Since Epson released its next-generation P-series printers in September 2015, we’ve seen some great results in terms of increased color gamut. With that, we’ve received some user questions for our tech team. We’ve consolidated the most universal questions here, with answers from Michael Clementi, head of LexJet’s Experience Center.
Q: I’ve been printing with my new P-series printer for a few weeks, and I’ve noticed that prints are generally darker and more saturated than on my older Epson printers. What’s going on?
A: In our testing, we discovered that the color gamut on the new P7000 (standard edition) increased by 17 percent. That allows us to hit colors we’ve never been able to get on the older Epson editions.
The big increase in gamut includes much deeper colors so the “darkness” could be due to the colors that the previous generation could not print. The “saturation” increase can also be due to an increase in colors that can be attained with the new ink. A visual difference when switching to a larger gamut with completely new ink formulation is to be expected.
It should, in essence, be truer to what you see on your screen since you have more colors to print if you are going the length to create or use custom profiles for the media you print with.
Q: While I’m adjusting to these new inks, how can I get more predictable results?
The best possible results are going to come from custom profiling the material on each individual machine. If you have a spectrophotometer, you can build custom ICC profiles. The gamut seems to increase with every release of a new technology and the ink formulations change. There will be a difference in attainable colors between machines.
If you were to build your own ICCs for each printer, you level out the chance that the Epson-made general profile is the culprit. On the flip side of doing your own profiling, you will also be reaching colors on the new machines you weren’t able to reach before with the old machines.
When replicating colors in a fine art piece or photo, the more attainable color the better, but it can throw you off if you are doing limited editions on an older printer, and then try to print it on a newer printer with a completely different set of ink. If you are trying to dull it down to the previous ink set, it is going to be a very tedious process where you would need to adjust the colors within the document before printing. I do not recommend doing this. I do recommend doing custom profiles yourself to ensure the colors are as accurate to your screen as possible, and that might get rid of some of your color headaches.
Q: Within the P-Series, what’s the difference in ink sets and who are they for?
The new Epson SureColor P6000 and P8000, 24-inches and 44-inches, respectively, have the upgraded eight-color pigment ink set (with optional photo black or matte black), making them ideal for designers, commercial printers and photographers who don’t require the extended gamut.
The new Epson SureColor 24-inch P7000 and 44-inch P9000 are designed for professional proofing and photographic use, they have the 10-color UltraChrome HDX pigmented ink set (with optional matte black or photo black).
Photographers are served well with the standard ink set that includes light-light black that diffuses bronzing and gives prints a more continuous tone. This cartridge is very important for anyone using any materials that have a shine to them (gloss, satin, semigloss, semi matte) since you will see these negative effects more evident on surfaces that refract or reflect light.
Professional proofers needing top-of-the-line color-matching ability can opt for the all new optional violet color, which Epson says offers 99-percent PANTONE® FORMULA GUIDE solid coated color-matching. Violet is available in the P7000 Commercial and P9000 Commercial options.
If you don’t do proofing or don’t need Pantone color matching, opt for the P7000 Standard or P9000 Standard printers.
Q: What is the actual percentage of gamut difference between the eight-color model and the 10-color model?
A: We evaluated orange and green on our LexJet Sunset eSatin profiles with the previous generation of Epson’s printers. The volume numbers on a gamut map, such as the one pictured below, shows the ability to reach 65,000 additional colors, a 7.5% increase for this specific product. Because the orange and green inks are the difference for the new P-series printers, too, we’d expect the same type of results.
Q: If I’m going to purchase a P-series printer that will be low production, what can I expect from a maintenance standpoint?
A: It’s always best to keep the inks fresh in the heads by running a nozzle check once a week. If you keep an inexpensive roll loaded in the printer while it’s not being used and keep the power on, you can utilize Epson’s new built-in user-selectable cleaning timer, which you can set between every six to 60 hours (I recommend every 60 hours). By setting this new timer, you can eliminate the need for a manual weekly nozzle check.
If you have other questions about working with these or any other Epson printers, please give one of our experts a call at 800-453-9538.