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Re: filmscanners: Epson proofing

Tony Sleep wrote:

  > TBH I have not often needed terribly accurate colour from the Epson
  > so was content to struggle whenever I did. But the occasional
problems with
  > repro from scans suggest I'm going to have to produce reference prints
  > which match the screen image precisely.
  > Also I am fed up with the truly vast waste of ink and paper, and
  > time. In all my years of darkroom printing I have never come across
such an
  > unruly, infuriating and wasteful process with the exception of lith
  > printing - my record there is 4 days to produce a single print I was
  > with. Later, I decided it still wasn't quite right.

At the risk of this reply being considered OT....

Epson does make a few professional printers which are designed with
pre-press in mind.  I'm not sure it's fair to expect color profiling
built into a printer that sells for a few hundred dollars.  It isn't the
market they are targeting.  I think they do an amazing job with these
$50-$300 US printers.

Epson does serve another market, if you are willing to pay for it. They
make a Postscript version of the 3000, but its still a comping device.
But, they make the Epson Stylus Pro 5000 printer and RS-5000 Fiery LX
RIP, and it is a 13" x 19" pre-press proofer.  Cost (in 1998 was)
$10,000 US list.  It uses Dupont's color profiling, and like any
professional product, simple things like a second paper cassette adds
$700 US list to the base price. They also make the wide carriage models
with RIPS and software designed to control color, which also cost many
thousands of dollars.

I'll admit my info is about 2 years old, and there might be other
products that have filled this gap since, and possibly prices on the
Stylus 5000 and RIP have also been lowered.

What is amazing is that Epson (or any other printer company) can produce
a few hundred dollar printer that can reproduce a photographic result
for under a buck of expendables.

Control is always expensive.  Getting that last 10% of control is always
much more expensive then the other 90%. Getting that last 1% is beyond
most people's budget. You paid several thousand dollars (or UK pounds)
for your scanner to get better control than those costing 15% the cost
or less, why not the same for your printer?

Am I going to buy a Stylus 5000? No way. I don't need that extra 10%.
Sure, I'd like to get that quality in a $200-300 US printer, but that
might be some time in coming, if ever.  But, really, an under $10,000
for a proofer with a RIP is a bargin, or at least it has been.


PS: As any printman will tell you, ink and paper make a system.  Change
one or the other, and control goes down the tubes.  Profiles have to
consider all these elements.

  > This is the case with Epson: in a year or so with the 1200, I have
not once
  > produced a print I was all that satisfied with. Even CIBA wasn't as
  > bloody-minded, so long as you didn't tax its contrast range.
  > What is so galling is that having spent ages getting a scan 'just
right' on
  > screen, and all the ICM stuff sussed, this final stage is really broken.


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