Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Magnus_L_Andersson

Ultimate M Monochrom printer setup

Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)

By the number of posts of M Monochrom users, there must be at least some who have been trying to print their own images. Having looked around the forum there are a few posts here and there on M9 printing, but I would like to see if we are able to come up with some consensus on an "utlimate" printer setup for the Monochrom. The reason for this is, not only for me to get some help on picking the right hardware/software, but also to help others since the qualities of the Monochrom are not "visible" until one starts to look at the obtainable prints.

 

Let's try to divide the topic into a number of questions, assuming we want to do it at home and that we have two different cost options (1) less than $2000 or (2) $2000-5000 including potential additional software (eg RIP) and hardware (eg calibrator). For time being, let's assume that we don't include paper and ink costs - knowing printing is expensive

 

Moreover, let's assume that we make use of the latest versions of Photoshop and Lightroom in our existing workflows, and have a monitor like the Eizo Coloredge CG275W or NEC Spectraview Reference 241. Hence, a very good starting point for adding a matching printer setup.

 

#1 Which printer, eg Epson 3xxx-4xxx, Canon Pixma Pro-1, would you suggest?

 

#2 Which additional software, eg RIP, would you suggest to further push the quality of the printer?

 

#3 Which additional hardware, eg calibrator, would you suggest to further push the quality of this setup?

 

#4 For which types of prints will this setup be at its best/worse?

 

Users of the Leica M Monochrom, let's help our friends to get more out of their great camera and come up with a good printer setup!

 

/magnus

 

A happy Swedish owner of a Leica M Monochrom

 

Blog (Swedish): English version by Google Translate

500px: Impressions & Interpretations

Flickr: Photostream

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll be looking at this with interest.

Been struggling with an Epson 1280 trying to get neutral colors, and now that the budget is into a new year, the boss of the house says I can get a new printer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My post here touches on some of your questions.

 

Each piece of software or hardware can incrementally improve results if you, the real 'printer,' takes the time to incorporate each change into a disciplined workflow. I know people who get fabulous results with all sorts of gear, and others who struggle despite great expense. You certainly can't go wrong starting with an Epson that has the features you need. For some the 3000 will suffice, while others may require a 3880 or 4900 or even bigger (depending on things like roll paper capability, print size, ink capacity, volume requirements, etc).

 

I recommend gradual improvements after you've learned to extract the most from the tool(s) you have. Otherwise you won't have nearly as much feel for how each component contributes, or not, to the end result. This includes paper choice, profiling methods, inks (Epson or 3rd party), using a RIP,etc.

 

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, and I have read the thread on pro printing at home with great interest.

 

However, my intention was to narrow it down to printing of M Monochrom output, since many posts in different forums emphasize the "uniqueness" of this model. Thereby follows the question if this also will imply a need for special measures regarding printing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

However, my intention was to narrow it down to printing of M Monochrom output, since many posts in different forums emphasize the "uniqueness" of this model. Thereby follows the question if this also will imply a need for special measures regarding printing.

 

i'll be following this thread with interest. i'm right at the beginning of my printer for monochrom project and looking, for the moment, in two directions.

 

my epson r1800 delivered good results, but needs a thorough cleaning/adjustment. that may be the time to consider modifying it for optimal b/w results. OR, i've been reading about the following budget combination: an Epson Stylus C86 equipped with MIS EZ Ultratone ink from Inksupply. maybe you'll discover a good solution using new monochromatic ink types in existing printers?

 

thanks for focusing attention on a this interesting new area.

 

rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

Epson doesn't like use of third party inks in their printers (the inks are where the profits are), so expect to deal with various quirks. For b/w, Cone inks on glossy papers also require a second pass with gloss optimizer.

 

But all this can be worthwhile for those willing to invest the time and effort. Seven shades of grey/black certainly offer greater potential than 3, but only after one learns to extract the most from the system with good technique, great papers and profiles, and a disciplined workflow. I repeat my suggestion to take one step at a time. For the uninitiated, I would start with Epson inks before going the third party route.

 

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

However, my intention was to narrow it down to printing of M Monochrom output, since many posts in different forums emphasize the "uniqueness" of this model. Thereby follows the question if this also will imply a need for special measures regarding printing.

 

Good b/w printing is good b/w printing. A disciplined workflow of course starts with the camera, but the principles are the same, and the camera is only the first step. One can use the best camera in the world (and for some the MM may qualify), but unless one uses good technique and materials at every step thereafter, results will be less than optimal...the chain and its weakest link.

 

The MM won't magically produce great prints any more than an MM will automatically produce great photographs. The photographer must figure out how to make the most of whatever gear and process is used, including papers, etc. It was that way in the darkroom, and not much has changed in principle. Good equipment and materials help (and there are many possibilities), but having a good eye and being able to translate that to the print is key. And even then, framing, matting, lighting and display techniques offer another challenge altogether.

