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Author Topic: Epson 7890...a not so favorable review  (Read 14487 times)
scrinch
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« on: April 18, 2011, 05:59:42 PM »
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 I have felt fortunate to make my living by selling my photographic prints to the general public for the last 20+ years,  but doing this has required close scrutiny to material cost and efficiency.

When I talk with my photographer peers the conversation usually comes around to the price of ink at some point.  Conventional wisdom has been that the modern pro printers with single 350 ml carts are much cheaper than the Epson 1280 that I have been using for years to print many of my images.   Last month i decided to buy a new 7890 Epson.  I had hoped that I could use this for small and large prints alike and save enough money on ink to pay for the printer .  I had been using a Canon IPF 5000 for larger prints but found the user interface to be difficult and also felt it used a great deal of ink,  so used it seldom.

The Epson 7890 gave me trouble from startup with a defective cart that had to be sent back.  It was replaced and sent next day by Epson so it wasn't a big hassle, but recent reading has led me to believe this is not an isolated incident. 

I sell approx. 450 different images in various sizes  resulting in  many thousands of  prints per year.  These have all been tweaked to give good results on the 1280.  So, this past Sat. I decided to try to match the results of the 7890 to my 1280.  Now, one might assume that a modern printer would exceed the results from an old 1280.  Such was not the case to my eye.  The dye/pigment ink of the 1280 gave slightly richer looking prints  on premium presentation paper at 720 ppi no matter how I adjusted the gamma, contrast, brightness, or saturation values on the 7890.

Loading single sheets of letter paper into the 7890 turned to a nightmare and either I have a defective printer or the software needs modification.  Following the manual closely resulted in an ERROR message "Paper Loaded Incorrectly".  I called Epson tech and was rerouted 2 times to get the proper telephone #  then was told to load a different way by a somewhat snippy support person.  It did not work.  I still got an error message.   I did manage to get single sheets to feed but only after a  significant amount of messing about.    I  still get an error message every time I load a single sheet. 

The real surprise to me came with ink usage.  I checked the percentage of ink in the 7890 carts after charging the tubes and have kept careful track of the prints that I have made and the percentage of ink used.  When compared to the 1280 the 7890 ink is costing me almost 5 times what I now pay.   I will continue to keep track of the usage and try to get a more accurate account for the 7890, but right now it breaks down like this:

1280 =$.00723/square in
7890=$.03627/square in

EPSON 7890
CONS
Retail price..about $3000.
Single sheet feed... difficult ... at least with letter size on mine.
The relatively few prints I have made has required 3 nozzle cleanings
Price per square inch 5 X as high as 1280.
Will not print under 10 inch hight on roll paper resulting in paper/ink waste for smaller test prints or one offs.
Prints slightly less rich....(lower Dmax ?) than 1280

PRO
Larger prints 24"X whatever
Better print longevity. 
No particular  color bias that 1280 experiences.

EPSON 1280
CON
Magenta Bias
print longevity 25 years on matte paper
color shift when not under glass
13" print width

PRO
Retail price of printer new...about $350.00..(out of production.)
Ink cost 1/5th that of 7890
stack paper with auto feed
ran all day yesterday (100's of prints) with no nozzle clogs.
slightly "richer" looking prints.

In conclusion: 

Even though the 1280 prints lack the longevity of the 7890 pigment ink prints I feel that in todays consumer economy it is a minor point.   I sell to the general public where people redecorate more often than that.  I have never had a print returned from the 1280 for fading or shifting issues.  I used a 1270 before the 1280 so the prints have been out there 10 years or so from these printers.

At  $.36 for a 5x7 print on a 1280 vs $1.24 for the same size print from a 7890,  when multiplied by thousand of prints a year equals real money differences in my pocket vs in the pocket of Epson and their stock holders.

