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Author Topic: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800  (Read 12516 times)
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2006, 01:29:02 PM »
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I have a couple of comments about this:

Firstly, that product seems directed at scrubbing the surface of the printhead for major amounts of dried ink due to printer disuse over some period of time. This is not the usual situation where more routine clogs need to be - from what I've been told by Epson tech support - flushed with liquid coming through the printhead.

Secondly, on the 4800 much of the MLs ink used for cleaning comes from the routine 4.1 ML of ink used when the printer is switched on and it decides on its own that either enough time or enough prints have gone by that it triggers a start-up auto-clean cycle. The referenced product is irrelevant in that situation, and using that product will not curtail these cyclical self-generated cleanings, which Epson tells me users are not at liberty to interfere with.

All that said, I've book-marked that web-page in case circumstances ever arise where such a product could be useful - but I'll check with Epson tech support before ever using it, to insure they know what it is, they know whether it can do any damage and using it wouldn't void my warranty.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2006, 09:40:34 PM »
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Just some relevant information I’m aware of:

The automatic head cleaning can be turned off through the menu button on the printer. Menu> to printer setup>then right arrow followed by down arrow until auto head cleaning appears.  The default is on, make sure the * appears next to “off” if you wish to turn off auto cleaning.  Epson does not recommend this of course.  I’ve been using the printer with the cleaning off.  I routinely do a nozzle check and have had no problems with clogging.  Several users on the Yahoo 4800 discussion group and others have reported clogging problems with or without the auto cleaning on.  Mine has been in light use since October with no problem; it is in a fairly cool (55-60F) room, so that may be a factor.

One suggested method of head cleaning involves parking the head in a pool of water (the puddle method).  It has been discussed extensively on the Yahoo 4000/4800 discussion group; here’s one of many: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Epson4000/message/3692

A search will yield many more links

Tom
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2006, 11:21:58 PM »
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Interesting about turning off auto-clean - Next time I fire-up the printer I shall check it, because when I asked Epson tech support this very question about turning off auto-cleaning they told me I can't and I shouldn't try. So it was more than a recommendation. In a way, perhaps best not to try outsmarting them on this one - they probably know exactly why they want that feature enabled and they have probably tested the frequency quite carefully to minimize the traffic on tech support from dissatisfied customers with clogged printers.

Room temperature matters. In deference to both my previous 4000 and current 4800 I do not have the heat on in my workroom. It remains cool. The real culprit is excessive dryness and this easily occurs in over-heated rooms. Epson tech support recommended to me quite some time ago that room humidity should be at least 25%. They also mentioned the idea of moistening the print-head area using an eye dropper with distilled water. The purpose however is not head cleaning, but to keep moisture in the rubber seals that enclose the print-head when it is parked for a long time, because ink dries if these seals dry-out causing them to shrink a bit and let in air. That was on the 4000. Whether the same applies to the 4800 I don't know, because it hasn't clogged enough to warrent any such tinkering. I did try it when I had the 4000 and it wasn't effective.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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tsjanik
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« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2006, 09:06:06 AM »
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Mark:

I have some concern about turning off the auto clean as well; however, I think Epson has the printer configured to prevent clogs under worst case conditions.  More than once the printer has asked if I want to do a “power clean”, even though nozzle checks have never indicated a clog.  My typical use of the printer involves 1-2 prints per day and so if I turn the printer off each day I use 2 to 4 times as much ink for cleaning as I do for printing (as you know from your detailed analysis).   I will likely continue with the auto clean off until a nozzle check indicates a problem.

A more detailed description of the “puddle method” can be found here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=16862722

BTW good weather to be inside working with the printer (I’m just south of Toronto).
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2006, 09:35:05 AM »
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Hello TS, you may well have a point. I think Epson has received so much flack about clogging and cleaning that they are possibly being super-careful.

The "power-clean" business is a different kettle of fish, and here the answer is very clear and certain: SAY NO unless your machine is seriously clogged. That is advice direct from Epson Tech Support. It is a nuissance reminder for an expensive process that they themselves say one would seldom need to use.

Now back to the question of those little "start-up" auto-cleanings - they should not get triggered more or less frequently as a function of turning the printer on or off. Tech Support have told me the printer's memory schedules these cleanings according to a combination of time lapse between printing sessions and the volume of printing done. For clarity, if you leave the machine shut for quite a few days, it is likely to do a start-clean on re-opening. Or, if you print 15 or so A3s, it is likely to trigger an auto-clean either during the print session or next time you open the printer. But it should not trigger auto-cleans simply because you open and shut the printer frequently. If it does, I think what you are doing could make sense, with the caution however that these cleanings probably prevent accumulation of dried-up gunk inside the nozzles, which could become quite expensive to flush-out if it sets in firmly. Remember we're talking about a grid of nozzles each one of which is smaller than a human hair. So I just leave the in-built cleaning routine activated.

