May 16, 2005

Epson R2400 and Ultrachrome K3 Ink Report

Since Epson’s May 10th announcement, there’s been a lot discussion regarding the new printers and the new inks. In particular, a lot of people are curious about how good the new printers and inks are for black and white.

As a beta tester for Epson, I’ve had the opportunity to run one of the R2400 printers with the new inks since the end of last year. I thought it would be useful to report my findings. It should be noted, however, that this is a report, not a review of the new printers. Since I have an affiliation with Epson, it’s not really for me to conduct a product review. But I can offer an objective report of my testing and provide some useful info regarding the prints & inks.

Some points to clarify; the unit I’ve been working on is a preproduction unit. I’ve been told by Epson that the final production units will meet or exceed the test units. My tests have centered primarily on the Advanced B&W mode rather than the new ink’s color gamut and I’ve been primarily interested in how the new printers will impact my work and my prints. I’m not particularly interested in answering every question that users may have.

The procedure I used was relatively scientifically based. I consulted with Bruce Fraser on some of the finer points of my tests and how to quantify the results. In the process I had to actually devise a method of comparing colorimetric readings of targets to original synthetic grayscale targets. More about that later.

It should also be noted that my tests were done using OS X 10.3.9. I’ve yet to migrate production machines to 10.4 (I’m waiting for 10.4.1) and I did not test the R2400 driver on Windows, although I did review the printer driver and properties to be sure that all of the basic functionality provided by the Advanced B&W Mode was cross-platform. It is.

Click on image to see full size dialog in a new window.

Printing out of Photoshop CS2, I used the Print with Preview dialog to set up the Photoshop to Epson driver hand off. Since the Advanced B&W Mode operates completely outside of normal color management parameters, in Photoshop you must turn off any color management.

Click on image to see full size dialog in a new window.

After confirming the Print with Preview dialog, the Epson print driver provides the normal OS X Print dialog. Several settings are critical; the Print Settings where you establish the type of printing you are going to do and the Color Management settings where you control how the Advanced B&W settings are applied.

Under the Advanced B&W Mode, and depending upon the paper type selected, your output resolution will offer the resolution settings. Photo is nominally 1440, Best Photo is 2880 and Photo RPM is 5760DPI. Since the settings will dictate ink load, I tested RC based paper (in this case Epson Premium Luster) at Photo RPM. I also tested with the High Speed option turned off.

Once the Advanced B&W Mode is selected you can optionally select a Color Toning option directly from the drop down menu. If one of the presets suits you, you can bypass the Color Management options in this way. However, I would suggest working with the optional settings adjustments found in the Color Management panel.

Click on image to see full size dialog in a new window.

From the CM panel, you can alter both the tone and color of the resulting Advanced B&W Mode output. Whether you send grayscale, RGB full color or RGB monochromatic color, the Advanced B&W Mode will render it in a 3 black plus color separation to the R2400 print head. The carbon pigment black inks; either Photo or Matte Black plus Light Black and Light Light Black (don’t ask, I find it amusing that there are two “light black” inks instead of black, gray and light gray named inks, but whatever) are the primary inks used. Little yellow ink is used. This helps keep the metameric effect to a minimum as yellow has a strong tendency towards going magenta/green depending upon the light source. Light Magenta and Light Cyan are used to control the hue of the resulting color tones. The Magenta and Cyan inks are not used at all. The black inks are already a very warm toned hue and this is used to give warm toned prints.

In addition to the color toning controls, there are a variety of tone curve presets as well as tone adjustment settings. Due to the fact that the Adobe RGB color space has a gamma of 2.2 one might presume that “normal” would be the optimal setting. However, the default when choosing a Neutral color setting is actually the “Darker” curve. Don’t ask me why. . .Epson tone and color settings have a long history of having no particular relationship to any known color or tone controls, so I just tend to go towards what works and stick with it.

The additional tone control setting options are also of limited usefulness. Since the preview is not a live preview of your image, the placeholder image will only give very general guidance to what the controls will offer your own image. On an image-by-image basis, with extended testing, I would presume the controls would offer additional fine-tuning that might be useful. If somebody would like to test this and report it, they are welcome to do so. My inclination is to keep things simple. For my tests, the neutral/darker setting produced a relatively close screen to print match. However, it should be noted that since all color management is in effect, turned off, there is no reliable method of soft proofing using ICC profiles in Photoshop. More about this later. . .

Click on image to see full size dialog in a new window.

For comparing the new R2400 printer with the older 2200 printer it is replacing, I tested the two head to head. To print out to the 2200, I used the traditional printing method of allowing Photoshop to handle color and set the Epson driver to “No Color Adjustment”. I printed out a target of 16×16 grays representing 0-255 Adobe RGB for a total test target of 256 gray patches. You may download the sample target (233KB EPS file). To use, you must rasterize the target into your own RGB Photoshop working space in order to have an accurate 0-255 set of samples.

I printed out the target on the 2200 using a custom profile for Luster paper. The profile was made using an EyeOne and ProfileMaker. For color images this profile is very accurate. However, the Epson “No Color Adjustment” setting is known to produce a very non-linear output so trying to get neutral grayscale output has been a challenge in the past. I generally “punted” and added some sort of color tone to the image to help disguise the hue shifting problems.

