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Author Topic: The "big three" 24 inch inkjets - which to choose?  (Read 6686 times)
Dan Wells
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« on: January 11, 2009, 10:20:59 PM »
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My D3x has so much resolution that it has put me in the market for a 24 inch inkjet in the next several months. My present printer is an iPF5000, which I like very well in general (the well-known "set paper type in several places" bug is annoying, as is the fact that the ink is never discounted, unlike Epson and HP). I print high-detail landscapes, mostly on Hahnemuhle FA Baryta. Given that I know the iPF5000 well, the iPF6100 seems like it might be the logical choice (I own good profiling hardware and make my own profiles, so the lack of a spectro doesn't bother me). On the other hand, both the Epson 7900 and the HP Z3200 supposedly have improved gamut over the Canon, plus the HP seems to have better maintainability (cheap, replaceable heads eliminate problems with the most likely to fail wear item). Has anyone here used the iPF6100 plus one or both of the others, and can give a comparison of two or all three? I've seen Julian's reviews at Spectraflow, which give perhaps a slight edge to the (more expensive) Epson over the HP for my use, but don't include the Canon.

                                                                          -Dan
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Bill Caulfeild-Browne
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2009, 04:52:47 PM »
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Quote from: Dan Wells
My D3x has so much resolution that it has put me in the market for a 24 inch inkjet in the next several months. My present printer is an iPF5000, which I like very well in general (the well-known "set paper type in several places" bug is annoying, as is the fact that the ink is never discounted, unlike Epson and HP). I print high-detail landscapes, mostly on Hahnemuhle FA Baryta. Given that I know the iPF5000 well, the iPF6100 seems like it might be the logical choice (I own good profiling hardware and make my own profiles, so the lack of a spectro doesn't bother me). On the other hand, both the Epson 7900 and the HP Z3200 supposedly have improved gamut over the Canon, plus the HP seems to have better maintainability (cheap, replaceable heads eliminate problems with the most likely to fail wear item). Has anyone here used the iPF6100 plus one or both of the others, and can give a comparison of two or all three? I've seen Julian's reviews at Spectraflow, which give perhaps a slight edge to the (more expensive) Epson over the HP for my use, but don't include the Canon.

                                                                          -Dan


Can't help much except to say that I too had a iPF5000 which served me very well and I simply decided to stay with the familiar Canon when I moved up. Part of my reasoning was based on the excellent 16 bit plug-in for PS. The 6100 required no new learning curve, is much clearer in its instructions and on its screen. I'm very happy with it.

I have occasionally printed on the Epson. Frankly, given the same paper (Premium Luster in the instance I compared) the differences are so minimal as to be non-existent. Look for MR's comparison somewhere (!) on this site.

Good luck!

Bill
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MHMG
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2009, 05:35:46 PM »
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I just took delievery of an ipf8100 today. I'm also stepping up from a Canon ipf5000.  All of the offerings from HP, Epson, and Canon are very impressive. I'm sure I could make fabulous prints on any one of them,  but at the end of the day I pulled the trigger on another Canon for three reasons. 1) Canon fixed my roll feed unit on my ipf5000 for free when it was fully one year out of warranty, and that garners my respect. 2) Shades of Paper (great company) had such an attractive price on both the ipf6100 and especially the ipf8100 that I concluded I could literally junk an 8100 if it broke, and buy another before spending the same amount of money on a similar printer from the competition. The included ink made the 8100 unit itself worth less than $1300. 3) The ipfx100 series have a low humidity operating spec of just 10%. Hp isn't bad at 20%, but the Epson recommends 40% operating humidity on the new 7900/9900. I live in a cold northern climate (Lee, Mass) and to maintain 40% RH in the winter, I'd have to purpose-build an interior room with no common outside walls (not easy to do in my old house) and then humidify that interior room. Perhaps Epson is being very conservative on the operating specs, or perhaps this humidity issue is what separates those who have had relatively few clogging problems with Epson printers from those with frequent complaints. I don't know, but my general feeling is I'm not going to dispute the manufacturer's own recommendations, so that ruled out the Epson for me along with the hefty price.  Like others, I have standalone profilemaker 5.08 which an Hp engineer told me could actually produce a slightly superior profile to the on board Z3100/3200 profiling software, so on board spectro and profiling capability wasnt' a huge selling point for me.  Cost and humidity issues became the tipping point in favor of the Canon.

Good luck with your purchase decision.

