Piezography Digital Negative System 2 – Update (Neutral Warmtone inkset)
October 6, 2013
As mentioned in my initial review of the Piezography Digital Negative system, which can be viewed here, I would be updating it by testing the Neutral Warmtone Piezography inkset, previously I had tested the Piezography Selenium inkset for creating high resolution digital negatives.
Again I used the Epson 7880 as a testing platform therefore I would have to flush the existing Selenium inkset, I was curious to see how the printer would cope with flushing successive inksets and installing new ones. To flush I used the Piezoflush and executed three power cleans and surprisingly got a clean nozzle check on all 8 installed inks on the first go.
I then went on to install the Neutral Warmtone set. When preparing the inks for this set I had to mix my own 2.5 and 4.5 channels by combining inkset 2 & 3 and 4 and 5 respectively. As this set up had never been tested before even by Jon, I mixed them myself which was thankfully uneventful. After three power cleans the Neutral Warmtone set was installed. As was the case previously I initially linearized the inkset for positive prints and then went onto linearizing for digital negatives. I like this methodology as if you have both positive and negative workflows calibrated identically, soft and hard proofing for platinum printing becomes relatively seamless and allows more creative control as well as a more efficient printing workflow. The correction curve for the neutral warmtone set was similar to the selenium set but not identical so it was important to spend a few days calibrating.
The positive prints from the Neutral Warmtone set are pleasing to the eye and I much prefer this tone/hue to the Selenium inkset, doing a side by side comparison between the Epson’s ink positive prints and Piezography positive prints the difference is clearly evident in terms of tonal separation and actual resolution. In respect of digital negatives once calibrated the neutral warmtone set performs identically to the Selenium set in terms of resolution and tonal separation, however a plus point is that the slight fragility of the negatives that I reported when using the Selenium set was improved when the Neutral Warmtone set was installed, this might be down to the Opaque Black that was installed instead the Photo Black in channel 1 which Jon Cone suggested I try.
Figure one below shows an example of two linearized negatives printed using the neutral warmtone set. You can see that they have a slightly warmtone hue to them. Also note that on the calibration test chart you should be able to see that the inkset is laying down tone at the extreme ends of the tonal range i.e. 2-3% and 98-99%, only 0 and 100% are completely black and white/clear respectively, essentially illustrating the wide range of tones the Piezography digital negative inkset is able to reproduce when correctly linearized.
As was the case previously I have been impressed with the Piezography digital negative system. When the Piezography inkset is combined with QTR it offers advantages over the standard Epson inkset both in terms of tonal separation and optical resolution, especially when printing large digital negatives (above 20×24 inches). I was curious to see how the printer would cope with changing over inksets however I needn’t have worried. Personally I prefer the neutral warmtone set over the selenium set. For those that may have installed the selenium set and are using Photo black in channel one you might want to test and install the Opaque black as this seems the better option in my opinion.