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Author Topic: New Epson printer help please  (Read 6462 times)
Greg Haag
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« on: May 07, 2008, 07:50:49 AM »
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I am getting ready to order a new Epson printer and having a hard time deciding between the 3800, 4880 or the 7880. I was hoping someone with experience with these might share their insight. Is the vivid magenta important? Thanks for you help.
Greg
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routlaw
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2008, 08:55:01 AM »
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I am getting ready to order a new Epson printer and having a hard time deciding between the 3800, 4880 or the 7880. I was hoping someone with experience with these might share their insight. Is the vivid magenta important? Thanks for you help.
Greg
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Greg if I were you I would wait awhile. Epson is supposed to announce some new 10 channel printers later this month at Drupa in Germany called the 4900 and 9900. No one at this point knows much about them but there are tons of speculation on what they will be.

To that let me also add the following, these new printers are nice and do have some added benefits over the older class of machines such as the 9600 which I own. However in a direct comparison using the Bill Atkinson printer test file we found the 9600 produced on the whole a better looking image than did the x880, deeper reds, richer yellows and in general a more 3D sort of look. Where the x880 excelled was with a reduced gloss differential which does make a big difference if you are printing luster, gloss, silver rag etc. With mat papers it matters not. Fine detail was also better with the newer printers but you had to really squint to see it. And grayscale was noticeably more neutral with slightly better dmax. Transitions into shadows seemed a bit more refined and smoother.

Suffice it to say these were some very surprising results that on the whole when viewing color images the 9600 prints looked as good and better in some areas. We also compared the same printer file with the Hp z3100 and found those to be totally lacking actually quite poor, so much so I had another owner of the 3100 print a second one this time a on different paper the HP luster. It was much better but still lacked the photorealistic look of either of the Epson prints. The HP did have the best gray scale the second time around but the color and detail were just not in the same league as the Epsons.

Hope this helps.
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Greg Haag
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2008, 09:01:41 AM »
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Greg if I were you I would wait awhile. Epson is supposed to announce some new 10 channel printers later this month at Drupa in Germany called the 4900 and 9900. No one at this point knows much about them but there are tons of speculation on what they will be.

To that let me also add the following, these new printers are nice and do have some added benefits over the older class of machines such as the 9600 which I own. However in a direct comparison using the Bill Atkinson printer test file we found the 9600 produced on the whole a better looking image than did the x880, deeper reds, richer yellows and in general a more 3D sort of look. Where the x880 excelled was with a reduced gloss differential which does make a big difference if you are printing luster, gloss, silver rag etc. With mat papers it matters not. Fine detail was also better with the newer printers but you had to really squint to see it. And grayscale was noticeably more neutral with slightly better dmax. Transitions into shadows seemed a bit more refined and smoother.

Suffice it to say these were some very surprising results that on the whole when viewing color images the 9600 prints looked as good and better in some areas. We also compared the same printer file with the Hp z3100 and found those to be totally lacking actually quite poor, so much so I had another owner of the 3100 print a second one this time a on different paper the HP luster. It was much better but still lacked the photorealistic look of either of the Epson prints. The HP did have the best gray scale the second time around but the color and detail were just not in the same league as the Epsons.

Hope this helps.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=194113\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks for your detailed response.  My problem is that my current printer is giving me some trouble so I may not be able to wait.  One other consideration is that I will be printing canvas and  I have had some suggest that I would regret not going up to the 9880, any thoughts.  Any guess on how long before these new printers would likely be available?
Thanks,
Greg
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routlaw
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2008, 09:57:13 AM »
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Thanks for your detailed response.  My problem is that my current printer is giving me some trouble so I may not be able to wait.  One other consideration is that I will be printing canvas and  I have had some suggest that I would regret not going up to the 9880, any thoughts.  Any guess on how long before these new printers would likely be available?
Thanks,
Greg
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=194116\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Its hard to say but the general consensus would be sometime in the summer or autumn of this year, but trying to second guess manufacturers especially in this economy might be an exercise in futility. Not sure what is meant by others comment when speaking of the advantage of using the x880 for canvas. I print tons of canvas on my 9600 and have not had a problem with it in that regards.

What problems are you having with your current model of printer, and which model is it? If you have an x600 most issues can be resolved fairly easy and without too much expense usually. And if you have some mechanical ability much of the work can be done by you. Its really not that hard to work on them.

