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Author Topic: Epson photo printers today.  (Read 7922 times)
DarkDTSHD
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« on: July 26, 2006, 02:22:30 PM »
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Hello guys,

Just wondered what your opinions and/or experiences are or have been with Epson printers. From printing 4x6 photo's for friends to printing out 13x19 prints on "fine art archieve" paper for commercial use.

I'm a novice photographer just learning the ropes and am looking for my first photo printer. And like most I'm looking for "the best" for my dollar. I'm willing to spend what it takes for me to get "the best consumer grade" photo printer. Clearly a Canon iPF5000 would be overkill as my first. That and it's not a "consumer grade" printer.

I read a review on Tom's Hardware where they compared 3 "hi-end" photo printers. The Epson R800, HP 8450 and the Canon ip8500. This was a Dec '04 article.

The R800, according to their testing came out as the most accurate of the three. Followed by the Canon. So, now I'm sort of intrigued by the R800. I know it's one of the better performers out there (as far as consumer grade printers go) but I've heard horror stories about their printer heads clogging and relability issues. I've heard this for years.

What I'm wondering from you all is if Epson printers are still worth considering. Or, if I should avoid them like the plague. I won't be printing regularly (e.g. 50 sheets weekly). Might go a few months without printing a single sheet. So knowing that...would Epson's be a bad idea? Or has Epson done something about preventing clogging from being a major issue? Along with addressing "fit & fiinish" complaints.

Other printers I'm considering include: Canon's upcoming Pixma Pro9000/9500, Canon i9900, HP's 8750 and 8450.

Any and all input is appreciated.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2006, 02:28:13 PM by DarkDTSHD » Logged
KeithR
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2006, 04:07:10 PM »
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Hello guys,

Just wondered what your opinions and/or experiences are or have been with Epson printers. From printing 4x6 photo's for friends to printing out 13x19 prints on "fine art archieve" paper for commercial use.

I'm a novice photographer just learning the ropes and am looking for my first photo printer. And like most I'm looking for "the best" for my dollar. I'm willing to spend what it takes for me to get "the best consumer grade" photo printer. Clearly a Canon iPF5000 would be overkill as my first. That and it's not a "consumer grade" printer. :)

I read a review on Tom's Hardware where they compared 3 "hi-end" photo printers. The Epson R800, HP 8450 and the Canon ip8500. This was a Dec '04 article.

The R800, according to their testing came out as the most accurate of the three. Followed by the Canon. So, now I'm sort of intrigued by the R800. I know it's one of the better performers out there (as far as consumer grade printers go) but I've heard horror stories about their printer heads clogging and relability issues. I've heard this for years.

What I'm wondering from you all is if Epson printers are still worth considering. Or, if I should avoid them like the plague. I won't be printing regularly (e.g. 50 sheets weekly). Might go a few months without printing a single sheet. So knowing that...would Epson's be a bad idea? Or has Epson done something about preventing clogging from being a major issue? Along with addressing "fit & fiinish" complaints.

Other printers I'm considering include: Canon's upcoming Pixma Pro9000/9500, Canon i9900, HP's 8750 and 8450.

Any and all input is appreciated. :)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=71799\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You might want to look into the Epson 1800 or 2400. they will go up to 13x19. The 2400 uses the UltraChome K3 inks.
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DarkDTSHD
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2006, 04:50:40 PM »
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You might want to look into the Epson 1800 or 2400. they will go up to 13x19. The 2400 uses the UltraChome K3 inks.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=71802\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I noticed those 2 models. But, as I said, I'm wondering about Epson's rep right now. Do you own either of the two? And if so what has been your experience? Any problems? Quirks?

The Epson I'm using now, an old C60, might be defective. When either of the two cartridges drops down to "half-full" or "quarter-left" the colors go completely amok! Colors I get are totally different from what I should be getting. Then I get artifacts like horizontal treaks. Don't know if it's just my C60, the C60 printers, or Epson in general.

