Sunday, November 25, 2012

Back to Serious Printing

My New Printer - OM-D EM-5, 7-14 @ 7mm, f/5, 1/8s, ISO 1000
I got a little Black Friday present for myself this weekend and am very excited to get some use out of it.  One of the really nice perks I had with my previous employer was being out-fitted with an Epson 7900 24" printer which was used primarily by me.  I got to know how to use the 7900 very well and got accustomed to the smooth tonal transitions and how well it could render subtle shadow tones.  Over the last few years, I've gotten to love making prints and have found that regardless of the size and quality of the display, my personal preference is always for a finely crafted print.

So when I changed employers earlier this year I knew I was going to have to give this up.  The Epson 7900 is not only an expensive printer (outside the ~$3k the printer costs, a full set of inks is about $1k) but its also freakin' huge, so I knew I could never fit one at home.  On Friday I found someone in the bay area selling their lightly used 4900 and bit the bullet.  The 4900 uses the same type of inks as the 7900 (and yes costs about the same) and has the same print head technology.  Its a smaller 17" printer so I won't be doing any 24x36 posters but even with the 7900 I usually made 17"x22" prints.

As soon as I saw my first contact sheet of test prints come out of the printer I was delighted.  The tonality was exactly like what I was used to with the 7900.  The printer is borderline absurdly huge in my home office but my wife hasn't complained so far so I'm happy.

One of the things I'm looking forward to doing is experimenting with the ink deposition amounts with different papers and building my own profiles to hand craft fine art prints.
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