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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Canon ipF6350 Review: Part II: changing paper

Continuing on my Canon ipF6350 review. This installment, I show how to change the roll paper.

The printer came without the instruction manual...though if you buy one, you will get the 110 page manual. I haven't seen it so cannot comment. But I have found changing a roll of paper to be very intuitive and easy.

First, open the top of the printer, where the roll paper lives.

Remove the roll. Note the roll's ends are colour coded, so you won't insert the paper the wrong way.

Remove the ends of the roll holder, and remove the old roll.

The pinter supports paper with either 2 inch cores or 3 inch cores. I loaded a roll of Hahnemulle Ultra Smooth Photo Rag 305 paper in place of the Canon semi-gloss 270g paper. The Hahnemulle uses a 3 inch core, so I had to insert the 3 inch core to the spindle:

The roll is then inserted into the spindle, and the spindle assembly returned into the prnter. The spindle is motorised, and detects the paper edge as it is being inserted into the rollers. Automatically fitting itself into the printer. The printer also features a vacuum to hold the paper. I did not find any signs of the paper edges being damaged by grip rollers, so the 6350 is very gentle with the paper.

The printer goes into a configuration mode. The red "message" light is on, telling me that some action is needed. I had to tell the printer what is the new roll of paper I had inserted. Looking through the menu, I did not find the Hanhemulle paper. So I had to configure the printer to accept the physical characteristics of the paper.

Off to the Canon site, to download the Media Configuration Tool.

Its just 90-some MB, so its quite a quick download.

Fast to install...and configure:

As this is not a Canon paper, I selected "Add Custom Paper".

The rest of the dialog is rather intuitive. I selected the characteristics based on the specifications provided by the paper weight, etc. And viola! I am ready to do a test print. The paper does a quick test print:

Check to see the dot gain (this is the spread of ink as it is sprayed on the paper, and how much each dot increases in size as the ink is absorbed by the paper). Everything looks fine, and I committed to the new media. The printer goes into a reload, and when it came back to live, it had already automatically selected the new paper I had configured.


I have had my laptop - a Dell Studio XPS 16's display earlier calibrated by the KHL printer folks with their X-Rite Eye One. And I find the display pretty close and useful as a soft proofing tool. I had also earlier downloaded the Hanhemulle paper's ICC profile and installed it on my laptop.

So let's do a test print. I loaded the image on Photoshop CS4. And used the print utility...which is accessed via File/Export/ipF6350 Print Utility. I can also print directly from Photoshop, but found the Canon's Print Utility's interface more friendly.

I also found that the ICC profiles are handled very well by the Print Utility, making it not necessary to create a custom ICC profile. At least where the paper manufacturer releases a well made ICC, as is the case for the Ultra Smooth Photo Rag 305.

First dialog screen greets me:

Note the profile used is the ICC I had earlier downloaded for the Hanhemulle paper.

I printed this image, and wanted to print another. Note that the above image is landscape in orientation, using the width of the paper - all 24 inches as its height. The image is approximately 1m length.

This image from Tunnel View at Yosemite, showing the entire valley during a September sunset was printed in 9 minutes flat. Pretty fast for such a large print. The Hanhemulle Ultra Smooth Photo Rag 305 rendered the image rather bright, which is the original intent of the manufacturer...the white is brilliant. The blacks perhaps needed some adjustment on my side, as I felt perhaps the dark shadows, which I had placed at Zone I in my photo visualization, was not quite deep black.

But my next image is portrait orientation...the long side being in line with the width of the printer.

I had just to change the orientation in the next tab...and this is fixed.

For each image to print properly, I created a seperate custom paper size. I could get the printer to include a border or if I wanted it to print borderless.

Relatively painess to configure.

The ipF6350 has a built in hard disk, some 80MB to store the files. It took a mere 10 seconds to send the file from CS4 to printer via USB2. And after the printer has accepted the file, it could carry on without the computer. I disconnected the USB, and it happily continued to finish the print job.

Next installment of this review will cover my impressions on print quality and colour.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Penang Panoramas

Spent the week in Penang...eating, and exploring. Still many nice nature places to photograph in the tiny island. I did not do much shooting, as I travelled only with the GH2.

Here is a 9 panel vertical pano of the city, taken from the carpark in Prangin Mall, showing the amazing juxtaposition of the old and the new in this city, which recently received World Heritage Status.

