Sunday, January 13, 2008

Epson 11880 First Impressions / Photo LA Favorites

We were able to get the 11880 up the stairs and installed in the studio, thanks to service above and beyond by John Maneira, the owner of Bytes to Print in Berkeley. He not only helped carry it up icy stairs, but also helped us get it configured and running in no time. It is much quieter and much faster than the 9800. As soon as it was up and running I did a few comparison prints of the same file. I printed Autumn Passage (shown below) on both printers with the maximum print resolution settings in place. The 11880 provided more detail in the color ranges reproduced, and also in the amount of detail visible to the naked eye. I was able to see small veins on the leaves from prints on the 11880 that were not visible from the 9800, and also more subtle tones in the reds were visible from the 11880 print. Since I was printing a 16 bit file, I also did a comparison with and without the 16 bit printing enabled, and found no visible difference between the 8 bit and 16 bit printing. This feature may become more important in areas where there is the potential for banding in one color, such as a blue/cyan sky. I will be doing more tests with this on those types of images. At this point I am very pleased with the results from the 11880, all done from the Epson Print Driver and Leopard OS on a Mac.

We did a whirlwind visit to Photo LA yesterday to see what was happening in the world of very high-end photo collecting and exhibition. A wall of about 6 original Ansel Adams prints, including the famous Moonrise, Hernandez image, was completely sold by the time we arrived - they were selling in the stratospheric price range. There was a good mixture of both contemporary work and work from the traditional "masters". It was interesting to see how galleries were displaying very large (40 x 60" +) prints - many are no longer using glass in the framing, and instead mounting the image on aluminum or acrylic. Some are face mounting the image to acrylic to provide more protection, but the images with no glass or acrylic in front looked great - there was an immediacy and impact provided by this type of display that is not available when the image is behind glass. This type of display was very effectively done on Jill Greenburg's large prints in the ClampArt booth. Other work I enjoyed was from Michael Eastman , and Stephen Wilkes, particularly his work on China. I also enjoy Nick Brandt's images of Africa.