Wednesday, December 5, 2018

REVIEW: Nikon Z7 Mirrorless 45.7MP & 24-70mm F/4 S Z-Mount Lens - Way better than I was expecting!


Nikon Z7 24-70mm f/4 S Kit

When I saw the announcement for the Z7 and Z6 I wasn't expecting much, but I knew I had to review it - like it or not. What would happen over the next month was an initial negative opinion, that was happy to believe some of the trolls complaints on the web, would be turned into a new respect for Nikon's first legitimate attempt at doing a proper mirrorless camera suitable for pros.

Overall Impressions

Initially I was very put off at the decision to change lens mounts and a slot that only takes expensive XQD cards, but as I got to know this camera all was forgiven. The ergonomics were great and the joystick and "i button" meant that it didn't suffer from Sony's initial mirrorless mistakes. In fact, outside of the decision to only do one XQD slot, I have no complaints at all with the body.

The battery life was disappointing so I found myself running out of battery in just one day out shooting in Shinagawa, Japan. I also found the performance of the in-camera card reader when transferring images over the USB-C cable back to my Windows computer to be painfully slow.

Unedited JPEG's

My Z7 kit arrived just as I was about to fly to Japan for a business trip, so during the limited time I had to myself I managed to put it through a pretty good stress test under a variety of conditions.

The images you see below are just like my "real world pics" (except these aren't so real world -- it's cool places in Japan) where I'm showing the 100% unedited in-camera JPEG. You can click the photo to see the full size original, but I don't provide the raw files which enjoy +/- 5 EV of recovery which is a fantastic tool to have at your disposal!

Most shots are shot with A2 White Balance that keeps warm colors. In cases where it's obviously a bit heavy on the yellow side, I've typically put the camera in Shade white balance (and in some cases forgot to reset it back to A1 - like the first shot below).

You may view the images at full-size, but you may not save, print, edit  or otherwise use any of the images in this article or in the gallery. All photos are copyright Ron Martinsen - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. I do ask that you also leave the article open in your browser while you view the images.


f/22 @ 43mm for 1/200 sec at ISO 2000

I was impressed with the Diffraction Compensation feature as it gave me the confidence to
shoot at f/22 without the fear of getting a very smeared details caused by diffraction


f/5.6 @ 70mm for 1/80 sec at ISO 10000

As you start to see on the highlight area, shots like this typically get blown out  where the light hits the hardest. The Z7's highlight-weighted metering was good, but this was one scene that defeated it. With that said, this does highlight the wide dynamic range even in the in-camera JPEG, so recovering this to perfection in a raw editor is trivial. 


f/13 @ 37mm for 1/640 sec at ISO 1600

I was very pleased with the 24-70 kit lens and default in-camera noise reduction of the in-camera JPEG's. While the costumes and makeup are cheesy, this shot did make me say WOW when I saw it on the back of the camera and even more so at home on a 4K display!


f/6.3 @ 70mm for 1/250 sec at ISO 100

I wanted to get a shot of this fish on the roof, but in the default FX mode it was so tiny with the 70mm kit lens


f/5.6 @ 70mm for 1/250 sec at ISO 100

DX mode (3600 x 5408) gave me an in-camera result that was closer to my intention and there's still plenty of megapixels to crop in even closer. While this is a bit of a gimmick since you can crop in and get the same result from the FX mode (5504 x 8256) version, if you aren't ever going to use those extra pixels why waste the storage space for them?


f/4 @ 70mm for 1/1000 sec at ISO 125

This was my first shot where I tried focus peaking and it worked like a champ on these leaves that were kind of hard for AF to pinpoint and moving a lot in the breeze. I was super happy to see this feature on this camera!


f/5.6 @ 70mm for 1/320 sec at ISO 11400

This was a classic case where the flicker reduction feature could have easily prevented the banding you see in this scene, but sadly we got seated at  our table  before I got a chance to try it out. Despite my best efforts on the trip to get another great flicker scene like this, Murphy's Law kicked in and I couldn't do it - even standing in the same exact spot again later!
The good news is that IF I did, this camera has the perfect feature to make ugly banding like this go away when you enable flicker reduction.