Best regards,

Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
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Justan
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2009, 01:14:45 AM »
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I opted for the Z3100 and according to the trucking company that’s transporting the printer, the scheduled delivery is for tomorrow. Woo! Hoo!

Anyway I wanted to comment on part of MHMG’s comments. In particular:

…took delievery of an ipf8100 today. I'm also stepping up from a Canon ipf5000. All of the offerings from HP, Epson, and Canon are very impressive. I'm sure I could make fabulous prints on any one of them, but at the end of the day I pulled the trigger on another Canon for three reasons. 1) Canon fixed my roll feed unit on my ipf5000 for free when it was fully one year out of warranty, and that garners my respect….

The key here is the first given reason: service above and beyond the call of duty. Most of my major purchases are based around how reliable the service side of the company is. Both in terms of timeliness and also in at least meeting the call of duty and warranty. I have to say that the comment about the service for the Canon printer is compelling.

In a similar light, I asked another member privately about a printer service he received, and he said that the tech did work above and beyond the call, and that while it was out of warranty, he (the customer) clearly considered the service a good value. This was on a Epson printer.

I don’t know if HP is the equivalent of these. I've not personally had the experience of getting out of warranty service on an hp product. Has anyone here?

Anyway, to the OP, you can't go wrong given the choices you specified.
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Bartone
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2009, 01:17:11 AM »
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I can't add a lot regarding my new iPF 6100, except to say the service is really unbelievable. I called Canon the other day and there was NO wait. I thought I'd mis-dialed! They walked me through every bit of the interface - no worries. Basically I plugged it and and connected it - ran the disk and was printing.

I also have to say that Shades of Paper has been terrific - very patient and right there even way off hours. And the prices are terrific. So far, the printing looks terrific - but I really can't compare. Mostly, i was concerned with price and service - I hear the quality difference is very hard to see between the top three (quality matters a lot).

Oh, and it's heavy.

bartone
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Mussi_Spectraflow
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2009, 08:01:04 PM »
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I'd love to review the Canon. I dismissed it a few years ago, but the improvements made in the last few revisions seem quite interesting. I spoke with several folks from Canon at Graph EXPO last year. Any one have a connection at Canon they can convince to send me a demo printer  Generally I feel like they make a decent product. I have doubts about the semi-permanent print heads and their support system. Image quality does seem to have improved but I havent really played with them enough to comment. In some ways printers are kind of like cars. They will all take you from point a to point b. Some people demand a little more speed or performance than others, but in reality few people push the machines to their limits. What you also need to consider though is reliability, operating cost, serviceability, and support. In that respect I think Epson is the industry leader, HP has a huge install base but has been historically more involved in the production and corporate areas. Canon is somewhat new to the photo printer market. At least that my impression at this point. Oh and not to start a thread war but the "16 bit" support is suspect, that goes for all printers....I'll leave it at that
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Julian Mussi

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jdoyle1713
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2009, 08:33:05 PM »
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Julian wow what a statement..I am not going to argue what you say BUT I find your statement to be very slanted towards Epson and HP. my company sells all three canon,HP and Epson. Each has its place and pros and cons for sure However your coments about service and just getting into Photo are off..They do a very good job today at this. Read some of the posts on this board and many others.

Cheers
jim Doyle
http://www.shadesofpaper.com
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jpgentry
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2009, 11:42:49 PM »
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If you're shooting with a D3x and are comfortable with it's price you really should consider a 44 inch printer.  Especially if you ever plan to print on canvas which is highly under rated by most photographers.

Regarding choices mine is Canon.  I've had the 8000, 9100, 5100 and happy with all.  They give by far the best bang for the buck, and if someone tells you they have bad customer support they probably are going off really really old news.  They've gotten real good at it.

-Jonathan
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alan a
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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2009, 01:39:27 AM »
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Quote from: jdoyle1713
Julian wow what a statement..I am not going to argue what you say BUT I find your statement to be very slanted towards Epson and HP. my company sells all three canon,HP and Epson. Each has its place and pros and cons for sure However your coments about service and just getting into Photo are off..They do a very good job today at this. Read some of the posts on this board and many others.

Cheers
jim Doyle
http://www.shadesofpaper.com
I agree with Jim about Julian's comments.  In addition, Julian says that he is suspicious about the semi-permanent print heads used by Canon.  Could someone please clarify?  Isn't that similar to the technology used by HP in the Z series -- and didn't Julian write yet another rave review about that printer?   The HP print heads are clearly user replaceable and semi-permanent.  So why is that technology OK for HP in Julian's judgment but not for Canon?

