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Author Topic: Getting a Epson 3800, need paper recommendations  (Read 17899 times)
Bill Koenig
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« on: March 15, 2007, 09:08:48 AM »
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I'm about to order the Epson 3800, what inkjet paper should I include with my order to B&H?
Here is a list of papers I'm considering.

Enhanced Matte Paper for Inkjet

Premium Glossy Photo Paper for Inkjet

Premium Luster Photo Paper for Inkjet

Inkjetart Micro Ceramic Gloss
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Bill Koenig,
NikosR
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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2007, 09:29:31 AM »
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I'm about to order the Epson 3800, what inkjet paper should I include with my order to B&H?
Here is a list of papers I'm considering.

Enhanced Matte Paper for Inkjet

Premium Glossy Photo Paper for Inkjet

Premium Luster Photo Paper for Inkjet

Inkjetart Micro Ceramic Gloss
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=106786\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You're not giving us much to help you. Like what kind of printing you do, intentend uses,  whether you prefer glossy or matte etc. etc.

If you are new into serious inkjet printing, my advice would be to get your hands on a few sample packs in smaller sizes and start forming your own basic opinion first. All the papers that you list are decent papers in their respective categories, but there are also other players and other categories out there.

If you are a newcomer, it would be advisable to stick with Epson brand papers at first, since you will face less problems with media handling and the Epson canned profiles that come with the printer for their papers are quite decent.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2007, 09:30:11 AM by NikosR » Logged

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chris anderson
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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2007, 09:49:55 AM »
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bob,
   email me at fastford@hot.rr.com I can get you the 3800 for a better price than B&H,
     Chris in Texas
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Bill Koenig
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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2007, 10:00:31 AM »
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You're not giving us much to help you. Like what kind of printing you do, intentend uses,  whether you prefer glossy or matte etc. etc.

If you are new into serious inkjet printing, my advice would be to get your hands on a few sample packs in smaller sizes and start forming your own basic opinion first. All the papers that you list are decent papers in their respective categories, but there are also other players and other categories out there.

If you are a newcomer, it would be advisable to stick with Epson brand papers at first, since you will face less problems with media handling and the Epson canned profiles that come with the printer for their papers are quite decent.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=106787\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

NikosR,

Thanks for the quick reply. Yes, I'm very new, this will be my first printer. Back in my darkroom days I used RC papers with a little mat as well. The papers that I listed seemed to cover pretty much the whole range from mat to gloss. I didn't see a sample pack at B&H, I will look into that.
I shoot mainly landscapes with a Nikon D200, fine detail as well as high Dmax would be a consideration. The enhanced Matte Paper is quite inexpensive, but I'm not sure if it can hold fine detail.
Inkjetart Micro Ceramic Gloss is also inexpensive, and comes in 17x25 which is a size that I would like to print to, but there is little info about this paper on the forums, I would like to here from anyone that has used this paper and profiles on the 3800.
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Bill Koenig,
RonBoyd
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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2007, 10:29:28 AM »
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I'm about to order the Epson 3800, what inkjet paper should I include with my order to B&H?
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Bill,

B & H is an excellent place to make your purchase and I certainly spend way too much with them myself. However, you may want to look to Atlantic Exchange for your Epson purchasing. For example, look at this page on the 3800:

[a href=\"http://www.atlex.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=C635011UCM]http://www.atlex.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?...&key=C635011UCM[/url]

and compare to B & H.

Ron
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2007, 11:35:38 AM »
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NikosR,

Thanks for the quick reply. Yes, I'm very new, this will be my first printer. Back in my darkroom days I used RC papers with a little mat as well. The papers that I listed seemed to cover pretty much the whole range from mat to gloss. I didn't see a sample pack at B&H, I will look into that.
I shoot mainly landscapes with a Nikon D200, fine detail as well as high Dmax would be a consideration. The enhanced Matte Paper is quite inexpensive, but I'm not sure if it can hold fine detail.
Inkjetart Micro Ceramic Gloss is also inexpensive, and comes in 17x25 which is a size that I would like to print to, but there is little info about this paper on the forums, I would like to here from anyone that has used this paper and profiles on the 3800.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=106799\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Epson Enhanced Matte paper holds all the detail you could expect a paper to hold, depending on the brightness range of your image. The only problem with any matte paper is its ability to differentiate shades in deep dark (such as shadow) areas; it is more limited than for non-matte papers. Epson premium semi-matte is a very pleasing paper with better rendition of deep shades, as is their Premium Luster, which is glossier. Neither of these papers exhibit the high reflectance of the pure gloss papers, which I find kind of detracts from the image. But some people like high gloss because of the crispness and maximum deep shade rendition if offers. With a 3800 you can try a range of papers and see for yourself what you like best. Just be sure to select the correct profile for the paper you are using in both Photoshop Print with Preview and in the Epson Driver.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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NikosR
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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2007, 12:48:24 PM »
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Epson actually offer decent papers in most of the main categories of inkjet papers suitable for pigment ink inkjet printers. I summarise some of the most important / commonly used ones  below:

