Big Blog Day - Epson
Yay! Good news about a good product.
I am an old photographer. I sell new equipment to other old photographers. Yesterday I sold a new Epson 3880 printer and a stack of Epson and Ilford paper to one of our keen customers and drove out to his house to install it.
Don't read too much technical expertise into that last statement - the Epson 3880 is a printer that makes being a camera salesman a pleasure - not only does it sell really well, but it is soooo easy to hook up and set into motion that it makes even me look good.
Basically, with the 3880 you haul in the box, open it up, and put it out on the benchtop. You unfold the pictorial instruction sheet and do what it says, in order. About 20 minutes later you are ready to print.
The Epson people have made the computer instructions easy too - the basic form of computer installation is just a matter of clicking on through the on-screen prompts. Fortunately they have made sure that the language used really is English, and logical English at that. If you can read, you can understand what they have written. As an aside, even some of the major European manufacturers have not mastered this basic skill - I could show you instruction books for superb photographic equipment that are undecipherable by anyone outside of Peenemunde...
Back to the Epson. The Epson K3 inks and the Epson papers are a precise match - so too are the Ilford papers when you crank in the ICC profiles. We elected to test the printer with a file that was sitting in an older Photoshop program but in the first instance we decided to let the Epson do its own colour management. Loaded the paper, set the size, pressed the button and stood back. It did not hesitate - produced a perfect print first go. We compared it to a commercially-printed copy and a copy that had been made on another brand of printer - very close match and totally pleasing. The real acid test was to take the print out into the clear morning sunshine and see what 5500 K would do - it was wonderful.
Epson 3880 came through again and the client can launch out into years of success with his digital files. He'll likely take control of the colour management with the Photoshop program and fine-tune matters to his own satisfaction - since he knows darkroom processing very well I think he will be able to put a very critical eye onto the work.
I would encourage anyone who wants to experience the magic and independence of their own colour or monochrome printing to seriously consider the Epson range of equipment and papers. We can supply units from the R3000 upwards and, as happened yesterday, we can do it confident that the things WILL WORK WELL.