Piezography: Unparalleled Black & White prints
Simple math. ABW uses three shades of black ink that combined with the Epson printer driver dither, or the ImagePrint printer driver dither, or even if used with the QTR printer driver can only produce a few hundred gray level separations.
When 4 or more shades of Piezography ink are used with the proprietary Piezography media curves in combination with the QTR driver - tens of thousands of gray levels are produced. Piezography is actually the only printing system in the world that can offer this many gray tone separations. It is more than the eye can see. But it is what the brain feels - the breath of the print that is unique. Of course, if you image in 16 bit, you would want a printing system capable of matching the amount of gray levels (that you also can not see). They are there. It makes a difference. But, it's a difference that only Piezography can realize.
Piezography increases print resolution because it does not require the use of the Epson dithering patterns that Epson requires to make dots of darker ink appear lighter by moving them further apart and making use of the white paper between. It is really a very glorified half-tone effect. The printer can not image detail where it does not print a dot.
Piezography always prints dots of ink adjacent to one another without allowing any paper white to appear between dots. It does not require dithering to assimilate lighter tones. It prints the tone it needs by using more lighter shades of gray. Whereas conventional wisdom says the Epson printer can not resolve more detail than 360ppi. Piezography can resolve more than 1000ppi. If you image in high resolution, you will see detail that you never have with the Epson ABW driver. Its really quite exciting - especially when you use >30 megapixel sensors or drums scan large format film. You can get contact sharp enlargements.
Piezography separates more shadow and highlight detail because we add additional shades of ink in which to resolve these differences. Purely mathematical but also helped by the Piezography profiler which creates a linearization based upon a modified Gamma 2.20 space. The output of Piezography imitates the working space of Gamma 2.20. More open shadows and highlights are the result. If you do not like shadow detail or highlight detail - simply pull in the end points of a Photoshop curve or levels tool to eliminate them. But, I suggest you try and get used to it. These are beautiful tones that silver paper has never been able to realize. Often when we drum scan negatives and produce prints at Cone Editions - the photographer claims we are printing detail they have never before seen in their own film. It's exciting!
Surface! What of it? That's never been a topic when describing inkjet prints. But, it is one of the most noticeable differences in a Piezography print when compared to an Epson ABW print. The Piezography print simply has more breath. It has depth. The carbon ink seems to glow. We actually design this into our ink. Really! By filtering the pigment five times by osmosis we can narrow down the distribution bandwidth of particle size. With a narrower range of particle size we can control better the effect of light passing through and reflecting off the pigment. Yes it's more expensive and designed only to trap more of the larger particles. But, the end result is worth it.
Piezography is a premium ink. It is absolutely the best in class among any monochromatic inks from any source in the world.