||New Epson 1270 and 2000 information (most information pertaining to the 1270 also pertains to the 1280)
I have been using the Epson 1270 for close to a year now and I think it is a Great Printer! There has been some talk in the media lately about ink fading problems using the Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper. These problems seem to be related to interactions of the ink with pollutants in the atmosphere. I'm using my Epson 1270 to make art prints which I have started to sell and will continue to sell. Before this fading issue came up, Henry Wilhelm rated the Premium Glossy Photo Paper at 10 years light permanent. To me, 10 years is not long enough to make a print that I would actually sell as art anyhow so I've spend most of my time using the Matte Paper Heavyweight which Henry rates at 25 years.
I believe 25 years of light fastness is competitive with Ilfochrome, which Henry rates at 29 years, so I have been selling my 1270 prints on the Matte Paper Heavyweight. To get the latest information from Wilhelm Imaging about his permanence tests, which are an industry standard, check out www.wilhelm-research.com. I have not had any problems with fading of my prints on the Matte Paper Heavyweight. I do follow the recommendations of Wilhelm's site, and of Epson, to frame your prints under glass or plastic. This keeps harmful pollutants in the atmosphere from effecting the color on the prints. It makes sense to frame any photographic print in this way. That is a good solution to make sure the colors in your prints last. I feel Epson has done and continues to do a great job producing wonderful printers for photographers and artists. I will continue to use and recommend their products. For more info about getting good color quality from the 1270, download PDF versions of my recent Communications Arts articles; #2 and #3 above.
I have also been testing the Epson 2000. I have high hopes for this printer as well as the 7500 and 9500, since they all use the new 200 year color permanent Epson pigmented inks. It seems that many in the industry, myself included, are having some difficulties making satisfactory custom profiles for these printers when using some of the new Epson Papers. I've tried using Monaco EZ Color and Color Vision Profiler RGB, with my Saphir Ultra 2 scanner, and Monaco Proof, with a Spectrolino spectrophotometer, and so far not been able to make a profile I'm totally happy with. At this point, I will have to resume my profiling efforts for the Epson 2000 after completing Photoshop 6 Artistry in February or March. I have made many great prints on the 2000 without a profile and I do believe it is a great printer.
I'll be retesting EZ Color and Profiler RGB in March once I get some different scanners here for my upcoming CA article on film scanners. I want to be sure I'm turning off all the scanner's color adjustments, which I'm not convinced I'm able to do on the Saphir. Using Monaco EZ Color and Monaco Proof with the 1270, I was able to make very useful profiles. I'll soon be testing Profiler RGB with the 1270. My Monaco Proof profile of the 2000 is the best so far but it looks a bit magenta when viewed with halogen floods. When I take it outside and view it in daylight, the same print actually looks greenish. Most of my 2000 tests have been made using the new Epson Premium Semigloss Photo Paper for the 2000. I've heard from others that the new coatings on these papers have a stronger than normal change in color cast depending on the light they are viewed with. This effect is called Metamerism and you can find some useful information about it at www.tssphoto.com/sp/dg/2000p/metamerism.html. I believe the Epson 2000, 7500 and 9500 are all being happily accepted by the photography community and that the metamerism issue will be correctly dealt with by calibration or otherwise as we all continue to work with these great printers.
I believe one has to be more careful to use the correct light when making profiles and viewing the prints for the 2000. I hope to be soon testing the Spectro Star Spectro Cam, a new $1000 spectrophotometer that looked impressive at Seybold. I'll be making more profiles for the 2000 using Monaco and Color Vision products with the Spectro Cam and other spectrophotometers including the ColorBlind Matchbox system which I recently got a copy of. Many others in the industry are also working to come up with the right techniques to use with the 2000. Please e-mail me with any useful info or techniques you see out there or have discovered yourself.
If you are using the 2000 without a profile, you will probably have to create a curve to adjust the color of your prints to come close to matching what you have been getting from the 1270 or the 1200. That is what I started out doing with great success. With the 2000, using my curves without a profile, I have usually been able match the color saturation and colors of the prints from earlier Epson printers. The 2000 does make beautiful very color permanent prints. Nash Editions (www.nasheditions.com), who make some of the best art prints using digital printers, mentioned to me that they are getting good results using Somerset Enhanced paper with the Epson pigmented inks using Epson's water color paper settings. I made some really nice grayscale prints on Somerset Enhanced paper and also on the Epson Archival Matte using black ink only. Another photographer friend of mine is getting good results on the 2000 on Concord Rag paper with black and white prints using black ink only.