Click on image for a larger photo.

And looking down into the streets, stitched vertically...the old town in the foreground and the sky scrapers in the background

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Taking a week break

Am taking a week in Penang...and hopefully return with some photographs to share from the World Heritage City...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Incoming! Canon large format printer: iPF6350 Review

Incoming! Just delivered. The Canon Image ProGraph 6350 large format printer.

I will be evaluating this printer for use in fine art printing duties. The printer is on loan courtesy of Canon Singapore (Thanks Andrew and Norman for making this possible). And I will write about my experiences on the printer.

I have used the Epson 4900 at KHL Printers fairly extensively for proofing pages for my book, but have not personally dealt with the workflow of fine art printing. I will attempt to document my learning process, as well as how this printer performs over the course of the next weeks.

The iPF6350 is a 24 inch wide (600mm) printer, accepting roll paper/substrate. It is also able to print cut sheets, but roll paper is much less expensive on the long run, as per sq ft, the cost is much lower. I will not repeat the specifications of the printer, which is easily found on the web. Canon's official specs are here.

The printer uses 12 colour pigment, archival quality inks. These are reported to last some centuries when printed on proper acid-free archival quality paper.

The printer is part of the new-ish (released in 2010) series...what is known as the 300 series printers. For 24 inch wide printers, the series comprises of the 6300 which is the same printer but the 6350 comes with a built in hard disk (160GB), the 6300S, which is the same, but 8 colour and tuned for speed instead of quality of printing. Canon also produces the 44 in 300 series printers...the 8300, 8300S. At the time of writing the 300 series printers are not yet available in 60 inch wide format. The current Canon 60 inch wide printer is still the 9100.

The printer is rather large and heavy. Weighing some 66kg, the printer measures 1,177w x 870d x 991h with the printer stand. The construction on the printer chassis seem to be high quality plastic - handles well, and feels very solid. The stand seems to be built from a metalic chassis and is very sturdy.

The printer is very easy to setup and configure. I will cover that in the next installments on this review.

I had it printing within half an hour of its showing a black and white print and a colour print coming out...

Out of the box, without any additional colour management (more on this in another post later), the prints looked beautiful. The blacks in the bw prints were deep and rich. The colours were vibrant and very lively.

With the proper ICC profiles for the various media installed, I am looking forward to the printer making some beautiful prints.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Flowers in Botanic Gardens

Its National Day for Singapore, and today, I feature the national flower...the Orchid.

A trip to the Botanic Gardens...with some macro photography of flowers. This time, this time with the GH-2 and the Panasonic Leica 45mm/f.2.8 Macro lens.

Orchids just outside the Orchid Garden...all shot on tripod.

Another bunch of orchids:

The detail resolved by this compact camera system is very good. When compared to the large Hasselblad system, it lacks the micro-tonal abilities of the medium format camera. But for web sized and small prints (less than A3), the resolving power of either system is not a whole lot. Of course, prints larger than A3 will show the Hasselblad system pulling away in terms of performance, resolving more, providing more micro-tonal and micro-contrast...and a much more realistic image.

But for a small package, this one rocks.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Celsius X VI II Papillon Tourbillon Mobile Phone

I was invited to view a very exclusive mobile phone...with built in pocket watch with a tourbillon, crafted in titanium. A lot of thought has gone into this phone...though the mobile technology is not really state of the art, the completeness of the thinking behind the idea is amazing.

Built like a clamshell phone...vaguely familiar Motorola styled phone. The opening and closing of the clamshell activates the winding mechanism of the mechanical watch.

A large tourbillon is placed right next to where one's ear would be when using the phone to make calls...gently reminding the user of its presence by the characteristic ticking.

The entire mechanism is designed to be shock resistant...the battery compartment even unlatches and ejects the battery partially if the phone is dropped to ensure that no damage is done. Of course the watch mechanism is shock proofed...

The phone comes with a holster which either can be worn like a gun holster, or the one which comes with the Leica M9 Ti, or can clip onto one's braces. Small details like this abound in the phone, making it at once an object of magnificent beauty and craftsmanship, but with a dual electronic and mechanical soul. The juxtaposition of technology and old school craftsmanship makes this an interesting piece.

Only 18 pieces will ever be made. Each at a price of approx S$450,000.