Matte Papers:

Enhanced (or Archival) Matte: Decent matte paper, suitable for learning your way through matte fine-art type printing. Good for proofing for more expensive papers e.g. UltraSmooth Fine Art). Smooth surface. Decent but not the best of max density or gamut. Base colour quite neutral white. A bit on he light/thin side compared to 'proper' fine art matte papers. Might warp a bit if too much ink is applied. Contains lots of UV brighteners, the base will get more creamy / yellowy with time.

UltraSmooth Fine Art Paper: The fine art version of the Enhanced Matte, so to speak. Surface similar to Enhanced. Thicker / heavier. Warmer base due to absence of UV brighteners, 100% rag base. More archival qualities than Enhanced.  Excellent paper up there with the best.

Velvet Fine Art. Medium textured fine art paper. Warmer base. Archival quality. Very good dmax for a matte paper.  Excellent paper. 100% rag, some UV brighteners. Excellent paper up there with the best.

Watercolour Radiant White: Good value watecolour like surface (textured). Adequate weight. Off-white base. Not 100% rag, but very good archival qualities. Not too good details.



Glossy/luster/Pearl Papers:

Premium Luster: Probably the best of the Epson glossy type papers. Nice 'luster' type of semigloss surface. Excellent in the category.

Premium Semigloss: Pearl type of surface. Not too bad, but I would prefer Premium Luster.

Premium Glossy: Smooth semigloss type of surface. I prefer Ilford Smooth Gloss for this application.


Epson currently do not offer papers in the following two categories (to my knowledge):

1. Hi Gloss type of surface (e.g. Pictorico reminiscent of Ciba/Ilfo Chrome)
2. New category of pearl surface (with some shine and light texture) rag papers reminiscent of traditional BW photographic papers (e.g. Hahnenmuehle Fine Art Pearl, Innova, Crane Museo etc).

For the rest of the categories, most of the decent third-party papers you can buy will broadly fall in the categories of the Epson papers I have listed above, give or take some texture, base whiteness, weight, archival characteristics, dmax and gamut.

Hope the above helps.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2007, 01:50:19 AM by NikosR » Logged

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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2007, 01:29:19 PM »
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Enhanced (or Archival) Matte: Contains lots of UV brighteners, the base will get more creamy / yellowy with time.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=106816\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The base does NOT get more creamy/yellowy with time. All that happens is that the brightener wears off, and as it wears off the base colour of the paper is exposed. Based on my experience, for prints that are not exposed to light the difference becomes noticeable after about four or five years. For prints hung on a fridge door, within a year or so the deterioration of the brightener starts being noticeable. The net result at the end of the process will be a print that has the character of un-brightened matte paper.

Enhanced Matte (which by the way has had a name change: it is now Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte 5* - same animal, same stock number), is more than "suitable for learning your way through matte fine-art printing". It is by far the largest seller amongst the Epson papers and used for many purposes including final output by many photographers and graphic artists from amateur to experienced pro, according to what I learned when I last canvassed a high-volume Epson supplies dealer here in Toronto (in connection with a paper selection question I was asked to address for another purpose). It doesn't have the kind of weight, texture and artsy feel that some of the much more expensive fine art matte papers exhibit, but then again the price difference is very large.

Epson Velvet Fine Art is indeed a lovely paper, but considerably more expensive than Enhanced Matte and needs careful handling, because it is much more prone to showing streaks from bits of grit or fingernails passing over it.