The weather - me-0h-my - I was hoping to do exactly what you say but I need to rush out to Future Shop because my headset for using Skype decided to crash-out. Sigh. Happy printing.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2006, 11:52:02 AM »
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Just thought I would add an update on this as I started this thread.
I went to the Focus show in the UK at the end of last month with disc in hand to speak to epson and to get them to print out some of my files and compare them directly with my own files printed off my 4000/7600 as I have been toying a bit with the idea of an upgrade. I had a long chat with one of the sales guys on the stand and there was a lot of talk about the longer neutral spine of the current K3 printers due to the included third black. He thought this might be a plausible explanation as to why the current K3 printers might be more economical (he could not verify this as Epson have not tested it). This is to do with less colour inks needed to balance tones in the mid to hightlights. It might also explain why on the RC papers that there is slightly less bronzing and gloss differential as less ink may be laid down on the paper. However, from a qualitative point-of-view, I thought my own prints made with my own profiles on the 4000/7600 were better than the Epson made prints of my own files using their generic profiles on the 9800. Yes, ever so slightly less bronzing/GD on the 9800, but my prints had slightly richer colour and better blacks. I would accept that somebody else might think otherwise, but I would assert that any expression of a strong preference either way is subject to wishful thinking. Anybody running Imageprint's PhatteBlack system on the K3 printers, I would suggest is unlikely to see an economy over the K2 printers as they have reduced their inkset to a K2 setup. So, I came away from Focus with no real qualitative reason to upgrade and an unproven economic one.
At home, I decided that regardless of upgrade or not, it was time to sort out my 7600 with its intermittent nozzle blocks and deflections. So, I spoke to Epson technical support. The tech guy recommended a service and fitment of a maintenance kit (pump, wiper blade etc.). I asked specifically about the economy issue and the answer I got was 'no difference in running costs between the (newer and older ultrachrome) printers'. The Epson engineer arrived a few days later and I had a chance to quiz him some more. 'No point in changing your printers, you will hardly see a difference' and 'no reason why the newer pinters should be more economical'. It was particularly interesting to hear what he had to say about the 4000. Apparently, the self-aligning head of the 4000 was a major development for the printer and Epson had wanted to sell it for three times the price it was eventually retailed for, but their marketing department vetoed this. The self-aligning head was carried over to the 4800, but the Epson engineer suggested that 'some of the bells and whistles from the 4000' were not. Of course I have absolutely no idea what he meant by this, but I see that remaining stock of the 4000 is being sold off in the UK by some retailers at just £749.00 ex VAT. At this price, it represents an absolute bargain, in my view.
So I am going to skip this generation of Epson K3 printers in the hope that Epson will finally fix the ink changing issue in the next generation. There is one thing I was impressed by in the K3 printers and that is the straight-out-of-the-box B&W printing capability. Still, if you are like me sticking with a 4000/7600/9600, the answer to this is accurate output profiles. These will give you neutral black and white.
BTW servicing the 7600 has returned it to the same rude good health that it had when it was new.
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« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2006, 02:06:52 PM »
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Drew,

Epson is a very large corporation with many people working for it and they don't always all sing from the same song-book. Epson themselves have recently produced advertising proclaiming the much greater economy of ink usage in the 4800 compared with the 4000 and went as far as to tell readers how many prints (in their calculations a standard print being 13*19 inches) they should make per year to justify the upgrade on purely financial grounds. So to say they don't know or haven't been measuring it is just not correct. By the way, they find the cost ratio of the 4800/4000 lower than I do, but both of us are in territory well below 1:1. I do have considerable confidence in the quality of my data on this matter. Others with relevant experience using both the 4000 and 4800 have also told me that while they do not keep the kind of records I do, they also find the 4800 using less ink per print than was the 4000.

As for print quality, anyone printing colour on matte paper will see very little difference. This was generally acknowledged in the industry from the get-go. It is also unambiguous that the 4800 produces better quality than the 4000 (in both cases using with Epson profiles) for black and white and non-matte output.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #27 on: March 11, 2006, 04:03:06 PM »
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Mark,
So they do not all sing from the same song book. Right, so who does one believe? Perhaps you would like to provide a reference? So far, we are left with your own 'data' which was collected in retrospect, is uncontrolled and likley to be subject to your own bias i.e. you upgraded and found your new purchase was more economical.
As for your assertions about quality, I know what I see with my own eyes and no amount of lecturing from you is going to change that. Others should make their own minds up on quality and not accept your givens.
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« Reply #28 on: March 11, 2006, 04:49:55 PM »
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Drew,

Some people who get behind a keyboard think that gives them the right to be nasty. Fine.

