in with the ink either in the ink lines or the damper.

  1. Printing photo images does not move that much black ink because our curves do not print that much black ink.

  2. Your original intention in flushing it out by printing it with the special flush target in Calibration mode will produce unavoidable intermixing in the damper. The PiezoFlush is better at displacing ink in the damper than ink is at displacing PiezoFlush once it is in the damper. They sort of swirl around each other for a bit. So you may just not have printed with the undilluted ink yet.

  3. I read that you said the nozzle check looks normal, but what you are describing could also be caused by no black ink printing and what you are seeing is not diluted black ink but rather the underlying shades 2, 3, 4 which under-print black ink with our curves.

  4. If you print the normal calibration mode target in calibration mode you can verify if the black ink prints normally. You will see if it prints the 21 steps at the same time the other shades print 21 steps. If all or part of it is missing- then that’s going to take some trouble shooting, but it also might indicate the cart is not primed properly, air is coming though the print head, and repriming is an easy fix.

  5. I know you must hate wasting the other ink shades by Power Cleaning - but what we would do at Cone Editions Press is just get it over with and run 3-4 Power Cleans to suck out the ink from the ink lines and damper and have that replaced by the new ink. It’s sure bet way to do ink changes especially when time is incredibly valuable or we need to get a print job out that day. There’s no messing around with doing it by the suction created by the Power Clean. It takes a minimum of 3 for what ever is in the cart to reach the print head. We do the 4th for good measure. These are equivalent to the INITIAL INK CHARGE. Also toping off and shaking all the carts prior to running the Power Cleans insure freshly shaken ink is in all the ink lines and dampers after you are finished purging the printer.

Please let us know what you find out. It is killing me to read this. I still jaw drop looking at matte prints with the Ultra HD. I hope to read you have as good a reaction as I still do.


Update to this: Handled by email, it was a combo of PiezoFlush and Curve Selection >