All posts by incartek

About Incartek

 

 

download_2_16Incartek provides a full range of quality paper and ink supplies at excellent prices for professional and serious amateur photographers and the users of wide format printers.  Working with first-rate companies such as  Ninestar (G&G) and Innova Art we offer consumables to produce photographs, designs, giclée prints, wall displays, signage, gallery wraps – even vehicle graphics

The roots of Incartek go back to 1990, when we introduced one of the first inkjet refill kits to Europe. Cartridges were simple in design and few in number, but even then consumers were being ripped off by the printer manufacturer.

The business evolved and the group of companies were involved in toner cartridge collection, compatible and recycled inkjet cartridges, inkjet paper and the components for toner cartridge recycling..

Ink Cartridge Technologies Ltd was incorporated to take over three patents in the design of inkjet cartridges.

 The company is owned and managed by Daniel Roberts, a veteran of the industry, having been involved in computers since 1963 when he was at university studying economics and statistics. Before becoming involved in printer supplies, he was Director of Planning for Memorex International, where he understood the need to provide compatible alternatives to the leaders (then IBM) as well as anybody. This experience lays behind Incartek today.

 

 

 

Why lose your Most Valued Memories?

Old Picture Chaos
Old Picture Chaos

By Daniel Roberts,
 Incartek

As we progress in years we have more cherished memories – memories that we have captured on our camera. We like to go back over them, remembering the events, the places and the people.

But that presupposes we can view these pictures. Where are they now? Are those photos unreadable?

Pre-digital
  1. In traditional photo albums – good – no problem at all.
  2. In shoe boxes – OK – not quite as viewer friendly
  3. Canisters of 35mm transparencies – hmmm –you cannot buy a lamp for that old projector
  4. Boxes of slides – hmmm – big job scanning these in – and the quality often isn’t great either
Digital
  1. On a computer – with terabytes of space, and a backup drive that never fails
  2. On CD’s – I personally have a pile which I cannot read any more (can anybody help?
  3. On an on-line service – Livedrive lost all the photos I uploaded. More about that in another blog post.

Oh and will Flikr, Dropbox etc. be around in 30 or 40 years’ time?

Incartek albums
Thankfully I have all my best photos in traditional photo albums – several hundred of them! Last winter I spent several evenings scanning them into my computer. A lot more to go. I will probably have to pay somebody to do the rest. And the quality is not as good.

And I am carrying on printing 4×6” (10x15cm) photos – and putting them into traditional albums. In 60 years these photos should still be around. I won’t be! That is what I recommend.

PS – Microsoft told me a few years ago that they could not guarantee that .jpg files and CD’s could be read in 2020 – just 6 year’s time!

 

 

NOW is the time to Produce your Special Christmas Cards

If you haven’t produced your own Christmas cards yet, now is the time to do it.

Christmas-card-2011
Christmas Card

To produce a poor card is easy. Write your Christmas message in Word. Cut and paste a picture, add some word art text for ‘Happy Christmas’ and print your cards on your inkjet or colour laser printer on 160gsm plain paper from Staples or whoever.  The quality of the output – especially the photo – will be acceptable; it will be clear that it is your own production, and the recipient will know that you spent some time thinking of them. And it will be cheap and look cheap. So is it giving a good impression of you – the serious photographer?

Do it better using Innova Greeting Cards

First think about the Recipients

Usually our lives revolve round groups with shared interests – family, church, clubs, local interests, business contacts – and then the rest – friends, tradespeople, neighbours etc. Decide – are we going to have several versions – no problem if you produce your own.

Choose the Right Photo

Your card reflects you. For many recipients – but not all – your family is a good starting point – perhaps a winter highlight (last year!) or a family event.   The only contact many old friends, even some relatives, have with you is the annual Christmas card.   The recipient will see that 6-year-old child they remember now graduating from university or getting married. However, with old colleagues or business associates the relationship is more individual. They are not interested in your grandchildren, but you doing a parachute jump – that would be something!

