Saturday, 28 January 2017

A3 Printer

For some time, I've been dithering over whether to buy a really good printer so I can print out my many photos up to A3 in size, using archival ink so that they won't fade over time, and on art quality paper when I need it. The fade problem became particularly pertinent when I began to stitch directly into the photos and to offer the resulting pieces for sale at local exhibitions. A printer that would give really good results when printing in black and white was also high on my list!

I had investigated possibilities a couple of years ago and then put the whole thing to the back of my mind feeling I really couldn't justify the expense. I think it seemed somehow wrong to spend so much on one item for what is, in essence, a hobby.


However, just after Christmas, in the grey, cold and depressing days that are January, I had a change of heart. I gritted my teeth, made the decision and bought this beauty - an Epson A3+ SureColor P600. I managed to negotiate a really good deal that included a sample box of 8 kinds of high quality A3 Fotospeed papers, a complete box of their smooth pearl paper (290 gsm) as recommended by the supplier and a Fotospeed inkflow system with extra pigment inks which greatly reduces the cost of ink refills. The deal was only made possible by the fact that my suppliers had had the printer sitting in their store for a while after they'd prepared it for a purchaser who had then changed their mind. The slight scratches on the surface of the casing were no problem to me and somehow appealed to my puritan mind ... and even assuaged any lingering feelings of guilt a little!

I'm now trying everything out, printing onto the selection of A3 papers one by one. At the moment, I'm using very similar images in black and white for each type of paper so that I can compare the results easily. Similar colour experiments will need to follow too. Fotospeed sells a wide range of papers and I will order boxes of any additional types of papers that seem to suit the work I want to do.

This exercise is generating a large number of images to find a use for. Right now, I'm making cards ... so something useful then ... but I can see that other things will follow, even at this experimental stage, and perhaps in 3D.


The images have now been printed onto three of the papers and some interesting results have already emerged. Those above were particularly encouraging. On a matt black paper using matt black ink, they gave a dense and almost velvety surface, an intense black / white contrast, and very fine detail to the tree branches all of which I may want to exploit.

The cards below were printed onto a lustre paper which gave gave an unpleasant, slightly sparkly surface to the photos (maybe the key to that is in the name!) and also onto a semi gloss paper which was more pleasing. I include only the one set as the differences don't show up at all on-screen.


There is much to learn and exploit here, including printing onto fabric, so the hopefully not so grey days of February will be fully occupied!


6 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great buy. I like the dense matt black pictures, they look really good. xx

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    1. The density of the black was a real surprise in all the images, but especially in those on matt paper which, in reality, were even more intense that appears here - intense in a way I've not been able to achieve before ... so far so good!

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  2. I'm so happy for you! You deserve it. We all deserve to have the things we need/want for our artmaking, no guilt necessary!

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    1. Thank you for your reassurance, Connie! It's performing so well the guilt is fading rapidly:-).

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  3. OOO - you found an Epson! And in the best way so you'd get a good deal. You are wise to do the printing samples. I found my Epson workforce needed different settings than my regular Epson inkjet for the same paper. I think you certainly can justify the purchase as it will push you to do more work, try more things. At least, that is what I found.

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    1. I'm sure you're right, Sheila. I'm already finding how easy it is to try things out and it's very liberating and confidence-building. The A3 size will make many things possible. It's exciting!

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