Printing Weirdness

Forest Scene. Olympus EM5, ISO200, f/6.3, 1/15" handheld.
Forest Scene. Olympus EM5, ISO200, f/6.3, 1/15″ handheld.

I want to share a very frustrating printing experience with you in case anyone has any ideas about how to resolve it.

I have been printing using an Epson 3880 printer for around 3 years now using Lightroom as the host software. During this time, I have regularly switched between Gloss and Matte inks for the different paper types. Recently I made the switch from a Matte surface paper to Baryta (which requires Gloss ink). At this time, I made a Matte paper print then immediately switched to Gloss to compare the results.

In making this switch I was careful to reconfigure the printer as I have done many times. I even have the setups for both papers saved to allow for this switching. Both papers are profiles using profiles I created and I know to be accurate.

When I made these two prints, the Matte print was perfect but the Baryta print is completely wrong, to the point it looks like one of the black inks has run out (it hasn’t). You can see the result below. Nothing changed between making the two prints other than the printer switched itself between Matte and Gloss black ink.

Scan showing poor colour balance
Scan showing poor colour balance

My first reaction was to recheck all the settings and these were fine. I then ran an ink check which showed no problems but I carried out a head cleaning just to be certain. This made no difference. After a lot of frustrating failures, I decided to switch back to Matte paper. Guess what; this was also exhibiting the problem.

Now for the weird bit. The problem only occurs when printing from Lightroom. All other software including Photoshop prints fine. Here is an example of the same image printed on the same piece of Matte paper, one image from Lightroom and one from Photoshop.

Side by side print comparison. Lightroom is on the right.
Side by side print comparison. Lightroom is on the right.

I have checked the Adobe forums and help and it appears a few people have experienced the issue. What I can’t find is a resolution. There was a suggestion that uninstalling and re-installing Lightroom fixed it, but not for me.

So far I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling Lightroom, the print driver and the printer profiles. I have even gone as far are recreating the printer profiles but the problem persists. If anyone has any suggestions I would be interested to hear.

There is however a silver lining to this cloud. I decided to go back to using Qimage as my printer software and the results are much nicer and of a higher quality when compared to Lightroom. I suspect I will stick with Qimage even if I solve the Lightroom problem.

Thanks for reading.

8 thoughts on “Printing Weirdness

  1. I have had this same issue with my 3880 – also when I switch paper sizes. The only solution that seemed to fix it for me was to restart Lightroom and turn the printer off and restart it as well. It really is frustrating. That seemed to get everything to print properly.

    1. Thanks. I have to admit to having this once before. At the time I put it down to a Windows update (not this time). I backed off the update, restarted the PC and all was fine again. That was around 6 months back.

  2. Thanks for this entry. I use an Epson 3000 and haven’t got as far as Lightroom yet. I’ll be on the look-out! I mostly have my Epson on matte, because that’s the finish I prefer for A3. Use my smaller Canon for semi-gloss A4.

    1. Thanks John. As I mentioned in another reply, I have briefly experienced this before and it was without switching paper. I thought it was a bad Windows update and reversing and restarting the PC fixed it. Not this time. Terribly frustrating.

  3. Robin. As a suggestion have a word with John Read at http://WWW.Marrutt .com in the past I have found him very helpful regarding Epson printer problems. I did use there 3rd party inks on a Epson 3800 we had and they were very good. John also has done some videos on Epson printers regarding problems and maintenance which might be worth having a look to see if your problem might be covered in the videos.
    Best of Luck.

  4. Having had the 3800 for some time we went to one of the Permjet open days and purchased the Epson 3880, and it was just out side of the guarantee that the printer started to go wrong. it was depositing lines of ink on the image and on the paper margins etc. After contacting Permajet about the problem they could not help, they did not seam to have any body that new anything about these printer problems which can accure. I contacted Epson and they wanted £540.00 to come and have a look at it with trying to repair the printer but also stated that a second visit might be necessary. After some thought we decided it was not worth the risk to go ahead with repairs. We were at the NEC photography show last year and purchased a Canon XPro 1 printer A3*, so far it has given good service the print head came as a separate part to install, which makes it better from what people say for repairs. The Epson printer seamed to put more ink down onto the paper compared to the XPro1but are satisfied with the results produced with the Canon. My main interest photo wise is photographing steam railway locomotives at the SVR, or GS& WR as I am trying to get the best detail and sharpness I can when printed out.
    All the best.

    1. Thanks John. I switched the other way from a Canon (model before the XPro) to the Epson 3880. The Canon produced wonderful prints and was especially good in B&W. I went to the Epson because of the ink capacity. I have also experienced a similar issue with the Epson catching on the edge of paper and the flicking ink across the page. The has now happened with Ilford Gold Mono Silk and Permajet papers. What I found was the edges of these papers were curling slightly causing them to lift and catch the print head as the paper isn’t held completely flat as it goes through the printer. You can actually set a slightly larger gap between the paper and the print head using the Printer Driver. I have done this with some thicker papers that were also catching and it fixes the issue. This may of course be completely different to the issue you experienced.

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