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Author Topic: Michael's Review of Epson 11880  (Read 10272 times)
jpgentry
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« on: February 03, 2008, 10:45:32 PM »
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I'm assuming the review was written by Michael.  I didn't see an author.

A few things to check:

The review says it's a 60 inch printer but it's actually 64.

The review says "It's noticeably faster than any other photographic printer that I've ever used, and this is with the driver set to its highest quality settings." and yet I'm sure he has used the ipf series which is quite a bit faster if not twice as fast from everything I've read and heard.

The review says: "The bottom line on this is that banding, head clogs, and all of the other ills which we've become accustomed to in inkjet printing appear to be a thing of the past."  This is great to hear though I've heard others complaining about clogs with this printer.  I would like to get a consensus if this printer is clog free or not.

The review mentions that Joseph Holmes has done an in depth review however what I was hoping this review would do is something practical like the camera reviews.  Take an image with a certain third party exotic high end paper and print it on the Z, the IPF and the 11880 and compare IN DEPTH.  I would like that comparison done on matte (how about Hahn Photo Rag) canvas (how about Fredrix or Breathing Color) and photo (how about the new baryta paper?  Check scratch resistence, speed, dmax, transitional quality, gamut of the custom created profiles for each paper type (total gamut volume would be ok) and maybe some mention of which printer is better in day to day use.  

The reviews on this site have usually been of a practical nature and I was hoping for that in this printer review.  

Bottom line is I appreciate the review but I was looking for a little more.  I think the printer is easily as important as the camera since this is like the tires on your car.  The print is where the rubber meets the road so to speak.

I'm thinking reviewers are getting tired of the technology changing so fast and so we don't see the depth to reviews anymore.  I can't totally fault them for that and I probably wouldn't do much better in their position.

-Jonathan
« Last Edit: February 03, 2008, 10:56:12 PM by jpgentry » Logged
Wayne Fox
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2008, 12:14:58 AM »
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I'm assuming the review was written by Michael.  I didn't see an author.

A few things to check:

The review says it's a 60 inch printer but it's actually 64.

The review says "It's noticeably faster than any other photographic printer that I've ever used, and this is with the driver set to its highest quality settings." and yet I'm sure he has used the ipf series which is quite a bit faster if not twice as fast from everything I've read and heard.

The review says: "The bottom line on this is that banding, head clogs, and all of the other ills which we've become accustomed to in inkjet printing appear to be a thing of the past."  This is great to hear though I've heard others complaining about clogs with this printer.  I would like to get a consensus if this printer is clog free or not.

The review mentions that Joseph Holmes has done an in depth review however what I was hoping this review would do is something practical like the camera reviews.  Take an image with a certain third party exotic high end paper and print it on the Z, the IPF and the 11880 and compare IN DEPTH.  I would like that comparison done on matte (how about Hahn Photo Rag) canvas (how about Fredrix or Breathing Color) and photo (how about the new baryta paper?  Check scratch resistence, speed, dmax, transitional quality, gamut of the custom created profiles for each paper type (total gamut volume would be ok) and maybe some mention of which printer is better in day to day use. 

The reviews on this site have usually been of a practical nature and I was hoping for that in this printer review. 

Bottom line is I appreciate the review but I was looking for a little more.  I think the printer is easily as important as the camera since this is like the tires on your car.  The print is where the rubber meets the road so to speak.

I'm thinking reviewers are getting tired of the technology changing so fast and so we don't see the depth to reviews anymore.  I can't totally fault them for that and I probably wouldn't do much better in their position.

-Jonathan
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=172134\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I have both an 11880 and an ipf6100.   The 11880 is substantially faster than any other Epson and seems as fast, if not faster, than the Canon.  Since I don't have an ipf9100, it's hard to compare which is actually faster, since printing on 24" paper gimps the 11880.  I have a 24"x60" panorama I'm getting ready to print, and most likely will try both printers.  I have 60" paper for the Epson.  I would be very surprised if the Canon printed it faster.  But this gimps the Canon.  All I can say is don't use the speed of any current Epson be a guide, because the 11880 is in a different league (in more than just speed).

