For me, it’s all about the print. I have been saying that for 30 years. At the end of the day, when you make a print, you start a conversation. The print tells the story. And without a print, it’s hard to share the story.
In addition to being one of the oldest methods of creating an archive of a photo negative, prints offer you a way to spread your photographic love to all you encounter. But some photographers have abandoned the print in favor of the web. It’s too much trouble or hassle for some folks. Another argument is that prints are too expensive to hand out. Not really.
I just got through running a complete test of the Epson PictureMate PM240, using Aperture as the only software connecting to the printer.
This little portable unit makes beautiful 4″x6″ prints in just a matter of moments. While I am used to hooking up big Epson 9600s and other top-of-the-line printers, I was interested in knowing how Aperture would react to a small, simple printer like the PM240.
Installation was a breeze. I hooked up a USB cable (not supplied), installed the provided driver, went to the Printer Utility to add the Epson PM240, and away we went.
I selected an image in Aperture that I wanted to print. I installed one sheet of the supplied paper, glossy side up. I created a new custom preset that used the Epson’s 4″x6″ paper in a border-less configuration. I set the orientation to BEST FIT, allowed the System to manage the ColorSync. I set Black Point Compensation and with a little experimentation, settled on a Gamma of 1.15.
The outcome was amazing. At a cost of around $0.30 per print, this result competes with anything you’d buy at a photo lab, does it quickly. As a bonus, it offers terrific quality that surpasses my local lab.
The color was rich and accurate. There was no banding and the prints exhibited fine detail in the shadows once I adjusted the Gamma.
I didn’t have to download profiles or do any color management tricks. It just worked.
I handed out some of my test prints to friends and neighbors. I watched the joy on people’s faces as the inexpensive gift of photography added a smile to their day. One friend even plans on framing the 4″x6″ print!
Aperture works well with every printer I’ve hooked up to my Mac. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this $89 portable works as well as the others. And for me, it’s still all about the print.