Moab-Legion merger and fine-art printer updates

I have been working on an article for Macworld regarding fine-art and alternative papers for photo inkjet printers, and in the course of my research, I found something I hadn’t really seen reported on too widely: that last fall, Legion Paper bought Utah’s Moab Paper Co.. Legion, along with Hahnemühle FineArt and Crane & Co., is one of the grande dames of the paper world (without the feather boas, of course), and the stable of brands that they supply in the U.S. (Arches, Fabriano, Bertini) is one that goes way beyond today’s digital world.

A few weeks ago, I spoke with Marc Schotland at Legion to get an update on the acquisition. He told me that the Moab name would continue as the primary digital fine art line at Legion, and that the company was finishing up the consolidation of the papers formerly offered by the two companies. They expected to have newly branded versions of their core line on shelves this summer. They’ll include Moab’s Colorado line of fiber-based papers, the Entrada and Somerset Velvet cotton papers, as well as a line of glossy, semi-gloss and matte-finish papers and canvas. Sample packs should start appearing at photo specialty stores and art supply houses in July, and some, if not all of the papers are currently available online.

I have long been a fan of the papers offered by both Moab and Legion. Moab was a small fish, however, and at times it seemed as though they were fighting an uphill battle against the traditional paper companies. It’s nice to see that they’ll continue with some muscle behind them.

While we’re on the subject of printmaking, here are a few other print-related items I have been tracking:

  • If you have HP’s Photosmart Pro B9180 (   ) and are looking for guidance, especially for printing on alternative papers, check out Yahoo Tech Groups HP 9100 Series discussion forums. It’s quite active, with lots of discussion about members’ success (or problems) with different papers, and there are lots of ICC profiles freely available for download. (Tip: if you don’t want the group messages to clutter up your email, go to your Membership Settings to change the way you are notified regarding postings to the group.)
  • Canon’s imagePrograf iPF5000 (   ) has been in the market for over a year now, and, while it doesn’t seem to have the mindshare that Epson and HP have been getting with their products, it still is a decent printer that many people are using to produce great prints. One big problem with the printer is the documentation; in my review, I noted that it was among the worst I had seen in quite a while, which is why John Hollenberg’s Unofficial Canon iPF5000 Printer Wiki is such a great resource. If you have an iPF5000, you should bookmark the site immediately.
  • Canon also quietly—their printer group is very good at that—announced the iPF5000’s successor, the imagePrograf iPF5100, last month. They also announced a 24-inch model, the iPF6100, and both models will have a built-in calibration feature similar to that found in the Photosmart Pro B9180. Other enhancements reportedly include improved printheads, a rewritten print driver, and new ink formations that reduce bronzing. These are all welcome additions, and could potentially move Canon more firmly into the high-end game.
        (Canon also seems to have gotten the message regarding their documentation. From the press release: “Based on customer feedback Canon has improved printer documentation with extensive search capabilities and ample online web links throughout the user manual, printer driver and software for enhanced user support. The searchable PDF manual will also be available online as well.”)
  • If you want more hands-on info before plunking down big bucks on Epson’s Stylus Pro 3800, Eric Chan has done an excellent job with his Epson 3800: Printer Notes and Resources mini-site. Eric has built a great FAQ, added plenty of notes on his own experience with the 3800, and has written a thorough tutorial on getting the best prints out of the printer. He also offers an an extensive set of custom gray curves for use with Epson’s Advanced Black & White print mode, on a range of paper types from Epson, Red River, Moab and Innova.
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