I've been trying to work with profiles because I don't want to have to re-color correct each of my images to get a print with similar color on the Epson 1270 and 2000 or the Lightjet 5000. I have the Lightjet 5000 and Epson 1270 turned in quite well now. With most images, I can make matching, or close to matching, prints on either printer. I trust we'll figure out how to do the same with the Epson 2000 and encourage people to continue to work with the printer. The pigmented inks behave a bit differently than the dye based inks on the earlier Epson printers but you can make great prints with these pigmented ink printers and the 100-200 year color permanence is worth learning new ways to do things.
Below are screen grabs of the Epson 2000 print dialog settings, with Photoshop 6, I have been using for my prints. Click on them to download them and try them out. Let me know how they work for you. When I print color without a profile, I open my master image, which is in LAB or Adobe RGB format, then apply a curve to adjust for the cast that makes my Epson 2000 prints look different than my Epson 1270 prints, then I print the image using the Ep2000ColorNoProfile settings below. You will have to develop your own curve to compensate for the difference in color between your older Epson printer and your Epson 2000, if there is a difference. Remember that the Epson 2000 prints are going to change in color appearance more when you move them from one viewing light type to another so you need to decide which type of light source you will be viewing your prints under and then work on a curve that makes the prints look best in that light source. Have fun with your Epson 2000! I'll work more on profiling this and also the 7500 when Photoshop 6 Artistry is finished.
The rest of the information below in this section is information Epson sent me about the 1270 and 2000 light fastness:
"The Epson Stylus Photo 870, 875DC, and 1270 printers are in every way improvements over their award-winning predecessors, the Epson Stylus Photo 750 and 1200 printers. These new photo printers offer unparalleled photo image quality with improved print speeds. Because the market has demanded improved light fastness, Epson focused its research and testing on meeting that challenge. In independent testing by Wilhelm Imaging Research, prints on Matte Paper Heavyweight on these printers achieved light fastness of 25 years for indoor display under glass, and prints on Epson Premium Glossy Photo paper achieved light fastness of 10 years under the same conditions.
Unfortunately, following the introduction of these printers, Epson learned about a problem with the Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper that was introduced at the same time as these new photo printers. When exposed to high concentrations of ozone or other polluting oxidants, some users' prints on Premium Glossy Photo Paper experienced a pronounced color shift. The previous line of Epson papers, including Matte Paper Heavyweight and Glossy Photo Paper, demonstrated a reasonable level of resistance to these contaminants. Output from the 870, 875DC, and 1270 has greatly improved resistance to light, but equal resistance to gas on Matte Paper Heavyweight and Glossy Photo Paper as the predecessor printers. However, we now know that Premium Glossy Photo Paper is more sensitive to these gases.
Epson regrets that we did not find out about this problem sooner so we could have alerted our customers before they experienced the color shift. In our zeal to satisfy the markets demand for the highest photo quality ink jet output, we focused on improved light fastness and failed to anticipate the extent to which output on Premium Glossy Photo Paper could be compromised by oxidants in the air. When we understood the problem, we revised our advertising and other communications about these products.
We recognize that Epson needs to solve the "gas fastness" problem. The best solution today is to frame the prints to maximize display life or to use an Epson paper with greater gas resistance for unprotected prints. Our next step will be to release a reformulated Premium Glossy Photo Paper, which will be distributed in early October. This paper delays the effects of airborne contaminants, but it does not solve the problem. After discussing this issue with numerous customers, we have concluded that it's important to keep the reformulated paper in the market for those customers who choose to follow the recommended display procedures. We have changed the packaging for this paper to emphasize that it is for use in glass frames or protected storage. We are also continuously updating our Web site at http://www.epson.com/lightfastness to provide more information about ozone and other polluting oxidants and to emphasize the importance of properly displaying or storing photos to maximize display life. Additionally, we changed our advertising so any messages about light fastness ratings cannot be misunderstood to apply to gas fastness for unprotected prints.
Epson has a worldwide commitment to the highest levels of customer satisfaction. When customers have a legitimate complaint, we try to address their individual concerns and do whatever is required to satisfy them. Most customers who have contacted Epson regarding this problem do not want to return their printers. The fact remains that the Epson Stylus Photo 870, 875DC, and 1270 have equivalent resistance to airborne contaminants, better image quality and faster speeds than the Epson Stylus Photo 750 and 1200 and deliver amazing photo quality resolution. While there were some inconsistencies among the Epson companies early in our understanding of the ozone issue, I can assure you that all the Epson companies now apply policies similar to Epson Americas regarding this issue.