That and Epson has been infamous for clogged print heads. And being that I'm an infrequent printer the chances of my clogging up an Epson would be that much greater. So, I'm wondering if Epson's would still be worth considering.

What do you think of Epson photo printers today? The ones still in production.

Thanks.
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KeithR
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2006, 07:45:19 PM »
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I noticed those 2 models. But, as I said, I'm wondering about Epson's rep right now. Do you own either of the two? And if so what has been your experience? Any problems? Quirks?

The Epson I'm using now, an old C60, might be defective. When either of the two cartridges drops down to "half-full" or "quarter-left" the colors go completely amok! Colors I get are totally different from what I should be getting. Then I get artifacts like horizontal treaks. Don't know if it's just my C60, the C60 printers, or Epson in general.

That and Epson has been infamous for clogged print heads. And being that I'm an infrequent printer the chances of my clogging up an Epson would be that much greater. So, I'm wondering if Epson's would still be worth considering.

What do you think of Epson photo printers today? The ones still in production.

Thanks.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Currently, I'm on my 5th Epson, dating back to '96. Each time I bought a newer printer, it was due to advacements in technology that the other mnaufactures(HP, Canon, etc.)couldn't keep up with. My 1st printer I wore out. It was not designed for photographs anyway, but I learned a few things about printers then. Then I got the EX. I still use it, but but for photos. It still works however, and for what I use it for(everyday, general printing, etc.) why spend the bucks to replace it. Then I picked up a refurbed 1200 and dedicated it to B&W with MIS(pigmented) inks. Something the printer was not designed to do. I still have it. I bought a 1280 and ran MIS(pigmented) color ink through it. Again, it was not designed for pigments, but it worked. Epson still sells that printer today, but there are better ones out now. After the 1280, Epson came out with the 2000,2100,2200, and the 1800(these are all 13x19 format). Then Epson came out with the 2400, and I think they did it right with the use of the K3 inks. Check out the artical by Jeff Schewe about the 2400 and K3 inkset:
[a href=\"http://photoshopnews.com/2005/05/16/epson-r2400-and-ultrachrome-k3-ink-report/]http://photoshopnews.com/2005/05/16/epson-...-k3-ink-report/[/url]
I wanted to move up in size, so the printer I use now is the 4800 with K3 inks. I recently sold the 1280, and will probably just dump the 1200. The quality of B&W that I can get on the 4800(the 2400 is in the same K3 family) and the color also, mean that I don't need 2 different printers for B&W and color. The rap that Epsons clog is well noted, but dye printers do also clog at times. The newer ink technologies that are around today are addressing this problem. The artical you mention was from '04. That was a lifetime ago in printer tech terms. A lot has changed. If you are really interested in doing quality work(even a newbie wants quality) read up on current products. Just my three cents worth!
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2006, 07:59:10 PM »
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DarkD -

The first thing you need to ask yourself is about your standards for print permanence. If you want archival prints from printers costing less than USD 1000 you have essentialy three choices: Epson printers using K3 pigmented inks, the new HP Pro B9180 using HPs new Vivera inkset, and 2 new Canon Pro Pixma printers using Lucia pigmented inks. I have no idea whether or not the HP or Canon printers clog as a result of infrequent usage. My Epson 4800 does, and it uses the same inkset as the Epson 2400, but the 2400 has a different ink delivery mechanism - not sure whether this matters as I do not own a 2400. I can only advise that based on my experience you could have clogging issues with an Epson 4800 unless you intend to print at least several times a week at well spaced intervals. However, used frequently in 40+% humidity, it performs very well.

