FSN+ Inkset


For the Epson 7500, 7000, 9500, & 9000





Paul Roark





[Caveat:  As of 10-06, I stopped using this inkset and stopped recommending this or any “blended” B&W inkset for use in large format printers without this caveat.  I’ve found large format printers suffer from unacceptable tone shifts with blended inksets when they are left unused for much more than a week.  If one uses the printer regularly or uses an auto-print software program such at MIS provides at http://www.inksupply.com/cobra.cfm#ap then this is not a problem.  Additionally, tone shifts are not a serious problem with most desktop printers where the cartridges are constantly agitated.  However, blended inksets that have inks composed of more than one type of pigment mixed together have tended to have tone shifts between printing sessions where such sessions are separated by more than a week.  This does not appear to be ink separation in the cart, but rather in the tubes that connect the carts to the heads.  Because I do not use my 7500 continuously, I found this problem too much of a nuisance to deal with.  As such, I have moved to a non-blended approach that uses just the standard black and gray inks, with LC and LM for tone control.  This non-blended approach requires a rip and is very slightly less smooth, but it’s much more practical for me.  It also gives me full Lab a and b control within the neutral to carbon tone range.  For more information on what I call the “4K+” approach I am now using in my  7500, see  http://home1.gte.net/res09aij/4K+.pdf ]



The Blended FSN+ Inkset


This inkset is mostly a modified MIS UT-FSN inkset optimized for neutral B&W printing on both glossy and matte papers with the 7500 and other Epson large format printers of that generation -- without having to change the black inks.  This is not the same as the original UT inkset, which will also run on these large format printers.


Note that I work on a 7500.  However, my experience is that the 9500 prints the same.  Also, I have found that when I print with the 7000 driver, the curves-profiles I make print on the 7000 and 9000 just like they did on my 7500 with the 7000 driver.


The 7500-UT inkset can be printed through the Epson driver when Photoshop RGB image adjustment curves are used as profiles.  The workflow is to edit the image in grayscale, save the grayscale file, convert to Adobe RGB, apply the appropriate printing curve, and print through the Epson driver, with the settings outlined below.  Curves that I’ve made for a number of different papers can be downloaded from a different page, the link for which is at the bottom on this Readme file.  Of course, good third-party RIPs should also work very well with this inkset.


Note that the 7500 and the other large format printers of this generation, with their larger, non-variable dots, may not be able to match the smoothness of the newest printers.  For example, with very close inspection using +3 reading glasses I can detect a very fine grain in some test strips.  On other papers, however, I see no dots even with a loupe.  In actual prints, particularly display-size prints, the digital artifacts are insignificant, and prints from the 7500 look as good as any I’ve ever seen from any other technology.



Ink Order


In the large format printers I recommend an ink order that is different from other UT-FSN approaches.   Below is the ink order I’ve found works very well.  Note that what I recommend changes over time as the papers I use change.  As of August 2006, I think Crane Silver Rag is a top contender, while I still find Premier Art 205 a bargain for archival matte prints.  The changes to the R2 inkset for the neutral inks is due to the way these papers print.  The Crane paper in particular tends to print on the greenish side with the previous mix.  The R2 inkset adjusts for this, while still keeping the best matte papers well within range.



Neutral (cool) toned carbon inks:


            Yellow position = Originally UT-FSN-Y.

                        Later I used a mix of 75% (50% R2-Neurtal Light

                        (LC, LM, or Y – all the same)

                        Mixed with 50% base) + 25% FS-Y. 

                        This mix gives a more neutral tone than the FSN.


            Cyan position = Originally UT-FSN-C.

                        Later I use R2-Neutral Dark (C or M – both the same).


            Light Cyan position = Originally this was a new medium-density

                        gray ink.  It had a density half way between the C and Y

                        position inks, which makes it darker than the old standard

                        FS-M-position inks. 

                        This ink is now sold as the R2-Neutral-Light ink.



            Bulk UT-R2 ink is available at MIS.

                        See http://www.inksupply.com/utr2.cfm    


Carbon-warm inks:


            Magenta position = Originally MIS Photo Black (“PK”). 