What we need are reviews that directly compare the printers.  Julian did not do that.  He wrote a rave review for HP, and then wrote a rave review for Epson.  Why send him a Canon so that he can post yet another rave review?  What is lacking in both reviews is a direct comparison of each feature, and why one printer is worse, equal or better than the other.  

I'm waiting for Michael Reichman's review of the Epson 7900.  He posted in this forum in early November (two months ago!) that he took delivery of a 7900, and would compare it to the Z3100 and one of the Canon models.  To Michael's credit, he writes really useful reviews that directly compare similar models of printers and cameras.  Michael calls it like he sees it, and directly compares the models.  Those are the only reviews that are useful, as compared with rave reviews from those who sell the merchandise or those who are paid to write and publish positive reviews.

Having said that, these type of threads about "which printer should I buy" are a gross waste of time for everyone.  A majority of the the posts in these type of threads are from people who simply post to justify their purchase.

Dan, use the search function.  There are hundreds of posts about the HP Z series, many about Canon, and a smaller number about the newer Epson 7900.  You need to take the time to read through them.  Yes, it might take three or four hours.  But you are about to spend thousands of dollars.

Read through the posts and come to your own conclusions.  It isn't difficult to spot those who are cheer leaders for a particular manufacturer and will defend that manufacturer and a particular printer until the end of time.  They deny all problems no matter how many people report serious problems with quality, reliability or tech support.  It also isn't difficult to spot those with an ax to grind.  (Candidly, some might accuse me of that with regards to a particular printer, which is why I am not making a recommendation here.  I have no desire to engage in these polemical threads that debate which is better.)  

Read through the posts, look for general trends, and come to your own conclusion.  The few posts in this thread honestly are such a tiny snapshot that they are not useful.

Julian's comment about the Canon support system is a good example of why you should not be reading just this thread, but should read all of the posts for the printer(s) you are interested in for the last one to two years.  I have never owned a Canon, and have no ax to grind in that regard.  But it pretty clear, based on the postings, that Canon had serious problems with support two years ago, but cleaned up their act over a year ago.  I have not read many recent complaints about Canon tech support, and those who write on the Canon wiki  appear to be of the opinion that Canon now provides good customer support.  The same can't be said for one of the other manufacturers where there have consistently been problems reported with reliability and tech support.  Again, read ALL of the postings.

Finally, get a printer that is reliable.  No matter how good the printed output might be, if the printer has problems with drivers, software, sheet feeding, tech support, clogging, or general reliability -- it will be more of a hassle than it is worth.  Get a printer that works day in and day out.

Probably such a perfect printer doesn't exist -- but that should be your goal nonetheless.


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neil snape
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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2009, 01:43:53 AM »
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Canon is by far the best ratio price to features but you have to qualify in what localisation.
For whatever reason in Europe Canon have not aligned the prices or promotions, whereas Epson and more so HP have similar promotions and offers albeit with that always present surcharge. IF Canon would have similar deals they would have sold a LOT of printers here. With the American pricing on the 5100 61+81 they are extremely attractive.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2009, 02:00:51 AM »
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Quote from: alan a
I agree with Jim about Julian's comments.  In addition, Julian says that he is suspicious about the semi-permanent print heads used by Canon.  Could someone please clarify?  Isn't that similar to the technology used by HP in the Z series -- and didn't Julian write yet another rave review about that printer?   The HP print heads are clearly user replaceable and semi-permanent.  So why is that technology OK for HP in Julian's judgment but not for Canon?


There's one example I know off. An iPF9000 that has heavy use say 12/5 for not yet 2 years. It runs now on its 4th set of heads and the third set of the tube/cable ribbon that connect the heads with the printer. Canon replaced all parts in that period.

My Z3100 has been used much less frequently in that period and nothing has been replaced.

It will be hard to get really hard facts.


Ernst Dinkla

Try: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/


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Scott Martin
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« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2009, 08:54:57 AM »
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Quote from: Ernst Dinkla
There's one example I know off. An iPF9000 that has heavy use say 12/5 for not yet 2 years. It runs now on its 4th set of heads and the third set of the tube/cable ribbon that connect the heads with the printer. Canon replaced all parts in that period.
One of the neat things here is that they are now using the newer 9100 heads. If they choose to also buy the newer 9100 ink they have basically upgraded to a 9100 without having to spend anything. If they got their 9000 in the $5-$8 range as many people did then they are doing quite well and have a modern printer that serves them well.