Most important for new users: don't be swayed by other peoples' opinions about what a paper is good for. It's good for you if it has the longevity characteristics you want, you like it and can afford it.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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NikosR
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2007, 01:45:58 PM »
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MarkDS

I don't think we are in too much disagreement here

1. Regarding the white colour. You are correct, that's what I'm implying. That's why I mentioned OBA's and 'yellowing' in the same sentence. Maybe I have not expressed it correctly (English is not my mother tongue). The end result is the same.

2. I absolutely believe that Enhanced Matte is selling much more than Velvet or Smooth. Of course pricing must have something to do with it.  I do consume much more Enhanced than any 'fine art' papers. I do use better papers for 'exhibition quality' prints though. I stand by my opinion that it is a decent paper but not up to the level of other Epson or third party papers. Absolutely good value though.

3. I absolutely agree with your last sentence. Having said this, I have to say also that I was quite happy using Enhanced Matte until I tried better (IMHO) papers.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2007, 01:49:41 PM by NikosR » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2007, 02:10:03 PM »
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MarkDS

I don't think we are in too much disagreement here

1. Regarding the white colour. You are correct, that's what I'm implying. That's why I mentioned OBA's and 'yellowing' in the same sentence. Maybe I have not expressed it correctly (English is not my mother tongue). The end result is the same.

2. I absolutely believe that Enhanced Matte is selling much more than Velvet or Smooth. Of course pricing must have something to do with it.  I do consume much more Enhanced than any 'fine art' papers. I do use better papers for 'exhibition quality' prints though. I stand by my opinion that it is a decent paper but not up to the level of other Epson or third party papers. Absolutely good value though.

3. I absolutely agree with your last sentence. Having said this, I have to say also that I was quite happy using Enhanced Matte until I tried better (IMHO) papers.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I sampled a lot of papers when I got my new 3800 in December, as I always do with new printers/ink--both Epson and 3rd party.

I found the Inkjetart Microceramic luster paper to be as nice as the Epson Premium Luster--which I've used in the past for the RC type paper.  I bought a roll so I could cut a 17 x 25 but will buy sheets in the future and cut to smaller size if I wish.

The Epson Enhanced Matte (or whatever its new name is) is fine.  Use it and then sample other matte/fine art papers and find the one you like.  BTW--the Epson Fine Art Velvet is not made larger than 13 x 19---unfortunately-- and I've been on a hunt for something I like as well.  Hahnemuhle PHoto rag is nice and I've printed on it in the past---but I have found a paper in 17 x 25 without OBAs that I like--Hawks Mt. Condor Natural.  [a href=\"http://www.hawkmtnartpapers.com/]http://www.hawkmtnartpapers.com/[/url]

I don't print at all on glossy, so can't help you there.

My recommendation is to buy sample packs---both Epsons and other mfg.  Try a Hahnemuhle pack, Innova, Hawks Mt., Red River--and go to Shades of Paper and get the sample pack for all the glossy rag papers (Innova, Hahnemuhle, Crane Museo)  I love the Innova Semi Matte for monos.
http://www.shadesofpaper.com/  Red River papers  too--their luster paper is nice---http://www.redriverpaper.com/
Try Atlex for Epson papers--great prices.  Inkjetart.com has many sample packs for a lot of papers.  That way you can find the papers that suit your own images.

I honestly find that I'm using no Epson papers at the moment--except for those papers and sizes I already had in stock (I used Enhanced Matte for proofing Velvet--so have some of both left.  I have Premium Luster also up to 13 x 19).  There are so many beautiful papers out there, profiling available--so there's no reason to limit yourself just to Epson papers anymore.

Diane
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2007, 03:24:51 PM »
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I sampled a lot of papers when I got my new 3800 in December, as I always do with new printers/ink--both Epson and 3rd party.

I honestly find that I'm using no Epson papers at the moment--except for those papers and sizes I already had in stock (I used Enhanced Matte for proofing Velvet--so have some of both left.  I have Premium Luster also up to 13 x 19).  There are so many beautiful papers out there, profiling available--so there's no reason to limit yourself just to Epson papers anymore.

Diane
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=106831\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Diane, that's a nice newsy survey of some fine papers out there, and I agree with you and Nikos that the market for great papers goes well beyond Epson. That said, I see we're all agreed that Epson markets under its name a range of very satifscatory papers. I think for someone starting out, it is good to stick with the Epson papers for a while, because the variety is there, AND ALSO THE PROFILES, which I put in caps because it is so important. Epson happens to provide excellent profiles for the 3800/4800 printers, whereas sometimes profiles provided by speciality paper manufacturers are not the best. When branching away from Epson papers it is probably best to get a custom profile for each paper, which takes a bit of time and money. So once a newcomer to this kind of printing sees what the range of Epson surfaces does for them, they can better target the third-party items of interest, get them custom profiled, and then they are on their way.