But...........by definition all data is collected in retrospect. If you don't think I'm capable of being objective about what I buy and how I find it works, that is your privilege, but you don't know me and you have no business attacking my objectivity or my integrity.

As for quality - sure you have your opinion about it, I was simply stating mine. It may become lecturing in your mind if what I see is not the same as what you see, but I wouldn't consider that very lenghty post you put up as lecturing, and likewise, there is no need to insult mine. What I observed about the relative qualities of these machines has been corroborated by knowledgeable professionals and people in the industry, so I am not outside a considerable body of opinion about comparative quality, but that doesn't matter. Unless one sits down with a spectrophotometer to take measurements under scientifically controlled conditions, this is largely subjective and we are each entitled to our views without being attacked for it.

I happen to think the 4000 was/is an excellent printer in terms of quality, and I'm sure it will continue to serve you well. I wish you the best in your future endeavours with it.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #29 on: March 11, 2006, 05:08:00 PM »
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Mark,
You are too sensitive.
I will be happy to admit that you were right all along on the economics when I see convincing independent verification and that is applicable to all media types. My point about retrospective data is that one should set out prospectively to collect data to establish the truth. This is established good scientific principle. You cannot deny that there is no control. If you find the addition of quotation marks to data insulting then I apologise.
Even then, if we accept that the ratio is of the order of say 1:0.8 or 0.7, then the ink changing costs also have to be factored in if one wishes to print on photo and matte media.
As for lecturing, yep I could be accused of that, but I actually think I am just reporting my own experiences and quoting what others have said to me. Under these circumstances, I am entitled to be sceptical about 'knowledgeable professionals', 'industry people' and 'considerable bodies' of opinion on comparative quality.
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« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2006, 07:06:45 AM »
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I only get sensitive when people attack my integrity. I call the shots as I see them, and before I submit anything for publication (that isn't just a matter of opinion) I'm pretty sure my methods and data are correct. As well, the people I listen to, when I'm quoting their experience, are people whose knowledge and judgment I have found to be reliable. I submit things for publication that I think are interesting, a bit new, and will be helpful to others in the community. But of course, anyone reading my contributions can accept them or not accept it as they please. These days some skepticism is healthy when it is well-placed.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2006, 10:41:52 AM »
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Quote
Interesting article by Mark Segal. What I have found over the years is that not all Epson printers are created equal in terms of their nozzle blocking performance. For example, I once had an Epson 1270 at work simultaneously with one at home. The one at home was a real good'un and hardly ever gave me any trouble with its nozzles. No it was not perfect, but it was so much better than the at work, which bears the marks of Basil Fawltyesque thrashings due to its constant nozzle blocks.
Turning to the Epson 4000, my own one does suffer from occasional nozzle blocks, but generally it is pretty well behaved and a cleaning cycle or two is all that is required to return it to reliable performance. The 7600 that runs alongside it on the other hand requires constant conditioning to keep all the nozzles up and firing. Large quantities of ink have been consigned to the waste tank to keep it on song, which just reiterates my point about not all printers being created equal.
So, I do not think it is fair to tar all 4000s in comparison to 4800s as being poor performers in this area. That leaves the ink consumption per print as the only really compelling economic reason to upgrade. Can it really be right that the 4000 uses 61% more ink than the 4800 per print? I think we need to see some verification for this. Looking at Epson's literature, I can see no mention of superior performance over the 4000 in this regard. Surely this would be a major selling feature that no Epson marketing manager would overlook?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58105\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2006, 12:59:17 PM »
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oops, meant to ask if anyone has the link to the two articles metioned at the start of the thread, can''t seem to find them, thanks, sw
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #33 on: March 12, 2006, 03:05:34 PM »
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Stephenweiss: Check www.vistek.ca. They say the savings is even greater than I found it.

I would be very interested in other peoples' measurements of the coparative performance of these two printers. Some people have difficulty believing it, despite the valid methodology I used to compile the data for both printers. This exercise is not rocket-science. It just requires a large enough sample, good record-keeping and elementary arithmetic.