If permanence is not an issue, there are a number of high quality photo printers from Canon, Epson and HP using dye inks (water-based) that are reputed to be far less prone to clogging regardless of how little you use them. In fact my HP business inkjet 2230 (dye inks) NEVER clogs, but I wouldn't use it for photography even though it is also a decent four-colour printer.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2006, 08:07:32 PM by MarkDS » Logged

Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2006, 08:18:39 PM »
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Just one guy's opinion. Epson R2400.  Simply the best.
I have had all the Epson printers back to the 90's and the R2400 is the best output and value.  Epson will create really good ICC profiles for the R2400 too (I know, custom ICC profiles are better - but at least Epson gives you something to start with)
The Epson 4000 is like the 4800, and I do have problems with clogging on the 4000 too.  It is more for mass print jobs- and use it daily.
The Epson R800 is a good value, but more of a toy.  No real profiles, but it passes for a really good snapshot printer.
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pobrien3
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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2006, 12:10:39 AM »
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I had the R800 for a number of years and didn't experience any significant clogging issues with it - nothing that wasn't resolved with a short cleaning cycle.  It finally died after about 3 years use, and I recently replaced it with the R1800.  The R1800 seems to have overcome the out-of-gamut issues the R800 had in reproducing dark greens / browns / yellows where it exhibited smearing and blocking, but I got over the worst of that in the R800 with a custom profile and adjustment curves, but without ever really fixing the problem.  The R800 proved to be a difficult machine to profile; my results from it were acceptable but not as consistent as I'd have liked with either the canned or custom profiles.  Although customers who bought A4 prints from it have been delighted - never received a single complaint, quite the contrary.

The R1800 has much better profiles out of the box (and they are real), and it seems to have overcome the R800 out-of-gamut blocking issue.  Andrew Rodney produced an excellent custom profile for me (also real) and I get accurate monitor / print matching - far better than I did with the R800.  The custom profile gave me a more neutral result and better skin tones, and improved B&W, though this printer will never produce first class B&W - it only has one black ink.

As for it being a toy, the R800 and R1800 will produce better glossy prints than the 2400 / 4800 upwards - I've held off buying a pro-level printer for over a year now because none of them I've seen produce acceptable (IMHO - waiting for the flames!) glossy prints.  With a well-written profile, the R1800 will give you excellent prints.  And of course they churn out the 4x6" / 5x7" snappy snaps just fine, which the 4800 won't do.

Alain Briot sells prints from the R800, and in my humble way, so do I.  If B&W is more important to you, they're not as good as the K3 models, or indeed as good as certain of the HPs.  The 8450 I tried produced better B&W but with a decidedly warm cast - with a custom profile this would do a better job of B&W than the baby Epsons.  Sorry to say that the Canons I tried (up to the 19950) were not as good as either the Epson or HP.  Very dark prints, really poor B&W.

Peter
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ddolde
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2006, 01:49:35 AM »
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[span style=\'font-size:14pt;line-height:100%\']I agree the R2400 is a great printer EXCEPT it sucks ink like a vampire sucks blood.

The 4800 is probably cheaper in the long run plus all 4800s are created equal in terms of color accuracy, unlike the R2400 which may need a custom profile to peform at its best. [/span]
« Last Edit: July 27, 2006, 01:50:27 AM by ddolde » Logged
pobrien3
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2006, 01:51:22 AM »
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Bit loud today, Doug!  
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2006, 01:11:10 PM »
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As for it being a toy, the R800 and R1800 will produce better glossy prints than the 2400 / 4800 upwards Peter
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=71818\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Do you have a R2400?  I have a R800 too and it is nothing like the R2400 in portrait photography.  WOW, quite a statement.
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pobrien3
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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2006, 01:41:10 PM »
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Do you have a R2400?  I have a R800 too and it is nothing like the R2400 in portrait photography.  WOW, quite a statement.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=71875\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Tested it extensively along with the 4800 and decided not to buy either.  The 2400/4800 were great with B&W, great on matte papers, but the gloss differential on glossy papers was unacceptable to me, and most of my output is on A4 glossy.  The glossing cartridge on the R800 and R1800 eliminates the differential.  2400/4800 prints when shown to friends and the ultimate arbiter, the wife, were declared 'patchy'.  A good description, I think.  