By the way, how do you like your 3800 (useability and quality of output)? I'm using a 4800 and considering switching to a 3800 (so I can use various papers without wasting 150 bucks on ink). So far all I've read and some output I've seen suggests it's a great printer, apart from the somewhat flimsy outer shell/paper handling mechanism.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2007, 04:39:00 PM »
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Diane, that's a nice newsy survey of some fine papers out there, and I agree with you and Nikos that the market for great papers goes well beyond Epson. That said, I see we're all agreed that Epson markets under its name a range of very satifscatory papers. I think for someone starting out, it is good to stick with the Epson papers for a while, because the variety is there, AND ALSO THE PROFILES, which I put in caps because it is so important. Epson happens to provide excellent profiles for the 3800/4800 printers, whereas sometimes profiles provided by speciality paper manufacturers are not the best. When branching away from Epson papers it is probably best to get a custom profile for each paper, which takes a bit of time and money. So once a newcomer to this kind of printing sees what the range of Epson surfaces does for them, they can better target the third-party items of interest, get them custom profiled, and then they are on their way.

By the way, how do you like your 3800 (useability and quality of output)? I'm using a 4800 and considering switching to a 3800 (so I can use various papers without wasting 150 bucks on ink). So far all I've read and some output I've seen suggests it's a great printer, apart from the somewhat flimsy outer shell/paper handling mechanism.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=106844\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Mark, guess I was referring to custom profiles, but I agree--easy to stick with Epson to begin with since their profiles are excellent--for the 3800 anyhow.  BTW--the PPLP profile works great with the Inkjetart.com MC luster--I find it better than theirs--and no need for a custom one on that paper.  Not so with some others.

I like the 3800 very much.  Since I print so much on fineart matte, I don't switch ink too often--and try to group papers when I print.  The ink wastage seems reasonable--though it would be nice if it didn't waste any LOL.

Diane
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« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2007, 05:22:28 PM »
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Thanks for the feedback Diane. My understanding is that we won't see a 3800 size up-grade from Epson for a good while, so the non-zero wastage for ink-switching will be with us for a while - at least on Epson printers. But your opinion of the print quality confirms what I've seen myself and what some other savvy users have also remarked.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2007, 01:21:27 AM »
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MarkDS,

I would wait a while before making a decision to switch from the 4800 to the 3800 if roll paper use were of any importance to me or if I was a heavy user. I have heard rumours from two dealer sources that the replacement of the 4800 will be announced within the year. I would be very surprised if the 4800 replacement doesn't use the 3800's black ink switching system.

Now these might end up being just that, rumours, but it sure seems reasonable that the 4800 will be the first printer Epson upgrades next(along with a rumoured new printer larger than the 9800).

Myself, I'm a happy 3800 user but then I'm a light user and roll paper is not too important for my needs.
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« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2007, 06:42:14 AM »
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Ugh, my browser crashed while I was trying to post my last msg.

Anyways, the 3800's output is outstanding.

However, there have been several reports of the 3800's default driver settings laying down way too much ink on Epson Enhanced Matte. This causes the paper to warp during printing and can lead to head strikes if you are printing close to the bottom edge of the paper. (Remember, the 3800 doesn't have a vaccuum system for keeping sheets flat.) This is also partly due to EEM being a generally thin paper (by matte paper standards). Of course you can work around this by controlling the ink density in the driver. And the head strikes can generally be avoided by increasing the Platen Gap. The warping of the sheet certainly goes away if you place the print somewhere and let it dry.

I'm just mentioning this here because this niggle with EEM on the 3800 has popped up quite a few times (not in these particular forums) so just wanted to pass it on.
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« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2007, 08:15:22 AM »
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Nikos, just yesterday I had a conversation with a knowledgeable person who said the 3800 won't be surpassed for at least a year, and we should not expect to see a repeat of the 4000/4800 business. While this information is useful, I think we need to get accustomed to the fact that the gestation period for new pro-printer models is in the 12~18 month range, so one buys when one wants the latest features of the new generation of printers and decides about up-grading as new options arise.

