Inkjet Print vs Wet Chemical Print

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Bob Williams, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. Bob Williams

    Bob Williams Guest

    Now that some inkjet printers use 8 colors, are they able to produce a
    wider, more faithful color gamut than the best conventional"wet
    chemical" prints, e.g., Fuji Crystal Archive?
    I assume that conventionat prints still use only 3 or 4 color CMY(K?) layers
    Has anybody done the comparison yet.
    I'd especially like to know how the Canon iP8500 stacks up because it
    adds Red and Green to the CcMmYK gamut. This should extend the range of
    reproducible colors noticeably.
    OTOH, can a Camera operating in sRGB or even Adobe RGB 1998 color space,
    take full advantage of a printer with a super wide color gamut such as
    the Canon iP8500's CcMmYKRG gamut?
    Bob Williams
    Bob Williams, Dec 2, 2004
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  2. Bob Williams

    Justin Thyme Guest

    I don't have a technical comparison, but I think wet-processed prints,
    especially fuji frontier still look better. I have seen prints from the
    canon i9something, (can't remember the exact number - 8 colour version), the
    Epson R800, compared to Fuji Frontier, and I'd take the Fuji anyday -
    cheaper too. The Epson looks to my eye to be better than the Canon. Where
    the Fuji really excels though is showing up detail in dark areas. In dense
    shadow areas, the Canon and Epson both become featureless black, yet the
    Frontier can still show detail. By playing with gamma's it _may_ be possible
    to pull some detail back out of the inkjets, but even still, their blacks
    don't look as black as the frontier. I think the technical term would be
    that their DMAX is less.
    cmy - no k. however they are continuous tone, whereas the inkjets are
    discrete tones - either a spot has ink or it doesn't.
    The R800 is better IMO. This is purely subjective based on the look of the
    prints, not based on any technical measurement.
    Epson inks are much longer lasting than Canon too, although I think even
    Epson doesn't measure up to the Frontier with crystal archive paper.
    Justin Thyme, Dec 2, 2004
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  3. Bob Williams

    andrew29 Guest

    It's interesting to compare the gamut of a wet print and an inkjet
    printer. Colour profiles are available for download, and with a
    suitable tool like Chromix ColorThink you can do a gamut projection.

    I've downloaded profiles for a Costco picked at random, the Calypso
    Lightjet 5, and the Canon 9900, all using their best glossy papers.
    If you go to you'll see a
    colour space diagram. The innermost coloured shape is the gamut of
    the Costco prints. Outside that is the LightJet 5, and outside that
    is the Canon 9900.
    Lots of people have, and the colour profiles are available on the
    manufacturers' web sites.
    No, it can't. sRGB doesn't enclose all of the 9900 gamut. Going back
    to the colour space diagram, the black shape is the sRGB gamut.
    Adobe98 is a better choice, but there are still areas in the orange
    that it doesn't reach.

    andrew29, Dec 2, 2004
  4. Bob Williams

    andrew29 Guest

    I think you may have seen prints from images in the sRGB colour space.
    If this is so, you really haven't seen what the Epson and Canon
    printers can do.
    The Lab blackpoint of the LightJet is 5:3:-2, whereas the Canon 9900
    is 7:1:-9, so the LightJet is indeed somewhat better. However, the
    random Costco was 10:-1:1, which is less black than either of them.

    andrew29, Dec 2, 2004
  5. No, it can't. sRGB doesn't enclose all of the 9900 gamut. Going back
    This is yet another area that I need to look into. My Epson 2200 arrived
    yesterday. there a color space to accommodate the potential of this
    Gene Palmiter, Dec 2, 2004
  6. Bob Williams

    bob Guest

    wrote in
    I looked at the diagram. What does that mean, in terms of actual prints,
    and how do those gamuts compare to cameras.

    bob, Dec 2, 2004
  7. Bob Williams

    bmoag Guest

    Color gamut is not even a significant issue in comparing hi end inkjet
    printing to wet processes.
    There are mismatches between all media in both gamut, reflectivity and other
    issues that vary with the original media, printing process and paper
    If one is knowledgeable about the digital imaging and inkjet printing
    process there is no comparison between the results that can be achieved in
    the digital/inkjet realm for color printing and that which can be achieved
    in a wet process. That horse is out of the barn.
    Knowledge is the key: if you don't know how to use the thing properly I
    guarantee you will not be happy with the results from a 6 or 8 color inkjet
    If Costco or Walmart makes better prints than you do either learn how to do
    it properly or stay with the mass merchandisers.
    Fine art black and white using particular processes and media can generate
    effects not possible with inkjet printing: printing with metal and printing
    with ink is bound to yield different results.
    bmoag, Dec 2, 2004
  8. Bob Williams

    andrew29 Guest

    Digital cameras typically have a very wide gamut, far wider than you
    can display or print. However, the working spaces like sRGB and to a
    lesser extent Adobe RGB are much smaller than that of cameras.