                        This ink in conjunction with the UT-FSN-C ink provides a

                        dmax that is often better than the PK by itself.


                        Later I used a mix of 90% PK (7600) + 10% blue

                        (50% R800 Blue + 50% Cyan)

                        This gives a better dmax while still allowing reasonable

                        warm tone printing.  (Don’t do if you want carbon only print.)


            Light Magenta position = MIS UT2-LM or UT7-LC.

                        This medium-density, warm ink can be used to better

                        profile many papers by counteract the tendency of some

                        rag papers to print very cold in the shadows.  It is a pure

                        carbon, warm ink. This ink can also be used to print

                        medium-warm tones.


            Black position = Eboni matte black.


            These inks are available at



Note that this ink can be customized easily to achieve cooler or warmer prints by altering the mix with same-density, readily-available inks from MIS that have different degrees of coolness or warmness.


The Y-position ink can be warmed by using UT-FS-Y medium warm ink.  There is, however, no colder ink that is readily available for this position.


The C-position UT-FSN-C is the same density as the medium warm UT-FS, as well as the pure carbon UT2-M or UT7-C.   Thus these inks can be use to warm the inkset.  On the other hand, the UT2-C or UT-7 M cold tone inks can be mixed into the FSN-C to print cooler images.


The LC-position ink basic density formula is 60% UT-FSN-M + 40% EZ (Neutral &/or Warm).  So, minor changes can be made with the EZ N/W ratio.


Filling large format cartridges is described at this site: http://www.inksupply.com/3000.cfm    The cartridges and accessories needed to fill them are at http://www.inksupply.com/epsoncarts_xx.cfm  and http://www.inksupply.com/accessory.cfm




Color Settings – Edit, Color Settings in Photoshop, leave at defaults in Picture Window.  In Photoshop Color Settings I first set the top space to Photoshop 5 Default spaces.  I then set the RGB working space to Adobe RGB (1998).  Be sure no other profiles are embedded in the file.


Print with Preview – I recommend if you are using Photoshop CS2

            That you use the “Print With Preview” option.  Be sure that in the

            Color Management box, under Options, the “Color Handling”

            line is set to “No Color Management.”


Epson driver


Space – Adobe RGB (1998) 


Print Space -- Same as Source


Print Quality – 1440; High Speed Not checked.


Color Management – “No Color Adjustment,” Gamma is1.8.


Media Type – 7500 & 9500:  The setting will vary.  See below.

            7000 & 9000:  Photo Paper



Printing on Matte Papers


Matte papers, like the glossy ones, need to have a Photoshop image adjustment curve applied to an RGB version of the file to control the inks.


I have a preference for smooth papers.  As such, that is what is listed below.  There are many other excellent papers on the market that should print very well with curves similar to the ones I’ve made.


Media Type is, unless otherwise noted,


            “Watercolor Paper - Radiant White” for the 7500 & 9500,


            “Photo Paper” for the 7000 & 9000.


Print Quality – Use 1440 with High Speed unchecked.


Curves - Profiles have been made for the following papers:


Epson Enhanced Matte (“EEM”) – This paper is excellent for non-archival uses.   This paper prints slightly cool with UT-FSN inks.  I have also made a medium warm 7500 curve for this paper.  (Rag papers would make even better warm prints because they tend to print warmer in the highlights.   The EEM-MW curve would be a starting point for making warm printing curves for other papers.)


PermaJet Alpha, Delta & Omega – These papers from PermaJet differ in the amount of brighteners they have.  Alpha contains no optical brighteners and has a somewhat creamy paper hue.  Delta has brighteners and a paper base that is quite neutral.  Omega is between these two.  All have an excellent dmax – between EEM and PhotoRag.   All use the same Alpha curve.  These papers exhibit little if any flaking.  With their relatively high dmax and lack of flaking, these may be the best smooth cotton papers I’ve used.  Unfortunately, in the U.S., the distributor (Jobo) went out of business.  I believe these papers are available from PermaJet and it’s distributors in Europe.