f/7.1 @ 24mm for 1/100 sec at ISO 110

One of the features of higher megapixel cameras is more shallow depth of field, but f/7.1 did ok for a scene like this where I expected more out of focus areas much sooner. The full gallery has similar scenes at f/14 and f/18 which are more appropriate for a scene like this, but I just liked this one more for the content of the scene itself (not that it has anything to do with this review - ha ha)

Japan Shinjuku 2018-7
f/5 @ 65mm for 1/500 sec at ISO 640
(623px crop of 5504 x 8256 original - click for original)

I didn't have a macro lens and I didn't want to get too close to this spider,
but I can crop to see the hairs the spider legs!


f/7.1 @ 70mm for 1/400 sec at ISO 100

This was the image that made me love the lens and sensor in this camera - there's definitely a lot to love about this camera and its razor sharp kit lens, so don't sell yourself short by trying to bring the clunky F mount 24-70 when this Z mount lens is so good.


f/4 @ 31mm for 1/125 sec at ISO 3600

The lack of a hood for the kit lens is unforgivable, so  I was irritated when this shot got ruined by lens flare that could have easily been canceled out by a proper hood.


f/11 @ 41mm for 1/200 sec at ISO 560

I thought this shot was a pretty good representation of the wide dynamic range and buttery smooth continuous tones you can get from your landscape skies. Shooting RAW for this also means you can bring back more details in the shadows to make a very interesting edit for this shot.


f/8 @ 46mm for 1/200 sec at ISO 14400

I had to double-take when I saw the ISO for this shot. Granted, noise is easier hidden in brighter scenes, but this was actually shot as the sun was setting but you can never tell thanks to ability to do a clean ISO 14,400 shot


f/4.5 @ 58mm for 1/250 sec at ISO 4000

The real scene was extremely dark and I was at an awkward angle to take this shot. I fully expected to have motion blur, but 1/250 plus in-camera stabilization meant a super sharp shot that you might mistake for a tripod shot


f/9 @ 28mm for 1/125 sec at ISO 20000

Again, in a dark scene shooting into the sun, I was pretty happy with this ISO 20,000 result


f/11 @ 30mm for 1/125 sec at ISO 22800

Again, this scene makes you think that this is just before the sun is setting but the truth is that the sun was below the tree line so the shrine was closing. I got to hand it to Nikon for doing an incredible job with the in-camera noise reduction!


f/5.6 @ 38mm for 1/160 sec at ISO 3200

Highlight-priority metering mode gave me something to work with on the RAW later, but this also illustrates about what the lighting felt like in real life for most of the scenes at this shrine


f/22 @ 24mm for 1/13 sec at ISO 25600

This scene looked like the above scene in real-life yet the image stabilization and high ISO performance let me pull off a shot that I can work with. ISO 25,600 is totally usable with this camera!


f/22 @ 28mm for 1/125 sec at ISO 2800

This was my one and only in-camera HDR and it did a reasonable job, but I'd personally still use Aurora 2019 to get a lot better results than this


f/7.1 @ 24mm for 1/100 sec at ISO 6400

While in Shinagawa, Tokyo I had to stop by the Nikon Museum again where they have nearly every Nikon camera ever made on one wall!


f/5.6 @ 25mm for 1/100 sec at ISO 4000

While not relevant to the article, I had to point out that they have the first Nikon camera on display too! Sadly it's behind a glass case so it's not easy to get a shot due to all of the reflections


f/5.6 @ 66mm for 1/320 sec at ISO 9000

Yes, they even had the Z7 & Z6 on display which proved to be too much for the default metering


f/5.6 @ 57mm for 1/250 sec at ISO 4000

This camera definitely makes me feel that cutting D5's like this is probably the more interesting use of them in the not too distant future as mirrorless is here to stay


f/7.1 @ 47mm for 1/200 sec at ISO 16000

They have nearly every Nikon lens ever made, so it was cool seeing the display case with a 1979 20mm mounted to the Z7 using the FTZ adapter


f/5.6 @ 41mm for 1/160 sec at ISO 500

Canon has a mini-museum in a nearby building where the next mirrorless I'll be reviewing is on display. Based on the body design alone, I'm not expecting it to be as enjoyable as the Z7.