My 1280's are not going to E-bay  auction any day soon!! 
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Dan Berg
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2011, 06:27:21 PM »
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My first question is where are you getting your ink usage numbers from?
You may have a problem this printer should not use anything close to those numbers you supply. My 2 wide fomat Epsons 7900/9900 average 1.6ml per square foot @ .31 a ml comes to.50 a square foot for ink. Your not counting the ink used for charging are you? The cost to buy the 1280 inks should be 3 To 4 times more per ml  then the ml cost of the 700 ml carts. Somethings wrong.
With regards to putting sheets into the printer it is straight forward and very simple,unless your machine has a problem.
Select sheet on the screen put your paper in the printer and press the down arrow when prompted. The only thing you may have to do is put very light pressure on the end of the sheet to ensure it gets pulled into the printer. I usually only have to do that when inserted metal for printing. If that does not work check in your driver that you have sheet selected and not roll paper.

« Last Edit: April 19, 2011, 03:46:50 AM by Dan Berg » Logged

Mark D Segal
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2011, 06:33:35 PM »
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Some of what you are saying is completely expected. Pigmented inks will cause more nozzle clogs than water-based dye inks. That's a trade-off one makes for the longevity.

I'd be surprised if the gamut volume and shape were not larger on the 7890 than on a 1280. Have you measured the profiles with a tool such as ColorThink Pro? This could be useful to do, because than you'd know whether the differences you are seeing are due to the printer or to user factors.

Loading these printers with paper is an issue I can relate to - not on your model because I haven't used it, but on my 4900, the sheet really needs to be put firmly down as far as it can go, otherwise it will systematically return error messages. Once I got the hang of how to insert the paper, there hasn't been an issue. I'm wondering whether the same applies to your model.

On the costs, I'm baffled. There is something dramatically askew with your ink cost per sq.in. for the 7890. It shouldn't be anywhere near that. I've tracked this rigorously for the 4900 which has a very similar print engine, and the cost is 81 cents Canadian per sq.ft., whereas your works out to be $5.22/sq.ft. This is a HIGHLY suspicious result - I don't think there is or has been a printer out there costing anywhere near this much in ink (and I've been tracking and publishing this stuff on the Epson line from the 4000/4800/3800 and now 4900 on this website). I recommend you review this.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 07:19:13 PM by Mark D Segal » Logged

Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2011, 06:40:09 PM »
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The second question for you (since Dan already asked the first very important question) is what is your colour workflow?  From what you've mentioned, it doesn't sound like you're using ICC profiles for printing (I may be wrong, but you talk about a lot of adjustments) and perhaps not a calibrated monitor?

There will certainly be a different between the dye prints of your old printer and pigment of the new.  Which media are you using?

What size media are you having problems loading single sheet?  Do you normally only use single sheet?  It is usually cheaper to buy rolls, but the loading and handling of sheet on the 7890 is actually very easy (certainly compared to other large format printers, previous model Epsons etc).
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2011, 07:24:44 PM »
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My first question is where are you getting your ink usage numbers from?
You may have a problem if your numbers are right as this printer should not use anything close to those numbers you supply. My 2 wide fomat Epsons 7900/9900 average 1.6ml per square foot @ .31 a ml comes to.50 a square foot for ink. Your not counting the ink used for charging are you? The cost to buy the 1280 inks should be 3 To 4 times more per ml  then the ml cost of the 700 ml carts. Somethings wrong.
With regards to putting sheets into the printer it is straight forward and very simple,unless your machine has a problem.
Select sheet on the screen put your paper in the printer and press the down arrow when prompted. The only thing you may have to do is put very light pressure on the end of the sheet to ensure it gets pulled into the printer. I usually only have to do that when inserted metal for printing. If that does not work check in your driver that you have sheet selected and not roll paper.



I think we were typing at the same time and perhaps reading each other's minds. When I saw your post, I went back to my spreadsheet model of the costs on the 4900, and mine works out to 1.51 ml/sq.ft., so we are within spitting distance about the same. I came to this on the basis of averaging individual consumption numbers from the printer menu data, and my variance around the mean is low. I reported on this in my review of the 4900 on this website. It's simply inconceivable that a 7890 would be that much different in this regard from the whole x900 line.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Luca Ragogna
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2011, 12:26:42 AM »
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I've got the 9890 (which is essentially a 44" 7890) and I really have to disagree about the paper loading issue. If you follow the instructions in the manual, you just drop a sheet in the printer from the top without releasing the rollers and press the down arrow, the printer does the rest. I've done it a few times now and it works like a charm.
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2011, 01:39:53 AM »
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Pigmented inks will cause more nozzle clogs than water-based dye inks. That's a trade-off one makes for the longevity.


