Just to refresh...
I have an Epson 3800 that works fine and produces beautiful prints.
When I sold my Leicas and returned to Canon after about 3-4 years, I got a package deal with my 5DMkIII and lenses that included a Pixma Pro 100. Hey, it's included in the package and essentially free. Free is good. I'll take it.
There is no way in hell that the prints from the Pro-100 can hold water to the Epson. None. My monitor is calibrated (i1Pro). I have tried printing from Lightroom which is my preferred method with the Epson and the prints (black & white, I must stress) look faded, look like there is a light fog and are are prone to a magenta cast. And I reiterate the prints from the Epson, by comparison, look crisp with excellent contrast and detail.
I have tried Canon Print STudio Pro. Same result.
The paper used is Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique. The inks are Canon. Yes I know, try the Canon papers. Well we all know that the Canon papers are second-rate compared to the papers from manufactures like Canson Infinity, Moab and others.
I could go on and on but it is just a sorry state of affairs. While I love my Canon cameras, lenses, etc., my Pro-100 just flat out stinks and is destined to be a boat anchor.
Sorry Canon, maybe you should stick to cameras and leave the printer business to those who know what they are doing.
Am I frustrated? You bet!
Solved! Go to Solution.
Last bit of experimentation for today...
I used Red River Arctic Polar Satin.
I turned off the B&W.
I used the RRP APS icc profile from RRP.
I cranked the Magenta back to -50 (as far as it would go).
The print looked really good.
Then I put it side by side with a print on RRP APS from the 3800 made using the Epson ABW setting.
The Epson print is pure B&W. The Pro-100 print still has a slight magenta cast.
I think I'll take the advice of the RRP gentleman. To paraphrase, he said if you have the 3800 and really like the print quality on a variety of different papers, why are you driving yourself crazy over the PRO-100? It's time to stop making myself crazy.
Thanks for all the suggestions. And remember... he who has one watch always knows what time it is. He who has two is never quite sure.
Okay so I gathered myself together now.
I went to another image. I printed on Canon Premium Luster and it looks good... not necessarily great but good. Then I tried to print on the Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique again with media set to the recommended Premium Semi-gloss and I still got a slight magenta cast. I switched the media setting to Premium Luster and printed another on the Baryta Photographique and it looked better (closer to the print on Premium Luster) but still has a very slight magenta cast... passable if you don't have the version on the Premium Luster or more importantly the Baryta version from the Epson for comaprison.
Still don't know what I'm going to do with the PRO-100. As of now, I don't see myself doing any "important" printing on it. I will stick with the Epson 3800. Maybe one of these days I will figure this thing out but today has not been that day.
"Still don't know what I'm going to do with the PRO-100."
Sorry, but I have to agree with this statement. Give Red River Paper a call and ask what papers they recommend for B&W on the Pro-100.
Also remember the Pro-100 is not a B&W printer. In my experience you have to have a purposely built B&W printer to get great B&W prints.
You can not print all 256 shades of gray with one black ink cartridge. Or two or even three! It isn't possible. The Pro-100 makes use of all it cartridges to make a B&W prints. Hence the reddish or greenish over tones in your prints. The paper you use will make a huge difference. RRP knows this and has custom profiles to help correct it.
Yes, there are better B&W printers out there and if B&W is your forte, you need to chose one of them. Reserve your Pro-100 for the color work.
Here are a few quotes taken from a much longer review of the Canon Pixma PRO 100 by Northlight Images, experts in black & white printing.
"I've written up several articles concerned with fine tuning B&W responses of printers to get more consistent results and I have no doubt that the PRO-100, with some work, could produce some excellent prints."
"Out of the box though, it falls down a bit in this area. I suspect that were I able to use some decent OBA free fine art papers my impression might be better, but I can't be sure."
"I've seen reports praising the B&W print quality of the PRO-100, I can only assume that they were written by people who've not done much B&W print work ;-)"
"The Print Studio Pro plugin offers a 'pattern print' option, which prints lots of different versions of an image, with minor changes in settings. This is one way to fine tune B&W output for example."
"I'd reiterate that there are many ways of 'tuning' B&W output for the paper you're using, but you will need to put some work in (and paper/ink) to get the best out of this printer."
italics emphases are all mine
Printed on Canson Baryta Photographique using Canson recommended media type and Canson ICC profile. Printed from Lightroom with LR managing color.
No color cast and smooth gradient in the 256 range gradient band.
Similar results with Red River Palo Duro and San Gabriel.
But, since you have a pigment printer that you are happy with (and pigment is generally recommended as better for B&W) use the tool you feel is better for each task and enjoy your hobby (or business).
I know I wrote the original post yesterday at a time when I was extremely frustrated. And the second post was written after trying a few more prints that I said I thought looked good. Now I'm not talking about a strong color cast by any means. The print I mentioned in the second post on the Pro Luster actually fooled me. It looked good... really good. And I used it as a sort of standard against which I compared the prints made on Arctic Polar Satin and Baryta Photographique.
Then I printed the same file on the Epson 3800. I can hold the two prints side by side and the difference. There is a slight cast in the Pro Luster print from the PRO-100. I really believe that without the side by side, it would pass.
Since I was already wasting paper and ink, I figured I try a comparison on another print. And on this one, the difference was for all intents and purposes unnoticable.
The first print was loaded with highlights and midtones. It was in those tonal ranges that the cast was "most" noticable. The second print was skewed toward shadows. There the cast was basically imperceptable.
So as far as I am concerned, I have not found a solution that is satisfactory for me... yet! I have not given up because I'm not the type of guy to give up. Clearly the Epson 3800 will produce great results with all the papers that I currently use. (And let me say right here that I tried many papers back in the early days with the 3800 and some just didn't seem to work for me.) Equally clearly, I am going to have to keep looking for papers the produce the results I am looking for with the PRO-100.
My final (I think) word is that if I didn't have the 3800, I think I could go through life looking at the prints from PRO-100 (particularly on Pro Luster and Arctic Polar Satin and actually not see the magenta cast. It is only when compared side by side with a "purer" B&W print that the cast is noticable.
Just my observation. Now I am going to give Red River a call and see what they have to add.
Thanks for all the suggestions and help as I have been going through this process.
From what I have read online even when printing B&W the PRO-100 uses the color inks since the black dye is not true black.
Since it is a mechanical device subject to tolerances it might be necessary to fine tune the printer. You can do that using Print Studio Pro by printing a B&W test chart. Find the tweaking that looks best to you and enter those adjustments into the printer driver.
Thanks, John. I will give that a try. I just spent 45 minutes on the phone with Red River. Great discussion but not sure we solved anything but it was a GREAT discussion I had. Learned a lot.
"RRP knows this and has custom profiles to help correct it."
The correct profile has more to do with good prints than anything else. I can't stress this enough. Profiles are 1st and paper is second.
If you choose B&W under quality and media, you do not have the option to choose a profile. Canon (the printer) manages the color.
If you choose to use an icc profile, you cannot choose B&W.
We (the gentleman from RRP and I) discussed this. His recommendation was to check the B&W box and let the printer manage the color. This is exactly what I have been doing. When you check the B&W box, you get Canon Manages Color rather than ColorSync (Mac) manages color which means the Printer Manages Color (Epson talk).
His words were that he believes there is a "bug" in the Pro-100 system that causes the color cast which can be reduced through experimentation with things that shouldn't really have an effect... like changing media from semi-gloss to luster and stuff like that.
Bottom line is I will probably just continue to use the 3800 for B&W and color and the Pro-100 for just color.
Oh and he also said they will be coming out with a new version of the San Gabriel Baryta paper sometime this summer.