f/4 @ 70mm for 1/800 sec at ISO 4500

Highlight-priority metering helped me to get a more usable shot of this train which was blown out with the default metering


f/11 @ 44mm for 1/640 sec at ISO 100

In yet another case where highlight priority metering saved the day, the sun was shining on this castle so the white was pretty blown out. As such, I was glad I had highlight priority metering available to me


f/6.3 @ 24mm for 1/60 sec at ISO 25600

This tea room in the castle was pitch black and behind glass so I didn't think I could get anything, but after a little focus hunting I got a "I was here" shot


f/8 @ 27mm for 30 sec at ISO 100

I love mirrorless for long exposures as a 2 second timer and a tripod are typically all that is needed to get a super steady and sharp shot. I also didn't have to disable stabilization either - it seemed to take care of that for me as I didn't notice any vibrations in the scene. The light trails are laser sharp - sweet!


f/9 @ 53mm for 1/250 sec at ISO 4000

This was a tough scene, but no metering option on this camera could do this shot justice. I settled on the matrix metering with the focus on the bright white objects on the table on the left. Had it not been so crowded I would have tried HDR, but I was with a friend and had to move on before I could do that.


f/11 @ 58mm for 1/250 sec at ISO 160

I encourage you to click this image to see the full-size image and pay attention to the wires and crane detail - it's fantastic and highlights the real benefit of using a 45.7mb camera.


f/4 @ 68mm for 1/320 sec at ISO 20000

I tried several settings, but settled on A2 white balance to keep the warm colors, but this red was definitely a good case for shooting raw and correcting in a higher color space than sRGB


f/5.6 @ 29mm for 1/125 sec at ISO 3200

No trip to Japan is complete without a sushi shot, so you're welcome - looks exactly as it did just before I ate it - ha ha.


f/10 @ 34mm for 30 sec at ISO 100

This shot was quite a torture test too, but I was satisfied with the in-camera result. I thought the colors were preserved very well as was the tonal range of the greens under very difficult conditions during a long exposure


f/5.6 @ 52mm for 1/30 sec at ISO 800

I had to use my handheld trick to pull this shot off without motion blur, but the aggressive in-camera noise reduction destroyed the detail captured in the original. Again, raw to the rescue but still a usable JPEG for social media

Click here to view a gallery of over 80 images from the 2500 images I took during my Z7 review.

Poor Autofocus at Night

I found the autofocus to be terrible in low light and the face detection to be even worse. What's more, if you are in a big crowd it just flat out gives up rather than doing like other cameras that seem to just look for foreground faces and stop. Here's one of hundreds of out of focus shots I had in Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, Japan on Halloween:


f/5.6 @ 70mm for 1/320 sec at ISO 25600

Obviously this is a tough shot for face detection, but I question the algorithm that decides to pick the subject the farthest away from the camera. A typical failure would have focused on the guy in the right edge or the guy behind the girls lookin at his phone

I was so disappointed at the failure rate both here and other places on the trip when the light went low - especially when people were the subject, so I definitely would NOT recommend it for street photography.

Here's another example where literally the subject stopped for me and despite getting 6 tries, not one frame was in focus - for anyone! It seems that the camera tries and fails then just defaults to infinity which is almost always wrong:


f/5.6 @ 26mm for 1/125 sec at ISO 9000

How in the world did the AF miss this stationary subject after 6 tries?!!!!

Nikon did a fantastic job on their website describing the features of the Z7. The also highlight the similarities and differences between the Z7 & D850, so if that's something you are interested in then I suggest you check it out!

FTZ Adapter

The FTZ Mount Adapter enables the use of nearly any Nikon F-mount lens on Z-mount mirrorless camera bodies. Sadly I couldn't get my hands on any Nikon lenses before I had to send this camera back, so I was unable to test this feature. If you are reading this review and you've tried it out, please feel free to add your thoughts on it in the review comments. I'll approve your comments assuming they don't link to anything and aren't spam.

