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Epson 1280 problems: Incorrect colors and poor shadows

Wes Hickey , Dec 03, 2002; 04:19 a.m.

Whenever I try to print from w/in photoshop 7.0 onto my epson 1280 with premium glossy epson paper, I seem to loose A LOT of detail in my shadows, as well as washed out shadows. Yes, my moniter is correctly calibrated; and the cartridges are only a couple months old. Here's what I do to print:

- Set my print output to an epson 1280 icc profile (it really doesn't metter which one, I've downloaded several, and they all seem to be about the same) - turn off all color adjustments w/in the epson control panel, as well as set the appropriate paper - print

So I tried downloading and printing a standardized color chart...alas, my blues came out purple, my baby blues came out royal blue, and there was a yellow cast. I've tried proofing from w/in photoshop with no success...I'm still getting different output.

I'm at a loss....what am I doing wrong? Is there a better place I can download an icc profile? How can I fix this?

Thanks in advance, Wes


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Arnie Milowsky , Dec 03, 2002; 08:38 a.m.

Response To Epson 1280 problems: Incorrect colors and poor shadows


I owned a 1280, and thought it did a great job printing in focus mid-tones and highlights, but did a poor job printing shadow detail, shadow transitions, and the bokeh looked like globs. Playing and tweaking didn't help (tried custom printer profiles, etc., and different types of paper). The "bad" effects are lessened on the Epson semigloss paper, but I still found it unacceptable.

I sold the 1280, and bought a 2200, which cured all the problems that I was having on the 1280.

With respect to your colors being off, is your monitor properly hardware profiled? If not, you will just continue to be frustrated trying to match screen colors with printer colors.

Don Cooper , Dec 03, 2002; 09:07 a.m.

Response To Epson 1280 problems: Incorrect colors and poor shadows

Wes; Have you tried turning off all color management as it pertains to the printer and using the default settings in the printer driver for the type of paper you're using? In other words no ICC profiles from Photoshop, and just selecting the premium glossy in the printer dialogue. If that doesn't get you real close then there is some other problem with the printer or your setup.

Angel O. , Dec 03, 2002; 09:56 a.m.

Response To Epson 1280 problems: Incorrect colors and poor shadows

I own a 1290 (I think that is the 1280 in the US) and it does a real good job on all kinds of photographs. Are you sure that the printing head is clean? Try the self-test of the printer and take a look at the printed colors, there should be a noticeable difference between the six ink colors.

Another suggestion is to upgrade the printer driver (I'm using version 5.22/P from the Epson-Germany homepage www.epson.de) and try it again.
Usually I don't bother at the printer settings, I just select "Premium Glossy Photo Paper" and Automatic with the option "quality".

Good luck!

Mike Lepp , Dec 03, 2002; 10:47 a.m.

Response To Epson 1280 problems: Incorrect colors and poor shadows

I think this is a general inkjet problem. I've always been dissatisfied with the gradients from dark to shadowed areas. It tends to be light, then dark with very little inbetween. I think, and hope, this is part of the reason for coming out with seven ink printers. With the light black (dark grey?) it should be able to smooth out the shadow gradient. Have you tried using curves and brightening the shadow areas? I find this helps the printed version a little.

Ilkka Nissila , Dec 03, 2002; 02:09 p.m.

I think it's best not to use the printer profile in photoshop (output it in adobe rgb), rather select ICM in the printer driver (Color management / Advanced / ICM). Pretty good match. Remember to select the correct paper type.

That said, my 890 is prone to oversaturate the blue colours on Premium Glossy Photo Paper and this is a bit of a headache. I love the surface of that paper, it is really good for wall mounting. But the blues can go wild. Photo paper and matte heavyweight give a more accurate colour rendition but they don't match the beautiful surface of the PGPP.

Andy Piper , Dec 03, 2002; 02:51 p.m.

Wes: I'm curious as to why you had to "download" a 1280 icc profile - my printer came with all the profiles on the CD.

