Are Larger Print Gamuts Always Preferable?

I’m wrestling with the following and wonder if anyone can clarify for me.
If a larger print gamut can be achieved on a given paper using a particular printer and ink set by applying more ink without drying problems occurring or signs of hooking appearing when the primaries are viewed in ColorThink which would indicate hue reversal from over inking, is it always preferable then to try to achieve the largest possible print gamut? If it is, then why might it be that Epson would specify media settings for some of their papers that would deliver less ink which in turn would result in reduced gamuts?

I have read that the Lustre media setting delivers the most ink. Hahnemuhle specifies this setting for their non-matte papers for the specific printer which I am using. I have also read that some folks push the inks even farther in the Epson drivers with apparently superior results. But, Epson often specifies settings for their papers which deliver less ink. When I profile a particular Epson paper with their setting then again with the lustre setting I get larger gamuts and higher D-Max. So, I wonder what their thinking might be. Any thoughts?

Hi Paul,
These articles might give you an answer:

This issue is more valuable to a press operator than someone using an inkjet, but it might still have value for you. Having a printer print at its outer gamut capabilities tends to make it unstable. Color consistency can change and be irratic from print to print. Another issue is cost. If you dont really need all that gamut, then its possible to save money on ink by using less of it, but still get the desired print you need.

Nowadays people use inkjets to proof a printing press, which will tend to have a smaller gamut than the inkjet. You really dont need a huge gamut to proof a printing press, but you want the results to be very stable from proof to proof, so less ink works well for that scenario.

Maybe not that big of an issue to most inkjet operators, but then again. what was that statistic? Inkjet ink is the most expensive liquid on the planet or something? Even out-pricing the finest french champagne or french perfume!

Thank you for this Pat. I realize that when we proof for press we need only a relatively small gamut and we have that well under control here (I hope). But, I was thinking more in terms of fine art inkjet work. I didn’t realize that the printer would become more unstable at its limits. But, that is something I will watch out for.

I suppose another issue might be some loss or at least subduing of deep 3/4 tone detail. So, perhaps that is why Epson would choose a media setting that causes less ink to be applied i.e. in order to retain clearer tonal separation. I’ll need to test that as well.

Yes, in fact, ink is more expensive by volume than human blood.

Thanks again.

In terms of a product like an Epson or Canon pro Inkjet using their drivers, I don’t see this as an issue. These are black boxes but you profile over them, using ideal media settings and you want a large gamut to feed to these devices (greater than Adobe RGB (1998)). My 3880 Luster profiles as reported in CT Pro and shown in 3D would clip if I used Adobe RGB (1998) and sRGB is pitiful and visibility so on print.