Conclusion

I expected to be writing a scathing review of Nikon's half-hearted attempt to go mirrorless, but honestly I did not find that to be the case at all. Instead, I found myself very surprised at how good Nikon's first attempt at a pro quality mirrorless camera turned out to be. While I'd be lying if I said that it  even comes close to the Sony a7R III, but long-time Nikon shooters and Sony haters now have a viable alternative.

Yes, only one slot that is XQD only sucks - a lot. Yes, the autofocus isn't even in the same galaxy as Sony. Yes, I was very annoyed that the kit lens didn't come with a hood. Yes, it hunts like a <censored> in low light and can't find a face to save your life. However, it did offer much of what I loved about the D850 with very good high ISO performance and excellent image quality. As such, I can easily recommend it for Nikon shooters with a legacy collection of lenses they wish to continue to use on a mirrorless body that they are quite familiar with already. I also think it would make an excellent complementary body for Nikon shooters.

Yes, it's not perfect but overall I was impressed with what this camera offered and the results produced. Now let's see if Nikon follow's Sony's path to success by releasing annual improvements until they get hit one out of the park.

Where to Buy?

CLICK HERE to learn more or buy today.

Other articles you may enjoy

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Enjoy these and more on the Reviews tab as well as Ron's Recommendations.

Disclosure

If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, but it does help to support future articles like this.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

PREVIEW: on1 Photo RAW 2019 (Special Offer)

5 minute edit of a Nikon Z7 NEF Image

I've been playing around with the final release version of on1 Photo RAW 2019  starting with this 5 minute edit of a Nikon Z7 NEF RAW Image that was taken in a nasty display case under horrible light and quickly turned it into a pretty decent image. It was a little slower than expected on my Windows system, but it's 2.5 years old so perhaps it might be time for me to consider a system upgrade.

This next image was a quicker edit that took advantage of the effects features much in the same way Luminar offers its effects for a workspace. The net result was a big improvement in a hurry:

image

Here's what's new for 2019:

A New & Faster Editing Workflow All of the editing modules from previous versions have been combined into the Edit module to create a single place for editing photos. The former editing modules are now available as tabs to allow you to work in each seamlessly without changing the application appearance. These include Develop, Effects, Portrait, and Local Adjustments tabs.

A New Workflow for Layers – ON1 Layers is no longer a separate module. Instead, the power of layers is accessible within the non-destructive workflow in the new Edit module. This allows for creating or editing multi-layered files, including raw files, and keeping non-destructive settings for each photo layer. Customers can also move, size and mask each layer. More importantly, and a new concept, each layer has its own non-destructive settings, all the way back to the original file. What’s most exciting is if you are working with raw files, powerful adjustments like exposure, highlights and shadows can now be processed using the raw data in a layered photo workflow. All without having to change modules or applications.

