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Author Topic: Canon iPF5100 or Epson 4900  (Read 2673 times)
Mike P.
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« on: November 13, 2012, 11:09:47 PM »
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Hi All,

My Epson 3800 finally died today in a very loud way - grinding of gears and bits of plastic - It has been a pain for quite a while, very temperamental paper feed.

Anyway,  I'm looking for a new printer and have narrowed it down to the iPF5100 or 4900 - I really do want to be able to print from sheets in addition to roll, so I don't want a larger machine.

I am looking for:

1. Print quality
2. Reliability
3. Don't want to waste ink cleaning the nozzles all the time - I frequently go for 2-3 weeks between printing batches.

I do have quite a lot of Epson Exhibition Fiber paper, so if the Canon is the best machine - can I get a profile easily?

Thanks in advance for any answers.
Mike
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2012, 07:36:23 AM »
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I know nothing about the Canon option so I won't speak to it in terms of print quality or routine performance. I have been using an Epson 4900 since the first day they became available in Toronto and I can tell you this: Print quality is really superb and machine construction and performance are extremely robust, however prospective purchasers must bear in mind that Epson designed these printers as production units - intended for quite frequent use. I had frequent protracted absences from my printer over the past eighteen months, and when I return to it, there are clogged nozzles and they need cleaning. My experience has been that one or two cleaning cycles is usually enough to bring it all back to standard status; the cleaning cycles take a couple of minutes or so. It has happened periodically that after the cleaning cycles, one channel may still exhibit some lack of flow. The machine allows channels to be cleaned in pairs. I have done that, and each pair-cleaning takes about a minute or two. I have had only a couple of episodes in the past 18 months where a colour dropped out during a print session, but this happened when the cartridges were very nearly empty. After replacing the cartridges those colours have been well-behaved. Bottom line: excellent printer, but like me you are probably spoiled by your 3800, which could sit around unused for ages without any consequences. A 4900 is a somewhat different animal. If you are usually around the machine and can run a small print or two every several days, you will probably have very little difficulty with clogging. You can read my review of this printer on this website, followed up by http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/printers/epson_4900_printer_review___addendum_february_2011.shtml

The one thing that needs to be said about Canon's technology in respect of clogging and cleaning is that the design philosophy is different. All of these printers develop clogged nozzles. The difference is in how they are handled. With Epson, the clog announces itself, you clean it and move on. With Canon, they have built spare nozzles into the print-head, so when nozzles clog they get replaced by spare ones. The user does not see this - all under the hood, until the time comes - duration depending on how much you print - that there are no more spare nozzles and you then need to replace the print head. I hear they cost upwards of USD 500 each. So from the point of view of trouble and inconvenience, you get it in batches with this option, rather than in "real-time" with Epson. Maybe you'd never need to change a head till you decide to replace the printer, but maybe you will - can't tell.

As far as using Exhibition Fiber paper in the Canon printer - sure you can; you'll need to get a profile for that printer and paper combination; the best route to go if you don't have your own profiling set-up is to get a custom profile from a reliable provider such as Andrew Rodney (digitaldog) or Scott Martin (On-Sight). You would first buy the printer, generate the target according to their instructions, send it to them, they make the profile and email you the file which you plunk into your profiles folder. It's not a factor that should interfere with a printer purchase decision.

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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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paulturton
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2012, 11:18:52 AM »
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If considering the iPF5100, you should become familiar with The Unofficial Canon ImagePROGRAF Printer Wiki  

My iPF5100 has been reliable and ink frugal for the past 2 years that I've owned it. I print  from roll, manual feed and cassette and have yet to run into any feed problems. Since I am a low volume user, I try to print at least one multi-coloured 8x10 per week to keep my heads active.  

Replacing the heads can be done by the user whereas, with an Epson printer, the printer must be serviced by Epson or technician.

IMHO
Print quality  - great
Reliability - great - so far so good using Adobe Reader,  LR 4.2 and CS6 on a PC
Ink usage - great - no ink loss when switching from glossy to matte papers
Ink cost - @ 1.2 ml per square foot about $0.66 (including shipping & tax)
« Last Edit: November 14, 2012, 11:20:49 AM by paulturton » Logged
Wayne Fox
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2012, 01:55:27 PM »
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The ipf5100 is old technology, the output quality of the 4900 (or the Canon ipf6300 for that matter) is visibly superior.  I"m not sure why canon hasn't put the newer inkset and introduced an ipf5300.  Even the 6300 inkset is a couple of years old now.
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2012, 03:56:55 PM »
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Mark is of course correct but allow me to relate my own experience as a hobbiest using the 4900: My printing takes, at times, a 2 or 3 week hiatus. Our climate is temperate wrt humidity. Usually there are no head clogs with that interval between uses, occasionally a single cleaning is needed. When I'm in an active phase, like I am now printing a few days each week, reliability is complete.