I also printed the target on the R2400, again using the 256 grayscale grid. This time setting Photoshop’s CM to off and enabling the Epson driver’s Advanced B&W mode. Both the 2200 & 2400 outputs were set to their highest resolution (2880 for the 2200 and 5760 for the 2400). High Speed was off.

After allowing for dry down (12 hours air dry) I read each of the 256 patches manually using the EyeOne and ProfileMaker’s Measure tool. I checked both colorimetric as well as densitometric readings. I was interested in both the relative neutrality of the prints as well as the maximum density.

To compare the reading to a known neutral reference (and this is where Bruce came in handy-although he didn’t do the copy/paste!) I started with a spreadsheet readout of the R2400, adjusted all the Lab ‘a’ & ‘b’ readings to zero and calculated the actual Adobe RGB luminance readings by using Bruce Lindbloom’s calculations for converting between various color spaces.

Click on image to see full size dialog in a new window.
The Lab Neutral Chart

The calculated ‘L’ values were copied into the luminance column of the Lab values in the spreadsheet to have a luminance value for each individual level of Adobe RGB running from 0 for black to 100 for Adobe RGB 255, 255, 255. And yes, this was a pain in the arse! It took me 2.5 episodes of Star Trek Next Generation to finish it.

Click on image to see full size dialog in a new window.
R2400 Chart

Using the Measure Tool compare function, I was able to compare both the R2400 and the 2200 readings to a known 0-255 Adobe RGB neutral target. The results showed that the R2400 was MUCH more neutral running up the L star luminance range with very little a star or b star hue wandering. The total Delta E difference was calculated as an average of 5.23 with the best 90% being 5.12 and the worst 10% being 6.15.

Click on image to see full size dialog in a new window.
2200 Chart

Compared to the 2200 where the total Delta E was 6.05 on average with the best 90% being 5.79 and the worst 10% being 8.33.

Click on image to see full size dialog in a new window.
R2400 Compare dialog

The total Delta E difference for the R2400 was 6.30 while the total Delta E for the 2200 was 9.04.

Click on image to see full size dialog in a new window.
2200 Compare dialog

So, what does this mean? The R2400 is MUCH MORE NEUTRAL than the 2200 when printing in the Advanced B&W mode. The 2200 suffers from considerable hue wandering, particularly between green/magenta, throughout the luminance range from black to white. The R2400 does a MUCH better job of reaching the neutrality of that found in traditional silver gelatin prints.

Click on image to see full size dialog in a new window.
R2400 Density Chart

On the question of D-Max, or maximum density, the R2400 is substantially better than the 2200. The density of the R2400 on Luster paper was 2.39. On Epson Premium Glossy paper it was 2.41. Compare that to the 2200’s rather paltry 2.04 on Luster.

Click on image to see full size dialog in a new window.
2200 Density Chart

To compare other real world examples I read D-Max of several other printer outputs.

R800 (gloss optimizer off): 2.4
R800 (gloss optimizer on): 2.48

Epson Enhanced Matte Paper
2200 (matt K): 1.51
R2400 (matt K): 1.71

By comparison to traditional silver gelatin prints, I measured a portrait by Greg Gorman (of myself and my wife Becky)

Silver Print: 2.21

Bruce Fraser’s Real World Camera Raw book was measured to determine the maximum density of the web press, the density was 1.47. I even measured the max black of Chris Ranier’s Ancient Marks book, produced using state of the art quad-tone inks at a max density of 1.98.

The settings for all of the readings were:
Filter Standard: ANSI A
Color Channel: K
White Reference: Absolute white

So, what does this tell you? The Epson R2400 is a serious contender to meet or exceed the standards of traditional silver based black and white prints.

Factor in the recently released preliminary results from Wilhelm Imaging Research which shows display permanence ratings of between 34 years on the low end (Epson Velvet Fine Art paper) to over 220 years (Epson Enhanced Matte paper) when displayed WITHOUT glass or UV protection-add UV glass and the ratings go up considerably.

The new R2400 (and pro line 4800, 7800 and 9800) printers with the new Ultrachome K3 inks have made tremendous advancements in the state of digital fine art printing and moved B&W digital printing out of the dog house and into the mainstream.

Click on image to see larger size images in a new window. (1498×564 pixels, 156 KB JPG)

Several notes of criticism must be offered however. First, while the new Advanced B&W mode with the new K3 three blacks offers a substantial benefit to digital B&W, there are limits to the current driver. One can not produce a split-tone result from the driver. All of the hue adjustments are linear-meaning you can’t tone shadows separately from midtones and highlights. Those people wishing to do split-tone selenium/sepia for example, will be disappointed. Another severe limitation is the complete lack of soft proofing capability. Since the driver uses no user level controllable profiles for the Advanced B&W mode, you can not use Photoshop soft proofing to fine-tune images prior to printing. This is particularly frustrating to me. However, there is hope! Since producing the neutral 256 target and doing readings from the 0-255 R2400 targets provides useful data, Bruce Fraser and I are contemplating producing RGB Grayscale profiles that could be used to soft proof images from within Photoshop to facilitate better image optimizations.