  • New Lightroom Photo Settings Migration – New AI-powered algorithms give customers the ability to transfer Lightroom edited photos, keep the non-destructive settings, and move them into ON1 Photo RAW 2019. The updated Lightroom Migration Tool in version 2019 transfers almost every edit you can make in Lightroom including raw processing, crop, retouching and local adjustments along with folders, photos, collections, and metadata.
  • New Focus Stacking – Automatically blend a series of photos at different focus distances to increase depth-of-field. It’s so fast, you can adjust the focus in real-time, just like changing the focus on your lenses. Think of it like HDR, but for focus instead of exposure.
  • New Auto-Align Layers – Easily combine multiple photos as layers, then automatically align them based on image content, making it easy to mask and blend them together.
  • New AI Masking Tool (coming Winter 2019) – This new tool, powered by machine learning, will allow customers to easily identify areas of their photos to create a selection or mask and the AI technology detects your subject matter and automatically creates a beautiful mask.
  • New Portrait Tab – The new Portrait tab automatically detects faces in your photo allowing you to easily retouch, smooth skin, brighten and sharpen eyes, and whiten teeth.
  • New Text Tool – The new text tool is perfect for creating posters, postcards, or adding your byline or watermark. Easily control font size, color, position, and more and then save a preset to add the same text overlay to a batch of photos quickly.
  • New Master Keyword List – Now you can see every keyword you use in a single, searchable list. You can quickly apply, clear, edit, or delete keywords.
  • Enhanced Local Adjustments – Local adjustments have been enhanced to use the raw processing data. This allows for more highlight and shadow details with more tonal range. This also includes new controls like haze, whites and blacks.
  • New Layered HDR Workflow – With the powerful new non-destructive layers you can combine other photos, text or alternate exposures with your HDR photos. Use the powerful masking tools to combine multiple HDR renditions even.
  • New Filter Options in Effects We have added dedicated film grain, curves and color adjustment filters to Effects. These let you add film grain to color photos and make advanced, targeted color and tone adjustments faster. There’s even a new filter selector that allows you to search for filters, learn what they do and even view a sample before you add them.
  • New User Interface – The new user interface has a fresh and modern feel. Overall contrast has been reduced to make photos stand out along with a new font to help increase readability. Updated icons, tabs, and sliders will also take up less visual space.
  • Other Updates –  including support for HEIC files, keyboard shortcuts for changing modules, more accent color options, color labels on folders and more.
  • Additional Camera Support – Added support for the Fujifilm XF10, Fujifilm X-T3, Nikon P1000, Nikon Z7, Panasonic LX100 II, Leica M10-P.
  • Additional Lens Profiles – Added lens profiles for: Canon EF35mm f/1.4L II USM (750), Chinon Auto Chinon 35mm f/2.8, KMZ Helios-40 85mm f/1.5, Nikon 200-500mm F5.6 174, Panasonic LEICA DG 8-18/F2.8-4.0, Panasonic LEICA DG NOCTICRON 42.5/F1.2, Pentax Pentax SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4, Sigma Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM, Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS, Sony FE 50mm F1.8, Tamron 14-150mm F/3.5-5.8 DiIII C001, Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 (A032), Voigtländer Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar III

Focus Stacking

Probably one of the biggest new features is the built-in support for Focus Stacking, something that usually requires a 3rd party solution to get right. I wasn't able to try it out yet though as I did have images suitable for trying this feature. Here's a sample provided by on1:

ON1-Focus-Stacking

HDR Support

Improved HDR support is included as shown in this sample provided to me by on1:

ON1-HDR

Pano Support

Stitch your images quickly with the built-in support for building panoramic photos as shown with this feature provided by on1 by Hudson Henry...

ON1-Pano

HEIC File Format Supported

I was really happy to see that HEIC files worked fine on Windows and even with no edits the images looked as good as they do on the iPhone as was the case here...

iPhone X HEIC Support

Conclusion

This is the best version of on1 Photo Raw I've used yet, so I'm looking forward to spending more time getting to know the features better. I wasn't able to deep dive with the new features just yet, but I was happy with the support it offered for my Nikon Z7 raw files and Apple iPhone X HEIC files, so new camera or phone users are definitely going to appreciate it.

Where to Try or Buy?

CLICK HERE to learn more, get a free trial or buy today.

SPECIAL OFFER: Use the coupon code Mart20 to save if you decide to purchase.

Other articles you may enjoy

Enjoy more on the Reviews tab as well as Ron's Recommendations.

Disclosure

If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, but it does help to support future articles like this.

Try on1 Photo RAW 2019 Risk Free Today

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

REVIEW: Epson SureColor P5000

Epson SureColor P5000Epson SureColor P5000 Standard Edition 17" Wide-Format Inkjet Printer

It's been two years since I first saw the P5000 in New York and since January 2017 when I write my first thoughts on this printer, but Epson USA and I finally got in sync to get one into my studio. I have had a chance put it through its paces with some of the best Epson Professional Imaging Media and I must say that I've been quite happy with it.

For long-time readers of my blog, you may recall, I reviewed the Stylus Pro 4900 in early 2011. I owned it for many years and made many great prints from it until it eventually died from a clogged print head. While time will only tell if this printer meets the same fate, it is claimed that improvements in the inks and a startup routine that clears the nozzles should hopefully reduce the likelihood of that happening again. If it does happen, I'll be sure to report it, but in the meantime I'm sure glad to have this work horse printer back in my studio again. Read on to learn why.

New UltraChrome HDX ink set

I found the UK UltraChrome HDX Ink Set Page to be a little more enjoyable to read than the official press release to learn about what's new ink that comes with this printer. Specifically, it illustrates how the new Photo Black ink has a pigment concentration that is 1.5 times higher, and the new Matte Black of the UltraChrome HDX ink technology has a raised pigment density.Bronzing has also been reduced in Cyan and Magenta.