I bought the 4900 because our HP Z3200 doesn't really handle cut sheet media that well. Our 4900 is used on PK and MK media. The one any only aspect of 4900 ownership that I don't like is the rear-feed of thick MK fine art papers requires personally supervising each sheet's entrainment into the transport. It's not a deal breaker, but Epson has admitted to me that this rear feed matter constitutes a known issue. On the other hand, loading media from the cassette is a massive convenience, and I don't hesitate to build a print queue of more than a dozen jobs, when the media choice allows cassette use.

Print quality is, as you probably know, as good as we have access to in 2012.

John Caldwell
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enduser
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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2012, 09:02:28 PM »
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Print heads for the ipf 5100 can now be bought for $400.  In four years of use we have only replaced one print head and never had to do a cleaning.   The machine self-maintains in sleep mode, checking temperature, humidity and it agitates the inks every so often and also very rarely does a nozzle check.

My guess is after reading this forum that an Epson will cost much more in lost ink through cleanings, that the Canon's cost of an occasional print head.  Print head costs factored over our and another machine add about 60 cents to a 24 inch x 16inch print.

If you go on holiday the self maintaining cycles look after everything.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2012, 11:03:41 PM »
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My guess is after reading this forum that an Epson will cost much more in lost ink through cleanings, that the Canon's cost of an occasional print head.  Print head costs factored over our and another machine add about 60 cents to a 24 inch x 16inch print.
On this forum we only hear the horror stories.  I don't know the actual numbers but Epson sells far more printers. .  Some have a problem from the beginning, but that's not normal - and we hear about those. Some Canon's have problems from the beginning as well, but since there are so few of them sold in relation to Epsons, there are fewer horror stories.

 The real advantage to the Canon is not having to worry about the clogs, they are effectively hidden, and no ink/time for matt/PK swap.  Your other head is probably on it's last leg ... another $400.  I ran an 11880 for several years, and only replaced one maintenance tank in that entire period of time.  No way it came anywhere close to several hundred dollars worth of ink. My 4900 needs a couple of nozzles cleared if I leave it sit for a week or so.  My 9900 needs a couple of nozzles cleared every couple of months - maybe less.  The last few times even after sitting for 3 or more weeks all nozzles were clear.

Your experience doesn't mean every Canon will perform the same way - the length of time between head replacements varies wildly.  The canon heads will wear faster in dry humidity just like the epson will require more ink.  But bottom line, both will cost to maintain nozzles.  TOC is probably very similar for both printers and in fact for many the Epson may actually be better.  As far as estimating the cost per print, that's impossible.  The heads will fail over time because of drying ink and nozzle wear but high usage doesn't increase this proportionally.  Personally I think 60 cents per one large print is pretty high .. I know I don't spend that for ink on the Epsons.

But to re-iterate my point to the OP which I think is the main point to be considered, I would never recommend a ipf5100 printer to anyone ... it is an out dated inkset, has some issues with the blacks, the dots produced are not as consistent as current printers, and  current printers from Canon, Epson, and HP produce visibly superior results.
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neile
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2012, 12:30:35 AM »
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I have a 5100 sitting next to me and would heartily recommend it for all the reason Wayne mentioned, except... for all the reasons Wayne mentioned. It's old technology now Sad I don't know why Canon hasn't introduced a new 17" printer with roll support.

Neil
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Neil Enns
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2012, 07:18:47 AM »
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........ I don't know why Canon hasn't introduced a new 17" printer with roll support.

Neil

Neil, I don't know either, but one can infer from circumstances. Designing, testing and manufacturing new printers and inksets, when you consider everything from the research, proof of concept, redesign, testing, tooling, manufacturing, marketing etc that goes into it - huge amounts of money before they make the first sale. That's just a matter of fact. Then look at sales. Wayne is probably correct that Epson retains a huge share of the total market for professional printers. And how large is this total market for professional printers at a time when the market is saturated with the current models and the economies of the major consuming countries are in a mess with people wondering where their next dollars will come from? The businesses who buy these machines are spending very carefully, and this technology has matured to the point where replacing the current crop of printers may be seen as a luxury they can dispense with until times get better and there is more confidence to spend. So a company like Canon, seeing all of this in front of them - and the huge shakedown taking place in much of the Japanese electronics industry - would think twice, thrice, four times before jumping into the fray with new models. But who knows, maybe behind the scenes something is all cooked-up just waiting for the right time to introduce it. We don't know, really, but the stagnation we're seeing absolutely doesn't surprise me.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2012, 10:18:03 PM »
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I have a 5100 sitting next to me and would heartily recommend it for all the reason Wayne mentioned, except... for all the reasons Wayne mentioned. It's old technology now Sad I don't know why Canon hasn't introduced a new 17" printer with roll support.
I think it's because the market for such a printer is relatively small. A lot of people realized that once you've committed to the idea of getting and maintaining a printer the size of the 5x00, it's a relatively small logical step from there up to the 6x00 (especially considering the deals Canon often has).