One other limitation of the R2400 and larger printers is that the print head is an eight color head while the UC K3 ink set is nine colors (Photo & Matte black). This means users will need to swap cartridges and thus waste ink switching between optimum inks for matte and photo coated papers. However, Epson HAS made considerable strides mitigating the hassle. For the R2400, you simply swap out the black ink cart and wait for the printer to flush and switch the ink. For the 4800, 7800 & 9800 printers, the ink switch and flush now only wastes the black ink as the line flush bypasses the color inks when swapping. For the R2400, it’s not clear if the flush occurs for all inks or just the black inks, but the amount of ink waste is minimal. So, while Epson has substantially improved the procedure for swapping the black inks, unlike the R800/R1800 or the Epson 4000 8 color head printers which carry both matte and photo black inks, users will need to swap and flush.

One other point, while I believe we have reached a very high level with regards to inkjet printers and inks, there’s still a disconnect from the standpoint of papers. While the fine art watercolor papers can meet or exceed the d-max of platinum prints while offering very good ink holdout and surface appearance, there is still no paper available to produce an exact replication of the old double-weight dry-matte (DWDM) fiber-based papers that traditional B&W printers prefer. While Epson Premium Glossy, Luster and Semi-Matte papers are good, they still look and feel like RC papers, not fiber-based papers.

The good news is Epson has been getting that message from many leading photographers in the field (see the upcoming interview with Greg Gorman when PSN posts it for more info). And Epson is taking the feedback to heart. I would expect to see news about even better papers coming in the not too distant future.

As for now, if you care about fine B&W digital printing, the new printers and inks will please you. Even if you only do occasional B&W, the new printers with the UC K3 inks perform very well. The improved resins in the new inks go a long way to removing gloss differential and remove bronzing almost entirely. The ink color reformation and the additional black ink substantially improves the total color gamut volume of printable colors-extending the d-max greatly helps deep saturated colors.

The question isn’t whether you want one of these printers, the question is how long you may have to wait. I just want to make sure I get mine from the head of the line!

73 Responses to “Epson R2400 and Ultrachrome K3 Ink Report”

  1. Bernard Says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for this interesting review.

    One question about the DMax. Did you have the chance to evaluate it on Matte paper and to see how it compares to the DMax of the 2200 for Matte?

    Or do you intend to print mostly on Luster/Glossy when using the 4800?

    Best regards,

  2. Jeff Schewe Says:

    It’s there. . .from the article:

    Epson Enhanced Matte Paper
    2200 (matt K): 1.51
    R2400 (matt K): 1.71

    So yes, much better D-Max for matte and watercolor papers, not just the RC papers.

  3. Bernard Says:

    …sorry I missed these figures.

    Thank you for the confirmation.


  4. Marshal Says:


    Great article! Have you tested the 2400 and/or the other K3 printers with Moab Entrada 300gsm paper? Report back if so please.

    I expect also you’ll be among the first to report on any new HW DWDM resembling papers Epson comes out with.

  5. Bill Kastanakis Says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for the great review.
    It would be interesting if you can compare a 2200 with colorbyte’s Imageprint 6, to the R2400 driver. Many people own imageprint and already have neutral B&W and toning capabilities.

    Thanks you,

  6. Jeff Schewe Says:

    Thanks for the kind words guys, but to be honest, what I wrote is NOT a review. . .it’s just a report of my findings while testing the R2400. I’m done testing now–I have prints I gotta make!

    The only thing still left to do is figure out a way to create soft proof profiles for the Advanced B&W mode. When Bruce and I figure that out (one way or the other) I’ll report back.

    Also, whan I get my actual production units for the R2400 & 4800 I’ll do some more testing of the color capabilities of the K3 inks.

  7. Joshua Daniels Says:

    Very nicely done, rigorous report. I have recently been working with HP as a beta tester with one of their Photosmart printers, which also has advanced black and white capability. I’ve been really impressed with what their printers can do, especially on glossy paper – zero metamarism, no gloss differentials, and about the closest match to a darkroom print that I’ve seen (on glossy), and excellent results on third-party stock (even Epson’s papers) – though archival life with this combo is an open question. I’m reminded that Epson claimed greatly improved bw with the 2200, when it was new, but when I received a sample print from Epson there was very clear matamarism, not much improved over my 1270 (though probably over the 2000). I look forward to seeing some samples from the 2400 and comparing them with previous Epson and with what I believe is the current high water mark for a desktop printer – the HP 8750.

    As an aside: I’m wondering if you could give an indication of prints per cart or cart set?



  8. Kirk Thompson Says:

    I admire all the work that went into this, but I want to second Bill Kastanakis’ request for a more relevant comparison. At this point it’s unusual for folks doing serious BW printing to use an Epson driver & not a RIP. What we really need to know is how the new Advanced BW mode compares to what we’re using – mostly ImagePrint or QTR. Many of us face expensive changeovers of large-format printers if the new Epson models are a lot better than our current printers with IP or QTR, and it would really help to have an equally careful comparison.

  9. Jeff Schewe Says:

    Well, as I said, I am reporting my findings relevant to what I personally wanted to find out about the R2400 and K3 inks.

    From the article:
    “My tests have centered primarily on the Advanced B&W mode rather than the new ink’s color gamut and I’ve been primarily interested in how the new printers will impact my work and my prints. I’m not particularly interested in answering every question that users may have.”

    That pretty much sums it up. . .this is a report of what I determined. I hope it’s useful. If it isn’t, you can ask for a refund. . .