I oversee a large base of clients with a variety of different printers. I can think of three 9000s in heavy use that are still using their original heads. I also know of several 9000s that have upgraded heads but I don't know of anyone that's had to pay for that. I also know of several 3100s that have mostly collected dust since their purchase and the owners are pretty pissed that the 3200 solves the problems they complained about but HP never sufficiently addressed. I have also seen a few people pay out the nose for Epson head replacements (it's rare but when it happens it's super pricey), or ditch the printer altogether. We could go on and on about individual experiences like this - what's important is that we look at a larger pool of experiences and trends.
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Dan Wells
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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2009, 10:48:56 AM »
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Shades of Paper has given me a pretty darn good quote on an 8100 - good enough that I'm seriously considering 44 inches (there's a $1400 difference between the 6100 and 8100, but the 8100 comes with over $1000 more ink). The second advantage of the 8100 (besides the flexibility to produce the occasional really large print) is that I could also print for other people and make some money off that (the running costs are so low, with those huge cartridges, plus it handles just about every size anyone might want, including maps, posters, banners, etc...). I wouldn't print as a "real" business, but I know enough other photographers, artists and scientists who are always after posters and maps to get some work out of it.

                                     -Dan
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neil snape
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« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2009, 10:57:12 AM »
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I know that if I had space I would always opt for a bigger rather than smaller width printer.
I don't have space though so I have to restrict myself to either less printers or only one 44" .

Seen little difference in price I really do believe the 8100 will be the ultimate choice.

As I am retouching a bunch of pictures as I write, I long to print them as big as possible. 24" seems small once you have a 44".
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Bartone
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« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2009, 11:17:03 AM »
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Quote from: neil snape
I know that if I had space I would always opt for a bigger rather than smaller width printer.
I don't have space though so I have to restrict myself to either less printers or only one 44" .

Seen little difference in price I really do believe the 8100 will be the ultimate choice.

As I am retouching a bunch of pictures as I write, I long to print them as big as possible. 24" seems small once you have a 44".
Shades of Paper has a great deal on the 8100 and i was very tempted, almost ordered it. Then I asked about the weight (around 350 lbs). BTW, you should also be aware that the shipping weight is a lot more than just the printer. I had a picture of a crane putting the printer through my window... I love the iPF6100 (230 lbs). The prints I've made that're 24"x36" are stunning and frankly, I don't have the wall space for them. That doesn't stop me though. I may have to remove windows to add more sheetrock! I've no idea what I'd do with a 44"x60" print. I really don't have ANY wall big enough for that. Now that I've a terrific printer, I need a new studio. These things do add up, no?

Oh, and the service from Canon - the first thing (ON TOP) of the packaging is slip of paper with an 800 number. They answered immediately and had every question answered - even anticipated. I've never had service that good. I'm happy with the quality, though I'll let others speak to that. I spent 30 years shooting food for advertising agencies (mostly on 8x10 film), so I'm aware of quality.
bartone
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Mussi_Spectraflow
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« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2009, 01:55:37 PM »
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Jim, I humbly admit that my experience with the current line of Canon printers is limited. Didn't mean to come across as too condemning, trust me I have issues with Epson and HP as well. I did try and qualify my remarks, that i was basing my opinions off of experiences from several years ago. During that time frame I had major issues getting support for the IPF9000 printers. The canon rep's I had talked to were ill informed of their products. I certainly don't mean to condemn the whole canon infrastructure. I do stand by the statement that Canon is somewhat of a newcomer to the pro photo market. As is HP in many ways. Up until the Z and IPF6/8/9 series I saw very very few people who were using canon printers for large format photo work. I guess that contributed to my skepticism, I felt the same way when HP announced the Z's.

Alan, In regards to the Canon print heads, they uses what they call semi-permanent  print heads, this is something I've had issues with in the past. The HP uses user replaceable heads, they are considered a consumable and I factor the cost of the heads into the cost of operation on the printer. Epson print heads are designed to be permanent and if they do have issues become a major repair cost. Canon has split the difference by offering long life heads, but ones that were designed to be replaced. What troubled me was the warranty period which was initially defined as a number of prints (which was admittedly fairly high) or a length of time (I believe 1 year). The cost of the heads was quite high and I was concerned that if the heads became defective after that year warranty expired that it could contribute to significantly higher cost of ownership. This was a problem with the old W220.