As far as clogs, I've been running this printer since the first part of November.  I went through all of the starter cartridges relatively quickly, and am well into my first set of 700ml cartridges.  I had one minor clog very early on, requiring clearing of only one channel.  Since then no clogs, including after leaving the machine off for over 3 weeks while away during the holidays.

Extensive reviewing of printers is very time consuming - much more so than cameras.  It also tends to be very subjective, so tough to say how useful it would be anyway.  So what you end up with are "diaries", which are very helpful if you buy the same printer, but not as much if you are deciding which one to buy, because there is always a level of bias.

I spent quite a bit of time at PMA looking at output in Canon's, Epson's, and HP's booth.  The 11880 prints  were probably the most stunning prints I have ever seen.  I'm sure who took them and who printed them had a lot to do with it, since both are world class, but I believe the 11880 had something to do with it as well.  (Not that the others weren't really good.  But you have to see these prints in person to really appreciate what I'm talking about.)
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2008, 03:15:33 AM »
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If speed has to be compared it would be a fair game when the HP Z6100 was included. The Z3100 or Z2100 were never advertised as the speed champions but they are faster than the Epson 9800 generation and probably still faster than the 9880 + 7880 updates of that generation.


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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2008, 09:40:19 AM »
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Michael,
You state in your 11880 review:  "What's Next?

Certainly with its new head technology the 11880 portends what we can eventually expect from Epson printers of somewhat smaller width. Clearly there will be 17", 24" and 48" printers feature these new heads..."

Is your projection of a 48" printer a typo (meaning 4880 series) or have you heard hat a 48" printer is in the works?  I ask because I am due for an upgrade from my 9600 and will pass on the 9880 if a 48" printer is on the horizon.  

I've contacted a dealer regarding a 48" printer and this was his response:  "Inevitably there will be replacements to the x880 printers. I would be very surprised if they come out this year but I am not aware of Epson's schedule. Also, 48" sounds completely out of the realm...maybe that was a typo? You never know..."

Any clarification on this would be much appreciated as I'd rather not replace my 9600 twice in one year, first with a 9880 and next with a 48" printer if this is in fact in the pipeline.

Thanks,
Lawrence
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jpgentry
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2008, 04:34:49 PM »
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I'm quite sure that was another typo.  I meant to include that in my initial post of possible mistakes with the review.

-Jonathan

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Michael,
You state in your 11880 review:† "What's Next?

Certainly with its new head technology the 11880 portends what we can eventually expect from Epson printers of somewhat smaller width. Clearly there will be 17", 24" and 48" printers feature these new heads..."

Is your projection of a 48" printer a typo (meaning 4880 series) or have you heard hat a 48" printer is in the works?† I ask because I am due for an upgrade from my 9600 and will pass on the 9880 if a 48" printer is on the horizon.†

I've contacted a dealer regarding a 48" printer and this was his response:† "Inevitably there will be replacements to the x880 printers. I would be very surprised if they come out this year but I am not aware of Epson's schedule. Also, 48" sounds completely out of the realm...maybe that was a typo? You never know..."

Any clarification on this would be much appreciated as I'd rather not replace my 9600 twice in one year, first with a 9880 and next with a 48" printer if this is in fact in the pipeline.

Thanks,
Lawrence
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=172214\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
« Last Edit: February 04, 2008, 04:53:55 PM by jpgentry » Logged
jpgentry
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2008, 04:48:19 PM »
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I have both an 11880 and an ipf6100.†† The 11880 is substantially faster than any other Epson and seems as fast, if not faster, than the Canon.† Since I don't have an ipf9100, it's hard to compare which is actually faster, since printing on 24" paper gimps the 11880.† I have a 24"x60" panorama I'm getting ready to print, and most likely will try both printers.† I have 60" paper for the Epson.† I would be very surprised if the Canon printed it faster.† But this gimps the Canon.† All I can say is don't use the speed of any current Epson be a guide, because the 11880 is in a different league (in more than just speed).