  10. Kirk Thompson Says:

    Excuse me if I sounded unappreciative, and it’s a wonderful new site & I don’t want a refund! I assumed that the impact on ‘your work and your prints’ would involve the other comparisons – that is, I assumed you’d be using IP for BW & not the Epson driver.

  11. Charles Says:

    Exciting developments, and a very helpful report. Thank you.

    If the soft proofing problem is worked around, do you see a diminished role for ImagePrint (Color Byte) in the digital darkroom work flow? Or eventually an irrelevance?

    My question applies to b& w printing, but I suppose at some point I would ask the same question about color.


  12. R. mac Holbert Says:

    I’m not aware of a third party RIP that has been officially released that supports the K3 ink set. I don’t see how you can compare performance until one is released. I don’t see the value of comparing the Epson driver with the K3 inks to to ImagePrint with the UltraChrome.

  13. Kirk Thompson Says:

    Sorry, mac, if confusion remains. It’s a simple issue of research design: if you’re testing, say, cancer therapies, you’d compare the presently accepted treatment with the one under investigation, not a presently rejected one and the new one.

    Jeff compared the 2200 &2400, each with its own inks & Epson drivers. But few 2200/4000/7600/9600 users still try to make BW prints with the Epson driver; the majority, judging from the several BW forums, instead use Ultrachrome inks & a RIP, most commonly IP or QTR.

    So the practical comparison would be the currently accepted method with the proposed improvement. That’s 2200 w/ Ultrachrome inks & IP (or QTR) RIP versus 2400 w/ K3 inks & no RIP. OK?

  14. Charles Says:

    I suppose I assumed that ImagePrint would develop a K3 inkset version. And I wondered if the Epson drivers might be maturing to a point where ImagePrint had less to offer than it once did.

  15. Ron Caplain Says:

    when can we expect these in the store- ron

  16. Naman Says:

    I recently purchased a 4000, so I will not be upgrading anytime soon.

    I plan to use QTR for my B&W work.

    Do the built-in new Epson drivers provide a considerable advantage over QTR?

  17. Taran Says:

    I just ordered one from epson… will report here my findings if I have time.

  18. John Gould Says:

    Split tone> I received my 4800 2 days ago. It is replacing a 4000. Early indications are (for semigloss atleast) that it is probably the finest printer on the planet! So far I have only tried the printer on Premium Semigloss. This is the first printer I have seen to be capable of true monochrome without using specialist inks. (I also run a 1290 with Lyson small gamut ink and CIS.) Using images that have previously been split toned for Lyson small gamut inks and leaving the 4800 in colour mode produces a promising result and indeed is closer to the Lyson inked results than when set to Advanced Black and White. Results are slightly dark so a little brightening may just do the trick. I have yet to try the 4800 with the matt black ink and matt paper. The 4000 was an outstanding matt printer in colour but was no good at monchrome or split tone and not much good on Semigloss either.(I use Lyson 300g smth fine art and created profiles with a eye-one) A moan. Why couldn’t epson have produced these printers with 9 slots instead of 8? Changing carts is going to be a hassle and wastefull of ink. I guess they want you to buy two printers instead.

  19. Matt Collins Says:

    I called Epson and they told me that it does not appear that a specific Stylus Photo R2400 RIP will be released. They suggested that I consider a 3rd party RIP i.e. ColorBurst, Adobe etc… This makes sense to me since their Pro RIP 2.0 for Stylus Photo 2200 was not very good, in my opinion. Just got my hands on the new R2400 and it is worth every cent. I LOVE IT!!!

  20. Mike Says:

    Dear Jeff,

    Thanks for the very intersting report. One issue which you have not mentioned is printer speed. I am currently doing an assignment that will require me to make about 200 prints to a fairly tight deadline. I have heard that the 2400 is significntly faster than the 2100. Is that true?

  21. Bohdan Hoshovsky Says:

    Dear Jeff,

    Brilliant work. Thank you!

    Whats the final word on metamerism? At least in B&W, is it there? Is it noticeable? Does it matter under what light the prints are exhibited? This is an important issue for me, as you allude to there still being metamerism when you mention that:

    “Little yellow ink is used. This helps keep the metameric effect to a minimum as yellow has a strong tendency towards going magenta/green depending upon the light source.”

    … hence I am worried. Should I be?

    Thanks again.


    Bohdan Hoshovsky

  22. John Gould Says:

    Dear Bohdan,

    The prints I have made in Mono on Epson Premium Semigloss are clean. Someone said they looked like something straight out of a darkroom. Adding a little noise to simulate grain produces a result just like Tri X!

  23. Gary Goldberg Says:

    Thanks for the informative and very well written article. I met you several years ago, right before the launch of the 2200, in the NYC Apple Showroom, and I remember how excited you were about that printer. I ran right out and ordered a 2200, and 7600. I’m now living in Toronto, and working at Vistek, and your article will help me to explain this to my customers, as I’ve been at a loss since they arrived last week. Cannot wait for the 7800 & 4800′s to arrive next week. Keep up the good work, and let us know if you will be in Toronto, any time soon.

  24. Sonny Taylor Says:

    Jeff, thanks for a very helpful article. I have been doing some tests with my 2400, and love it. I never thought of turning CM off in Print with Preview, as you stated. I just left it as it usually is for colour printing. Do you think that I will notice any difference? Will try tomorrow.

