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Epson R1900 instead of R1800 (Dark Prints)

Mark Harrison , Jun 02, 2008; 08:53 p.m.

I have had my R1800 for almost on eyear and have not been satisfied. Every print is much darker than is appears on screen.

Before the barrage of questions:

Yes, I have calibrated my color management system. I have set my monitor and even tried custom printer drivers with my Monaco software. It yields poor color rendition if I much with the driver too much.

I am using the latest drivers and ICC profiles

I am allowing Photochop CS3 to control things, all the Epson settings are off.

I have checked and rechecked.

I have used HP el-cheapo printers and had dead-on results

I have read numerous threads on dark prints with no real solution except that it may be a printer fault

I hope I am missing something but I am at wits end. The printer must go as I am gearing up to sell images.

I am prepared to replace the printer unless somebody has a solution that I have overlooked (I am all ears or eyes).

I have not seen threads on printing problems with the R1900 and the vivid colors/saturation is what I am looking for anyway. I don't do B&W and tend to print glossy or peral.

Any thoughts for a frustrated phot guy?

Responses

Frank Skomial , Jun 02, 2008; 09:02 p.m.

The same problem will exist with you, after you replace R1800 with R1900 printer.

Thousands of successful R1800 printer users can testify how great and consistent results they obtain most of the time. It is called "experience".

Try harder with your R1800. Seems that you are overdoing things ...

Mark Buchfuhrer , Jun 02, 2008; 11:00 p.m.

You are forgetting one aspect of your images appearing darker on the prints. It really depends a lot on the lighting that is used to view your prints. LCD monitors these days are very bright and often make the images look brighter (despite calibration). Profesional studios use standardized light boxes for viewing their images to make sure that their images are correct.

If you view your prints by ordinary room light compared to direct sunlight, you will see very signficant differences in the darkness of your print.

Roger Smith , Jun 02, 2008; 11:47 p.m.

I have the R1800 and have used OEM inks. With my PrintFixPro unit I bump up brightness slightly (+2 or so) and get a good match with my Frontier prints.

Try outputting in sRGB to a Frontier (like winkflash.com) and see how far away the R1800 prints are.

Mike Young , Jun 03, 2008; 03:45 a.m.

I use an r1800 with cs3. Now that I stopped fooling around with third party inks and I got a good monitor with an eye one calibrator all is well. If you are getting dark pictures be sure you are using the correct and current Epson icc drivers and that when you calibrate the monitor it is not too light in the room. good luck

Ricky Szabo , Jun 03, 2008; 11:52 a.m.

My monitor is calibrated and I also own the R1800 (printing with Epson inks and canned Epson profiles). I find I have to go into levels and bump up the middle slider by around +15 prior to printing. Doing this gives me a very close match between print and screen, both in brightness and colour.

Lad Lueck , Jun 03, 2008; 07:35 p.m.

I have profiled both my CRT and R1800.

My prints match so closely to CRT that I am amazed. I also understand that a reflective print MUST and WILL look different than a self-illuminated CRT.

If you are (certain you are) using PS Print with Preview correctly (and you MUST use p w p), then your monitor is too bright.

Robert Brake , Jun 03, 2008; 10:10 p.m.

I agree with Lad. I use an 1800 both with oem and MIS inksets and have a very good match. My monitor is calibrated at 70% contrast and 50% brightness settings (A Viewscan VP930 calibrated with a Spyder 2 and Epson profiles with the OEM ink and PrintFix Pro profiles with the MIS inkset.)

Mark Harrison , Jun 06, 2008; 09:16 a.m.

I have modified my monitor settings and reduced the brightness by 40%. I recalibrated the monitor to better match my room lighting (dim).

I have verified all settings.

When I let Photoshop manage the color, I lose most of the shadows. If I set the drive to allow the printer to manage the color, I regain the shadows but the Epson driver is not as adpet at managing colors. The colors are dead on when Photoshop is in control. However, the shadows are gone and the rest of the image looks overdone. Using a recent picture of the Eiffel at dusk, the green trees and shrubs are very dark, there is no detail and you cannot tell there are two colors of green. If I allow the printer to control the process, the greens and shadows are there but the background sky is washed out. In general, the printer control is closer to the monitor. If I try to change the contrast or saturation in the epson driver, there is no change in the printout, even if I move them to +25.

I have deleted the driver and resinstalled the latest from the Epson site. I have reinstalled CS3. My monitor is definaltely not too bright yet I am unable to get accurate prints. I can deal with some minor differences but the dark shadows are not acceptable.

One comment suggested that I need more experience. I have been working on this for months with unsatisfactory results. I have tried different paper, different profiles, custom profiles and all yields the same result. Sure, LCD monitors if not set properly will give a false view however after months of research, it seems clear that there are a number of 1800's that yield dark prints. No doubt, there is a much greater % that yield perfect prints however, I do not have one.

Before I toss the printer, I wanted to see if there were late breaking solutions. I have not tried different ink. I have had prints made at two other facilities and they are dead on to what I see on the monitor.

Brian Swagger , May 25, 2009; 11:29 p.m.

Hey Mark,

You are not alone. I have a R1900 and have the same problems you do. It is very frustrating. I am where you are at to the tee (sans the fact that i used the Mac native calibration, and am using CS4)! Although i can't just toss my printer out as it was expensive for me. I am pretty upset with the dark prints, as i could have put the money towards a new lens and just let a local camera store print my stuff. I got the printer because it is pretty versatile in its paper sizes and does Panos. The reviews were excellent as well...

Let me ask you - Are you on a Mac using Leopard? There has been a very long thread going on about epson and dark prints on the Adobe Forums. From what i can gather, it seems that there is a flaw when printing with certain epson printers on Leopard. It appears that even though you turn off color management on the printer, we are still getting additional compensation which is why it appears much darker. Where the flaw lies is of yet unclear. Adobe says it is Leopard and/or Epson, and Apple/Epson say it is Adobe. I was hoping the recent 10.5.7 update was going to correct the issue, but it has not as i just got done doing some testing.

In all honesty, people say it must be operator error or inexperience. This could be the case, but printing shouldn't be this difficult...All devices calibrated to Adobe 1998, using latest drivers and ICC profiles, there should be no need to get to such a low level to get relatively accurate results. If it is this difficult then Epson should be including monitor calibration software and a free webinar on all the tweaks needed with it's printer purchases or something. Following the manual ain't hitting on much!

Again this could be my inexperience because i am surely an amateur and do this as a hobby, but punching up the exposure a few stops, etc results in less than accurate prints for me as well. Besides adding some sort of gamma correction solely to get desired print results add yet another action an already complex workflow which should be unnecessary in the first place.

I am going to back into CS3 and do some test prints for "us" as well. As i recall, i didn't used to have this problem, but then again this is the first time i am printing a sunset photo.

At the end of the day, i get sub-par prints that i would not give away, and i am wasting ink trying to tweak all different settings to see where the culprit is.

Let me know if you figure it out...I will do the same...

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