Eric, this is interesting and disturbing information. One would have hoped that Epson had tested for all this kind of stuff before they released the printer, but stranger things have happened. When seeing such reports, one wonders whether it is a design defect, or a few people with out-of-kilter machines who've had a problem that isn't necessarily generic to the model. One shouldn't discount the possibility of shipping and handling damage being the cause. I'd like to learn more about this issue and intend to follow-up on it - thanks for bringing it to our attention. I wouldn't like to have to play around with ink density in the driver - this is tricky business and has a major impact on image quality.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2007, 08:17:47 AM »
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Ugh, my browser crashed while I was trying to post my last msg.

Anyways, the 3800's output is outstanding.

However, there have been several reports of the 3800's default driver settings laying down way too much ink on Epson Enhanced Matte. This causes the paper to warp during printing and can lead to head strikes [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=106959\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Eric, just a follow-up: when you say you find the quality outstanding, two questions: (1) have you used Epson Enhanced Matte and found the results outstanding with that paper, and (2) have you experienced the over-inking issue you refer to? This is quite important to me because it is the paper I use most.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2007, 09:09:42 AM »
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Hi Mark,

Yes, I brought up the EEM issue specifically because I am aware that you use this paper extensively and thought you should be aware of it.

My big disclaimer here is that I have not personally used EEM on my 3800 yet. I am familiar with EEM and have used it on my older (and now retired) 2200. But I have not tried it on the 3800.

What I am mentioning above are reports from other users from other forums who have made calls to Epson Support because of their dissatisfaction with the results they are getting with the default settings on EEM on their 3800 machines. Now, in some cases, Epson Support determined that the customer's particular 3800 machine had a defective print head (sorry, I have no specifics here on how Epson Support made that determination) and sent a new 3800 to the customer overnight.

So it is entirely possible here that the reports only correspond to specific machines but not to the 3800 product as a whole. Still, I've been keeping an eye on it because the only negative reports I've seen regarding over-inking and too-dark prints coming out of the 3800 are with regards to EEM, and there's been a few (not a lot) of posts about this.

I may pick up some EEM paper before long (it's relatively inexpensive, after all) and do some tests myself, in which case I'll report back here.

The only two matte papers I've tried so far on the 3800 are Epson Velvet Fine Art and Moab Entrada Fine Art Natural 300, both with outstanding results, particularly the former. However, in both cases I am using custom RGB profiles (not the Epson-supplied or Moab-supplied profiles) and custom ABW profiles.

When I build custom profiles, I do experiment with the different Media Types, even for Epson's own papers. (Interestingly, the UltraSmooth Fine Art Media Type produced a deeper black on the Velvet Fine Art paper than when using the Velvet Fine Art Media Type ...). I did notice for both papers that the Enhanced Matte Media Type driver setting put down considerably more ink (or at least had a much darker curve) than either the USFA or VFA Media Types.
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« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2007, 10:06:09 AM »
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Nikos, just yesterday I had a conversation with a knowledgeable person who said the 3800 won't be surpassed for at least a year, and we should not expect to see a repeat of the 4000/4800 business.

I don't quite get what you're saying here. I'm not talking about the 3800 being surpassed, I'm talking about the 4800 being replaced. The 4800 was introduced May 2005 so a 2007 replacement won't be too surprising, especially considering the emerging competitive landscape and the infamous ink swap wastage problem.

As I said, these are only rumours which might well prove wrong.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2007, 10:15:48 AM by NikosR » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2007, 10:13:14 AM »
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Eric, thank you very much for clarifying all that, and once again thanks for bringing it to our collective attention. I do hope you test EEM on your machine and let us know what you find. (If I'm in your neighbourhood it will be worth at least a bottle of wine!) I find on my 4800 the ink laydown is substantial in the sense that the prints do come out a bit damp, and the deep shades are indeed deep. But overall, the image fidelity is excellent - when the print has been allowed to dry overnight and then compared with the monitor image (my monitor is calibrated at 110 cd luminance, 6500K white balance, which coheres well with Solux D50 illumination and matte paper - counter-intuitive but it works reliably). So I've looked upon this as normal for the media. Now if the 3800 is overly aggressive in this respect it would be an item of great interest.  I take your point that this could be largely a defective printer issue rather than a generic model issue, and worth keeping an eye on.

Cheers,

Mark
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