 

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just would like to add, that it was a huge, huge step forward for me when I moved from Epson 1290 to Epson 3880 re B&W printing. Today, with 3880, I have no problem with e.g. magenta casts or whatever. The B&W scale is very, very smooth and beautiful. In the printing dialogue I always choose "Advanced B&W Photo". I only use Epson original ink, and various matte papers, preferable PermaJet, A3, A3+ and sometimes A2.

I only work with Lightroom. The technological sides of my B&W photography is now in good control, now it is up to me to take the good images....but that is something else..

 

Regards

Anders

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Magnus,

 

As I'm also a "new" owner of a Monochrom (but have good experience with M8 and M9 in B/W processing), i have not yet found my right recipe for processing certain lights.

My big question is around the printer as well.

 

I tend to feel that with the resolution of the MM, one would need and equivalent printing medium, so I guess the starting point would be "color and B/W" or "B/W" only.

As a hybrid, I think the Epson with 11 ink, i.e 3 blacks would be the best choice and B/W only, best would be K7, piezo.

But than back to the question of size and so on ..

 

a never ending search for the holy grail ...

 

I'm currently pondering about the Epson 4900 or a cheaper color model (same size paper need 17" option) and convert to K7, which ends up to be more or less the same cost, without the color ....

 

next to the hardware, I'm also pretty much interested in the other questions.

 

best regards

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Must be someone out there with printer successes with the Monochrom, or just problems and failures...

 

That would invite commentary on the user, not the camera.

 

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Must be someone out there with printer successes with the Monochrom, or just problems and failures...

 

Magnus

 

It makes not difference whether it is a Leica Monochrom or anything else, good B&W printing is good B&W printing. You just need a printer that can do that, not one that is particularly suitable for the Monochrom. As a suggestion an Epson R3000 is a great printer, easily able to B&W.

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
good B&W printing is good B&W printing. You just need a printer that can do that, not one that is particularly suitable for the Monochrom. As a suggestion an Epson R3000 is a great printer, easily able to B&W.

 

Steve

 

To play devils advocate ....

 

there are good or better and maybe even best printing technologies ...

even looking on screen, there is quite a different between M9 (b/w) and MM.

My local printing service didn't quite print the MM to the level I was expecting, so I will bite the bullet and go for piezo K7 for home usage.

I'll let you know about my experiences

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To play devils advocate ....

 

there are good or better and maybe even best printing technologies ...

even looking on screen, there is quite a different between M9 (b/w) and MM.

My local printing service didn't quite print the MM to the level I was expecting, so I will bite the bullet and go for piezo K7 for home usage.

I'll let you know about my experiences

 

A good print service adapts to the needs and requirements...of the camera files as well as those of the user. Nobody said that cameras didn't matter; what matters is that the person doing the printing makes appropriate accommodations, i.e., good printing judgment, technique and execution. Each person has to determine the print results that they consider to be worthy. I don't trust others to understand my needs and preferences, or to execute those well for differing pics; that's why I do it myself.

 

Frankly, technique is the easy part IMO; it can be learned over time. Making judgments about materials used, editing decisions, etc, i.e., having a good eye, is much harder. But that's no different that the picture taking process to start, and the camera used isn't the magic bullet there either.

 

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be interested in learning more about the digital negative inkjet process in this context, e.g., Piezography seem to have some products and discussions of the process on their web site. In addition to ending up with a final print on silver halide photographic paper, one also gets a large format inkjet negative as a hard copy back-up of the digital file.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To play devils advocate ....

 

there are good or better and maybe even best printing technologies ...

even looking on screen, there is quite a different between M9 (b/w) and MM.

My local printing service didn't quite print the MM to the level I was expecting, so I will bite the bullet and go for piezo K7 for home usage.

I'll let you know about my experiences

 

There shouldn't be any difference in what you see on the screen and what the printer produces. So if the M9 comes out better than the MM the problem lies somewhere else. You are using the same Adobe RGB or ProPhoto colour space for both?

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The "color space" usually utilized in Photoshop for MM files is Grey Gamma 2.2, unless you are adding toning effects, in which case sRGB is sufficient.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good b/w printing is good b/w printing. A disciplined workflow of course starts with the camera, but the principles are the same, and the camera is only the first step. One can use the best camera in the world (and for some the MM may qualify), but unless one uses good technique and materials at every step thereafter, results will be less than optimal...the chain and its weakest link....

 

Jeff

 

Spot on!

 

 

Screen and printer need to be properly calibrated using sample colour & B&W tone charts so that all tones can be correctly separated on screen and print. If you can't get in print exactly what you're seeing on screen it will always be a struggle.

 

This is hard work and I had help from a professional scanner and digital post-processor to get the system properly optimised. It is clear that automated colour calibrators (such as Spyder Pro ) do not replace careful adjustment by eye. First the screen needs to be correctly calibrated to colour an tone charts, and then the printer then needs to be adjusted until the output matches what's on screen. I think only then can one hope to get good print results.