No question that the 2400+ range are excellent printers and the R800 was a bugger to calibrate (and still didn't get as close as I'd like), but where the demand is for a shiny A4 print the gloss optimiser shines through (if you'll pardon the pun).
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2006, 02:24:25 PM »
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Peter, I don't know what gloss papers you tested the 4800 with, but I've recently seen some prints from a friend's 4800 done on Innova Gloss Type F and the results are STUNNING. Nothing the least bit patchy about them. The same would be achieved from a properly calibrated and profiled 2400 because the inkset is the same. I believe, however, that most inkjet processes will show gloss differential in blown highlights where no ink is laid down.

All that said, DarkD started this thread looking for advice about what printer to buy IN HIS CIRCUMSTANCES (novice, not into high-priced professional gear, infrequent usage, etc.). But he didn't explain his objectives. What does DarkD want from the printer? What characteristics and capabilities are most important to DarkD? Answers to those questions would help to make our advice more relevant.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2006, 03:40:10 PM »
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Peter, I don't know what gloss papers you tested the 4800 with, but I've recently seen some prints from a friend's 4800 done on Innova Gloss Type F and the results are STUNNING. Nothing the least bit patchy about them. The same would be achieved from a properly calibrated and profiled 2400 because the inkset is the same. I believe, however, that most inkjet processes will show gloss differential in blown highlights where no ink is laid down.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=71884\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I've been printing on a 2400 with the Innova F-Type. IMHO gloss differential is a non-issue with this paper and K3 inks. Maybe there could be a hint of GD in completely blown highlights (255, 255, 255) if you really go looking for it with your nose in the print, but I just haven't seen it in my prints so far. Really great paper for when you need more  DMAX than rag papers can deliver.

IMHO K3 inks aren't too bad even with traditional high-gloss and satin papers. It's there in really bright whites, but only at certain angles, and it can be completely eliminated with a coat of Printshield or similar sprays.
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« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2006, 05:04:51 PM »
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I've been using a 2100 (2200 in USA) I bought secondhand in Jan - it's an A3 archival printer.  Before that I was using an HP all in one with a photocart.  Before that I used Fuji Frontier prints from a lab for the larger stuff.

Inkjet printing to what I determine photo quality has only been possible with the Epson.  I've actually named my printer Lisa after a particularly difficult ex.  Inkjets are fragile and tempramental and printing is a finicky black science garanteed to cause headaches, nausea and possible premature death.

The documentation (which isn't too great) is a PDF and I found myself referring to this website and many others and using nearly a complete pack of carts before I was getting prints I determined as anywhere near acceptable.  The learning curve is steeper than the east side of K2.  I never have had anywhere near a satisfying B&W print from the Epson driver.

To save on ink costs, I bought a Lyson CIS.  The inks and profiles are REALLY great - BETTER than Epson IMO.  The CIS looks like a blue peter project and is more fragile than dragonfly wings.

But you know what?  I've no regrets whatsoever.  When it works (which is most of the time, once you've figured it out) the results are outstanding.  Solve the B&W issue with Quadtone RIP - my vote for best shareware ever, get over the ink cost with a CIS (though I couldn't recommend Lyson for this - only the inks) and you really will be blown away with the quality.  Clogs happen but if you make a print a week, it won't be too often.

For 4x6s, I still reckon you'll be better off with a lab but I've never liked little prints - the smallest I do is 7x5 and I did them on the HP until it was stolen along with my camera.  If, after what I've described you think you want to do it, I'd consider a second hand 2200 alongside the R1800 and R2400.  I wouldn't go for an R800 - no issue with the quality but A4 is too small to print even 10x8 with a decent border.
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pobrien3
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« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2006, 09:27:20 PM »
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Peter, I don't know what gloss papers you tested the 4800 with, but I've recently seen some prints from a friend's 4800 done on Innova Gloss Type F and the results are STUNNING. Nothing the least bit patchy about them. The same would be achieved from a properly calibrated and profiled 2400 because the inkset is the same. I believe, however, that most inkjet processes will show gloss differential in blown highlights where no ink is laid down.

