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Old Apr 13, 2006, 7:09 PM   #1
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Hello -
I recently ordered a set of Procolor replacement cartridges for my Pixma IP5000 from alotofthings.com. According to alotofthings, the Procolor carts are filled with Formulabs ink, so this was a way for me to test whether I'd be happy with Formulabs ink before buying bulk bottles of the stuff.

I've compared photos printed with the Formulabs ink in the Procolor carts to the identical photo printed (with identical settings) with Canon OEM ink. To my surprise I see a significant color shift in skin tones. Compared to the OEM ink, the Formulabs ink is bluer with a bit less magenta, and a bit desaturated. I started playing with the color settings under 'color options', and found that -10 cyan, +10 magenta, +5 yellow, +5 intensity was getting me closer to the look of the OEM ink, though the match was still far from exact.

What gives? My impression from other messages on this board is that Formulabs ink should match the color of OEM ink very closely right out of the box. Is this incorrect? Is there some sort of standard correction that people use to match Forumlabs Ink to OEM ink?

Lastly, for the purposes of this test I was using some old Xerox glossy photo paper I had lying around. I'm assuming this should not make a difference -- even if this isn't the world's greatest paper and in absolute terms may not yield accurate color, both Canon OEM ink and Forumlabs ink should still look the same when printed on it. Since my OEM cartridges are now empty I don't really have the option of starting the test over using Canon glossy paper.

Any advice appreciated.

Zack
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Old Apr 13, 2006, 8:15 PM   #2
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Hi Zack23,

First, formulalabs ink is usually highly regarded with a reputed almost exact color match to Canon OEM.

But you are in troubleshooting mode and somewhat doing exactly the wrong things.
Because you are changing variables really fast rather than systematically changing one variable at a time. And because you have lost your Canon OEM ink supply, you have lost the ability to use new comparisons---so stick to the printfile you used before--where you have a Canon OEM ink from.--and go back to your original printer driver settings. And since that the photoprinter paper you have stick with it. But lay in a supply of some other paper--as your photopaper just not work well with that ink. ideally you can produce a reduce size test file--compatable to your canon OEM ink print--but something that won't use as much ink or paper while troubleshooting.

Step one is always a noozle check. Is any cartridge now loaded with with formulalabs ink showing a problem? If yes replace that cartridge and then make a test print and compare with earlier canon OEM ink print--has the icolor balance problem gone? I would also suspect the problem is related to a poorly feeding magenta cartridge.

If you don't get fairly quick clues bring in your ink vendor




















































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Old Apr 15, 2006, 8:22 PM   #3
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Hello Osage -

Thanks for your response.

Re Step 1: The nozzles on the printhead are fine - I just ran a test print using the printer utility and everything came out fine, no clogged nozzles. Likewise, there was no indication on any of the photos that I printed that a nozzle might be clogged.

What do you suggest for step 2?

Incidentally, I've already asked the ink vendor (alotofthings.com) about this -- they expressed surprise, said the colors should match the OEM inks, and that they had not received any other complaints about color problems. They didn't have any further suggestions for trouble-shooting.

Thanks!
Zack
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Old Apr 15, 2006, 9:14 PM   #4
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To Zack23,

I still suspect a poorly feeding magenta---and since a nozzle check uses so little ink its not always good at detecting marginal feeding. But try removing the magenta cartridge---but do try a gentle squeeze to the cartridge sides over waste newspaper to catch any ink the squeezes out--then using the cartridge as a hammer
contact an object with the bottom of the cartridge--make sure it contacts plastic and not some sensative part
that could be damaged--that might seat the sponge better--and a poorly seated sponge can cause feeding problems. Lastly, you can put the cartridge in a plastic baggie and immerce in very warm water. That also can get ink flowing better. ---do this just one step at a time so if you get a sudden improvement--you know what caused the improvement---and if you have an extra formulalabs cartridges, try that also.It could also be caused by a poorly feeding yellow--color shifts can be hard to figure out. Another test for color shift involves a test print--if the starting part of the print shows proper color balance and then the color balance goes south at the middle or end, suspect poor cartridge feeding

You might also suspect that brand of photopaper--sometimes one brand of photopaper works well with a given ink and another brand may just look terrible. It just happens--so do try another brand of photopaper.

Just some ideas I toss out--maybe others have other suggestions.
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Old Apr 22, 2006, 12:41 AM   #5
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This is a no brainer: It's the paper.

1. Find paper that works well with the formulabs ink.

2. Find a profile that you find that works best with the ink/paper combo.

3. I've never used Xerox glossy paper so I cannot comment there.

4. Illford Classic Pearl is great paper but expensive. Costco sells Kirkland paper. Last but certainly not least Canon makes some decent paper. I like the Glossy Plus over the pro stuff myself but each to his own.

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product...rowse=&s=1

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/tec...Fencoding=UTF8
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Old Apr 24, 2006, 10:55 AM   #6
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Osage - I've tried your suggestions with both the magenta and yellow carts. Both carts seem to be behaving normally with plenty of ink flow, and after following Osage's suggestion for squeezing and 'knocking' the carts I reinstalled them and tried another test print. The result was completely unchanged.

Zazuke - I'm inclined to think that the problem is NOT a result of the paper. I've compared prints made with the Forumlabs ink to prints of the identical images made (at the same printer settings) with Canon OEM inks, and the results have been the same using Xerox Glossy photo paper, Canon High Resolution paper, and Taiiyo Yuden white printable DVD discs. In all three cases, the formulabs ink prints have been a bit desaturated and a bit lacking in magenta and possibly yellow compared to the Canon Inks.

Any guesses as to whether I would get better results with Inktec or Hobbicolors ink?

Zack
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Old Apr 25, 2006, 7:00 AM   #7
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Hobbicolor is good ink as well and perhaps a little bit richer then the formulabs ink. It cost a little more but the kits on ebay also come with carts that are easy to refill.

They also just released a newer ink for the 4200/5200 which is said to be improve over the 4000/5000 ink they were selling.
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Old Apr 25, 2006, 4:39 PM   #8
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I do note Neil Slade has released a recent ink shootout comparing 11 inks--including procolor.
Find this on the nifty stuff forums--in the inkjet printing general section--one comment made is that procolor did not seems to do well on matte paper. But well worth the read--and with comparison photos as well.

Sadly hobbicolors inks are not included in the shootout.

And as a hobbicolors user myself----I would try them long before I considered inktec.
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Old May 3, 2006, 9:03 AM   #9
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Ogage -

Thanks for the link to Neil Slade's review. His prints made with the Procolor cartridges (which are filled with Formulabs ink) very closely mirror the results I've been getting (and complaining about here) - color is desaturated, and lacking a bit in magenta (and possibly warmth in general). Note that Neil was not thrilled with the Procolor/Formulabs carts on both matte paper AND glossy paper.

Well, this at least reassures me that my issues don't result from some weird anomaly in my own set up, or a defective cart. I'm giving up on Formulabs for now, and have just ordered some Hobbicolors ink and carts.

Thanks!
Zack
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Old May 3, 2006, 10:42 AM   #10
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The carts can affect the picture quality and the ink may be water down some as well. Just because they say they are using Formulabs does not mean they haven't altered the ink or watered it down some from the bulk quality that they purchase.

That said I've had no trouble with formulabs bulk ink and am eager to try out hobbicolors as well.
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