Get the Messages Right

Have several versions. Be interesting and not too long. Don’t bore people with too much family stuff. Anecdotes and even controversial views, preselected without offence, will show your values – and ‘you’. As most will know I am an evangelical Christian and am not hesitant to talk about Jesus – sensitively.

What Design?

The design is personal. A scrapbook-like approach festooned with balloons would never reflect me, but it might be suitable for a 20 year old young lady. For me it is the photo with enhanced HDR. I use Perfect Photo/Perfect Effects as well as Photoshop.

How produced?

One would think that with a vested interest in print-your-own supplies I would never advocate having a lab-printed card. But if you have to produce 500 identical cards, it could be the most practical – and probably least expensive option. But it is clearly a factory product – on factory paper. Special people need something special.

And how many of us need 500 identical cards? Most of us have more than one printer now – a compact colour laser, and a high quality inkjet. We can vary the type of card according to the audience.

So what consumables

For laser it is easy – a heavy weight paper 160gsm, A4 (fold to A5) and standard C5 envelopes. Why pay for more?

For high quality inkjet you need something special. That is why Innova have produced a very nice high quality archival photo matte cards on 220gsm paper to produce something special. Expensive? No! A card-and-envelope set costs from under 31p (plus VAT), less with a larger ink/paper order. Allow another 5p for ink (from Incartek of course), and we have a high quality art card for just over 36p. Compare that with a purchased card for £2 or more.

Click here for 100 Innova Greeting Cards with envelopes, from Incartek:

72dpi_fine-art-product_Art-Cards
Innova Greeting Cards

But Remember ..

There must be something personal with the card. Otherwise, to be frank, you might as well send an e-card. Are you a friend I remember – or somebody on the list we send to because they send to us. People are real. A little handwritten note on the card. “How’s Jim getting on at school?”, “How did the operation go?”. Maybe that will re-engage them – by letter, e-mail or even Facebook.

God bless – and I hope you have a good run up to Christmas in business or at home.

Innova vs Hahnemuehle vs Canson – Inkjet Papers Compared

Summary:
A brief look at Innova Fine Art Photo inkjet papers, and how they rate compared to the Hahnemuehle and Canson/Arches papers.

Article By Jeremy Daalder of Image Science, Australia, and reproduced by kind permission

Incartek’s observation:

Jeremy’s company sells three products and is able to be objective on all three.

We sell only one, but we believe commercially and technically Innova has the edge on the balance of product range, product quality, customer
service and value for money.  However we are quite happy to show his ratings of each so that you may make a more informed judgment.

For Incartek’s Innova Papers please visit http://www.incartek.com/banner/index/?id=10

Innova Papers

Fibaprint range We’ve tested the new Innova paper range more extensively over the past few months and come up with some interesting results.

All these tests are based off an Epson 2100, using Gretag Macbeth spectrophotometry equipment and software.  Results may very well vary with different printers, but we expect these results are representative for all Epson’s Pigment ink based printers (R800, R1800, 2100/2200, 4000, 7600, 9600). We have not yet extensively tested the papers with dye based printers, however long experience with these sorts of papers has lead us to believe our results will also follow through to dye based printers.

Firstly, we’ve only looked in detail so far at Innova’s ‘Photo’ range – their ‘Fine Art’ range is equally interesting, perhaps more so. We’ve found the Photo range to be technically excellent, but perhaps (and Smooth Cotton Natural White (SCNW) to have measurably superior image reproduction to the Smooth Cotton High White and the Fiba Print. All the papers and coatings are excellent, but we’ve found SCNW to be the very best. Oddly, we have been able to achieve more saturated blues and
reds in particular with SCNW, as well as better shadow detail. This is perhaps counter to expectations, but we believe the optical brighteners in FibaPrint an SCHW are impairng their image reproduction a fraction for the sake of really bright whites. Given the Natural White is visibly only a fraction less white than the High White, there really seems little point to the High White paper.

