Solving A Printing Problem - Banding
Recently a client mentioned that they were getting a bit of banding on their prints and wanted to know what could have caused it - and indeed what they could do to fix the problem.
My experience is that there can sometimes be micro-clogs in the heads of the inkjet printers that stop the full spray from going through. Sometimes it is a distinct banding, sometimes just a vague lack of definition and/or depth of colour. it is most often seen in dark areas of the print.
The Epson printers have a wonderful set of tools to deal with this. If you suspect the effect in a print, you go into the printer menu and ask for a nozzle check. It will fire the entire set through in a small test pattern and if you see segments of colour missing your suspicions are confirmed.
What to do? Ask the printer for a head clean - it will shake and flush the heads with a bit of ink and then you can re-test. Most times the problem will be gone in one go. You can ask for 3 power cleans in a row, but you have to wait a little between each one so that you do not damage the head.
Most times, if you print one little print each week that exercises all the colours, you never see settling or clogging of ink. Please note that inks do have use-by dates and it is wise to heed them. they do not go mouldy, like the cheese in the fridge, but they can settle out particles.
Please note that is you are getting banding on panoramic photos taken with some of the newer mirror-less cameras you need to set your shutter speed a little slower and move the camera around more smoothly.