I could see Canon scaling up their 13" printer to a 17" model rather than releasing another scaled-down iPF.
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enduser
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2012, 05:50:36 AM »
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Over a couple of machines and many machine years, the cost of a printhead is easily calculated from dollars spent on them and total square feet of printing.  Simple.
  
I wouldn't recommend an ipf5100, just get the 24 inch machine when good prices occur, if you have space.  Other than space needs, you can use it like a 5100 but with all the current improvements, many users do just that.   (If it's quick sheet feeding you want, then that is a problem. The 6x00 series load sheets one-at-a-time.)

No one here knows current sales figures for both Canon and Epson.

As a previous HP user, I'd also recommend their large formats, particularly as each color has its own head.  Gamut and placement is a bit behind Canon and Epson though.  Similar overall print head pricing to Canon, (12 heads at $60 - $70),  an Epson print head if needed will be about $1,200.

Meanwhile a class action against Epson is building on another thread.    Hope this all helps with decision making.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 05:53:20 AM by enduser » Logged
Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2012, 07:38:01 AM »
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As a previous HP user, I'd also recommend their large formats, particularly as each color has its own head. 

Similar overall print head pricing to Canon, (12 heads at $60 - $70)

Your experience with that machine must have been excellent, no head exchanged in that period ;-)  Otherwise you would have noticed that one head does 2 ink channels so there are 6 heads in total. Pricing is correct, and heads can be exchanged individually so $70.- for a single one to $420 for a six heads change.

Seven heads changed here, one today, on a total of 9 years Z printers use. Not a high volume printer and sometimes weeks between print sessions.

That said if sheet printing is required, iPF5100 and 4900 in mind, the Z's are not ideal.


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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2012, 07:49:30 AM »
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...............................
Meanwhile a class action against Epson is building on another thread.........


The "builders" should be well-healed, extremely patient, thick-skinned and very mindful of the requirements and their prospects: Class Action
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2012, 12:16:06 AM »
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You're right about the HPs, Ernst.   My bad. They do only have six heads.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2012, 01:19:02 PM »
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No one here knows current sales figures for both Canon and Epson.
As a dealer for both Canon and Epson perhaps I don't know the actual numbers, but it's pretty easy to extrapolate. I sell 30 to 50 Epson printers a year to no ipf printers.  I've been asked about an ipf printer exactly one time in three  years.  Canon's ipf print line is not distributed through the same channels as their cameras, and very few dealers go to the effort to carry them.  I'm in the same market as Pictureline, and they also do not carry the ipf printers and sell more Epson printers than I do.  I do have some PIXMA printers but I can't even give them away with the free printer with a camera promotion.

There is little doubt that Canon's market share is still extremely small in relation to Epsons.  As others mentioned, the 17" form factor is a tough one for Canon, because the 24" printer is just not that much more money. Since this thread is about 17" printers, Epson really is the only option, with the 3880 and the 4900.

Good luck with the suit, seeing as how 99%+ of all Epson users are quite happy. Seems to win a suit you need to prove the manufacturer was negligent and deceitful and caused financial harm to a substantial number of owners. 
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2012, 02:31:20 PM »
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Good luck with the suit, seeing as how 99%+ of all Epson users are quite happy. Seems to win a suit you need to prove the manufacturer was negligent and deceitful and caused financial harm to a substantial number of owners. 

I really think the probability of winning such a suit is close to nil. Those trying it should only hire lawyers who will agree to be paid a success fee - i.e, a share of the awarded proceeds after the exhaustion of all appeals, otherwise they could buy many printers for the legal fees they will accrue to no useable outcome.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Mike P.
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« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2012, 04:21:49 PM »
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Thank you to all for the information and advice.  Ultimately, I have decided to go for the Epson 3880 for the following reasons:

1. It is very cheap right now due to the $300 rebate.  And although this may mean that there is a newer and greater printer just around the corner from Epson, the 3880 is still a great printer.
2. I have several spare ink cartridges from my 3800 and I just realized they will work in the 3880 (except for the magentas).  I can even pull the cartridges out of my dead 3800 and use them. (All but one happens to be more than 50% full)
3. Although I would love the roll paper feature, the additional cost does not justify - I will just pay somebody else to print them on the infrequent occasion that I need prints longer than 22"

Thank you again for all of your advice.  It is much appreciated and helped me greatly with my decision.

Mike

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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2012, 04:33:49 PM »
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Glad we were able to be helpful. Sometimes through all the noise we make here, sensible business gets done  :-)
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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aaronchan
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« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2012, 09:32:22 PM »
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I love Canon, but under this situation, I will go for the Epson 4900.
The technology from the Canon iPF5100 is way to out dated.

aaron
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