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Old Jun 29, 2005, 7:45 PM   #1
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Hi, first post here, hope someone can help.

I've just taken delivery of my HP 8750 and while the printer quality generally is excellent I'm concerned about the neutrality of grayscale printing. In short, there seems to be a warm-ish tone to B&W prints, bordering on sepia. I'm using the greyscale option in the print driver with black-cartridge-only and on HP's own Premium Plus paper with the appropriate colour profile selected in Photoshop CS2 at the time of printing (print driver is set to 'Manage from application'.

I've tried a few variations of colour management settings but I've not yet been able to get neutral prints. Surely if the printer is using only black & grey ink I shouldn't be getting sepia-like tones?

I'm not using a colour-managed system (way, way, way beyond my budget) but even so I was hoping for some of the B&W neutrality promised by HP and raved about in all the reviews.
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Old Jun 30, 2005, 6:02 AM   #2
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I've not seen the output from either an HP or Epson with the "grayscale inks", and I have been wonderingwhether these printers are set up to mimic the color of asilver halide B&W print or fora pure grayscale output.I scanned a 25 year old silver halide B&W print that has been hanging in my hallway behind glass in a smoke-free house and out of direct contact with anybright light (not just sunlight). Thereare no apparent signs of fading and it has what I consider to be a classic "B&W look". Here are some R/G/B values that I measured after scanning it on a profiled scanner:

21/26/13

43/45/28

61/64/53

77/79/64

90/94/76

99/102/85

139/139/120

203/201/185

231/226/211

In every reading, the red and green values areclose, but the blue is always lighter. Light blue readings ==> a yellow cast. This would seem to indicate that conventional B&W prints are not really black and white. IMHO, a true grayscale image doesn't look as good asone with a yellow cast, probably because it mimics what I am used to seeing on old prints. Is it possible that HP and Epson intentionally add a yellow cast toget this effect?

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Old Jun 30, 2005, 1:39 PM   #3
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Mmm... interesting. I think the 'problem' I've got is just down to my own perceptions.

Checking the print I did last night first thing this morning, it looks a lot more neutral to me now, especially compared to some of the greyscale prints I've done with my Epson R800. Print quality per-se is superb with none of the subtle banding the R800 always seemed to have. The neutrality is all subjective though and I'm never sure whether to trust my own judgement on it or not (having never been involved with 'wet' photography and therefore 'real' b&w).

One thing is for sure though, colour management is something I *need* to get into. As I get more into this hobby and more attuned to how things look on paper, it's becoming clear to me that fiddling with colour slider controls is just causing me more frustration than it solves.

I've looked into things a bit more today and I've ordered myself a Colourvision Spyder 2 calibration tool. I've been trusting my monitor too much and the more I read on the subject the more I think it's out of whack for me to do that.

I'll also be ordering some custom profiles based on the HP 8750 and the papers I use. At around £30-£35 they're more cost effective than I first realised (and within my acceptible budget range).
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Old Jul 21, 2005, 9:07 AM   #4
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Rob,

Iam havingthe same result as you are. That is, whenI check grayscale the prints have a warmish tint especially with premium glossy typepapers. However, for some reason, whenI use a fine art paper like Hahnemuhle Photo Rag I get a neutral black & white print with grayscale or black ink only.Maybe the glossy print materials have acolor enhancer built-in which skews (or screws-up) grayscale prints. Just a guess.

Anyone else noticing this?

Skopar



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Old Jul 21, 2005, 8:54 PM   #5
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i have the 8450, which is pretty much the same thing but smaller, (btw i am envious of you all as i got mine before the 8750 was introduce).. and i am not noticing this warmthat all.. but then again i use ilford galerie paper..

it could have something to do with the preservation chemicals in the HP paper interacting with the ink and also interacting with the available light.. take one outside in natural daylight and see if you still notice a similar effect..

but in the end.. a little warmth in your b&w is not necessarily a bad thing..
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Old Aug 8, 2005, 9:01 PM   #6
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I have an HP 7960, which I think is an earlier model, but uses a Photo Gray cartridge. I get the best b/w results--meaning most neutral grays--when I set the printer to "Print in Grayscale" option on the "Color" menu tab in the printer properties. When I didn't do this, prints were all over the board in terms of tones--sometimes neutral, sometimes with greenish cast.

Only problem with this option is you can't apply printer profiles from within Photoshop. Instead you have to go to the Printer driver menu and set whatever profile you want as the default. I have found that using my custom-made profile has helped with quality of both color and grayscale images. Colors are more exact and blending between tones is better.

I agree however that its always best to let the print sit overnight and then take a look, in non-direct daylight--and not under flourscents--if possible.

david.
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