PremierArt Fine Art Hot Press – The convex side of the 205 weight version prints smoother than the concave side.  The heavier PremierArt Fine Art papers and Epson UltraSmooth should print with the same curve.  These papers have no optical brighteners and exhibit little or no flaking.  They have the most neutral surface for a non-OBA paper that I’ve seen.   PA 205 is a bargain for an archival, cotton paper.


Hahnemuhle PhotoRag and other Fine Art papers – These curves were made on PhotoRag, but in the past PhotoRag curves have worked well on the full range of  Hahnemuhle fine art papers.  PhotoRag has the best dmax and makes an excellent print.  However, its soft coating tends to have some flaking and is very sensitive.



Printing on Glossy Papers


Glossy papers can be printed with Eboni matte black installed because  the curves used for printing the inks are able to cut the Eboni out and generate the black with PK (in the M spot) and FSN-C. 


While the 7000 and 9000 print very well on glossy papers, the dmax with that driver is often not as good as with the 7500 driver, at least when I print with the 7500 printer and 7000 driver.  None-the-less, of the papers listed below, the Kirkland Glossy and Ilford Pearl papers have excellent blacks with the 7000 driver. 


I often spray glossy prints with a protective lacquer.  Among other things, spraying the finished glossy print with PremierArt Print Shield increases the dmax significantly, eliminates the differential gloss, nearly eliminates the “bronzing,” and makes the paper water proof so that it can be cleaned with a damp paper towel.  Thus, I recommend this for most glossy papers. 


Curves have been made for the following papers.  Media Type settings 7500 will vary.  If not specified below and in the curve name, it will be the same as the paper name.  For the 7000 use “Photo Paper” for all papers.


Epson Premium Semimatte – For the 7500, use Media Type “Glossy Paper Photo Weight.”   Epson Premium Semimatte is rated by Wilhelm at “>200” years in terms of storage life, is available in rolls in the U.S, is reasonably priced, and, especially after being sprayed, has a very good dmax on the 7500 and is relatively artifact-free.  For these reasons, it is what I use on the 7500 for large display prints if I want a “glossy” paper, for example for glazing-free display.


Epson Premium Semigloss – In some respects I like Premium Semigloss better than Semimatte.  However, it is not available in rolls in the U.S.  In Europe it is.


Kirkland Glossy Photo Paper – This Costco paper may convince you that the cheapest can also be the best.  This is the paper I currently like the best for proofs and 8x10 prints.  Too bad larger sizes are not available. It is what Epson Premium Glossy Photo paper should be.  It has a bit less gloss and very little bronzing, which is rare for a glossy paper.  The paper base is buffered, making this a likely archival paper.   At $0.15 per letter-size sheet is a major value.  Use Premium Glossy Photo Paper media type setting.


Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl – On the 7500, use Premium Glossy Photo Paper Media Type.  This paper has an excellent dmax even without spraying and a reasonable price.  It is also available in a variety of sizes.  As such, it is an excellent display paper.  It does have some bronzing, which is largely eliminated with spraying. 


Typical of the vast majority of gloss papers, this paper does not appear to be acid free.  However, Wei To buffering spray appears to de-acidify the paper and may give it a significantly longer dark storage life where needed.  (See http://www.weito.com/.)  When applied to the back of the print it soaks into the paper, where it is needed, but the polyethylene barrier protects the surface and image from the carrier solvents and buffer.


Epson Premium Luster – On the 7500, this prints with the Premium Semigloss curve.  Use Premium Semigloss Media Type setting also.  For the 7000, there is a separate curve. 


Epson Premium Glossy – While popular, Epson Premium Glossy exhibits the most pronounced differential gloss and has some of the worst bronzing of the papers listed.  Thus, I do not recommend it unless it is going to be sprayed to minimize the artifacts.   These comments also apply to Ilford’s Glossy paper.  The Costco Kirkland paper is significantly better than these and similar, older glossy papers.




To download curves for printing the above papers, see



General information index: for my index of printing information, see             http://home1.gte.net/res09aij/index.htm.




Happy printing.






PS: For an open forum where I hang out, join the B&W Digital Print forum at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DigitalBlackandWhiteThePrint/