Using the light light black (LLK) option means users can achieve 98% of Pantone. While choosing violet ink means the gamut increases to 99%, that's mostly important for graphics designers doing content that must match Pantone colors. For photography, you'll still want to stick with the LLK option for the best results with black and white photos as well as shadow details in color photographs.

For those with a Epson P800 that uses Epson UltraChrome® HD ink, the main difference is that the orange, green and yellows are slightly better. I don't think the average user will see the difference, but now that I have both I'd be inclined to use the P5000 over the P800 for prints that I deliver to my most demanding clients. 

Features & Setup

If you read my 4900 review, you pretty much can apply almost everything in it to this review. Nothing has really changed feature-wise other than a different color case and a new and improved ink set.

Sadly my areas of improvements back then remain and I've added a few more at the end of this article.

After downloading the software, setup was easy via USB or Network cable, but sadly wireless support still hasn't arrived.

You can still load the tray up with your favorite papers up to 17x22 as well as a roll of 17" wide paper, and print from either automatically.

And yes, sadly you must still wait for switching between photo black and matte inks so plan you print jobs carefully.

Photoshop CC 2018 (19.1.6)

Printing in Photoshop CC 2018 with the Epson SC-P5000

Printing from Photoshop is a challenge with all of the settings you need to make sure you set properly. Specifically, you must make sure that you set Color Handling in Photoshop's Print Settings to Photoshop Manages Colors (shown above) and your click Print Settings... to set the Media Settings Mode to Custom | Off (No Color Adjustment). If you fail to do this you'll get double color management which means your colors will be very off from what you see on the screen.

You also need to ensure that the Media Type in the driver matches the paper you are using as should the Printer Profile in Photoshop, and this can be rather tricky to figure out for the novice.

Printing in Windows with the Epson SC-P5000
This example shows printing to 13x19" Epson Premium Luster Photo (260) roll paper (not to be confused with Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster). You must also click the Roll Paper Option... button to turn on Auto Cut each time you switch the paper source which is rather frustrating. Finally, for best results you'll want to set print quality to Max Quality.

Advanced Black & White

Epson is famous for great Black & White prints, so I've written a lot about its Advanced Black & White mode (aka ABW). If you aren't familiar with how to use it, the key thing to do is set the color media setting item to Advanced B&W Photo then click the Advanced Button for the custom mode color color controls as shown here:

2018-09-30_21-57-11

After clicking the Advanced button from Color Controls you can dial in the Color Toning (which I usually start with Neutral or Greg Gorman's Favorite - Warm)  then set Tone to Dark. I wrote about this topic in my Printing Series and interviews with Greg Gorman and Vincent Versace, so you can learn more about this dialog in those articles. Here's a quick look at my settings though:

2018-09-30_21-56-41

The important part to remember in Photoshop is to say "Printer Manages Colors" for Color Handling:

2018-09-30_21-57-27

Sounds too complicated? Well that's where the Epson Print Layout app below comes in - and it works exactly the same way on both Windows and Mac. With that said, my ABW article does explain how to use this feature on a Mac if you are interested.

Epson Print Layout 1.3.5

Printing Color in Windows Epson Print Layout with the Epson SC-P5000

Fortunately Epson makes printing much easier these days with Epson Print Layout whereby you simply choose the desired values in the Printer Settings section, make your desired adjustments (if any) in Layout settings and typically you can accept the defaults in Color Settings. Choose your copies and hit print, and everything just works. While you don't get the advantage of soft proofing and gamut warnings like you get in Photoshop, for most users this is the safe and easy way to get accurate color managed prints so I recommend using this software (on Mac and PC) unless you have a strong reason not to.

Sadly, despite choosing the Center "Centering" option, the image still printed on the left side of the page when using roll paper. What's more, there's no "Save Roll Paper" option like you see in the driver so more paper was wasted on the top and bottom.

See this article to learn how to workaround this issue which also occurred on the 4900, but sadly the workaround only applies to sheet paper.