FibaPrint Ultrasmooth
This paper deserves a special mention though – it’s the closest thing we’ve found to Epson Archival Matte in many ways (although it is more expensive – but we think worth it). It has a very bright white, extremely smooth surface. It’s a much better weight than EAM (280 versus 180), so if you’re after a really smooth surfaced fine art paper, it’s a great choice. EAM is still a better proofing paper though, given its very low cost, but its reputation for yellowing (Epson can’t even sell this paper branded as ‘archival’ in many other countries), means it isn’t a great choice for selling your work.

Hahnemuelhe Papers

Hahnemuehle Photo Rag 308 remains the best inkjet paper in the world for our money (literally, we use tonnes of the stuff!).  However, Innova Smooth Cotton Natural White is the closest a paper has ever come to knocking HMPR off its perch.  In many ways, the results on these two papers are uncannily similar – not a surprise as apparently Innova is run by some people who used to be with Hahnemuehle. [We say at Incartek that both Innova and Hahenmuehle.  However, we would ask you to compare prices  – I think you will find that we offer better value for money]

  • ThHahnemuehlee Innova Paper has a smoother surface, less prone to flaking.  It really is very, very smooth.  This means it will be particularly interesting to roll paper users, a few of whom have reported minor problems with surface coating flaking with Photo Rag.
  • Photo Rag is a cleaner, brighter white – placed side by side the SCNW is a little warmer and murky looking in comparison. Viewed on its own though it is still quite a bright white.
  • Gamut of the two papers is remarkably similar – I’d say Photo Rag is a fraction better still
    with very saturated colours, but this may well be down to the brightness of the surface just giving the paper that much more ‘pop’
  • Shadow detail is also very similar, I can’t see or measure any perceptible difference
  • Sharpness is a hair better with the Innova, due to the smoother surface.
  • The Innova Paper is a little lifeless in comparison – image reproduction is excellent, faultless really, but the paper itself doesn’t really bring anything to the final product.  Photo Rag just exudes that little extra bit of quality in its texture, weight, and feel.  It’s definitely more
    ‘Fine Art’ than the Innova paper, which is more traditionally photographic in its smooth, slick look.  But to my mind, that is what make Photo Rag so special – it’s perfect balance between fine art paper qualities and fantastic image reproduction with both dye and pigment inks. Of course some would disagree and actually prefer the more clinical look of the Innova Papers.

Canson/Arches Papers

The Canson Papers offer interesting alternatives to both Hahnemuehle and Innova. Firstly, their canvas is just top notch, easily the best inkjet canvas we’ve found and a really great product – thoroughly recommended. When it comes to their papers, both PhotoGloss and PhotoSatin are excellent, traditional photographic (i.e. gloss or semi-gloss = pearl = ‘matte’) papers that we feel are as good as, in fact better, than anything we’ve tried from Illford, Kodak, and certainly Epson. They’re both very classy photographic style papers, perfect for the wedding and portrait markets for example.

Where Canson really shine are there true fine art papers for reproductions of painting, watercolours and the like. In most cases, they offer the same actual papers as in their watercolour paper ranges, just with an inkjet coating of excellent coatings. This has allowed us, and many of our clients, to reproduce artworks with an almost frightening level of accuracy. When done well, with good colour management, the results can be so similar that from more than a few centimetres away, it is quite simply impossible to pick the original from the reproduction!

Hahnemuehle of cocansonurse also have numerous papers suitable for fine art reproduction, or simply to add more texture to your Photographic work. William Turner and Torchon are lovely papers, in particular, but the whole range is excellent. Well worth a sample pack if you haven’t tried it yet.

Unfortunately, the Canson approach to paper availability is a bit hit and miss. [In Australia]

 

Jeremy can be reached at www.imagescience.com.au

 

Innova FibaPrint Testimonial – Really Vibrant, Beautiful Images

testimonial“The ink and paper combination I used previously was very delicate and any image with large areas of black had to be handled very delicately. The Innova papers are significantly better in that respect. Recent prints I have done on Innova’s Smooth Cotton High White paper with the Z-series 3200 have produced really vibrant, beautiful images – perfect I would say!”

Jack Lowe, Digital Printer and Production Studio