Rob
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neil snape
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2008, 10:59:16 AM »
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Suffice it to say these were some very surprising results that on the whole when viewing color images the 9600 prints looked as good and better in some areas. We also compared the same printer file with the Hp z3100 and found those to be totally lacking actually quite poor, so much so I had another owner of the 3100 print a second one this time a on different paper the HP luster. It was much better but still lacked the photorealistic look of either of the Epson prints. The HP did have the best gray scale the second time around but the color and detail were just not in the same league as the Epsons.


[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=194113\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I really like the image quality of the Epson and in many cases they are simply hard to beat.
The next generation will again be another evolution from a very good starting point.
No doubt HP and Canon will also release evolutions in a similar vain.

Yet I am not sure how the 9600 would do better in reds than the newer inkset other than perhaps on matte paper.
I have done a lot of image quality assessments of all the recent printers in lab conditions and have to say that all three printers are very close. Never did we see anything that could be remotely described as you have produced on a Z (production) printer. I suppose that if the person printing could not understand the standard printing methods on which print evaluation should be done.
If done correctly any of the three makers should produce prints on par for image quality for the majority of images whatever their nature maybe. That is what Michael says, what many others say and definitely what I saw in print eval of the three makes. I'd be surprised to know that the older Epson UC inkset would be considered better than the K3 or better Vivid Magenta.

For the OP, I'd suggest if at all possible wait until Drupa for the next Epson line up, or anything else that may come up.
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dilip
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2008, 11:06:54 AM »
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Thanks for your detailed response.  My problem is that my current printer is giving me some trouble so I may not be able to wait.  One other consideration is that I will be printing canvas and  I have had some suggest that I would regret not going up to the 9880, any thoughts.  Any guess on how long before these new printers would likely be available?
Thanks,
Greg
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=194116\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Though the 3800 can be used with canvas, it isn't "supported" per se, and involves working around some issues.  Although it is excellent, there is no roll support, which may have disadvantages to you.  Then again, it's small foot print means that it was able to find a home on my desk.

One advantage of waiting from the announcement (even if you don't buy one of the announced printers) is that the prices may start to go down once the new models are announced.

Of the three printers you mentioned, the 3800 is the only one that doesn't undergo a large ink consumption on changing between matte and photo black.  Less of an issue if you predominantly print one or the other.

--dilip
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markbarone
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2008, 11:29:49 AM »
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I went through this exact issue about one month ago.  And I decided to buy the SP7880.  

I could not afford to wait for Epson's next printer generation.  I can say,  if you buy a SP7880 or SP9880 now,  you will not regret it.  Again,  I can't imagine how Epson will beat the print quality of these printers.  I've run some tough print files through Canon, HP, and Epson.  Epson beat them hands down.  Both color and black and white print quality are amazing.

IMO, the vivid magenta inks did not make a huge difference in image quality.  If you only require 17" wide prints,  then I would go for the SP3800.  I don't own one,  but from the prints I saw, the image quality is identical to the SP7880 or SP9880 printers.  And unlike the SP4880,  it auto switches between matte and photo black inks.

It's nice to have such amazing options to choose from!
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Sharon Van Lieu
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2008, 11:37:20 AM »
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I have only used the 3800. I'm so impressed with how easy it is to print with. Much easier than my 2200 was. Makes me want to try one of the larger printers!
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Greg Haag
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2008, 04:47:47 PM »
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Thanks everyone for the help!  I ordered the 9880 today and hope to have it the middle of next week.
Thanks again,
Greg
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2008, 10:06:26 PM »
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Greg if I were you I would wait awhile. Epson is supposed to announce some new 10 channel printers later this month at Drupa in Germany called the 4900 and 9900. No one at this point knows much about them but there are tons of speculation on what they will be.

To that let me also add the following, these new printers are nice and do have some added benefits over the older class of machines such as the 9600 which I own. However in a direct comparison using the Bill Atkinson printer test file we found the 9600 produced on the whole a better looking image than did the x880, deeper reds, richer yellows and in general a more 3D sort of look. Where the x880 excelled was with a reduced gloss differential which does make a big difference if you are printing luster, gloss, silver rag etc. With mat papers it matters not. Fine detail was also better with the newer printers but you had to really squint to see it. And grayscale was noticeably more neutral with slightly better dmax. Transitions into shadows seemed a bit more refined and smoother.