Wayne, this is news to me.  It would not gimp the 11880 as I want to know what "technology" is faster.  Obviously a 60 inch printer can move a higher volume of media printing a 60 inch wide swath vs a 24 inch swath.  I just want to know which head moves the paper faster at 24inches or any similar width.  Please time a 24 inch print through both printers and let me know.  I really will be surprised and somewhat excited if the Epson is faster.  Speed is a big criteria for me and if the Epson is faster I would most likely switch technolgy at my next purchase.

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As far as clogs, I've been running this printer since the first part of November.† I went through all of the starter cartridges relatively quickly, and am well into my first set of 700ml cartridges.† I had one minor clog very early on, requiring clearing of only one channel.† Since then no clogs, including after leaving the machine off for over 3 weeks while away during the holidays.

Good to hear that there are few clogs.

Quote
Extensive reviewing of printers is very time consuming - much more so than cameras.† It also tends to be very subjective, so tough to say how useful it would be anyway.† So what you end up with are "diaries", which are very helpful if you buy the same printer, but not as much if you are deciding which one to buy, because there is always a level of bias.

I realize they are time consuming but I would not agree that they are more time consuming than cameras.  Especially if you look at the reviews on dpreview.com where they look at noise, dynamic range sharpness and many other variables.  Obviously some aspects are subjective, but specifications like dmax, gamut volume and coverage of color space are not subjective on given papers.  They are what they are and as long as the same profiling equipment is used it would be of value as a direct comparison.

Quote
I spent quite a bit of time at PMA looking at output in Canon's, Epson's, and HP's booth.† The 11880 prints† were probably the most stunning prints I have ever seen.† I'm sure who took them and who printed them had a lot to do with it, since both are world class, but I believe the 11880 had something to do with it as well.† (Not that the others weren't really good.† But you have to see these prints in person to really appreciate what I'm talking about.)

It does not surprise me that you were impressed by the Epson booth as they tend to have the best talent backing them for their display output.  

I was under the impression from what you said with your own apples to apples test that output was (your quote on January 26 after direct comparison between the ipf and 11880): "If I look very hard for a long time, I begin to see some extremely subtle differences. This applies equally to the 11880 prints on the two different papers. Despite a 10% larger gamut volume, there really isn't any difference in the two prints."


Let me know if anything has changed since then?  Have you done further testing or are you just more impressed with the display prints at the show?
« Last Edit: February 04, 2008, 05:02:31 PM by jpgentry » Logged
michael
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2008, 05:45:25 PM »
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A couple of typos. Sorry.

The 11880 is definitely faster than the 6100.

I've printed the same images extensively with the HP Z3100, Canon iPF6100, Epson 3800, 7800 and 11880, all of which are currently resident at my studio. I've made my commentary in the review.

What more would you like?

Michael
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Paul Kerfoot
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2008, 07:02:38 PM »
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Although the Epson 11880 is way more printer than I need,  its technology should filter down into the printers I find useful.  
    I gather from reading Michaels review it still cannot accomodate both photo & matte black simultaneously (9 heads and 10 inks) after all this time.  I don't think Epson believes wasting ink is a problem for its users.
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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2008, 07:22:53 PM »
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I gather from reading Michaels review it still cannot accomodate both photo & matte black simultaneously (9 heads and 10 inks) after all this time.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=172349\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The 11880 (like the 3800) has all 9 inks on board and uses a black ink gate at the head to switch. The 11880 switches even quicker than the 3800 and uses very little ink to do the switch.
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michael
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2008, 09:02:52 PM »
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I stated that the 11880 has a 9 channel head. Sorry that it wasn't clear from this that the printer auto switches blacks, as Jeff has indicated.