Not on my printers.


met vriendelijke groeten, Ernst

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

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scrinch
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2011, 06:23:39 AM »
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My first question is where are you getting your ink usage numbers from?
You may have a problem this printer should not use anything close to those numbers you supply. My 2 wide fomat Epsons 7900/9900 average 1.6ml per square foot @ .31 a ml comes to.50 a square foot for ink. Your not counting the ink used for charging are you? The cost to buy the 1280 inks should be 3 To 4 times more per ml  then the ml cost of the 700 ml carts. Somethings wrong.
With regards to putting sheets into the printer it is straight forward and very simple,unless your machine has a problem.
Select sheet on the screen put your paper in the printer and press the down arrow when prompted. The only thing you may have to do is put very light pressure on the end of the sheet to ensure it gets pulled into the printer. I usually only have to do that when inserted metal for printing. If that does not work check in your driver that you have sheet selected and not roll paper.



Believe me...nothing would make me happier than to be wrong about this ink usage.  I would be thrilled with $.50 a square foot.  That would make the 1280 twice as expensive to use

I admit the ink usage method might be slightly non scientific....  sort of like determining how much gas you have used by the tank gauge rather than checking full to full tanks.  After charging the printer I went to the printer menu and found the percentage of each ink....after making my prints I again checked the percentage finding the percent of ink used from the carts.  I multiplied the percent used times the volume of the cart coming out with the ml used for the job.  Pricing ink on line gave me the cost per ml which I multipled by the price and then divided by the sq inches printed.  So while it may be slightly inaccurate unless the tank gauges are totally inaccurate it should give me a ballpark figure.

As for the loading paper....i have done just as the manual says.   Single sheet letter size is selected in the driver.  It still shows Paper Loaded  Incorrrectly.  The paper loads fine but then after it loads it gives the error message.

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John R Smith
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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2011, 06:24:39 AM »
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I would like to know how the OP managed to keep a 1280 running that long, as well, printing hundreds of prints. You would have thought that the waste ink pads would have saturated a long while back . . .

John
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scrinch
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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2011, 06:29:04 AM »
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The second question for you (since Dan already asked the first very important question) is what is your colour workflow?  From what you've mentioned, it doesn't sound like you're using ICC profiles for printing (I may be wrong, but you talk about a lot of adjustments) and perhaps not a calibrated monitor?

There will certainly be a different between the dye prints of your old printer and pigment of the new.  Which media are you using?

What size media are you having problems loading single sheet?  Do you normally only use single sheet?  It is usually cheaper to buy rolls, but the loading and handling of sheet on the 7890 is actually very easy (certainly compared to other large format printers, previous model Epsons etc).

I am printing through PSCS2 letting Printer determine color , using Epson Internal Profiles.  I was printing to Premium Presentation Paper Matte letter size paper
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scrinch
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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2011, 06:39:41 AM »
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I would like to know how the OP managed to keep a 1280 running that long, as well, printing hundreds of prints. You would have thought that the waste ink pads would have saturated a long while back . . .

John

I  have three 1280's at this time.  They are slow and I often use 2 connected to different computers at a time to speed my work flow.  I have been through a  quite a few of these printers since they were first produced and that is why I have 3.  Two in production and a spare. 
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2011, 07:37:02 AM »
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Believe me...nothing would make me happier than to be wrong about this ink usage.  I would be thrilled with $.50 a square foot.  That would make the 1280 twice as expensive to use

I admit the ink usage method might be slightly non scientific....  sort of like determining how much gas you have used by the tank gauge rather than checking full to full tanks.  After charging the printer I went to the printer menu and found the percentage of each ink....after making my prints I again checked the percentage finding the percent of ink used from the carts.  I multiplied the percent used times the volume of the cart coming out with the ml used for the job.  Pricing ink on line gave me the cost per ml which I multipled by the price and then divided by the sq inches printed.  So while it may be slightly inaccurate unless the tank gauges are totally inaccurate it should give me a ballpark figure.

