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Old 10th January 2019
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Re: Anyone print A3 ?

Been meaning to put my two penneth in on this one for a day or so. Here goes with comments, in random order, some of which are picking up on good input from others.

1) Economics - A totally objective view would say use a commercial printer if the decision was based purely on cost per print. However, as a photographic enthusiast who sells the odd print, a lot more cards, enters club competitions, exhibitions and is slowly working through PAGB and RPS distinctions I enjoy the act of printing as part of the image making process. I also find mounting and, where appropriate, framing immensely satisfying and completes the whole process. I love the control it gives which for things such as RPS distinctions is important as prints are scrutinised in minute detail from a nose length away. So you pays yer money and yer takes yer choice on economics v quality/satisfaction. As someone else has correctly said we spend a large amount of money on bodies, lenses, bags etc. so why scrimp on the final act of image production.


2) Paper Manufacturers - I use mostly Fotospeed, partly as I get discount via a Fotospeed ambasador I know very well, and for some cards I use Pinnacle ( from Paper Spectrum) as a value option. Fotospeed are excellent but I know that many swear by Permajet. The reality is that there is probably little or nothing to choose between them. What I would suggest is that you stick with a small range of paper types from one supplier so that you learn what papers work with what images as that is part of the many skills you need to learn when home printing.

3) Nozzle clogging - I use an Epson R3000 and only had clogged heads once after a, very unusual, period of two months with no printing. Resolved by the use of j-cloth strips and Isopropyl alcohol. I leave the printer on, as that avoids the power up head cleaning which uses a lot of ink, and do a head check on plain paper before a printing session. That does a mini head clean and seems to work well.

4) Colour management - Simply essential. Use correct colour spaces from camera, through LR/PS and when printing. I use Adobe RGB all the way through so I know what I'm getting. Some suggest ProPhoto when processing but to me that seems counterintuitive as most printers we are discussing use Adobe RGB as their base. I calibrate my monitor regularly, I have a bonkersly expensive BenQ which displays 99% of Adobe RGB, and use custom ICC profiles specific to my physical printer/ink/paper combination. All the paper manufacturers that I use do this for free and are pretty quick so there is no good reason not to. Without this you are highly likely to get unpredictable results. The difference in "brightness" between screen and paper is a common problem most typically caused by having the screen too bright. This is often addressed via the screen calibration process but you will also probably need to make test prints to set the correct luminance levels. One surprisingly effective tip I picked up on the problem is to use a white background on screen for the final "soft proofing" to mimic viewing on paper as that way the eye is seeing the same contrast levels, which if you use a dark background on screen are substantially different.

5) Pixels - A little bit of a tangent but I find it interesting that there are still some people who think that you cannot print above A4 from m43. Utter tosh. I print up to A3+ on occasions and have no problems. If you crop heavily that will change, as it would for any camera, as you are reducing the information available in the image. However this idea, that is still around, that printing from M43 is difficult is total bovine excrement unless you are going very big such as A2 plus and even then you must take into account viewing distance.

6) Ink - I use Epson ink. I did look at some of the better third party inks/tank systems but decided that my initial capital expenditure to convert would take an awful long time to recover, if indeed I ever would, given my printing volumes.


Hope that is useful


Hec
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