Michael
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2008, 11:08:16 PM »
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It does not surprise me that you were impressed by the Epson booth as they tend to have the best talent backing them for their display output. 

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=172330\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I've never really taken the time to look at prints this closely before, and portraits by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders using 8x10 (and perhaps even 11x14) view cameras, and printed I am assuming by Nash Editions ... as I mentioned world class.  Perhaps the most enjoyable part of my 2 days at the show was admiring these incredible prints.

Quote
The 11880 (like the 3800) has all 9 inks on board and uses a black ink gate at the head to switch. The 11880 switches even quicker than the 3800 and uses very little ink to do the switch.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=172355\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The 11880 uses a black ink gate in the head?  Curious as to why, with 9 inks and 9 individual channels.  Thought it was identical to the competitors, real time switching and zero ink required for the switch.  I've seen no activity in the printer when switching. Not that it matters either way because it works very well ...  as I said just curious as to how it works.
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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2008, 02:28:59 AM »
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The 11880 uses a black ink gate in the head?  Curious as to why, with 9 inks and 9 individual channels.  Thought it was identical to the competitors, real time switching and zero ink required for the switch.  I've seen no activity in the printer when switching. Not that it matters either way because it works very well ...  as I said just curious as to how it works.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

If it is true then it can not fire the two black channels at the same time which would make a quad B&W configuration like the HP Z3100 has in some matte media presets impossible. There's an analogy with the Epson 4000 that has PK and MK channels available at the same time but can not use them together, not even when driven by QTR as Roy discovered. Backed in the firmware. The Epson 4800, in many aspects the same printer hardware, can be driven at 8 channels at the same time.

I doubt there's a real hardware valve acting as a switch like on the 3800 as I do not see a good reason for that. There are enough printers, including Epsons, working with some channels idle because the ink isn't required for that print or the media preset doesn't include it. I would think nozzles clogging or ink dripping can not be the reason for that decision. But maybe at that head speed other phenomena happen with PiŽzo heads.


Ernst Dinkla

try: [a href=\"http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/]http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/[/url]
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Bob Casner
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2008, 02:51:10 PM »
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Wayne,

I attended a gallery show at the Bergamot Station complex in Santa Monica some time ago of Timothy Greenfield-Sanders' "XXX: 30 Porn Star Portraits" that were gorgeous 40X50" prints (two for each subject, one clothed, one unclothed), among the best I've ever seen. The gallery price list stated that they were printed by Gabe Greenberg at Greenberg Editions. I was wondering about the paper used and e-mailed Gabe with my question - he said it was all Hahnemuhle (sp.?) Photo Rag. I note that Tim is still listed as one of Gabe's clients on his web site.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2008, 02:57:14 PM »
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If it is true then it can not fire the two black channels at the same time which would make a quad B&W configuration like the HP Z3100 has in some matte media presets impossible. There's an analogy with the Epson 4000 that has PK and MK channels available at the same time but can not use them together, not even when driven by QTR as Roy discovered. Backed in the firmware. The Epson 4800, in many aspects the same printer hardware, can be driven at 8 channels at the same time.

I doubt there's a real hardware valve acting as a switch like on the 3800 as I do not see a good reason for that. There are enough printers, including Epsons, working with some channels idle because the ink isn't required for that print or the media preset doesn't include it. I would think nozzles clogging or ink dripping can not be the reason for that decision. But maybe at that head speed other phenomena happen with PiŽzo heads.
Ernst Dinkla

try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=172412\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I can see some logic in that ... the printer only uses 8 of 9 at any given time, and may even "gate" off the one not used part of the time to aid in nozzle clogs, etc.