Advanced Black & White Mode

Printing Advanced Black & White on Windows Epson Print Layout with the Epson SC-P5000

I think this is one of the big advantages of Epson Print Layout because Advanced Black & White mode is a little tricky to use, but this app makes it as simple as selecting "Advanced B&W Photo" from Type in the Color Settings section. From there just choose your desired color toning and tone and you are done - so easy!

Getting the Best Results

Yes, Epson ink is expensive but the ink its the secret sauce that makes the prints look so fantastic. It's also a required element for the ICC profiles that are fine tuned to get the best results out of your ink and paper combo. As a result, your best print results will always come from the use of genuine Epson inks made by Epson ONLY for the P5000 and ICC profiles generated on a P5000 (NOT a 4900) for the paper you wish to use. A failure to do this will result in poor quality prints, so my blanket advice is - don't print unless you are using the correct profile and genuine Epson ink!

Since getting the best ICC profiles from third parties can be difficult, the easiest and fastest way to get the highest quality prints is to use use genuine Epson paper. Your printer comes with perfect ICC profiles made specifically for Epson's papers found at https://epson.com/professional-imaging-media.

Click here to find deals on Epson papers at B&H or click here to find deals on Amazon.

I'm a big fan of sample packs to get a feel for what paper works best for me, so here are links to sample packs of my favorite Epson papers:

Also see the end of this article or my printing series for instructions and videos on how to use these papers for your Mac or PC.

Areas of Improvement for the Future

While the ink set has been improved, and the new black case looks great, there doesn't seem to be much else that has improved over its predecessor in 7 years since the release of the 4900. Specifically, I am disappointed the following wish list features didn't get added to the P5000:

  1. Support for wireless printing - including IPP printing (e.g., Mopria, AirPrint, etc...)
  2. 4x6 photo support - this pretty much forces you to get a P800 if you plan on giving 4x6 keep sake photos to friends or clients
  3. Dedicated lines for Photo Black & Matte Black Ink - Switching is a hassle and wastes a ton of ink. Canon has overcome this problem ages ago, so surely in 7 years Epson could have solved this problem. The lack of this feature is actually quite offensive.
  4. Still no "Center to Printable Area" feature for Roll Prints - really?!!! Again, this could have been a simple driver improvement or even a feature in Epson Print Layout, but no.
  5. Performance - Is it any faster? According to my contacts at Epson America, they say "No, it performs about like the 4900. 8" x 10" prints from 0:59 to 2:26  (normal is 1:28) and 11" x 14" prints from 1:42 to 4:04 (normal is 2:31)"
  6. No Driver Improvements - No meaningful driver changes from the 4900 means its far behind in terms of features and user friendliness when compared to the Canon PRO-1000 & PRO-2000 that I also use in my studio.

Click here to see my Q&A with Epson America when this printer was being launched for more details about what's changed.

Conclusion

It's been a while since I used my 4900 and sadly it died due to a clogged print head, so I was reluctant to decide if I should even bother reviewing this printer. Now that I have it, I forgot how fast and enjoyable this printer is to use. In fact, I looked back and saw how a majority of my printing was done on 4900 when it was in service. Since P5000 arrived I've found myself wanting to use it for its blazing speed and flexibility of doing roll and sheet paper without the hassle of any manual switching.

With that said, Canon's lack of roll support for 17" means this is really the only game in town for high quality 17" roll printing. While the P800 can do roll printing in a pinch, it's lack of a built-in cutter makes it less practical for those who enjoy doing banner printing.

In the end, I consider this a great printer for those doing large workloads on a weekly basis - not the occasional print. Professional event, wedding, school portrait, etc... photographers who do high volume printing on a weekly basis are going to appreciate its blazing speed and large capacity tray - even if you never print on roll paper. If this is you, then I highly recommend this printer.

Users making the occasional print are much better served with the P800 for its ease of use for everyday printing, and a head that is less likely to clog. If you are serious about roll printing then you'll want to move up to the 24" or larger model as 17" is pretty small in the world of "large format" printing - ESPECIALLY when doing canvas wraps.

Where to Buy?

CLICK HERE to learn more or buy today from B&H and consider one of these covers while you are at it to keep the dust away.

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