    I can’t open up the darkest tones (100% and 97% are the same dark black) on a print of a posterized gradient step wedge. However, I can see the difference on my monitor.



  25. Jeffrey Stevensen Says:

    One issue I hope someone with the opportunity and expertise may address is the use of K3 inks in the 2200/4000/7600 etc. Ultrachrome printers. Granted, a custome profile will be required. I’m sure the carts don’t fit in the older printers … or do they?

    It seems to me that, unless the ink model is so radical that software/firmwware updates are not possible with the older machines, Epson should consider upgrading the inkset for legacy users. Or is this too much consideration of the installed user base to ask for? I personally don’t give a hoot about the gloss optimizer, but would sure like the improved D-Max black ink.

  26. David Moore Says:

    thanks for you excellent and informative article above. it has been very persuasive in favour of the 2400.
    however please can you clarify

    1)how many ink cartridges the 2400 uses when printing, 8 or 9?

    2)if swopping cartridges is required what this would mean in practical terms

    The reason for these questions is because the final sentence in the extract below from suggests the 2400 is a nine ink printer so no swopping is required. what is the true answer?

    “The observant among us will now be asking – since there’s a new Light-Light Black cartridge, where does it go? The answer is that these are still printers with only 8 cartridge positions, and this new cart takes the place, on the 4800, of the second black cartridge. In other works, whereas the 4000 allowed one to have both the Matte Black and the Glossy Black cartridge in place simultaneously, and the driver could select which one to use depending on the paper type chosen, with the 4800 the user will have to physically change this cart themselves, because the Light-Light Black cartridge takes its place. The 2400 is now a nine ink machine, and so no cartridge substitution is required.”

  27. nunatak Says:

    David …

    I had the chance to do a littl eretail therapy this weekend and picked up my own r2400.

    Michael Reichmann did say he hadn’t yet the opportunity to play with one. I can confirm for you that the r2400 has only 8 cartridge slots–one to be swopped with the Photo Black if printing on glossy paper, or Black Matte if printing on black paper.

    It’s not an ideal solution–but it works. :-)

  28. David Miller Says:

    I have a 4800 on the way (very exciting!), but this was tempered by what I belatedly started reading on Pete Walsh’s 4800 blog in Australia:

    It’s WELL worth reading everything in his entries going back to when he set up his 4800, but in particular, you’ll want to read the conclusions on the black ink changeover:

    Apparently, on the 4800 (and possibly on the 2400 as well? Someone who has an earlier one should chime in), it’s not just the black ink that’s lost; some of the other inks, too. That’s a lot of wasted ink on each black swap; 90-110 ml total, or the equivalent of nearly a full 100ml ink cart.

    Reading this, I started pounding my head in annoyance and it wa enough to get me to give up on the 4800 and to drop down to a 2400 instead, but after sleeping on this, I realized that a) I want to be able to print LARGE, and b) the 2400′s not going to do that, and c) I want to print LARGE, and besides: I want to print LARGE.

    And now it seems that the 2400 requires a black ink swap, too, so there’s just no way of avoiding it in the Epson universe. And I strongly suspect that it’s going to be the same deal as with the 4800 regarding how much ink gets wasted.

    “Not an ideal solution” is an understatement. I’d like to read about someone attempting the “South African” switch on a 4800 to avoid this; it seems like the ideal solution.

    David Miller

  29. Wendy Farrow Says:

    Thank you for this article. I have a question though about the 2200 and 10.3.9

    I just switched to this OS and I have downloaded the latest 2200 drivers but I can’t seem to get the Epson print dialogue back, even going through the print with preview doesn’t work – my “print settings” has become “printer features”

    can you advise?

    thank you

  30. Wendy Farrow Says:

    regarding that last comment on the Epson dialogue box… I found the answer thanks to Ethan Hansen at

    I had to uninstall the Panther ‘Gimp-Print’ and reinstall the 2200 drivers

    it worked :)

    (thanks Ethan)

  31. David Miller Says:

    Another comment on the K3 inks, at least as far as the 4800 is concerned.

    Matte Black ink is the same for the 4800 as it was for the 4000, so it is not a new, K3 ink, which then leads to the question: if one is expecting to get deeper blacks with the 4800 on matte paper vs. the previous, non-K3 generation, how is that going to happen?

    For the 2400, is there a new K3 Matte Black?

    And if so, then why hasn’t Epson also released a K3 Matte Black for the 4800? You’re basically left printing the same black on matte paper that you would have been getting with a 4000.

    David Miller

  32. Marshal Says:

    I’m very troubled after finding and browsing over the website of a guy named Stephen Livick, who is overall very negative about the print permanence testing methods of Wilhelm Imaging Research, which relies mostly on using cool FL light for their accelerated fade tests.

    He’s been testing inkjet prints very rigorously, but also realistically it seems as to real world mixed lighting from bright window light to flourescent light(which he seems to be saying is very feeble or wimpy wnen it comes to fading photos)tungsten, incandescent, etc.

    Ironicallty however, for someone who seems to have so little faith or respect for Epson, he’s spending a lot of time printing his own work with them. Go figure.

    But then again, after browsing the Nash Editions website, they caution that all NE or any other Giclee print should be displayed & viewed in very low light.