Suffice it to say these were some very surprising results that on the whole when viewing color images the 9600 prints looked as good and better in some areas. We also compared the same printer file with the Hp z3100 and found those to be totally lacking actually quite poor, so much so I had another owner of the 3100 print a second one this time a on different paper the HP luster. It was much better but still lacked the photorealistic look of either of the Epson prints. The HP did have the best gray scale the second time around but the color and detail were just not in the same league as the Epsons.

Hope this helps.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=194113\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I have to strongly disagree with you on this. I've owned and used an Epson 7600 since shortly after it came out. My current "working" printer is an HP Z3100, which I've been using for over a year; hence I'm quite experienced in the use of both printers. I'm not sure what you're doing wrong if you find prints from the Z3100 "totally lacking". Output quality from both these printer families is certainly sensitive to paper choice among other variables. On cotton rag/matte fine art papers the Epson 7600 still does a very good job; in truth the 4800/7800 are no better on such papers. On semigloss or luster papers the 7600/9600 is much weaker, with a mediocre D-max and lots of gloss differential. By comparison the Z3100 has a far better D-max on luster/gloss papers, visibly better D-max on rag papers, and far superior neutrality and overall black & white output quality. For color printing you do need to pick the correct paper preset and profile intelligently to get optimal results. The Z3100 is marginally weaker in dark saturated red/orange than the Epsons on satin/luster/gloss papers, and visibly weaker on cotton rag stock. On the other hand it's significantly better in the green/blue/cyan direction. Overall I've seen a significant improvement in print quality with the Z3100 over the Epson 7600.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2008, 01:21:16 AM »
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Overall I've seen a significant improvement in print quality with the Z3100 over the Epson 7600.
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I'm not sure how this is helpful.  I'm glad your z is better than these ancient printers ( I would hope so) but this doesn't seem to be very relevant

I've spent 2 weeks with a z3100 ... I wanted so much to buy this printer because of the GO. Bottom line after two weeks, I preferred the output of my 9800 (the printer I had when trying the z3100).  Now I'm glad I didn't buy the HP, because personally I feel the 3800, 11880 and ipf6100 I now have all beat the quality of the 4800 and 9800 printers I had.  The 9880 I profiled for a good friend also was a nice upgrade over his 9800.

Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying the z3100 output is bad.  But as one who as worked with all of them, including profiling and printing the same prints, I think it's currently the weakest of the offerings out there

As far as the OP, the vivid magenta inkset does expand the gamut, but the 3800 output is still terrific.

This is a simplified version of how I see it ...

The main advantages of the 3800 is the ease and cost of mk/pk switching, lower cost of the printer, and very nice compact size as compared to the others.
The main advantage I see of the 4880 is the paper feed tray if you are doing a lot of cut sheets on papers that work in the feeder, and the ability to use rolls.
The main advantages of the 7880 is ease of using rolls, ease of manual paper feed for thicker stocks of paper, and it's 24" wide.
The main advantage of the 9880 over the 7880 is it's 44" wide (yes, obvious, but the fact is there really isn't anything else that's different).

One last comment, if you think you will be switching inks more often than infrequently, the ipfx100 series canon printers have outstanding quality as well.  You may wish to look at them.
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eronald
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2008, 02:51:07 AM »
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The big advantage HP have now is their built-in spectro. For users with neither time nor ability to color manage their systems this is a killer feature as they'll get decent color from whatever paper they're using - a badly profiled Epson or Canon looks very bad.

I just bought a scrapped Epson 9600. What strikes me is the incredible build toughness of the thing. As you can see on the Yahoo group, a lot of people are doing the maintenance on these themselves, and they just keep going. I've decided to pay to have mine overhauled, because the print quality of this antique is very good, and I think it'll last several years more.

The build quality of the Epson is there in the newer models too.

Edmund
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mmurph
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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2008, 10:05:47 AM »
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I just bought a scrapped Epson 9600. What strikes me is the incredible build toughness of the thing.

I have two Epson 7600's. I am picking up a 9600 from a friend next week. I am really looking forward to the ability to print 44".

These are great machines. As mentioned, they are true production machines built to keep going, all day, every day.

The 7600/9600 do a great job with the Ultrachrome K2 inks on matte paper.  (I think that was the gist of the discussion above.)

When I bought my 7880, my dealer told me I would not see much difference between the 7600 and the 7880 on matte.  Many others confirmed this.

There is no question, however, that the newer 7880/Z3100/3800 etc. have significant improvements in gamut, bronzing, gloss differential, and metamersim over the 7600/9600.  I am still happy running Epson Premium Luster and even Epson Exhibition Fiber and Harman Gloss Ai prints off of the 7600 though.

