by Mike McNamee Published 01/04/2005
LUKMAN SINCLAIR IS A MARINE ARTIST AND PRINT MAKER who reproduces giclee prints from his own art as well as providing a print service for other artists. He was migrating from an Epson 2000P, the forerunner of the Epson 2100 for which he paid almost £700 as well as another £250 for servicing over a period of 3 years. It was the metamerism of the Epson 2000P ink set, which gave him the most trouble and led eventually to a desire to upgrade. His clients complained about the magenta to green shift as the print viewing conditions changed from tungsten to daylight. Botanical art repro suffered greatly in the greens, while the browns took on a pinkish glow. Called upon for advice, the writer soon persuaded Sinclair that an Epson 4000 was a significantly better investment than the 2100 both from the point of view of production speed and running cost. In addition the 4000 has the advantage of dual matte and photo black ink sets. The advantages of the Epson Ultrachrome ink set are reduced metamerism (for a pigment), a higher gamut and a solid database of life testing.
The Epson 2100 and 7600 also use the Ultrachrome ink set. However the change from one type of ink to the other (ie matte to photo black) is costly in flushed materials in the 7600/9600 machines and the ink is relatively more costly in the smaller 2100 cartridges, which hold 10 times less than those of the 220ml 4000/7600/9600 series. Artists are uncommonly sensitive to colour precision and a fully calibrated work flow is always going to pay dividends in improved efficiency towards obtaining a satisfactory proof. Sinclair Fine Art already uses a monitor calibrator. This checked out quite reasonably except that it was slightly low on gamma, the CRT was showing more shadow detail than the printer would deliver. The input is generally provided from an Epson 3170 flat bed scanner and this was profiled using the Nova Darkroom high accuracy IT8 Reflective Target using Monaco Profiler Pro. The as-scanned IT8 target was about 4 points (Lab) magenta in the mid tone neutrals. This was corrected to perfect neutrality by the scanner profile (see images).
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