    So should I have faith in my Epson Ultrachrome hardware & media for which I’ve spent over $2K in the last 2 months, or are we indeed having the wool pulled over our eyes as Livick claims? Not wanting to start a flame war here, just wanting the hard, no-spin truth. I have the right to know.

    Here’s his site:

    What say you?

  33. Marshal Says:

    Here’s the page I meant to link to:

  34. Camille Says:

    I’m trying to decide between upgrading to the R2400 or the 4800. Is the only difference the size? Or is the printing technology better in the 4800 as well? I have heard that the calibration of the 4800 is more precise so you can depend on all the printers being the same and being able to use “canned” profiles more accurately. That’s nice, but is there any other difference in the printing quality? I can’t seem to find this out anywhere — even Epson’s tech people couldn’t verify anything…

  35. angel Says:

    Anyone using the R2400 with MAC os 10.4-Tiger? If so, what driver are you using and where did you get it? Can’t seem to find the driver –not even a beta– for OS 10.4. Any other workaround besides going back to Panther? Epson site just has one for 10.3.

  36. Eric Says:

    Jeff, I appreciate the in depth evaluation. It’s helpful that this article has turned into a discussion because there is very little info out there on this new printer. I bought the R2400 a few weeks ago at a local store that talked me into it, up from the R1800 I planned to buy. The reason was that I’m starting a small photo business online and plan to sell photographs from various artists (some B&W) and in the future hope to make watercolor reproductions with the thick fine art papers. The R1800 is not as good for B&W obviously and cannot handle the thicker papers due to the paper path.

    Here’s a hint the store told me about black ink swap that may help some of you (I haven’t tested this though so YMMV). The gloss black ink can be used for matte but not vice versa. If you use the matte ink on glossy paper it will take forever to dry but it’s no big deal to use the gloss ink on matte or fine art paper. So far I’ve tested some Moab, Ilford and Epson papers and prints work well using only the gloss black.

    My real reason for posting here is to ask a question about the term Giclee. A lot of photographers around here are selling “Fine Art Giclee” prints as well as traditional prints. I’m wondering if the Ultrachrome K3 inks in the R2400 qualify for the term Giclee. I don’t want to be accused of false advertising by some expert who knows more than me about this touchy subject (including the whole longevity thing).

    Angel, I started using it with Panther and then upgraded to Tiger a few weeks later. I’m just using the driver that came on the Epson CD, but it did take a few installs to get things working for some reason….not exactly plug and play. I can get you more details if necessary.

  37. Harald Johnson Says:

    Eric asks:

    To help put the “giclée thing” into perspective, see my “The True Story of Giclée” at:

    The quick answer is: call your prints what you want.

    Harald Johnson
    author, “Mastering Digital Printing, Second Edition”

  38. Harald Johnson Says:

    Oops… here’s Eric’s comment I was replying to: “My real reason for posting here is to ask a question about the term Giclee. A lot of photographers around here are selling “Fine Art Giclee” prints as well as traditional prints. I’m wondering if the Ultrachrome K3 inks in the R2400 qualify for the term Giclee. I don’t want to be accused of false advertising by some expert who knows more than me about this touchy subject (including the whole longevity thing).”

  39. Arthur Bleich Says:

    In reply to Marshal (June 23rd)
    Most permanence testing is just an educated guess. The rating are always “predicted,” like the weather. No printer or ink manufacturer will guarantee the results. And no standards exist so everyone doing testing sets their own parameters. It’s kind of like the old patent medicine pitches– you believe what you want to hear. You might want to read an article I spent several months researching. In essense: You can’t trust any of the longevity figures.

  40. John Barrett Says:

    I have been considering the R1800 and R2400, I mostly require gloss prints somthing I have found difficult using my current Epson 2100. I have seen some excellent results from the R1800 and the hi gloss exceptional. Will the R2400 give the same quality of gloss print. I do print in B&W at times. I just need some advise as to what would be best for me.

  41. Phill Says:

    I have just the opposite requirements: i would like to print mainly on fineart/watercolor papers. therefore: is the print quality of the 2400 much better in this discipline? (i would prefer the r1800 for the cheaper price, but only if quality on those papers is fine)
    thanks for help

  42. Jeffrey Says:


    I’ve just purchased a 2400 and black and white prints looks great. However, I must be doing something terribly wrong with color — bad color shift and severe loss of shadow detail compared to the image on my properly calibrated monitor. I’m using Epson Enhanced Matte paper and the matte ink. If anyone is producing good results with this combination, I would much appreciate you’re advice and/or recommended printing settings (in Photoshop CS2 and the Epson print driver). Thanks!


  43. george fillmore Says:


    try following the steps at

    I’m using epson matte hw paper for b/w and color—

    however, got a green cast on my b/w and a magenta to purple on my color–used image>adj>match color>check neutralize and use fade to adjust saturation–like the results–

    just started on the r2400(in fact, just started on ps recently)–

    good luck to you–

  44. Calum Says:

    I’d be interested in hearing details re. quality, paper used, etc. from anyone printing acrylic painting images in colour using the r2400. If anyone knows of sites where I could find this type of info. or discussion that would also be appreciated. Thanks very much.