Epson is a leader in the digital photo revolution, and has invested heavily in R&D to introduce breakthrough products. Through these efforts, we have delivered printers that offer superior image quality, faster photo print speeds, quick-drying inks that are resistant to water and humidity, and images that have substantially improved light fastness under glass. Meanwhile, longevity of prints is an ongoing issue for the entire photographic industry. We know that there is still a lot to learn about gas fastness and the other factors that affect the color stability of ink jet photos. Rest assured Epson is doing everything we can to find solutions that give photographers the image quality they deserve and the print longevity they desire.
As always, if customers have any questions or concerns, we encourage them to contact us directly at Epsonsupport70@ea.epson.com or 562-276-1311."
Here is the content of Epson's photo care document:
Taking Care of Photographs
With proper care, photos printed with Epson Stylus Photo 870, 875DC and 1270 printers will preserve your memories for many years. The photo inks for Epsons new photo printers are specially formulated to achieve improved light fastness when used with Epson photo papers for prints that are properly displayed or stored.
As with traditional photos, proper care will minimize color changes and maximize display life. For indoor display, Epson recommends that prints be framed under glass or a protective plastic sleeve to protect the prints from atmospheric contaminants like humidity, cigarette smoke, and high levels of ozone. And, as with all photographs, the prints should be kept out of direct sunlight. For proper storage, Epson recommends that your prints be stored in a photo album (or plastic photo storage box) in acid free, archival sleeves commonly available from most camera shops and other retailers.
The actual display life of photographs will vary in accordance with lighting conditions and exposure to atmospheric contaminants. Independent testing by Wilhelm Imaging Research, http//www.wilhelm-research.com, indicates that prints from the Epson Stylus Photo 870, 875DC and 1270 printers have the following light fastness ratings on Epson papers when displayed under glass in normal indoor lighting conditions:
Matte Papers-Heavyweight: 24-26 years
Premium Glossy Paper: 9-10 years
Photo Paper: 6-7 years
The test conditions are reported more fully on the Wilhelm web site with new information regarding potential ozone contamination. Epson has received inquiries from users regarding a color shift on some prints by Stylus Photo 870/875DC/1270 printers on Epson Premium Glossy Photo paper. We have discovered that such color shifts are possible in unprotected display conditions due to atmospheric contaminants, particularly high concentrations of ozone, and are not due to exposure to light. For display conditions where protection of prints from atmospheric conditions is not possible, Epson recommends Epson Matte PaperHeavyweight or Epson Photo Paper, which are more resistant to ozone and other atmospheric contaminants. By taking the steps described above to protect prints from direct sunlight and contaminants, you can preserve your photos for many years.
History of Lightfast Prints
Since the introduction of the first Epson Stylus Color printer in 1994, Epsons goal has been to improve our printers to the point that prints would have the image quality of traditional silver halide photos. With the introduction of the Stylus Photo 1200 printer in 1998, many professionals felt we had achieved or surpassed that goal.
While Epson has rapidly advanced its Micro Piezo printing technology to set new standards for photographic print quality, lightfastness (the resistance of prints to light induced fading) posed a technological challenge. Our research department began working on this issue in 1994, and this year we introduced two solutions, one with Archival Ink for professional applications and one with dye-based photo inks for Epson Stylus Photo 870/875DC/1270 printers. The new Epson Stylus Photo printers produce prints on photo papers with greatly improved lightfastness. Tremendous excitement was generated among photo enthusiasts when this new technology was introduced to the market this year. A digitally produced, gallery-ready print would now last for many years when properly stored or displayed.
Epsons leading edge improvements in lightfastness generated a greater focus by Epson and others on other potential causes of color shifts. The effects of ozone and similar contaminants on ink jet prints have not been well understood because ink jet prints were previously so susceptible to light induced fading. Now Epson is now vigorously investigating the effects of ozone and other contaminants so that we can offer users even longer lasting, more durable photo prints.
Epsons new line of Epson Stylus Photo 870 and 1270 printers have justifiably been received as innovative products that offer the best available solution for desktop photo printing. With the information provided above, you can produce lightfast prints to enjoy for many years with proper display or storage.
For the professional photographer, the new Epson Stylus Photo 2000P, Stylus Pro 7500 and Stylus Pro 9500 offer revolutionary levels of durability and lightfastness up to 200 years. Testing has thus far found no fading issues associated with high ozone levels with these Archival Ink prints. But again, for indoor display Epson recommends that prints be framed under glass to protect prints from atmospheric contaminants (such as cigarette smoke) that will damage any paper print over years of display.