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lford quadtone black and white inks for fine art photography Print E-mail

Four-color yet black and white monochrome? Ilford produces excellent dye based "Archiva" ink for large format inkjet printer inkjet printers. Quadtone inksets have long been known to produce superior black-and-white images.

We received some of this unusual ink so we will use it to reproduce archaeological artifacts at large format size at our studio in the Museo Popol Vuh in Guatemala just as soon as our Encad gets a "clean and lube job" to get it aligned. Unfortunately Encads have a habit of clogging when not used. Even more unfortunate, the aged Encad NovaJet Pro 36 died before we could run the Ilford ink. But we have beautiful results from a similar quad-tone ink in our ColorSpan DisplayMaker Mach 12 printer.

Ilford, long a leader in traditional black and white photographic film and photo paper for enlargements has succeeded in developing a 4 color set of inks to produce a monochrome black-and-white image on wide format printers. Unfortunately we could not find this Ilford Archiva MonoKrome ink on their web site recently (May 2003). And by now (2006), Ilford has downsized considerably. This is unfortunate, since there is a boom in interest in B&W quad tone inksets, especially from fine art photographers. We have a page on fine art photography in our FLAAR site We also cover the special MegaVision medium format digital camera back that takes dedicated black-and-white digital images, ideal for fine art photography.

As just mentioned, ColorSpan offers a monochrome quad-black inkset. We use this successfully on the ColorSpan Mach 12. You can use it to achieve grayscale or mix the quad-black with seven other colors to get a wonderful gamut with 11 inks.
For further information on black-and-white inkjet printing FLAAR offers the following: Within the larger course on “Digital Photography as Input for Wide Format Printing Output” we now have a module on “Black and White Digital Photography and Printing.” This learning unit discusses the newest ColorSpan B+W quadtone inkset, Lyson quadtone inkset, as well as mentions Cone’s Piezography™ which has undergone considerable changes. The original black inkset is no longer available from there; the actual black inkset is now sold via bwguys under its original actual name of Sundance. The impressive software turns out was developed elsewhere by R9 corporation. Epson has tried to introduce the new seven-ink Epson 7600 and 9600 with their matte black inks as an alternative.

Yes, you can learn how to do museum-quality B+W inkjet printing. Just learn the pertinent tricks in Adobe Photoshop; we list the specific books and even the chapter and pages where you can learn all the secrets of B+W inkjet printing for your home or hobby. If you are a pro-summer or professional photographer we have plenty of information for every level. FLAAR is dedicated exclusively to top quality photography. We don’t handle much entry-level, low-end, low-bid anything.

Piezography is a registered trademark of Jon Cone; other corporate names and product names are trademarks etc. of their respective companies. The original name of the black and white ink is Sundance (contact for this B&W ink is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), trademark of Sundance and distributed by bwguys.


Most recently updated: August 9, 2006.
Previous updates: May 12, 2003 after PMA and ISA tradeshows. July 8, 2002, Oct. 20, 2001.



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As of June 2019, Dr Nicholas and FLAAR had 3,433 contacts in LinkedIn (and over half a million readers worldwide on the FLAAR network).

Wide Format Inkjet printers, inks, trade shows, consulting.

Covers digital imaging, wide-format inkjet, inks, printable materials, digital photography, printer and/or signage trade shows around the world.

Maya archaeology, iconography, ethnobotany, ethnozoology, caves (Xibalba), ethnohistory (especially Popol Vuh).

Mayan studies
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