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Author Topic: Has anyone seen prints from the new ipf6400?  (Read 4573 times)
Sal Baker
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« on: December 26, 2012, 04:45:32 PM »
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I know it's a new printer.  I can't find user reviews, just press releases and announcements. 

Does the 6400 have slightly improved IQ over the 6300?  How does the 6400 print IQ look compared to the Epson 3880 which I currently use and love?  Thanks.

Sal
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Czornyj
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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2012, 05:09:37 PM »
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The IQ is better than SP3880 (gamut, black expression and B&W). It's also slightly improved over the x300, but it's virtually impossible to notice it. It has slightly smoother transitions in B&W and there's slightly less grain in skin tones.

The real benefit is the lower printing cost (larger 300ml ink carts), higher speed, and ease of use. It's 10% faster in standard/high quality mode, 100% faster in highest quality mode. ICC profiles are unified, so there's no need to choose from 4 profiles for each quality level. There's also a cool galery wrap feature for Photoshop plug-in.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 05:15:19 PM by Czornyj » Logged

Marcin Kałuża
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« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2012, 06:00:29 PM »
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Well, you're comparing a USD2400 24 inch printer with a (for now) USD839 17 inch printer (prices on the B&H website). So the printers are in different leagues. Anyhow Marcin, do you have comparative data on gamut volume and DMax for the two printers (using the same paper with profiles generated using the same hardware and software for each)? As for smooth tonal transitions up the B&W tone range and grainless skin tones, I had both those qualities with my Epson 3800, the predecessor of the 3880, so it isn't clear to me that the IPF6400 would present anything revolutionary in these respects - though admittedly I have not seen direct comparisons. All that said, it would be interesting to see a review or two rigorously comparing these different printer technologies, because it is good for consumers to have viable options that produce about similar quality under controlled conditions.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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bill t.
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2012, 07:30:29 PM »
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Have seen a few 8400 prints.  As far as I can tell print quality is state of the art and exceedingly sharp on very smooth RC gloss media.  No banding, no scratches, no streaks, no scraping, no nothin' bad that caught my eye.

I think the more important question is how the 6400/3880 compare in terms of basic practical things like print handling.  Wouldn't be surprised in the 3800 handles sheets better than the 6400.  Might still be the better choice if you were doing lots of smallish prints.  Does the 6400 feed sheets automatically?  Dunno, but I suppose not.  That could be a real nuisance for certain kinds of jobs.  But based on those 8400 prints, I have to think the 6400 does not sacrifice anything in print quality, if that's an overriding concern to you.

As with all photo equipment, what makes or breaks the value of an "upgrade" is usually on one or two seemingly little things that nevertheless affect you frequently.  I have many times eschewed a technically superior device in favor of a lesser one that was more practical in some significant way.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2012, 01:09:41 AM »
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I know it's a new printer.  I can't find user reviews, just press releases and announcements. 

Does the 6400 have slightly improved IQ over the 6300?  How does the 6400 print IQ look compared to the Epson 3880 which I currently use and love?  Thanks.

Sal
The Lucia inks are unchanged. I'm not sure there is any visual differences in quality between the 6400 and the 6300 canon ipf printer because I don't think they really did much to the head or the screening.  From the 6100 to the 6300 was a major improvement, but the 6400 is more to get the model numbers inline with the 9400 they introduced which is the first 60" printer to have the newer inks.  But it's hard to improve on something that's really good, and the 6300 produces fantastic prints. (so does a 3880).

The gamut thing sometimes gets a little too much attention. Photo prints produced by a Lightjet or Lambda have amazing color qualities and produce stunning prints often visually more impressive than inkjet, despite the fact that they have a substantially smaller gamut.'

Upgrading to the 6400 may make sense for many reasons, but I don't think print quality is part of the equation.
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Czornyj
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2012, 03:14:40 AM »
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iPF6400 is basically a iPF6300 with larger ink tanks, sub-ink tank system, optional SpectroProofer unit, firmware and software changes. There's nothing revolutionary, and I was just trying to highlight subtle differences between x300 and new x400 series rather than compare it to SP3880.

I had only mention it offers better quality than SP3880, as 12 color LUCIA EX has some advantages over 9 color Ultrachrome K3 VM - higher dmax, larger gamut, better scratch resistance and print permanence, less bronzing and gloss differential.
 
