Epson Stylus Pro films and letterpress. Any tip?

here in Italy print imagesetter films is really expensive. I have a large format Epson Stylus Pro to print my screenprinting films. I’d like to use it to print also my letterpress films.

Has anyone successed with films printed with the Epson Stylus Pro printer?

I’d like to consider also 3 things: the Epson Stylus Pro is a photographic printer, that runs 2 kinds of blacks, the Photo Black and the Matte Black. In screenprinting is used to print films the Photo Black. The matte is darker, has
anyone ever tried to use this black instead of the common photo black to print letterpress films?

Another thing: once I’ve given to a letterpress printer a film printed with my Epson, using the Photo Black. He used a “contact” negative. Basically he used my positive film on his contact film and he produced a negative, and then the

The last: laser films. My laser printer ia a Canon i-SENSYS MF8050Cn, the print resolution is 600x600dpi, and the print quality is 2400x600dpi. Is enought to print decent films for letterpress?


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The film processor should be set to these specs.

Note: film for photopolymer plates
- RREU (right reading emulsion up)
- flexo film
- 4.0 density or higher
- matte finish on emulsion side



your spec’s are for the Rip and Imagesetter, a processor just develops whatever Film is input.

Hi Fabio,

Paul here you know from the gigposters forums…

I’ve had moderate success doing photopolymer plates with my Epson printers. The film output workflow is designed for silkscreen and isn’t ideal for platemaking.

These printers print at 1440 dpi. I’ve used an R1800 through US Screen’s FastRIP and a 7600 through GhostRIP for postscript emulation. The 600 series epsons (7600/9600) printing photoblack with dye-based inks on waterproof film obtain the closest to imagesetter density out there from what I know. I do not have a densitometer on hand, but visually the comparison is very close.

In terms of detail, the quality is just not there doing inkjet output. The printers and silkscreen RIP software is not designed to interpret and calibrate linescreens over 65 or print small text accurately. For larger text and line art no finer than .5pt/.2mm I fine it produces acceptable plates for my own work but it’s not a service I offer to people for whom I print.

If you are using a silkscreen film output system, I am also assuming you will be using a silkscreen exposure unit and washing out by hand—there is where your big challenges will be.

As far as your laser printer is concerned, I am no expert but anything I’ve seen advertised as 2400x600dpi or 2880x1400dpi is only advertised as so because of multiple print heads or colour heads, and it’s the smallest resolution that is your true resolution. I am guessing then that you have a 600x600 dpi printer. This for me doesn’t cut it.

I am currently trying to get a darkroom set-up to shoot camera film. I’ve got a line-camera and I would guess there are many near you that could be had for very little. Copy is photographed and then processed by a film processor, or tray developped, which is what I plan on doing. I will use my Epson 7600 to print copy enlarged 2x at 1440 dpi and shrink it with the camera, simulating 2880dpi imagesetter film. For the printing of fine halftone screens and small text, this type of resolution as well as proper PostScript interpretation is necessary.

Please let me know if you have any other questions. Anyone else (who has more information than I do, I’m just starting to do my research now) please chime in and correct me if I’ve put forward any incorrect information.


Hello guys, hello Paul, nice to meet you here too :)
I can’t afford a darkroom, my studio is full of things and the space is really limited. On more I believe creating films in that way take a lot of time, time that I can’t charge to my customers. Things aren’t going okay in Italy and charging that time too will mean probabily a losen customer.

So after this I really don’t know how to do: I can’t buy an imagesetter and send the files to imagesetter services is really expensive.

I believe the only way is try my Epson with the screenprinting film. Is there any way to print double the file on the same film, to raise the density?

Thanks :)

Hi Fabio,

Things may be different in Italy in terms of pricing, but waterproof inkjet film and specialized dye-based inks are very expensive here. A 12”x18” negative, mostly because of ink, will cost $10-15 to produce. I just bought some Agfa Hard Dot camera film for $1.50 per sheet at 12x”18”. If you can get some business going and process at least a few films a week, I think the cost (even with labour for tray developping film) is going to be similar between inkjet and camera, but the quality of the camera film will be higher.

What kind of printer do you have? Like I said in my last post, I get away with larger text or line art with detail no smaller than .5pt with my Stylus Pro 7600.

Try it out and see how it works. If you don’t like the quality, and you and your customers can’t afford to pay for imagesetter film, then this may not be a service you can offer.

All the best,