 So not exactly the same as a 3800, but some similarities. Net effect to the end user is real time switching and virtually no ink loss, as Jeff pointed out.
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Sven W
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2008, 03:33:38 PM »
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If it is true then it can not fire the two black channels at the same time which would make a quad B&W configuration like the HP Z3100 has in some matte media presets impossible. There's an analogy with the Epson 4000 that has PK and MK channels available at the same time but can not use them together, not even when driven by QTR as Roy discovered. Backed in the firmware. The Epson 4800, in many aspects the same printer hardware, can be driven at 8 channels at the same time.

I doubt there's a real hardware valve acting as a switch like on the 3800 as I do not see a good reason for that. There are enough printers, including Epsons, working with some channels idle because the ink isn't required for that print or the media preset doesn't include it. I would think nozzles clogging or ink dripping can not be the reason for that decision. But maybe at that head speed other phenomena happen with PiŽzo heads.
Ernst Dinkla

try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=172412\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, thats right...9 channels, 9 inks but shooting 8 at the time. And I've never thought about switch-time. Or I've never noticed any delay before printing a USFA and the next print, PrLuster.
I think Wayne is right; it just block the channel that's not in use.
But why do you want to use both Mk and Pk at the same time?
/Sven
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« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2008, 03:41:08 PM »
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Thanks for the review Michael.
Surprisingly there has been very little, apart from Joseph Holmes ,  in the way of reviews of the 11880. I know it's a big mother and most people in Print Land use the little nippers, but the technology of the 11880 is one to watch, as it will trickle down. The 800 series are really stopgaps and do not constitute a major upgrade.
As far as clogs go I would expect the 11880 to be significantly better than previous Epsons due to what I hear are new nozzle coatings (probably poly tetra fluoro ethylene or similar) . How this pans out over time  and with the use of lots of cotton papers will not be revealed  in a review of relatively new printers. Even the clog prone 4000 I have took some 9 months of constant use before the clogging started. After a professional service there were again no clogs for several months. A similar pattern , at a lower clog rate, occurred with the 9800.
Another time dependant factor is the need to reprofile due to head wear. This should be where piezo should come out on top. The provision of on board spectros is fine for average users but will not satisfy critical studios who significantly modify out of the box profiles to extract maximum luminosity and other perceptual qualities . Comparisons of gamut volumes tell us little about how a print looks. Two profiles may have the same volume but one can produce a much richer print by the expansion in colourfulness of dark saturated colours and the modification of tonal separation in the dark tones. On board spectros and standard software application will not do this. It requires highly skilled profile editing .This is not something one would like to contemplate with , say , a dozen different papers on a printer where the heads wear out progessively to extinction over a year or so.In addition several profiles may be necessary for the same paper for different viewing conditions and with different methods of interpretation of perceptual renderings.
I am surprised that there has been little discussion about this in the rush to HP and Canon printers .
Me? I have seen no revue that convinces me that HP or Canon are yet producing a high end art printer. Unless something revolutionary happens very soon, I'm getting a 11880.
Cheers,
Brian
www.pharoseditions.com.au
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2008, 04:11:10 PM »
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Yes, thats right...9 channels, 9 inks but shooting 8 at the time. And I've never thought about switch-time. Or I've never noticed any delay before printing a USFA and the next print, PrLuster.
I think Wayne is right; it just block the channel that's not in use.
But why do you want to use both Mk and Pk at the same time?
/Sven
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

In the case of the Epson 4000 it could have been used for quad inks in different varieties driven by QTR. With Imageprint it could have delivered the opposite of the "Phatte" solution they made for the 9600-9800, in this case allowing the 4000 to act like a 4800.

The Z3100 uses MK + PK + Middle Grey + Light Grey in some matte media presets. The PK is just gray enough on some matte papers to be placed between MK and middle gray. But the PK still delivers enough Dmax on gloss with or without the gloss enhancer. It depends on the Epson inks whether that would have worked, I had a similar quad inkset with MK + PK on an Epson 9000 but that was more to compensate the flaws of the MK head. A thing you don't need on a self healing HP Z3100. Not everyone in this thread will believe that I think :-)


Ernst Dinkla

try: [a href=\"http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/]http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/[/url]
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« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2008, 04:57:22 PM »
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Do a manual nozzle check on an 11880 and you get 9 colour swatches (it runs Vivid Light Magent, Light Light Black, Photo Black, Light Black, Light Cyan, Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Matte Black, Yellow).

