I recently picked up an Epson 3800 - I'd been less than happy with the gloss differential on my Canon 5000 (which of course had been replaced on the market by the 5100 within a year of coming out expressly because of this problem). I couldn't afford to update to the 5100 and wouldn't because of the downright awkward interface, so the 3800 seemed to make sense. Yes, I knew that it is near the end of it's cycle, yes, it still has to clean and switch to handle matte paper and yes, almost certainly a new model will be announced soon. I did think though that the time from announcement to availability is often several months and I wanted to improve my printing now.
In addition, I had admired framed prints on Epson Exhibition (or Traditional as it's known in Europe) and thought to combine the paper and printer for the best possible quality, particularly in black and white.
Anyway, I was somewhat disappointed with the quality of the colour prints I was making on the 3800 so I double checked by using the Photoshop proofing capability and behold, the proofing showed exactly what I was getting in print - that's a good thing. Bad though is how far from the screen is the final result - so far it is a completely non scientific impression that the 5000 produced prints much closer to what I see on screen - certainly with the epson enhanced matte paper. I will find a profile for the 3800 for the Harman gloss paper and check that for fit.
I can correct the image to compensate for the profile to some degree which I find odd - surely that was the job of the profile.
I'm going to have to do some proper testing to see how this plays out and will report back. In the mean time, the Epson does make some very fine black and white prints which was after all why I bought it. I find that the Epson Exhibition doesn't look anything like the paper I saw at Photokina - less shiny, courser texture. It's nice, just not what I expected. I had been fairly happy with the Harman gloss, the paper that Lenswork has adopted as the standard for their new folios. My only concern was that on the 5000 the gloss (which is further enhanced by the ink) is so much that it's hard to hold any images in any direction without getting some reflection in the shadows.
I have written before that I have a theory that it is the subtle variance in these shadow reflections which actually give prints their three dimensional appearance when in hand, which is somewhat lost when the print is dry mounted and entirely gone when behind glass (ie. not moving), but the Harman and the 5000 inks seemed to me to be just a bit too much.
I have Mitch Dobrowner's folio on this paper and I don't know what printer Lenswork is using but again it's just a little bit glossier than I like. On the other hand, I think the Epson Exhibition I'm purchasing here is not quite glossy enough, as well as being a bit too much textured.
Am I being fussy? You're darn right I am. Too fussy? Probably.
Question: does anyone actually know if Epson Traditional and Epson Exhibition are in fact the same paper - I'm beginning to doubt that they are. If that is the case, how does one get hold of Epson Traditional in North America?