Let’s talk about printing with matte black and photo black ink when your printer can only accept one or the other. Why you should care and how you can even save a little bit of money.
- The matte black vs photo black problem defined
- The most frequent issues and use cases
- Getting a second printer to avoid switching inks out
- Getting a new printer that handles both
Listen in to learn about the photo black ink vs matte black ink problem and what you can do about it
Read the transcribe for this episode
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You are listing to the ask BC podcast. Your print making questions answered by the experts.
Justin: Hey guys it’s your host, Justin. We have a really great episode for you today. We are gonna talk about printing with matte black and photo black ink when your printer can only accept one or the other. I’m gonna tell you why you should care and how you can even save a little bit of money.
Steve: This is Steve Fits of Steve Fits Photo. And I have a question about printer ink. Specifically my printer uses a matte black ink or a photo black ink but I want to be able to print on both canvas and photo paper. But you know it’s really time consuming and expensive to switch out the inks and switch everything out. I’m curious what you would recommend in this scenario to be able to handle both without having to get a new printer.
Justin: That’s a great question Steve thanks. For those of you that are new to printing or might just be unfamiliar with this matte black vs photo black problem. I want to give you a bit of context, a bit of background. So it’s generally just accepted when you print on a matte service like canvas or matte paper you’re going to be using matte black and when you print on the satin or glossy surface like photo paper or a glossy canvas you’re gonna be using photo black. Now generally your printer will know which black ink to use, based upon some of the settings you select when you’re setting up your print job. And if you switched between matte and glossy paper often you’ve undoubtedly scene the button on your printer asking to switch between matte black and photo black or vice versa. The problem is making this switch is not cheap. It can cost you up to 10 even 50 dollars to switch between the blacks. Depending on what printer you have course. Printers like the Epsom 6700 or the 9600 or are the higher end of that number. And printers like the R3 or 2000 or the lower end of that. So if you’re economical like I am you’re like, “What do I do, What’s the best way to handle this?”
So here’s what I see happening most frequently. First either the print maker limits himself either only on a glossy media or on a matte media cause it’s so expensive to switch and they don’t know any other way. Or second they just actually do the switch and they waste a ton of money over time and a ton of time. But don’t fear you guys, there are a ton of alternatives and I’m about to let you in on that secret. And this is probably the most common, because it’s the cheapest in the long-run. And that is to use photoblack for every paper. It is a common misconception to think that you need to switch to a matte black when you’re printing on a matte canvas or printer paper. But that just isn’t the case. So you will save some money in not having to switch back. But there are some down sizes as well. You will loose a little bit of print quality using photo black on surfaces, this will be most evident in your shadow detail. So look at the shadows in your image they’ll be a little detailed when you’re using photo black but it’s actually not that bad. What I’ll do to help you give you a visual is I have some photos of comparisons of this and I’ll put them in the show notes, so check that out.
My second tip would be to consider buying a second printer. A second printer that has a different black loaded then your first printer. So if you’re using matte black in your original printer, buy one that is set up exclusively for photo black. This would negate the need for the costly ink switch and I’ve actually seen these printers going for a pretty low rate lately. Most people I’ve talked to going this route generally match the same model they already using for the second printer. But there are a lot of great candidates out there actually the Epsom stylus pro 7600 for example is perfect and you can pick one up for around $1000 used. The Epsom 9600 same story, you can pick one up for around $2020 used, now I can go all on about all the models that would be perfect for this. But there a few so what I’ll do is I’ll go ahead and include this is the show notes as well. Be sure to check that out.
My third tip is to consider investing in a brand new printer. One that has separate black ink channels that will allow you to bypass this black ink switch that is so costly. And this is the most expensive option clearly slow. You really have to be in the right place your business to do this but if you’re ready to upgrade or something like that this is perfect for you. What I’m describing, this dynamic black ink switch is really really cool. Printers accept both matte black and photo black cartridges at the same time and each of those black has its own channel or tube that goes down to the print head that way there is no flushing, there is no switching, nothing like that involved so it’s super efficient. The cannon IPF 6400 and IPF 8300 perfect examples of this, as is the Epsom stylus pro 11880. There are some others as well. What I’ll do is put together a comprehensive list of these and include their prices and everything and I’ll drop those in the show notes. So be sure to get your hands on that.
Well, That’s it for todays episode guys. Thanks so much for listing. For this episodes show notes you can visit ask-bc.com/black that’s ask-bc.com/black and a big thanks goes out to you Steven to submit your question and since we choose it, you’ll be receiving an awesome breathing color teeshirt. If you would like to ask a question for the show you can visit ask-bc.com and if we use your question a breathing color teeshirt will be coming your way.