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Author Topic: 3880 vs 4900  (Read 5185 times)
kenben
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« on: October 06, 2012, 09:13:27 AM »
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Is there a vast difference in the print between these 2 printers.
Thanks
Ken
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howardm
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2012, 09:50:13 AM »
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Prior, similar questions (ie. '3880 vs 4900' yields at least 7 results) pretty much all point to physical size differential between the printers, lack (or support of) roll paper, lack (or support of) smaller than 8x10 (or is it 8.5x11?) cut sheet and ink cost (by virtue of larger carts on the 4900) as key decision factors w/ any quality difference between the two being very minor
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hugowolf
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2012, 12:08:30 PM »
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Prior, similar questions (ie. '3880 vs 4900' yields at least 7 results) pretty much all point to physical size differential between the printers, lack (or support of) roll paper, lack (or support of) smaller than 8x10 (or is it 8.5x11?) cut sheet and ink cost (by virtue of larger carts on the 4900) as key decision factors w/ any quality difference between the two being very minor

+1 to Howards reply, and I'll add that like most sheet feed printers, the 3880 isn't great at handling canvas; suction feed really helps with that. If you ae pushed for space, the size differnece is quite substantial, the 3880 is the smallest 17" printer on the market.

Brian A
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elolaugesen
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2012, 01:20:13 PM »
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rumours also have it that the 4900 must be used frequently(daily?) or it will clog up.  the 3800/3800 can sit for weeks.... 


cheers elo
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2012, 03:44:16 PM »
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The OP is asking about differences in the PRINT. The answer is sometimes yes, sometimes no - it depends on the colours in the photo. The 4900 with its HDR inkset has a wider colour gamut than the 3880, but you would notice the difference it makes for some images but not others.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2012, 09:28:15 PM »
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I have the 4900 and isn't used daily.  When I do use it, it's usually all day, and on average probably once a week.  The only time I had a clogging problem was when it was left for almost two weeks unused over Christmas last year.  A couple of cleaning cycles and it was good to go again.  I think the in/frequent usage depends mostly on the environment it's used in. 
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kenben
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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2012, 07:37:27 AM »
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I would also tend to think that the 3880 has been out now for a number of years and due for an upgrade.I find the 3000 appealing for my purposes.But I use Lyre canvas and the minimum roll length is 17" so that makes the 17" models more useable.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2012, 10:11:17 AM »
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The 3880 does not accept rolls of paper, so if you wish to use 17" rolls the 4900 is indicated.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2012, 03:55:35 PM »
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The 3880 does not accept rolls of paper, so if you wish to use 17" rolls the 4900 is indicated.
That being said, it's not terribly difficult to cut sheets from 17 inch rolls for the 3880.  I've been doing it for a while now.  Only need to reverse roll the cut sheet so that it is decurled prior to printing.  I do a fair amount of printing on 17x25 inch paper and that's generally not available from most manufacturers.
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ippolitois
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« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2012, 05:32:15 PM »
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This is a timely thread as I'm in the market for a new printer and can't decide on which one. Roll feeding is nice to have but not a deal breaker. My concern is whether the 3880 is robust enough for the occasional long print run such as every couple of weeks. Coming from a 4000, my main criteria is clog free or almost clog free printing. The 4900 is considered an industrial printer, but it hasn't got an universal stellar reputation in terms of clogging or sudden dead syndrome. The 3880 is touted and a clog free printer, but my concern is if it's tough enough.

Any insight to the robustness of the 3880 would be greatly appreciated.

Paul
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2012, 06:51:46 PM »
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For the kind of usage you indicate a 3880 should do fine. Patterned on the 3800, it's a lot more robust than it may appear to look on the surface.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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MHMG
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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2012, 06:54:39 PM »
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Coming from a 4000, my main criteria is clog free or almost clog free printing. The 4900 is considered an industrial printer, but it hasn't got an universal stellar reputation in terms of clogging or sudden dead syndrome. The 3880 is touted and a clog free printer, but my concern is if it's tough enough.

Any insight to the robustness of the 3880 would be greatly appreciated.

Paul

The 3880 really does live up to its design spec as a "prosumer" printer. I don't think one would want to rely on it for production printing, but for light duty use, it's fine. My 3880 almost never clogs which I attribute to improvements Epson has made by incorporating teflon coatings in its heads. The problem is my 3880 "dribbles", ie., leaving rather large blobs of magenta, cyan, or black ink on a print which is just as much cause for rejecting prints as banding due to clogs. With occasional use, I find that I reject about 15% of my prints due to these dribbles of unwanted ink on paper. I don't think this "ink dribbling" issue is an isolated issue with my particular unit because I have received  prints from other Aardenburg Imaging members, and with these 3880 samples I receive, those unwanted ink spots show up with regularity.

