Epson R260 Black and White, and Color Printing

Paul Roark
www.PaulRoark.com

9-30-07

The Epson R260 inkjet printer is now an excellent platform for B&W and color printing using economical pigments from MIS Associates. MIS carbon pigments, in particular the "Eboni" matte black, are among the most lightfast pigments available. When a 100% carbon image is printed using the black only method, described below, the 100% carbon images will not fade.

While the workflows below deal with MIS pigments, the 1400 can also print quite good B&W with the OEM Claria inkset if, and only if, QTR is used to print with the Claria black ink only, supplemented with just a little LM of offset the greenish hue that will usually be seen if just the Claria black ink is used. I've posted a few sample QTR profiles for this approach in a Zip file located here

The R260 has some singnificant improvements relative to previous letter-size printers. One welcomed advance relates to paper handling. The 260 handles reasonably thick papers very well. Papers with less than 315 gsm weight have fed well. Those above that weight are not recommended.

The second notable advance in the R260 is the tiny 1.5 picoliter drop size. This allows the printer to significantly exceed the quality of previous "black only" printing approaches that use just the single black position ink. This, of course, allows the printer to have a full set of color pigments in the usual color ink positions. In additition to neutral, cool, and warm Photo Black (PKN, PKC and PKW) ink options for glossy paper, matte paper with Eboni, relatively neutral MK carbon pigment results in the prints with a very useable range of tones. (This is similar to what is achieved with the more expensive R1800 3-MK approach. For more about the R1800 multi-channel 100% carbon printing, click here. The R1800 is, unlike the 260, smoother when using multiple MK channels.)

For the smoothest and most flexible B&W printing, a full, dedicated B&W inkset is available from MIS. The options are highlighted below, with links to other pages for the details.

Carts and Chips

R260 carts and chips from MIS are available at www.inksupply.com. Just scroll down to the R260.

The chips MIS is selling are auto-reset. There is currently no chip resetter. The chips will continue to show the same amount of ink used even when changed until they are so low that the printer calls for them to be changed. Then all are automatically reset to show full. I run them down until they automaticlly reset, then I refill every position.

The chips are on small carriers that simply slide onto the front of the carts, which are all the same. (It might be a good idea to mark the chip with what position it is. A fine Sharpie works.) This allows very easy interchange of carts for changing, for example, from matte to glossy black, using the same K-position chip. The chips and carts appear to be very reliable, and I have not experienced a single clog.

Black and White Printing Alternatives

Full Dedicated B&W Inkset and Epson Driver

The UT-RC inkset has a number of alternatives that allow users considerable flexibility to achieve the tones, including split-tones, they prefer, on both matte and glossy papers.

There are 4 black ink options: Eboni (100% carbon pigment) for matte paper and three tones of Photo Black (PK) for glossy papers. The three PK's are: warm (carbon), neutral and cool. The neutral and cool options are blended with a blue pigment toner to offset the carbon base's warmth.

The light and dark midtone inks come in the same tones or hues as the PK inks: warm (pure carbon), neutral and cool. Intermedieate tones like medium warm are achieved by putting in both warm carbon and neutral or cool cartridges.

The B&W inskets print with the Epson driver, with no need for curves or rips, although some may prefer to use ICCs for the best print-to-monitor match. B&W ICCs will be available for downloading and can be custom made with "Create ICC" -- a small program that ships with the QTR, noted just below.

For detailed information on Epson Driver B&W workflows, click here..

For B&W inkset driver settings in a nutshell, click here..

To purchase the MIS R260 B&W inks, click here..

Black Only Printing with QTR

The latest version of QuadToneRip supports black ink only printing with the R260. To download QTR, click here. QTR is a shareware "rip" ("raster image processor") that one can try for free and then pay $50 to buy if satisfied.

For QTR black only printing settings, click here.

Color Pigment Printing

It will take MIS a few weeks to get the pigments loaded into 260 carts and on its web site. In the meantime the MIS color pigments are available in bulk, and empty MIS 260 carts are easy to load.

The MIS color pigments need a good profile. Profiles that produce very good color prints on a variety of matte and glossy papers have been made and posted. For more information on color printing, click here.

The R260 letter-size printer looks like a winner. We wonít miss the C88 and R220 from what Iíve seen so far.

Enjoy.

Paul