  45. Sylvio Dokov Says:

    I purchased the 2400 four weeks ago and am very disappointed. Bronzing has now moved to the white areas of the prints. I also tried Ilford, Tetenal, Perma Jet and Lyson papers with identical results. It is a waste of time to discuss a printer which cannot produce a decent quality print. Both colour and BW prints look great until you view them from a slight angle. Bronzing, dull patches, bright patches – all very evident in the white areas of the prints (unless you are paid to look the other way). If you shoot weddings or high key portraits then forget it!! I am amazed that Epson have still not got it right. They were almost there with the R1800 and one would think (me included) that the R2400 would be the answer to all our prayers but WRONG! The R2400 is a great machine but Epson can only be ashamed of the inks they put in it. I did contact the technical helpline only to be told that the K3 inks were AN IMROVEMENT??!! on previous inks and bronzing has been MINIMISED!! I have an Epson R300 which produces prints which rival any lab print. Maybe Epson should think about making an A3 version. The R300 uses dye inks but the results are gorgeous and I have not noticed any fading even in direct sunlight after five months. Compare this to the pathetic attempt from Lyson with their dye inks for the 2100 which showed severe fading within weeks.
    Back to my original question – WHY consider a printer which cannot deliver? Period.

  46. Mark van Coller Says:

    I’ve recently purchased the new R2400 Epson printer and am having trouble using matte papers along with the advanced black and white option. With any matte paper selected, the Advanced black and white option is greyed out.
    Has ayone else had similar problems? and if so, any solutions?
    thanks in advance

  47. Barry Goyette Says:


    The advanced black and white mode on the 4800 only works on the glossy papers in epson’s line. At least for the near future, this appears to be the case for all of this series of printers. Hopefully epson will provide an update for the matte papers as well. If it’s any consolation, I’ve printed monochrome images on the enhanced matte and velvet papers using their respective epson profiles, and gotten images that are every bit as neutral as the AdBW mode. Of course you lose the toning feature of the AdBW mode..which works wonderfully on the glossy papers. In fact, it appears to me that the whole purpose of the AdBW mode really is the toning option, as I just made two prints on epson lustre, one using AdBW set at neutral, and another using the lustre profile…and they are identical.

    One quibble I’m having is the default neutral/darker setting in AdBW. I’m getting a perfect match when I set it to normal, the default “darker” gives me what I would expect…darker (significantly). As Jeff stated, epson’s terminology has always been in it’s own universe…but I find it interesting that we would be getting different results.

    By the way..I just stumbled on to this forum looking for the answer to the neutral/darker paradox…what a gem!! Polite, useful information sharing. Thanks again to Jeff for his “not a review” review.

    I have a question..a paper I love has apparently been discontinued some time ago. Epson’s Professional Glossy paper has a surface that reminds me of an air dried fiber paper their is a slight paper grain showing throught the gloss that keeps it from looking RC. I have a little around, and it print’s beautifully using the Photo Glossy Paper setting. I’m wondering if anyone has found an alternative…or has epson simply repackaged it under another one of their 20 or so glossy paper names.

  48. John Goldkrand Says:

    Is the R2400 compatible for B&W with fiber based non Epson papers? I prefer not to use RC paper.

  49. Dave Says:

    My R2400 works in ABW mode with matte paper, have so far used Enhance matte and Hahnemuhle, So should be the same Id think for all the K3 printers. The trick I belive is to make sure you are set to best photo or higher, seems the low end default print settings turn off ABW.


  50. Gerd Christian Seeber Says:

    i spoke to a technician at epson uk today and, to my surprise, heard that there is a difference between k3 ultrachrome inks for the R2400, which i tried and didn’t like, and the 4800 that i have just used for my recent exhibitions at st james cavalier, valletta, malta and café kaiserfeld in graz, austria. i guess the new inks were designed for glossy papers first of all, and so i wonder why epson don’t offer a paper like premium glossy photo 250 in A2 (17″) roll size. after all, the 4800 is supposed to be an A2 printer …..

  51. John Gould Says:

    They do in england. Its code is C13S041742. This is a 16inch wide roll of Premium Glossy photo paper.


    John G

  52. John Gould Says:

    N afterthought: You could log on to and try to order it> I don’t know if they would dispatch to the US, try and see.

  53. Michel Marchand Says:

    Thank you very much for this great non review. I just got an Epson R2400 and have been very happy with my first B&W print on a glossy espon paper. A little be disapointed with the lack of good deep black on the velevet one.
    Anyway, not being a professional myself, my A to Z color calibration is not great, my laptop screen beeing very flashy..I would like to find a way to sort of sampling various brightness/contrasts on small size paper before printing on A3 as I was used to do with my wet dark room. I thought I found it with the “Epson darkroom print” software provided with the printer, but apparently it doens’t link with the advanced B&W facilities. Is there a way to do it with Photoshop or with an other printing prepapartion software?
    Thanks to all in advance, Michel from Paris.

  54. Dave Says:


    Interesting, this is the first I have heard that the inks from the 2400 vs the 4800 are different, how so?


  55. Donna Says:

    The picture of you and your wife is breathtaking…I saw and felt your Love. So unexspected in a FYI about ink.

    Thanks Donna Busch
    Lake Orion, MI

  56. Carll Goodpasture Says:

    My R2400 printer won’t work with my new OS 10.4 G5 computer.
    I’ve tried drivers from Us and Uk. EPSON tech people here can not help
    (never geard of this problem). Apple tec could not help either. Please advise.