Is your monitor calibrated via software and 'eyeball' or via a hardware color metering system?

That being asked - I have the same problems out of a Mac G3 and PS 6. My workaround for the moment is to set the PRINT OPTIONS>OUTPUT> to "Printer color management" (i.e. I quit using color management for desktop printing) and then use the Epson Color Controls in the "advanced' layer of the page setup dialogue to tweak color balance/density/contrast of the final prints to match my monitor. Once I've established a group of settings they are good for ALL color pictures.

The first print you do this way will be rather pale and flat - especially compared to those dark contrasty 'color managed' prints. Printing on the premium glossy paper I find the following settings a good start for color balance/contrast, but you probably should try several "Media type" and other settings to find which gives you the best rough start (make 4x6 or half-letter prints to save ink/paper in the initial stages).

Media type: Photo Quality Ink Jet Paper (yes, even on Premium Glossy Paper!) - Epson Color Controls - "Natural Color: off" - Gamma: 2.2 - Mode: Automatic - Contrast: +4 - Yellow: +8.

As to why the problem exists in the first place - it's either that Epson's profiles are just - incorrect, or that software monitor calibration (eyeballing your monitor via "Adobe Gamma" or "Colorsync" control panels) is imperfect. I have an Apple 720 multiscan, which is definitely a yellower monitor than Trinitron-type phosphors. Until/unless I check/balance it with a hardware device I won't assume that it's officially calibrated.

I'm watching this forum and the answers you get on this post specifically for more clarification, and using the technique described in the meantime.

Ed Tobin , Dec 03, 2002; 05:14 p.m.


I have had only a couple of problems similar to what you discribed. Once I had 2 bad color cartridges and when I put a third one in the problem went away. The other time it was the print heads were dirty and had to clean them about six times before I go the correct test print.

Andy Piper , Dec 06, 2002; 02:48 p.m.

"So I tried downloading and printing a standardized color chart...alas, my blues came out purple, my baby blues came out royal blue, and there was a yellow cast...."

Wes: a further data point for your consideration - I did this same thing after reading your post (digital version of GretagMacbeth chart converted to Adobe RGB color space). It prints almost spot-on for color (a breath of magenta in the gray scale, but the colors, especially the primaries, but also the subtler greens, cyans, and 'flesh tones', are all much better). But a leetle dark.

I used the "Epson 1280 Premium Glossy Photo Paper" as both the profile chosen in print option/color management and as Media type chosen in "Page Setup".The profile is the one of those that shipped/installed with the printer. And I DO notice fairly large differences if I switch between the various printer PROFILES that Epson ships.

So I'm no longer using the workaround/page setups mentioned in my previous response - I'm back to using Photoshop color management and the profile and the prints now look BETTER than using Epson color controls - but I had to tweak my monitor down to Gamma 2.2 and dial out a notch of green to get printer/monitor correspondence.

What RGB color space are you using? And what monitor gamma? Are you using "perceptual" as the "Intent" when you print?

Lorraine Eckhardt , Apr 13, 2003; 05:38 p.m.

I bought a 1280 in 2001, I had ongoing problems with printing on Premium glossy paper with "premium glossy" and "black" as the choices, I kept getting vertical banding. It printed the same picture ok in color mode. I cleaned cartridges, changed cartridges, downloaded plug-ins, all to no avail. I contacted Epson, they suggested I take the printer to a fixit shop. After finding out what a new printhead would cost, including installing it, I bought ANOTHER 1280 (last month) It did the very same thing. EXACTLY. Finally, I decided to use cheaper paper to practise on, using "photo paper"and "black" as choices. It came out fine. I went back to the Premium glossy paper and chose "photo paper" and "black") as the choices. It came out fine. I have printed numerous black and white prints since then using the Premium glossy paper, and "photo paper" as the paper choice, and have not had one instance of vertical banding. I contacted Epson and told them what I had discovered, and thought it strange that they had not discovered this for themselves, but have not had an answer from them as yet. Lorraine.

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