In 2002, Epson introduced their first improvement to black & white printing when they added a light black ink in the then new Epson 2200 desktop printer. It would take Epson nearly five more years before they would deliver two shades of light black ink in the R2400 desktop printer. Epson considered the Ultrachrome K3 inkset to represent “a turning point in the history of inkjet printing.” With three unique levels of black, Epson claimed that the new Ultrachrome K3 color inkset “dramatically improves both color and black & white prints.”
The two light shades of black did dramatically improve Epson Ultrachrome K3 prints, but only in comparison to earlier Epson Ultrachrome prints. Over the same time span and even several years earlier, specialized black & white inksets flourished. Piezography® transformed from a quad-black (four shades black) inkset in 2000 to a septone (seven shades of black) inkset in 2005.