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Low D-Max on New 3901G


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We just received a new 3901G and the D-Max is lower lower than our Chromira. The processor is in control actually a little darker than reference. We also fogged a strip and put through the processor see below. We kano about the D-Max adjustment and have it set and the maximum of 3.0. We are using Fuji Type CA paper and have the 3901 set on paper type 142.

How can we adjust the D-Max higher?

3901 D Max readings
1.42 2.01 1.73
3901 Fogged Strip
2.08 2.28 1.98

ZBE Chromira
2.22 2.21 2.16

Thanks for the help in advance.

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Probably you used different coorimeter and on ZBE Chromira you got not correct results. Black color on paper  have when it is fogged and processed. Black color mainly depends on paper and chemicals.

Regarding Fuji Fujicolor Crystal Archive Type CA Paper back levels on ZBE Chromira for glossy should be 2.00 /2.00 / 1.95 ( 1.95 /1.95/ 1.90 for matte ) :

Check and calibrate working tank temperatures and calibrate replenishment rates. When CD temperature is too low minilab has not correct colors. Replenishment rates and temperatures should match specifications to chemicals, which you use.

Profile 142 is correct for Fujicolor Crystal Archive Type CA Paper. Which profile data version do you have?

Your printed D-Max is too low ( especially for Cyan ) . That means your Red laser maximal power is too low. Yellow color is too low also, but can be if Cyan will be good Yellow will be better. Try to make all tests :
Paper Specification Registration
Black Balance Adjustment
NCE Mode
Brightness of the Edge
Highlight Balance Adjustment
Highlight Balance Adjustment (Manual)
Machine-to-machine variation correction
Exposure Adjustment

If after all that you have not good results then your Red laser is too weak to get enough Cyan on the paper. Can be bad laser head, or not correct optical alignment. QSS3901G should have warranty and if laser is bad Noritsu should change it free of charge.

Edited by Minilab service
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Thanks for all the answers. It is a new machine received a few weeks ago replacing a 2901. We are now using Fuji Digital RA Pro chemicals. Noritsu wanted to try the 108 developer, it arrived just now. But Fuji tech thinks it will not make any difference may make D-MAX lower. We have checked temps, replenishment rate, etc. Fogged paper is more than dark enough.

So if the laser is the issue why does it still calibrate with no error? Is the D-MAX target in the profile a soft number? It sees how dark it can get then just uses that as the D-MAX target for the whole profiling process?

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Ideally printer should give black approximately the same as day light. Usually rates are lower, but not 1.42 for cyan as you have on your minilab. Black level depends on paper, chemicals and Red laser on printer. Have to check all, if black level is lower, than should be. Even on very old minilabs ( for example QSS30 ) cyan is higher, so can't be, that on new minilab level is very low. When black level is lower than should be for exact paper you will not have any errors. 1.42 is more than enough to calibrate middle range and light area and that is most important. You will have error, if Dmax will be lower, than 0.9 , or higher than 3.8.
Start checking from chemicals. If chemicals and paper are good then problem is with printer. Black level can be increased, if to use professional papers. With some of them can be reached higher density ( 2.5 - 3 ) . Loaded on EZ controller .icm profile can't increase black level and just can to make it lower. Profile number is just number on the list. Fujicolor Crystal Archive Type CA Paper has number 142 there.
Check chemicals, make minilab backup and run paper Specification Registration/Setup again. Before doing check setup switch status. When the setup switch is on, the high density section is calculated and Dmax is set to the most appropriate value. When the setup switch is off, setup is performed within the range of the colorimeter specification (Dmax: 2.2 D or less). QSS39 on software has menu "Dmax adjustment" . Try adjust there. Pay attention that If you perform Dmax adjustment it is necessary to do Paper Specification Registration/Setup again. If can't get something better you can return loading printer data backup ( which you did before tests ) . Do not make magazine registration. Can do it only when master paper settings will be completed and you get what you need. All adjustments can find on QSS39 service manual, training manual and instillation manual. Read these manuals, or pdf documents. Ask help from Noritsu. They sold minilab and should explain, why your new printer has Dmax, than printers made more than 20 years ago. 

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Thank for all your help!

I think we may have figured it out. The CA paper just has a lower D-MAX than the CN Paper we are using on the Chromira. We are hitting the numbers in the Fuji CA data sheet. The sheets says the CA can work for analog and digital. Maybe the 2901 had a little bit longer exposure with the MLVA head vs the laser spot scanning across the paper. The 2901 was still not as dark D-MAX as the Chromira but a lot better. It this why the fogged paper is a little darker D-MAX than the printer gets, the super short exposure with a paper designed for digital / analog exposure?

We always wondered why customers have said our prints look so much better that other labs. Mabey they are using the CA paper.

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Ah that explains the difference!

Because the 2901 uses a halogen lamp with dichroic filters the output is closer to that of an analogue printer. The paper reacts quite differently between a laser exposure and a halogen lamp exposure.

Yes the shorter exposure times reduce the D-max value compared to fogged paper.
The issue being if you have long exposure times you are more likely to experience bleed on anything that is black on a white background for example.
It's always a compromise between maximum D-max and prints without bleed.

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1.42 D-max for Fujicolor Crystal Archive Type CA Paper is not normal. Even on very old laser minilabs ( for example QSS3000 ) D-max for this paper on tests are more than 1.8. QSS39 has many settings. It is only one minilab, which has separate D-max setup menu. So at least on this minilab should reach D-max, which you have with this paper on other minilabs.

Edited by Minilab service
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