So there's no gate or swap.  There's 9 channels in the print head for 9 inks.  In the single print for the nozzle check it puts down both matte and photo blacks.  You can see the difference between the PK and MK.  The MK "falls between" PK and LK on Epson Premium Luster 260, but not halfway - to my eye, it's about 25/75 split and closer to PK, but that's not a scientific test :-)

For more confirmation, go into the maintenance menu on the control panel and into the cleaning menu.  You can clean channels in groups (rather than all at once).

The available combinations are C/VM, PK, MK/Y, LLK/LK, VLM/LC.  So all pairs except for PK (well, there's 9, so you can't have all pairs!).  If the PK and MK were simply gated then the option to do PK by itself couldn't exist.

So there's no doubt it's a 9 channel head - one for each ink - and there's no "swapping" so there's no loss of ink at all and no delay at all.
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jpgentry
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« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2008, 05:41:56 PM »
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Michael,

Could you (or Wayne) please do me a favor and print an image on an 8.5x11 (larger would be better) and let me know what the time comparison is?  

Regarding print speeds here is a quote from a Canon document which compares the 11880 to the ipf9100:

"EPSON STYLUS PRO 11880 64Ē WIDE-FORMAT PRINTER

Customers who need to work efficiently may be frustrated by the Stylus Pro 11880 printerís slow throughput speeds.  In Fine Mode (720 dpi), it prints at approximately 51 ft.2/hr.; in SuperPhoto Mode, it slows down to around 24 ft.2/hr., making it approximately 60% to 70% slower than the iPF9100 printer."

I found this quote in a document available here:
http://www.digitalgraphicsresources.com/Pr...ive%20Guide.pdf

Of course this doesn't jibe with what you're saying so I'm trying to get to the bottom of this.

-Jonathan
« Last Edit: February 05, 2008, 09:31:22 PM by jpgentry » Logged
Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2008, 02:21:08 AM »
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Do a manual nozzle check on an 11880 and you get 9 colour swatches (it runs Vivid Light Magent, Light Light Black, Photo Black, Light Black, Light Cyan, Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Matte Black, Yellow).

So there's no gate or swap.  There's 9 channels in the print head for 9 inks.  In the single print for the nozzle check it puts down both matte and photo blacks.  You can see the difference between the PK and MK.  The MK "falls between" PK and LK on Epson Premium Luster 260, but not halfway - to my eye, it's about 25/75 split and closer to PK, but that's not a scientific test :-)

For more confirmation, go into the maintenance menu on the control panel and into the cleaning menu.  You can clean channels in groups (rather than all at once).

The available combinations are C/VM, PK, MK/Y, LLK/LK, VLM/LC.  So all pairs except for PK (well, there's 9, so you can't have all pairs!).  If the PK and MK were simply gated then the option to do PK by itself couldn't exist.

So there's no doubt it's a 9 channel head - one for each ink - and there's no "swapping" so there's no loss of ink at all and no delay at all.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That settles any discussion about a hardware switch/valve etc. then. I do not know whether the Epson 4000 can print an 8 channel nozzle check but it was advertised with the "7 ink, 8 channel" description and you can not use the 8 channels together from any driver. That question remains open for the 11880. Is it advertised as 8 color, 9 channels ?

I expect the 11880 will do all the B&W printing then still with MK, Middle Gray, Light Gray and with some LC, LM, Y composite gray for the highlights and some color to make the warm Epson K range neutral. That has been the case with all 8 and 7 color models before it.


Ernst Dinkla

try: [a href=\"http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/]http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/[/url]
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