Another very good reason to go for a 4900 rather than the 3880 is improved print longevity because the 4900 substitutes more orange and green ink for the weakest yellow ink. The increased light fastness can be seen with the Epson OEM driver, but is even more significant with the Imageprint RIP.  See http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/the_weakest_link.shtml for more information on this issue. The overall result is improved light fade resistance more on a par with the Canon Lucia inks whereas the K3VM ink set in the 3880 delivers poorer light fade resistance, especially in skin tone colors.

best,
Mark
http://www.aarrdenburg-imaging.com
« Last Edit: October 14, 2012, 07:03:39 PM by MHMG » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2012, 07:14:25 PM »
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I wonder whether for this person the fade resistance issue is a big deal, especially for the basic longevity one gets from these pigment printers even at the lower end of the range. Do we know what he will do with his prints? What paper he will print with? Etc. Etc. I had a 3800 for three years. It performed very reliably, print quality was excellent and it didn't dribble. Clogs were rare and it didn't need baby-sitting. A 3880 is a slightly modified 3800. The 4900 is a wonderful printer -  I really like mine, but it needs a lot more baby-sitting. For someone who wants to make prints every two weeks and doesn't need a roll holder, it's hard to recommend a 4900 over a 3880.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
ippolitois
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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2012, 09:31:14 PM »
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WOW! Fascinating insights. I'm primarily a wedding and people photographer.  Skin tones are very important to me and I do use Image Print 9. It's interesting that the orange and green supplement the yellow for longer lasting skin tones. I spray every print I sell with Print Shield with the hope that it helps with the longevity. I have tried to standardize with Inkpress Luster paper but I like some of the Red River paper to. I have noticed that the RR papers don't seem to fare well in Marks tests, however, he doesn't seem to have any Inkpress paper either under testing. Inkpress is readily available here in Toronto and the output looks very nice. For my personal work and large customer prints I use Canson Photo Baryta or Ilforad GFS.

I'm a little concerned about "baby sitting"the 4900. Could Mark Segal elaborate on what he means by that. Improved skintones with IP and the orange and green inks might sway me to the 4900 as long as I don't have to baby sit a monster like my dead 4000. That would be unacceptable.

The business has changed for wedding and portrait photographers. The days of selling beautiful prints to clients is diminished. Everyone wants the files so that they can run off to Costco to get there prints made there. I love printing so I still do it but it would be just as easy to send everything to the lab. Printing is my lost leader and I accept that. Does anyone hear have anything to say about Cone Inks. I'm thinking of using them in the printer. At may age, I'm not to worried about fading prints in the next 20 to 30 years.

Thanks in advance.

Paul
« Last Edit: October 15, 2012, 07:25:16 AM by ippolitois » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2012, 08:01:05 AM »
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Hi Paul,

Good that you have explained your context. It helps a lot with providing relevant insight. I have really only four suggestions to add here:

(1) The other Mark should explain the baseline of his comment more carefully in the context of the business you are doing. I would think it relevant to understand specifically what should be the expected fade-resistance of skin tones for prints on the papers you use under (a) dark storage in a closed album, and (b) framed on a mantle or shelf in the home exposed to daylight. If the number of such years is long enough for the life of the married and perhaps the half-life of their children, AND that is a benefit you wish to advertise to your clients (but perhaps not if they are fine printing and reprinting the master-file at Costco), perhaps there is not much of an issue here. But I don't know this answer.

(2) What did I mean by "baby-sitting"? OK, that was short-hand. I owned a 3800 (3880 is very similar) before I bought the 4900. I bought the 4900 because I wanted the latest technology and to return to roll-holding capability (I had a 4800 before the 3800, and a 4000 before that). The 3800 was the one printer of the lot I never even thought about. Turn it on and it worked. Nozzle clogs were rare, despite repeated, longish intervals of non-usage. When I received my 4900 I gave the 3800 to a friend for the cost of ink that remained in it. We got it all set-up in his house, it worked fine, and then he did NOTHING with it for over a year. Thereafter he told me he wants to get into actually using it. I was expecting real headaches. We fired it up, ran a nozzle check, and it was fine. We could start printing. With the 4900, my experience here in Toronto, sitting in a room well within Epson's atmospheric specifications, is that it can go a week without cleaning. Two weeks it will need one cleaning that uses little ink. More than two weeks it may need a couple of cleanings. Up to the end of last week it hadn't been used for five weeks and it needed two regular cleanings plus two power cleanings of the PK/LK channel pair in order to unblock the PK channel. But then it was fine. It has often been said that these are production machines designed to be in regular usage and that is true.

(3) It was possible to get excellent skin tones from a 4000, 4800, 3800, and now 4900. It all depends on the quality of the photograph itself, the paper you are using (GFS is great, but so are a number of others), the quality of your colour management set-up and your skill as a printer.