  57. MIKE.C Says:


  58. Jeff Ellis Says:

    thanks for the info Jeff. I’m contemplating selling the 4000 & swap to the 4800 – specifically because of the B&W issues. But in the meantime, I still have the 4000.

    Can yo pointme to some articles that will help me get optimum B&W results on the 4000? Best paper/ Color management issues? I also have Image print to work with here.
    Thanks for the hard work!
    jeff ellis, chicago

  59. Richard Earney Says:

    A tip for those not seeing the Matt Papers when they swap inks, is to go to the Printer Utility and Check the Ink Levels. Then click on the black and Update. This seems to get the printer to recognize that the inks have been changed, when it forgets!

  60. Rick Garcia Says:

    Hey Jeff,
    Thanks for the input on the 2400. I just picked it up 3 days ago and printed one test print. I find it exiting and can’t wait to re-print all of the work I have hanging in the house. I’ve been using athe epson 1280 and the 2400 is my 5th Epson printer I’ve purchased in several years. My system is calibrated throughout and I always use the print with preview option in photoshop and the proper paper profiles for what i’m printing. I’m on a Dual GIG G4 running system 10.4.5 with no problems. My printer was easy to set up and worked immediately from plug in. If anyone is having problems connecting the printer drop a line and i’ll see if I can help.
    Thanks again Jeff and good luck to all.

    p.s. Here is a link to a Black and white Print group if anyone is interested.

  61. Art Says:


    you make mention of the short comings of the driver of the 2400. One question I have about that is can I still use the burn and dodge featurs in photoshop and have it carry over to the driver for printing?

    Art Romano

  62. Mike Williams Says:

    I just bought the R2400 I am printing from Photoshop Elements I used the glossy Epson paper and Ilford I’m not real happy about the results. I’ve been using a photosmart 7690 the color gloss prints are brighter, bluer sky and water. I did some vineyard photos they were ok but not what I expected, tech support has not been much help as he knows nothing about photoshop I’ve got to believe that I’m doing something wrong at set up or Image Matching ? any help at an easy to understand level would be greatly appriciated

  63. mik graga Says:

    Ever just want to make beautiful Balck and White prints in the darkroom, it is so easy and no problem with all this software and ink. FYI!!!

  64. Eileen Says:

    What a great site! Trouble is I’m now totally confused – I’m just an amateur photgrapher who loves printing off photos to albums. I have the new iMac and print through iPhoto or Photoshop elements usually onto Premium glossy photo paper. Up to now I’ve only printed colour but with my new Nikon D200 I want to experiment with black and white as well. I would prefer a printer that works magically out of the box! The R2400 looked like the one to get but there seem to be issues with compatibility on a Mac.
    Any recommendations?

  65. Sue J Says:

    Has anyone had problems with the R2400 misfeeding paper? If so, any suggestions please what to do? I bought my first R2400 last December. I have been using Hahnemuhle papers (mainly matt, 220-290g/m, A4 up to A3+). When the printer began to misfeed a couple of weeks ago, my local Epson repairer replaced it with a “new” (possibly reconditioned) one. This second machine has also started to play up. I’ve tried various papers – Epson and non-Epson and various sizes and the printer does not grab the paper in the sheet feeder. It clicks and clangs, seems to pick up the top sheet and then just leaves the sheet sitting on the stack. Grateful any suggestions before I throw it out the window! Love the machine, get great images, but don’t want this frustration!

  66. Prentice Hubble Says:

    Do you know which cartridges use the most ink for color photography on the R2400?
    For example on my Epson 2200 it uses light magenta the most then light cyan , then light black…
    I was just wondering I just received my new R2400 and was going to order additional ink.

  67. Squirrel Says:

    I am an artist looking for a method of printing archival art reproductions. I have seen the 7800′s example. Looked pretty good. Most of the info here is for B&W prints which I have no interest in. I will be printing art work on 140# watercolor paper. I have heard a lot about K3, ultra etc. Is there an artist doing this and do you have any advice for me as far as the machine and the ink? Will it feed a dekle edge through. I would like to print 5X7 and 15X22. Also can you print on waterslide decal transfers? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. SQ

  68. Elon Says:

    I just upgraded from 2400 to 4800 that I will receieve in two days and am very excited about it. I love my 2400 print quality. Main reasons for upgrading are 1) Print size larger and 2) local store that sold me explained the Huge savings because of inc price difference. He explained that the 2400 cartridges had about 6ML at about 13$ and the 4800 Inc Casste are 110 Ml at about $88.
    Coming back home I looked at the 2400 ink cartridges and could not find the quantity of ML included in each cartrdige. Been searching the web to no avail
    does anyone know what i sthe amount of ink in 2400 cartridges??

  69. Roger De Munter Says:

    Hey Elon,

    In my country (Belgium) the cartridge had 13 ml and cost ± $15 each cartridge.
    Even so in Germany, The Netherlands and France.
    See the web on or

    Roger, Belgium

  70. tim Says:

    Thanks for your article, I have been looking how to do this for a while.
    I tried it this way and I must say I am really pleased with the results. The quality is far better than I had expected!
    I have printed a lot of black and white photographs and I must say the cartridges dont run out so fast as some people are saying.

  71. jimmy_x Says:

    i think colour toning neutral is wonderful

  72. tonerinktshop Says:

    Thanks for your article

  73. tonerinktshop Says:

    Thanks for your article. See the web on

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