I use an Epson R260 (Claria 6-color dye) printer with a continuous ink system supplied by Echostore.com for proofing. I use generic storebrand Staples photopaper for this. It's not super-white; it leans to the yellowish side.

When I make prints using the so-called "Photo RPM" resolution setting (which I'm told means 2880 dpi) they have a cyan cast. When I make them with the "Photo" setting (1440 dpi) the colors are truer. I've fooled around to verify this, using, among other things, the SmugMug calibration image at


Now the solution to my problem is obvious: use Photo, not Photo RPM. But my question is, why is this happening? I ask because it always helps to understand the equipment I use.

  • How are you printing? What ICM mode are you using (software managed with appropriate ICC profile, or printer managed)? Is the paper calibrated for use with the printer? We need some more specific details to help you out. Your using a custom ink system and custom paper. Generally speaking, you would need to do some proper print profiling to generate a valid ICC profile, and print with "software color management" rather than "printer color management", manually selecting your paper type and ICC profile, to get correct color.
    – jrista
    Sep 20 '12 at 4:20
  • Photoshop CS5.5 is my software. I've tried both app-managed and printer-managed color profiles. This stuff is over the edge of my competence, so I'm learning fast. Thanks.
    – O. Jones
    Sep 21 '12 at 12:53
  • Printers don't always have enough information to make the right choices when printing. You will usually get best results if you take control of the process. Use app-managed, make sure the printer's color management is fully DISABLED, and in Photoshop make sure you pick the right ICC profile. If you don't have one, you will probably need to create one yourself (if you are using custom inks). You can get a printer profiler from DataColor or iOne. If the inks are actually Epson standard inks, you could try to find someone online who can create a profile for you for a small fee.
    – jrista
    Sep 21 '12 at 17:27
  • If your continuous ink system uses non-Epson inks, then that is really the root of your problem. The printer driver is incapable of knowing that, and its making decisions with the assumption that official Epson dye inks are being used. The only way you can rectify that situation is to generate your own ICC profiles for each paper type you intend to use on that printer with that set of ink.
    – jrista
    Sep 21 '12 at 17:30

I think this may be an issue caused by the non-genuine inks.

The Epson photo printers use what they call "Meniscus control" to create variable ink droplet sizes from the single nozzle, by "wabbling" the ink up and down until a small droplet is released. like the little droplet that is ejected upwards from a larger drop of water hitting water.

If the ink has even a slightly different viscosity or surface tension, then the amount of ink per droplet will be (predictably) dramatically different to what the colour profile says it should be. THerefore a custom colour profile may well be available for the CIS that you have bought.

  • I'll see if there's a color profile for that CIS. That might help. Thanks for the addition to my vocabulary -- "wabbling"
    – O. Jones
    Sep 21 '12 at 12:50
  • FYI, Meniscus Control is only available on pigment printers, and then only in newer printers. I don't believe their old dye based printers support variable ink droplet size.
    – jrista
    Sep 21 '12 at 17:30
  • @jrista - can you confirm your source for this? - im fairly sure they use it on the R260, the Claria dye inks arent "old" as such, they run (still) along-side the pigment (UltraChrome and DuraBrite) - the Micro Piezo technology that enables miniscus control is fitted to ALL epson inkjet printers. Epson AMC (Active Meniscus Control) is only mentioned as a specific technology on the high end photo pigment printers yes, however the actual act of meniscus control is practiced in the vast majority of their printers. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_Piezo Sep 22 '12 at 6:54
  • Well, my source would be Epson's advertising. The term "Micro Piezo" refers to Epson's use of a piezoelectric crystal element to control ink droplet ejection, vs. thermal heating. They have used Micro Piezo for a very long time, possibly since they started making printers. However they did not always claim it was capable of creating ink droplets of multiple size. I believe that only started when they introduced the first UltraChrome pigment ink. They started out supporting three droplet sizes, and lately I think they support five droplet sizes. The wikipedia article makes many claims...
    – jrista
    Sep 22 '12 at 15:32
  • ...however it is rather lacking in reference itself. I don't see anything in the referenced articles that state anything more than that Epson used Micro Piezo technology in their print heads. No mention of multiple ink droplet size. The referenced articles date back to the 1980's, however only the most recent (from 2006) mentioned multiple ink droplet size. Given Epson's own advertising, I believe multiple ink droplets were an added capability that only arrived on later, higher-end printers.
    – jrista
    Sep 22 '12 at 15:36

Does this happen from all applications, or only from colour-management-aware ones, like PhotoShop?

If the latter, you may need to install a different ICC/ICM (colour profile) file for different printer settings - and tell the application to use it. Different paper types also require different colour profiles.

Have a look at this site for more info:


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