Cheers,

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2006, 03:09:15 PM »
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stephenweiss, sorry, I was responding to a quote in your post from someone else, not your question. My apologies. Please go into the L-L website, scroll through the What's New for the past couple of weeks, anmd you will find a link to my article on the 4800, which also contains a link to my article on the 4000.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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« Reply #35 on: March 12, 2006, 03:13:57 PM »
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Stephenweiss, and others who lost track of where the article is on L-L website, I've now had a moment to find the URL for you: http://luminous-landscape.com/essays/4800%20tracking.shtml. Once you go there, there is also I hyperlink to my first article.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #36 on: March 12, 2006, 05:50:27 PM »
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Mark,
Where exactly on www.vistek.ca are you looking?
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« Reply #37 on: March 13, 2006, 03:56:04 PM »
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Drew, I'm far away from my references just now, but if my memory serves me correctly, now that I think of it, it was a feature of their most recent electronic newsletter that they send out to people on their mailing list - it may not have been posted on their site proper - I'm not100% sure, but they would have the information. I suggest sending them an email and asking them for it.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2006, 04:15:22 PM »
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Mark,
I did as you suggested and had the enews letter you referred to sent to me today:
Quote
Comparing the 4000...

The Epson 4800 requires far less ink to print. The 4000 uses two thirds more ink per standard print* than the 4800 - Uses UltraChrome K3 Ink Technology. - Has better blacks, grey balance and tonal range. - Has extremely wide colour gamut. - Has 60% fewer nozzle clogs and costs approx two thirds less per clog than the 4000.
So, on the face of it that looks pretty conclusive. However, I also emailed them about the methodology of their claim and this was part of their response:
Quote
I could not for the life of me tell you all the sites I visited, but one I remember that always has excellent info is
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/  there is lots of good info out there, just need the time to surf for it.
So, looks like we are back to square one!  
I think we are unlikely to really get to the bottom of this. Looking back at what has been written, I think it is worth pointing out that it was never my intention to question your integrity, but to question the integrity of your data for the reasons I have already given. However, if you still feel insulted, can I suggest an old-fashioned duel over the quality issue. We can call it Epson large format printers at 2000 miles. I send you a disc with three of my pics, 8bit RGB TIFFS, together with A3+ prints off those images made with my 4000 with my workflow and my usual media of choice. You do the same with prints off your 4800 made from three of your images, again 8bit RGB TIFFS on disc sent to me. Then you try to make better prints than mine off my images without doing anything to the original files and I do the same with your images. Since I am the competition secretary of the local camera club, I would propose taking the prints of your images down there and arrange them in a grid of 3X2 of paired prints. I would not put all your prints on the same row, but the columns would be matched pairs. Then I would ask the members to vote in the grid by marking the 'best' print out of each pair. The members would not be told why they were being asked to do this and I would blind them as to whose prints were whose. You could adopt a similar methodology. What do you think?
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #39 on: March 15, 2006, 02:47:15 PM »
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Thanks drew, I appreciate the effort you are putting into this matter. I'm not insulted about the integrity issue - that matter is behind us. As for the quality of my data, given the large sample size, the systematic manner in which it was collected and the relative simplicity of the collection and calculation procedure, I think that its reliability is quite OK. I doubt Vistek was basing their advertising on my work, because what they quote is a different standard print size, and their ratio 4800/4000 as I recollect is better than my results warrant. So they've done something beyond reading Luminous Landscape. I would like to explore this with them, and living in Toronto as I do, when time permits I can drop in there and ask a few pointed questions. If I do, I'll report here what I learn.

Turning to your quality testing idea, the procedure you suggest is interesting and the adjudication approach you suggest is scientific - like blind-tasting contests of good wines. There are, however, four issues with it:

(1) choice of media and drivers needs to be consistent between all prints otherwise the comparisons would be invalid. For the 4800, a change from matte to non-matte would cost about 150 dollars in ink round-trip for the change between MK and PK inks. For the 4000 you don't face this cost, but the quality difference on non-matte media is APPARANT in respect of bronzing and gloss differential.

(2) One needs to be quite deliberate about the choice of images for such a test, because if you want to stress test for true quality differentials between these machines we would both need to think hard about the kinds of image characteristics required and be consistent about it.

(3) As there may be differences of workflow between us it may be hard to tell what is due to the printer and what to other aspects of the workflow.

Finally (4) if the test were confined to matte media, there would be very little apparent quality difference between them on account of the printers. I have made general comparisons of image quality between the 4000 and the 4800 on Epson Enhanced Matte, and frankly, I would be very hard put to see any eye-popping improvement of the 4800 over the 4000. They both produce stunning results. Black and whites may be a bit more neutral but that is about it. I have also test printed the Gretag McBeth color printer test page on both machines, and apart from slightly more saturation of the colors and slightly more neutral rendition of the neutrals favouring the 4800, on matte paper even these test charts are within spitting distance of eachother quality-wise.

Bottom line, I'm not sure such quality testing would be conclusive, but let me think about it a bit more.


Cheers,

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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