    In terms of actual prints, the size of a printer's gamut determines
    the range of colurs that can be printed. Of course, if an image is in
    a colour space with a small gamut there's no benefit to a wide gamut

    andrew29, Dec 2, 2004
  9. Bob Williams

    andrew29 Guest

    I have read some bizarre nonsense on this group before, but this is
    True. However, a narrow gamut printer simply cannot produce a wide
    range of highly saturated colours. That's the end of it. Of course
    there's more to colour printing than saturation, but it is very
    Of course there is a comparison! Reflectance, density, and colour can
    all be measured and compared, and regularly are.

    andrew29, Dec 2, 2004
  10. Bob Williams

    Bob Williams Guest

    So how do we get our digicams to use the full capabilities of the
    extended color gamut of 8-color printers like the Canon iP8500?
    Are we waiting on improvements in the color space of camera sensors?
    Some Sony cameras added an "Emerald" color to their regular RGB gamut,
    but I've not seen any comments indicating that photos or inkjet prints
    from the ner sensor were any better or worse than from the pre-Emerald
    Any thoughts/data on this?
    Bob Williams
    Bob Williams, Dec 2, 2004
  11. Bob Williams

    bob Guest

    wrote in
    I meant in the case of the specific examples on the chart. If I
    photographed a still life with vivid color, and edited in Adobe RGB, and
    then printed on the two printers in question, how would the variations
    manifest themselves?

    My interpretation is there would be more colors in the cyan and brown
    regions, but I don't really know how to read the chart.

    bob, Dec 2, 2004
  12. Bob Williams

    Bob Williams Guest

    It is my understanding that most P/S digicams use sRGB color space.
    Some SLRs allow you to shoot in Adobe RGB 1998 color space.
    I'm not sure how the various RAW captures fit into the picture but I
    don't see how a camera color space can be all that wide if the sensor
    has only an RG or B filter on each sensor site. The Sony F 828 uses
    RGB+E(emerald)filters but I'm not sure if this significantly extends the
    color gamut it captures.
    Your thoughts, please...
    Bob Williams
    Bob Williams, Dec 2, 2004
  13. Bob Williams

    Bill Hilton Guest

    From: Bob Williams
    Are you sure that the gamut is wider than AdobeRGB? Often the extra inks are
    used to make smoother transitions between intermediate colors, not necessarily
    to widen the gamut. If anyone knows of a link to ICC profiles for the iP8500
    I'll download them and plot them vs AdobeRGB to see whether or not it's
    actually wider.
    Most good dSLRs already capture colors beyond AdobeRGB's gamut. If you have
    Photoshop CS and use the RAW converter you can convert to AdobeRGB space or, if
    you feel you need something wider, you can convert to ProPhoto RGB ...
    according to Bruce Fraser in "Camera RAW with Photoshop CS" "ProPhoto RGB
    encompasses all colors we can capture, and the vast majority of colors we can
    see -- if you see color clipping on a conversion to ProPhoto RGB you are
    capturing something other than visible light!" He shows an example of an image
    from a cheap dSLR (Canon 300D), plotting the actual colors of an image in sRGB
    and AdobeRGB to show how many colors in a typical image are still outside the
    gamuts of these common working spaces (pg 10 in the book).

    Of course the problem with these ultra-wide gamut spaces is that a lot of the
    bits are unused during editing, else we'd all be working in LAB mode already.
    Actually the dSLRs shoot in their own unique device space and then you have the
    option of converting the 'device space' colors to an abstract working space
    like sRGB or AdobeRGB (or ProPhoto RGB) for ease of editing. The cameras don't
    actually "shoot in Adobe RGB" space, rather their output gets converted to fit
    that space.
    R, G and B combine to define many millions of colors. The RAW converters
    simply map the linear sensor data into whichever abstract working space you've
    chosen. The camera's "gamut" is probably limited by the deepest, most
    saturated green, red and blues their sensors can capture accurately.
    Seems to be a marketing gimmick ... again, this would in theory perhaps give
    you more accurate transitions between colors but the absolute gamut would still
    be defined by the primary colors.