(4) Mark mentioned experience of ink dribbling with the 3880. I think this is worth further research to determine whether the problem is generic to the breed or was confined to small number of the total production to date. This is an enormously successful printer for Epson and I believe they sold a very large number of them, so the experience reports need to be read in context.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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MHMG
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« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2012, 11:36:15 AM »
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The business has changed for wedding and portrait photographers. The days of selling beautiful prints to clients is diminished. Everyone wants the files so that they can run off to Costco to get there prints made there. I love printing so I still do it but it would be just as easy to send everything to the lab. Printing is my lost leader and I accept that. Does anyone hear have anything to say about Cone Inks. I'm thinking of using them in the printer. At may age, I'm not to worried about fading prints in the next 20 to 30 years.


I think your last paragraph sums up your print longevity requirements pretty well. Any of the current OEM ink sets including their most recent dye-based systems and even prints made as Costco will meet the 20-30 year longevity timeframe if you display the prints under glass and in low to moderate temperature, humidity, and illumination conditions. Mention a few industry catch phrases like "acid-free', "100% cotton" "archival", etc. when selling your prints, and I suspect very few customers will question the merits of what inks and papers you are actually using.

The Aardenburg light fastness database is intended for discriminating printmakers who want more specific guidance on what media choices promote superior fade resistance for any given ink set they may be using. Costs of materials are high for fine art printing, so why not choose printer/ink/media and/or coating combinations that are visually appealing and also hold onto that initial quality much longer?  Yet I'd be the first to admit this attention to detail makes sense only for discerning artists who care about highest quality print standards. It is pretty irrelevant information for consumers seeking lowest cost print options and who assume they can always reprint a particular digital file if need be. 

As for 3880 versus 4900 on printer reliability and ease of maintenance, none of us can assure you which of these two printers is going to end up being more reliable for you personally. It seems to me that if you are only printing low volume, roll feeding isn't a necessity, and you can avoid certain media that tend to feed better on printers having a vacuum advance, then the 3880 will certainly meet your print quality and longevity objectives at lower cost of entry than the 4900. The 3880's much smaller size and weight is also a plus for many folks.

Had I had enough Aardenburg test results in hand for both HDR and K3VM inks on various media before purchasing my 3880, I would have opted personally for the 4900. Of course, some of my colleagues think my standards are too high. Roll Eyes  Bear in mind that both the 3880 and the 4900 produce outstanding initial image quality. But wait a few decades, and the faster fading behavior of the K3 yellow ink will eventually manifest itself to curators, conservators, archivists, collectors, and perhaps one's grandchildren as a recognizable shift in color balance towards blue/purple, especially in skin tones.

best,
Mark
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digitaldog
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« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2012, 11:43:50 AM »
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I have both. Don't know why, but if I only have to make a quick print, I gravitate to the 3880. I find that for sheet handling, the 3880 is a way less picky. And I've had awful ink clogging issues from day one, zero with the 3880. Now the extra inks and gamut of the 4900 are hard to ignore. Roll paper handling too if you want that. A cassette for paper on the 4900 is nice. I'm pretty sure build quality is a tad higher on the 4900 but the 3880 hasn't missed a beat and has had far more use. I guess if I had to get rid of one, I'd keep the 4900 because of the larger ink cart's, gamut and ability to print more types of paper but I just LOVE the 3880. The 4900 is faster to print I should add.

I wish I could figure out why the 4900 clogs so much while the 3880 a few feet away never seems to. If the 4900 would behave like the 3880, I'd be far more comfortable recommending it over the 3880 assuming money isn't an object. 
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Andrew Rodney
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ippolitois
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« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2012, 09:09:21 PM »
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Thanks to everyone for there responses. I ordered a 3880 and it should be arriving tomorrow for pick up. I finally found out what people refer to high volume and low volume when it comes to these printers. As it was explained to me, high volume is when you print for a minimum of 4 hours a day everyday and low volume is the opposite of that. A tell tale sign is high volume printers use rolls a lot more than people such as myself. I could never figure out why anyone would want to use rolls when the price is he same as cut sheets. Duh, now I know. Now I understand why these printers have to run all the time and that's why perhaps why they clog when not in use. After researching these two printers, the consensus is that the 4900 still clogs and is susceptible to failure and the 3880 doesn't clog. After owning a Epson 600, 2200 and the 4000, clog free criteria was the paramount decision maker. I did find it fascinating that the green and orange colors do add the the fade resistance for skin tones, but just the mention of clogging from Digitaldog reinforced my decision. Maybe the next 38xx model will have these two colors.

Most wedding albums today are digital albums from various sources and therefore the inkjet process is not used. The traditional album is on the wane as is prints after the event. The paradigm shift happened with the advent of digital photography and the democratizing of photography. Everyone is undercutting each other and giving everything away. Traditional print albums  Ibelieve fare well with inkjet printing because they usually sit in a box in the dark for years, rarely seeing much light.

I'm still interested in seeing if anyone here has tried Cone inks in this printer and can report how close the colors are to the OEM ink.

Thanks again and I'm sure I'll be asking questions with respect to this printer in no time.

Paul
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