As for the loading paper....i have done just as the manual says.   Single sheet letter size is selected in the driver.  It still shows Paper Loaded  Incorrrectly.  The paper loads fine but then after it loads it gives the error message.



This is not a reliable way to measure ink consumption. You need to go to the printer control panel after each print and look at how much ink the latest print used. There should be a menu item for that which will give it to you in ml to one decimal place - on the 4900 it's stored for the previous ten prints. Do this for several dozen prints and then take an average, looking at dispersion around the mean. Those visual indicators are unreliable.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2011, 08:35:15 AM »
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This is not a reliable way to measure ink consumption. You need to go to the printer control panel after each print and look at how much ink the latest print used. There should be a menu item for that which will give it to you in ml to one decimal place - on the 4900 it's stored for the previous ten prints. Do this for several dozen prints and then take an average, looking at dispersion around the mean. Those visual indicators are unreliable.

This is exactly the method I've been using to track my ink usage on my 9890. The print history keeps track of nozzle checks which put a tiny amount of ink on a giant piece of paper so I skip those to avoid skewing my numbers. I also note the paper type I'm printing on. I've only printed on Epson Doubleweight matte and Lyve so far and I haven't been tracking it long enough to feel really confident in my numbers but they're pretty consistent. I've noticed that Lyve uses around 1ml per sq ft where Doubleweight Matte uses around 7 times more ink.

In my area using 150ml cartridges printing on Lyve the average cost is $.52 per square foot. I don't have enough numbers for the Doubleweight Matte to be remotely accurate but it looks like $3-4 a square foot in ink cost.
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Garnick
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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2011, 09:41:58 AM »
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I am printing through PSCS2 letting Printer determine color , using Epson Internal Profiles.  I was printing to Premium Presentation Paper Matte letter size paper

A couple of things come to mind. Concerning the letter size paper loading issue - that has never been a problem on the 9900. I do most nozzle checks on standard letter quality paper, since I am not going to waste good printing paper for that, and it works just fine. I also do all testing on sheet paper and put 5-2x8" test strips on an 8.5x11 sheet. I would never consider doing any testing on roll paper, simply not cost effective in my opinion. Occasionally I will get a paper loading error if one of the tests is shorter than 8" and the sensor can't read it properly. One thing you can try is to turn off the "Paper Size Check" on the printer control panel. I usually leave that function on all of the time, so if I do have to turn it off occasionally I make sure I have it on again before I start the next job. Otherwise, I suppose your loading problem could be a result of a faulty sensor, which would of course mean a service call, and that would be covered under your warranty.

As far as your printing workflow is concerned, I see a huge error in that department. Letting the printer determine color means that you are not using printer profiles at all. As a matter of fact, when you select "Let Printer Manage Colors" you can no longer chose a printer profile and the standard Adode RGB 1998 profile will show in that section and be ghosted out. What you have to do is make sure all Color Adjustment is turned OFF in the print dialog and then you can use the profiles that are part of the driver, or if necessary have custom profiles created. I suspect you will notice a vast difference in quality once you have adopted this workflow. The canned profiles for the 9900 are quite good and I suspect that would also be the case for your printer. However, as I said, the profiles are of no use at all if you are letting the printer manage colors. Everything you have done in PS will be a waste if you are not incorporating the proper printer profiles and the correct procedure for using them.

I hope this is helpful.
Gary
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scrinch
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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2011, 11:07:23 AM »
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This is exactly the method I've been using to track my ink usage on my 9890. The print history keeps track of nozzle checks which put a tiny amount of ink on a giant piece of paper so I skip those to avoid skewing my numbers. I also note the paper type I'm printing on. I've only printed on Epson Doubleweight matte and Lyve so far and I haven't been tracking it long enough to feel really confident in my numbers but they're pretty consistent. I've noticed that Lyve uses around 1ml per sq ft where Doubleweight Matte uses around 7 times more ink.