All that said, DarkD started this thread looking for advice about what printer to buy IN HIS CIRCUMSTANCES (novice, not into high-priced professional gear, infrequent usage, etc.). But he didn't explain his objectives. What does DarkD want from the printer? What characteristics and capabilities are most important to DarkD? Answers to those questions would help to make our advice more relevant.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=71884\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Mark, having heard comments such as yours, I'd love to try that paper (struggling to get it) and if I could get gloss diff-free prints and not have to swap blacks, I'd write a cheque for a 4800 straight away - I've been waiting more than a year for a pro printer solution, was pinning latest hopes on the new Canon.  I used Epson Premium Glossy, Premium Semi Gloss and Hahn Rag for my testing, except when testing the HPs and Canons, when I used their own papers.  I love HP premium satin.  I have stretched the patience of HK printer distributors to the limit by now - I've produced countless prints with them and haven't bought anything yet!

Agreed about advice for DarkD, hence my original post, but couldn't let the poor little R800 be dismissed so lightly as an unworthy option!  I bought it to learn on, and it's served me very well and produced prints that customers have been delighted with.  DarkD could do a lot worse than get this one, and should also consider the HP8450 if B&W is important.
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pobrien3
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« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2006, 09:37:32 PM »
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... Solve the B&W issue with Quadtone RIP - my vote for best shareware ever...

For 4x6s, I still reckon you'll be better off with a lab but I've never liked little prints ... I wouldn't go for an R800 - no issue with the quality but A4 is too small to print even 10x8 with a decent border.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=71906\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Going to download QTR immediately and try it - thanks for reminding me about that option, I'd forgotten about it.

I would agree about not buying the R800, would recommend the R1800 in it's stead because of the out-of-gamut greens/yellows/browns blocking issue with the R800.  It doesn't just mess up greenery in landscapes, it obliterates fine details in dark portions of hair in portraits.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2006, 09:48:27 PM »
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Mark, having heard comments such as yours, I'd love to try that paper (struggling to get it) and if I could get gloss diff-free prints and not have to swap blacks, I'd write a cheque for a 4800 straight away - I've been waiting more than a year for a pro printer solution, was pinning latest hopes on the new Canon.  I used Epson Premium Glossy, Premium Semi Gloss and Hahn Rag for my testing, except when testing the HPs and Canons, when I used their own papers.  I love HP premium satin.  I have stretched the patience of HK printer distributors to the limit by now - I've produced countless prints with them and haven't bought anything yet!

Agreed about advice for DarkD, hence my original post, but couldn't let the poor little R800 be dismissed so lightly as an unworthy option!  I bought it to learn on, and it's served me very well and produced prints that customers have been delighted with.  DarkD could do a lot worse than get this one, and should also consider the HP8450 if B&W is important.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=71933\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Peter, to the dismay of your HK distributors, I don't think you'll be taking out your cheque-book just yet. Innova Gloss F still requires switching inks in an Epson 4800. It is in limited supply but you can find it on the web from Lumierephoto - my friend who uses it got it there, reliably imported into Canada. These guys (http://www.rentstudioone.com/ps.html) here in Toronto also have it at prices in CAD that compare with converted USD prices.

I too pinned my hopes on the new Canon printer, but I cancelled my order for it when I started reading of all the teething problems. One hopes Canon has listened and is working on fixes. But I'm also keeping my eyes peeled for other new stuff that I have a hunch will be released over the next six months or so. This maket niche is heating up and I have a gut feel (not to be confused with wishful thinking) that the time is coming when we'll get pro quality plus no ink-swapping in the same user-friendly machine. Let us stay tuned.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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