    Bill Hilton, Dec 2, 2004
  14. Bob Williams

    fortknight Guest

    Interesting to note, that even in this thread, that even if it were
    better, it would not be as satisfying as wet prints. It will probably
    take awhile to overcome wet print prejudice for which one seems the best.

    Also, for a lot of people wet prints are color processed just like from
    film so whites are better, blues are better, and skin tones are better
    (all subjectively) than what you will get out of an unadjusted print
    stream to a printer.
    fortknight, Dec 3, 2004
  15. That may be true, but you don't have to be that passive. In affordable
    commercial printing, that color processing is automated and pretty crude.
    Doing your own digital processing gives you the option of doing a far better
    job, depending on how much time you want to spend.

    I don't know the answer to the original question. But I do know that the A3
    and larger samples that Epson shows in the Tokyo stores knock my socks off,
    and are in no way inadequate in color, brightness, sharpness, and visual
    impact. (The knock-your-socks-off quality of inkjets is why I got back into
    medium format: it's been clear for many years that the better inkjets at
    larger sizes really are adequate to show the MF advantage.) It may be that
    at smaller sizes, wet projection technologies produce more detailed prints.
    But at least to my eye, at A4 the Epson R800 is perfectly adequate, and that
    at larger sizes, both the imaging technology (even 645) isn't adequate to
    producing vast expanses of infinite detail, and that viewers, even ones that
    come in for a closer look, don't put their noses on the prints the way
    people do when I hand them A4 prints.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Dec 3, 2004
  16. I stopped patronizing my local Walmart because they started applying over
    saturation to all prints and ruined the colors of pictures they used to print
    perfectly. Yes, it may make some people's poorly exposed pictures come out,
    but it ruins normal prints.

    For day to day stuff, I use my two HP printers at home (usually on Ilford
    Classic Pearl paper), and for stuff that is important, I send out to
    Michael Meissner, Dec 3, 2004
  17. Bob Williams

    Bob Williams Guest

    I always learn something interesting from you, Bill.
    What you say makes a lot of sense.
    I guess that a camera can collect an extremely wide range of colors
    compared to what a printer can reproduce, even though the camera has
    only 3 colored filters (RG&B).
    Even if the camera collects only 256 shades each of RG&B (16.7 Million
    colors) that is a whole lot more than a printer can actually reproduce.
    Since each color of ink in a printer is fixed, the only way it can vary
    the shade of a given color, say Magenta, is to do a little trompe l'oeil
    and vary the ratio of Magenta ink to White paper. I don't think that
    ANY printer can create 256 shades of magenta with any kind of detail. I
    also doubt that the eye can discern 256 shades of magenta.
    Bob Williams
    Bob Williams, Dec 3, 2004
  18. Bob Williams

    andrew29 Guest

    It depends on how the rendering engine you're using works. The most
    commonly used technique is called perceptual rendering, and that
    compresses the colour range of your image to fit within the gamut of
    your printer. A printer with a smaller gamut would result in a less
    saturated print.

    The way in which rendering compresses the gamut varies, but it's a
    combination of reducing luminance and reducing saturation, as
    required. (A print, unlike a monitor, can't produce highly saturated
    colours at high luminance.)
    More colours in the blue/cyan and the orange/yellow regions, yes. But
    the 9900 has a wider gamut most everywhere. Even so, its gamut is
    still a small part of the range of colours you can actually see.

    andrew29, Dec 3, 2004
  19. Bob Williams

    andrew29 Guest

    RAW capture allows you to render to a wide colour space such as Wide
    Gamut RGB.
    Well, logically speaking, your eye only has only one of three filters
    at each sensor site, therefore...

    I may put a gamut diagram of a camera on the web.

    andrew29, Dec 3, 2004
  20. Bob Williams

    andrew29 Guest

    The gamut of the 9900 is not wider than Adobe98, but it is not
    entirely enclosed by it. I dunno about the 8500.
    I don't think that's what the Epson printers do. From the reports of
    users, the red and blue inks only seem to be used occaasionally for
    those specific colours.
    Indeed so. Two of the primaries of that space are outside the
    spectral locus.
    Not to mention the fact that we can't actually see these colours on
    our displays!

    andrew29, Dec 3, 2004
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