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UV Density of Inkjet Inks


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#1 Greg Mikol

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 01:10 AM

One discussion that comes up quite frequently with regards to inkjet negatives is that of colorized negatives compared to black-only, and whether one offers any significant advantage over the other. I'm not going to wade in on that topic one way or another, but I'd like to share some general thoughts.

It seems that if one knew the transmission/absorbance spectrum of each of the inks in a given printer system, coupled with the range over which a given process chemistry is sensitive to light (e.g. dichromate is most sensitive in the 360-380nm range, I believe, but I don't know about others like cyanotype or Pt/Pd), it should be relatively trivial find a near-optimum blend of colors for your negative for a given process, at least in a case where you have direct control over inkjet nozzles, like QTR.

For example, one might infer that yellow would be a good blocking color for virtually all of the UV spectrum, and that cyan would be a poor color, since it is expected to have high transmission in the blue part of the spectrum. Yet many people feel that shades of green are a good choice for colorized negatives.

Based on some data collected by Alberto Novo on the alt-photo-list:

http://www.usask.ca/...4/msg00371.html
http://www.albertono...epson_inks.html

Yellow ink's UV absorbance falls precipitously below 400nm, while cyan's starts to rise below 400, to the point where C and Y have about the same absorbance at 370nm. Looking at his graphs, you might say that equal parts C+Y+K could make for very smooth negatives for a process with peak sensitivity near 370nm, as you have 3 different colors, a 3-part color (K,LK,LLK), a 2-part color (C,LC) and a 1-part color (Y), with differing crossover points. For a process that peaks at 400nm, though, the cyan inks would be virtually worthless.

His curves were collected with outputs from the Epson driver, not QTR, using an R2400. This uses K3 inks, so the Y, C's and K's are the same as the other K3 printers currently in production. So some of the data is useful, and applicable beyond just the R2400.

It would be an interesting exercise to extend this to other printers, like the R1800 and R1900, the 1400 and others.

I suppose it's as much an academic curiosity as anything else. I doubt the data would be useful beyond a fairly narrow group of die-hards, but if I had access to a UV-VIS spectro, I'd do it myself.

Anybody else have access to the tools and interested in collecting the data? I can offer samples from a 3880 and an R1900.

Just wanted to share some late-night ramblings.

--Greg

#2 brian.nth

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 11:24 AM

It isn't only die-hards interested in this topic, I say as a newcomer.
If you come across more information, please post it.

#3 banana_legs

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 02:02 PM

I usually use black, yellow and cyan together to get enough density for carbon. My magenta and lighter tone inks have very little blocking effect. As my digi-negs do not need to be archival, I have moved to using cheap 3rd-party inks to save money (printer is old Epson R220 so not worried about potentially messing it up). Interestingly, I ran out of black one day and had to put in a 'genuine Epson' cartridge instead and then had a shock; when I re-calibrated for the expensive black ink, it did not block UV quite as well as the cheaper 3rd party ink! Admittedly there was not much in it, but the effect was noticeable.

Best regards,

Evan

#4 Evan

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 02:29 PM

I usually use an epson pigment based printer. I have found that, when using pictorico film that the density of modern pigment and ink is much better than years ago when the "colour" system was derived. Many people, including Dan Burkholder, say that modern printers perform best with just black inks, as opposed to the colour inks of older printers.

- A different Evan

#5 Evan

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 02:44 PM

I usually use an epson pigment based printer. I have found that, when using pictorico film that the density of modern pigment and ink is much better than years ago when the "colour" system was derived. Many people, including Dan Burkholder, say that modern printers perform best with just black inks, as opposed to the colour inks of older printers.

- A different Evan



To quote Dan

Do You Still Use the Colorize or Color Table Methods (Chapter 12)?

When I wrote Making Digital Negatives for Contact Printing, the Epson Photo EX was state of the art. With that printer and Epson’s own Transparency Film, making a colorized negative produced the best results for platinum printing. When I teach workshops in Mexico, where they still use the Photo EX printers and can only get Epson’s transparency film, I still make negatives just as outlined in the book.

Printers after the Photo EX—along with better transparency materials like the Pictorico OHP—allow us to apply heavier neutral-color ink loads on the film.

With the 1270 and Pictorico OHP Film, I get smoother results when using all six inks and not colorizing the negative at all.

For the Epson1280, I have returned to the Colorize method to create an orange negative for platinum printing. More Epson 1280 info can be found below.

These "when to colorize" issues are covered in depth in The Inkjet Negative Companion.


http://www.danburkho..._main_page1.htm



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