Where these machines really shine, though, is if you start to get into alternative ink sets. They are the last of the wide format machines that are still relatively "open". That is, you can get into 3 different, detailed maintenance menus to do what ever you need to maintain/update the machines.

Resetting the maintenace tank, switching to dye inks, turning off the chip system for the inks so that you can use other cartridges, etc.  You can also swap from Mastte Black to Photo Black pretty easily.  Just swap carts and run out the ink in the black line only (the "South African" method. That should have been SOP on all the large format  Epson machines!)

My dealer offered me $650 for my 7600 in trade on the 7880.  I was going to do it. Then I thought that, for less than the cost of an Epson 2400, I had this **great** print engine for whatever inks I wanted to run in it. Much easier to refill the 220ml carts than bother with a CIS on the small systems too.  

I have one 7600 with cheap dye inks that I use for large, cheap proofs (under $2 for a 24x36.) Another is running some B&W inks that I mixed for about $30 per liter (using Paul Roark's Carbon 6 mixing directions.)

I really love these machines!       They are the last, great, open print engines for those of us who want to run our own ink sets.  Still need to keep a newer machine around for production work for some clients though.

Best,
Michael
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mmurph
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« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2008, 03:13:55 PM »
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I ordered the 9880 today and hope to have it the middle of next week.

Fantastic!

Did you grab 3 free rolls of canvas for the free paper? Good value in those at about $230 each, even at atlex.com

Do you qualify for the $500 rebate?

Good luck.  Have fun!  
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tonypassera
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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2008, 12:26:45 PM »
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I have two Epson 7600's. I am picking up a 9600 from a friend next week. I am really looking forward to the ability to print 44".

These are great machines. As mentioned, they are true production machines built to keep going, all day, every day.

The 7600/9600 do a great job with the Ultrachrome K2 inks on matte paper.  (I think that was the gist of the discussion above.)

When I bought my 7880, my dealer told me I would not see much difference between the 7600 and the 7880 on matte.  Many others confirmed this.

There is no question, however, that the newer 7880/Z3100/3800 etc. have significant improvements in gamut, bronzing, gloss differential, and metamersim over the 7600/9600.  I am still happy running Epson Premium Luster and even Epson Exhibition Fiber and Harman Gloss Ai prints off of the 7600 though.

Where these machines really shine, though, is if you start to get into alternative ink sets. They are the last of the wide format machines that are still relatively "open". That is, you can get into 3 different, detailed maintenance menus to do what ever you need to maintain/update the machines.

Resetting the maintenace tank, switching to dye inks, turning off the chip system for the inks so that you can use other cartridges, etc.  You can also swap from Mastte Black to Photo Black pretty easily.  Just swap carts and run out the ink in the black line only (the "South African" method. That should have been SOP on all the large format  Epson machines!)

My dealer offered me $650 for my 7600 in trade on the 7880.  I was going to do it. Then I thought that, for less than the cost of an Epson 2400, I had this **great** print engine for whatever inks I wanted to run in it. Much easier to refill the 220ml carts than bother with a CIS on the small systems too. 

I have one 7600 with cheap dye inks that I use for large, cheap proofs (under $2 for a 24x36.) Another is running some B&W inks that I mixed for about $30 per liter (using Paul Roark's Carbon 6 mixing directions.)

I really love these machines!       They are the last, great, open print engines for those of us who want to run our own ink sets.  Still need to keep a newer machine around for production work for some clients though.

Best,
Michael
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Michael,
I have an Epson 7600 and didn't know i could do things like resetting the maintenance
tank and switching glossy/black inks using the "South African" method, etc.  
Where i can get information on how to do these things?
Thanks,
Tony
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mmurph
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« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2008, 02:29:58 PM »
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Where i can get information on how to do these things?
Thanks,
Tony

Tony,

The Yaho Epson Wide Format forum has a lot of good information.

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/EpsonWideFormat/messages


If you do searches you should find information on most of those types of changes. The "Files" section and "Links" section also has useful information on repairs, etc.

Here is a link to the thread on swapping inks from Photo Black to Matte Black, etc.  There is also a summary at Digital Outback Photo in the Epson 9600 diary:

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/EpsonWi...t/message/43923

E-mail with questions or manuals if you like.  I didn't start playing with the 7600/9600 too much until it was no loinger my only printer that I depended on!  Good luck!

Best,
Michael
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