 

I use a dedicated MacMini server, two 24-inch NEC MultiSync PA241W monitors, and a Canon Pixma Pro 9500 MkII. The Canon is giving extraordinary results which have even impressed professional printers. My only complaint with the Canon is that ink cartridges are expensive. I understand that the Canon Pixma Pro-1 ink costs are about half those of the Canon Pro 9500MkII, but it uses different print technology and I have yet to compare the results. I know most people go with Epsom but I don't at all regret getting the Canon.

 

Monochrom files obviously require a different workflow to M9 files but the only difference to the underlying Photoshop preferences is that I've been using Grey Gamma 1.8 rather than 2.2. I should add that to date I've only used ND and PL filters. In the right circumstances removing scattered light significantly improves the tonal range of the final image.

 

Judicious use in PS of global levels & tone curves, and especially local dodging and burning to adjust luminance can resolve many of the issues that would otherwise raise concern regarding colour filtration for the Monochrom (ie. good digital darkroom skills like good chemical darkroom skills for negatives improve the final print). Bill Alsop (forum member) has some excellent resources regarding improving tonal range in PS and the use of layers - this is a good starting point.

 

For straight B&W I'm using Grey Gamma 1.8. However I often use duo-, tri- or quad- toning of Monochrom files in PS which further enhance the tonal range of the final print. In many high-quality publications B&W photographs are in fact toned.

 

Make sure that when printing from PS that you match the canvas size to the final print size and have PS (rather than the printer) determine colour management. This optimises ink placement on the paper. No point going to all that work and having the printer make the final determination.

 

Most of my printing is still to A3+ on Ilford Gold Fibre Silk obviously using the correct paper profile.

Edited by MarkP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Overgaard
      Enjoy my revised series of article on monochrome photography, starting with the classic Leica M9 Monochrom (2012)
      Prelude to the Leica m Monochrom

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!  
      https://www.overgaard.dk/leica-M-Monochrom-Henri-Digital-Rangefinder-Camera-black-and-white-sensor-page.html
       
    • By Tina Manley
      I'm having a terrible time printings some portraits for a gallery show.  I'm using Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Fibre Silk paper, 13x19, and printing with an Epson 1430 Artisan printer.  I'm printing through LightRoom, using the Ilford profile for that paper.  I've turned off color correction for the printer itself and am using the color settings in LR.   I'm using Relative Intent.  Here is an example of my digital file:
       
      http://www.pbase.com/tinamanley/image/166471709/large
       
      Here is an iPhone photo of the actual print:
       
      http://www.pbase.com/tinamanley/image/167279204
       
      See the greenish shadow on her jaw?  All of my portraits are printing with these green shadows somewhere.  I've tried adjusting the color balance of the whole photo which makes it too pink and I've tried adjusting the toning of just the shadows which doesn't seem to help.
       
      Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  This is driving me crazy!!
       
      TIA
       
      Tina
    • By PeterSchlicht
      Ladies and gents,
       
      I searched the net since quite some time for experiences and examples that demonstrate the performance and quality of Leica M10 or SL files for large printing. With large prints I mean sizes up to 150cm (60") on the long side. There are lots of comparisons and reviews between cameras of different makes, e.g. between SL and Hasselblad X1D, but they concentrate mainly on usability or spec-sheet resolution etc. They don't say anything about the final product, which is the print. Print quality from files of a particular camera is nearly never mentioned or discussed. I would like to ask the community here for experiences with printing large from Leica full frame cameras such as M10, SL, 240 or even M9. I know, many of the answers will state "quality is subjective", "depends on viewing distance" or "depends on expectation", etc. But maybe this thread is able to shed some more light on people's experience. I'm sure there must be some prints out there of such sizes. Did you send your SL or M images for example to services such as whitewall.com to produce such large prints? Do you print yourself? How do M or SL files hold up in a 40x60" print? Are they totally inferior to a print from digital medium format... ?
       
      Cheers, Peter
    • By PeterSchlicht
      Ladies and gents,
       
      I searched the net since quite some time for experiences and examples that demonstrate the performance and quality of Leica M10 or SL files for large printing. With large prints I mean sizes up to 150cm (60") on the long side. There are lots of comparisons and reviews between cameras of different makes, e.g. between SL and Hasselblad X1D, but they concentrate mainly on usability or spec-sheet resolution etc. They don't say anything about the final product, which is the print. Print quality from files of a particular camera is nearly never mentioned or discussed. I would like to ask the community here for experiences with printing large from Leica full frame cameras such as M10, SL, 240 or even M9. I know, many of the answers will state "quality is subjective", "depends on viewing distance" or "depends on expectation", etc. But maybe this thread is able to shed some more light on people's experience. I'm sure there must be some prints out there of such sizes. Did you send your SL or M images for example to services such as whitewall.com to produce such large prints? Do you print yourself? How do M or SL files hold up in a 40x60" print? Are they totally inferior to a print from digital medium format... ?
       
      Cheers, Peter
    • By dotsonm61@yahoo.com
      shooting in JPEG/Raw. when reviewing histogram it only shows the RAW histogram. it is my understanding that the JPEG is supposed to show first and then in a few "moments" the RAW histogram
       
      shows up. Am I doing something wrong. I like to view both.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue., Read more about our Privacy Policy