In my area using 150ml cartridges printing on Lyve the average cost is $.52 per square foot. I don't have enough numbers for the Doubleweight Matte to be remotely accurate but it looks like $3-4 a square foot in ink cost.


 Considering my printer went trough 3 nozzle checks and 2 nozzle cleanings in the prints made, and the fact that I was printing on Epson Premium Presentation Paper Matte my figure of $5 a square foot is not totally out of the ballpark from what you found when printing on  Doubleweight Matte.
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« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2011, 11:14:10 AM »
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Considering my printer went trough 3 nozzle checks and 2 nozzle cleanings in the prints made, and the fact that I was printing on Epson Premium Presentation Paper Matte my figure of $5 a square foot is not totally out of the ballpark from what you found when printing on  Doubleweight Matte.

Your methodology leaves much to be desired from the get-go. You should separate ink used for prints from ink used for cleanings if you want to know how much ink is used to make a print. If we aren't even talking about measuring the same things, there isn't a valid comparison to be made. Of course in the final analysis both combine to total the cost of ink over the prints you've made, but for diagnostic purposes these different destinations of the ink should be kept separate. I acknowledge that Epson, in their mania to prevent this kind of analysis from surfacing, has made it quite difficult to do accurately. It requires a carefully maintained inventory management spreadsheet model kept over many months to get a handle on it. I've written this up in one of my Epson printer reviews on this website.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2011, 11:30:38 AM »
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There is very little chance that you will use more than 1.5ml of total ink to print your image on paper. I would turn off ANC (Automatic Nozzle Checks) and run nozzle checks manually. As has been suggested, you should use your warranty and get a technician to check things out to make certain that your paper sensor is operating properly.

Gary, if you choose the Media Type and allow the Printer to Manage Colors, the printer will use the ICC profile that is associated with the Media Type you have chosen. Of course, if you choose Premium Luster, for example, and then choose Let Photoshop Manage Colors and you select a different ICC profile, then it will apply the chosen profile. The Media Type will then only apply feed calibration, ink limits, etc., but no ICC profile. I hope this clarifies the 'no profile' issue.
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2011, 11:44:11 AM »
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There is very little chance that you will use more than 1.5ml of total ink to print your image on paper. I would turn off ANC (Automatic Nozzle Checks) and run nozzle checks manually. ...............
...................

Randy, by this I assume you mean "per sq.ft.". If so, that corresponds almost exactly to my findings for the Epson 4900, printing on Ilford Gold Fibre Silk
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2011, 12:31:26 PM »
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Oh yeah, per sq. ft. Gotta proof before I hit SEND. Smiley
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2011, 02:23:00 PM »
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Gary, if you choose the Media Type and allow the Printer to Manage Colors, the printer will use the ICC profile that is associated with the Media Type you have chosen. Of course, if you choose Premium Luster, for example, and then choose Let Photoshop Manage Colors and you select a different ICC profile, then it will apply the chosen profile. The Media Type will then only apply feed calibration, ink limits, etc., but no ICC profile. I hope this clarifies the 'no profile' issue.


I think my last post was somewhat lacking in detail. I do realize that even though one might wish to let the printer manage colour, it will still print with the profile associated with the media setting. What I was referring to was any profile other than the canned profile accompanying the driver. When I was still using the 7600 printers(one of which I still use) I always used the Atkinson profiles, which were considerably better than the Epson versions. If I hadn't Let PS manage colours I would not have been able to chose those profiles, as I know you are aware. It just happens that so far I am finding the 9900 canned profiles to be quite good and they serve my purpose well, so that would not necessarily be an issue. Also, there are many other paper manufacturers who include their own profiles for download. In that case, the information that accompanies the profile also suggests an Epson Media setting to be used. If I were to simply use that Epson media setting in the driver and not select the 3rd party profile the results would certainly be substandard. But, if I have chosen to let the printer manage colour I would not be able to select any profile other than the canned version that accompanies the chosen media type.

Sorry, I should have put more thought into my post before sending and covered more possibilities ;-(   I hope I haven't muddied the waters even further.

Gary
 
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