Alan, Personally I dont think it's quite fair to say that I simply wrote a rave review about either printer, I wouldn't have taken 10 pages to simply give them a two thumbs up. I will acknowledge that I have less interest in reviewing products that I don't think are of interest. There will not be a review of the Z2100, or T1100, or 7880 compared to the 7800. Also personally I disagree that comparisons are .." the only reviews that are useful, as compared with rave reviews from those who sell the merchandise or those who are paid to write and publish positive reviews." Comparisons I feel must be based on a target audience. These printers are being used by Fine Art Printmakers, Photographers, Proofers, Graphic Designers etc...each with their own personal criteria. Proofers care less about color gamut than photographers who might not care as much about RIP integration. It's very difficult to compare each feature directly since they don't match up evenly.
 
 I have pretty high standards when it comes to reviews and would never compromise my comments or opinions because of financial incentive, which I most defiantly do not receive from any OEM.  If the reviews give them impression that I think both the 7900 and Z3200 are exceptional and well designed machines...it's because I feel that way.  I've worked with hundreds of people who use these printers every day for personal, professional and corporate tasks.  I also qualify my praise and point out their warts as well.  I'm curious about the Canon's because as I mentioned the consensus seems to be that the product is improved and worth examining. Any way, enough defending myself  If you find the reviews helpful great, if not no worries. I appreciate your feedback though.

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Julian Mussi

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AlanG
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« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2009, 05:09:22 PM »
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Quote from: Mussi_Spectraflow
The cost of the heads was quite high and I was concerned that if the heads became defective after that year warranty expired that it could contribute to significantly higher cost of ownership.

I have been using a 6100 since October. The printer has been flawless and the prints are outstanding.  

I do not print high volume and figure the print heads should last me a long time. That being said, there recently was a sale on the 5100 so I got one for $799 and it came with $300 of paper (actually they sent me $440 worth of paper - list price)  and the 90ml starter inks.   As the ink was worth about $600, I figure that I have an extra set of heads and some paper for free.  The 5100 printer remains in a box in my basement and was "free" also.

This is what I don't understand:

The lowest I've seen the print heads sell for is $1000 a pair and they can be used in the 6100 and 8100 printers.
The starter ink is worth about $600.
The entire 5100 printer with ink and heads currently sells for $1329 (and some may qualify for a $100 rebate.)

So why do the replacement heads sell for $1000-$1280 per pair?  Is the printer being sold below cost to gain market share and later make money for Canon on the ink and heads?

I notice that the Epson 7900 print head has 3600 nozzles and the two Canon print heads have 30,720 nozzles combined, so this may affect the price of the heads.  Whereas the single head for the 10 color Canon Pro 9500 has 7680 nozzles and sells for around $125.00
« Last Edit: January 16, 2009, 05:27:36 PM by AlanG » Logged

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Dan Wells
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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2009, 05:41:26 PM »
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The 8100 is priced similarly (I am looking at a $3400 quote, which is actually HIGHER than it was at the end of last year), but it comes with $1900 worth of ink and $1100 worth of heads! By my calculation, that means that either a 300lb, 44 inch printer is worth $400, or that replacement ink and (especially) heads are overpriced.  Fortunately, Canons don't seem to chew through heads at all quickly, and the big 8100 ink tanks are MUCH cheaper per ml than the tanks for the smaller printers (Canon will probably catch on someday and stop shipping full tanks with the 8100 - both HP and Epson ship even their big machines with starter tanks).


                                              -Dan

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« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2009, 06:07:47 PM »
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Quote from: Dan Wells
both HP and Epson ship even their big machines with starter tanks).

My 44" Z3100 came with full size 130ml carts, not starter carts.

Jim
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Jim Cole
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Dan Wells
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« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2009, 08:37:20 PM »
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Canon is (amazingly) shipping 330 ml carts with the 8100 - they don't offer any smaller size for it (the other available  size is 700 ml). I know that the new Epsons go up to 700 ml carts (150/350/700?) as well, but ship with 110 ml starters. It would seem worth Canon's while to make a 110 or something similar (even if it was only sold with the printer), just to avoid giving away all that ink. A $3400 printer that comes with nearly $2000 in ink is pretty remarkable (of course, it probably shows the profit margin on ink - even in the cheaper big cartridges). Does the HP take anything bigger than a 130? I know that HP partially solves this issue with their discounted twin-packs, which are actually pretty cheap for 260 ml of ink  (a bit cheaper per ml than Canon and Epson 330 ml carts, although a bit more expensive than 700s). It still seems like HP users might do a lot of cartridge changes on 44-inch machines?

                            -Dan
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