Well, you're comparing a USD2400 24 inch printer with a (for now) USD839 17 inch printer (prices on the B&H website). So the printers are in different leagues. Anyhow Marcin, do you have comparative data on gamut volume and DMax for the two printers (using the same paper with profiles generated using the same hardware and software for each)? As for smooth tonal transitions up the B&W tone range and grainless skin tones, I had both those qualities with my Epson 3800, the predecessor of the 3880, so it isn't clear to me that the IPF6400 would present anything revolutionary in these respects - though admittedly I have not seen direct comparisons. All that said, it would be interesting to see a review or two rigorously comparing these different printer technologies, because it is good for consumers to have viable options that produce about similar quality under controlled conditions.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2012, 03:19:41 AM by Czornyj » Logged

Marcin Kałuża
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2012, 05:47:39 AM »
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iPF6400 is basically a iPF6300 with larger ink tanks, sub-ink tank system, optional SpectroProofer unit, firmware and software changes. There's nothing revolutionary, and I was just trying to highlight subtle differences between x300 and new x400 series rather than compare it to SP3880.

I had only mention it offers better quality than SP3880, as 12 color LUCIA EX has some advantages over 9 color Ultrachrome K3 VM - higher dmax, larger gamut, better scratch resistance and print permanence, less bronzing and gloss differential.
 

Marcin, yes I hear you, but what would really interest me is to see the data behind this *qualitative* comparison. The mere fact of 12 inks over 9 doesn't necessarily mean much, unless accompanied with real scientifically produced comparative measurements regarding variables such as DMax, gamut, permanence. Then beyond the measurements there is the question of what observers would see different in prints from each printer, same size, same paper, side-by-side. I think it's important for consumers to have a reliable data base on how various printers' performance compares, as it helps to inform the market and improve competition.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Sal Baker
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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2012, 07:17:45 AM »
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Thank you all.  You've provided a lot of practical info on this new printer.  Scientific comparisons between the Epson 7900 and the new Canons seems hard to find, hence the title of this thread.  I trust your opinions of what you've seen almost more than data points.  If the consensus of this community is that the ipf6400 produces prints as stellar as the Epson counterparts that's good enough for me.

I've been an Epson fanboy for a long time, and the 3880 has been the best as far as lack of clogging.  But the Canon approach to head clog maintenance sounds attractive to me as long as I'm not compromising print IQ.

Sal
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Atlex.com
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2012, 11:17:15 AM »
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I would agree with most of the replies.  The Canon IPF6400 will have the same color gamut as the IPF8400 (just bigger version).  The IPF6400 does use 2 ink sizes now vs the IPF6300 which only used 130ml.

It will have better quality vs the 3880 and the hardware/software were updated.
We have the IPF8300 in our office, and our tech mentioned that the quality from the 8400 isn't any different.  Same inks set and print heads.  So, the 6400 will be the same this way, with updated parts.  The spectro proofer is now available for this model (you can purchase with the printer or later; no difference in pricing either way with that purchased)

Canon has updated the printers where they won't clog as easily, but Epson 3880 has been doing pretty well also.

We do have this model available as well as other printers and the 6400 does have a trade-in available.
Let me know if you have questions regarding these models and any discounts available.

Atlex.com
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Rob Reiter
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2012, 09:25:03 PM »
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I've been using the 8400 for a couple of weeks now, and before an 8300 and before that the iPF8100, with various Epsons trailing back to the 1900s...

I'm sure someone in a laboratory somewhere could give you precise details on the differences (improvements, I'm sure) but down here in the trenches of day-to-day printing, I'm not seeing any difference, using custom profiles, between this printer and the last. There may be improvements in speed, but as my 8300 was already faster than I can keep up with on cutting and and de-curling of roll paper prints, I haven't bothered to break out the stopwatch.

And that's about what I expected. It uses the same inks, and sales speak aside (Better color! Better dithering! Deeper blacks!) any changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary. I think that's just where the state of inkjet printing is these days. Not that it's a bad thing. Now the work to make better prints falls on our shoulders as photographers and printers and there isn't much need to be looking over our shoulders and wondering if we made the right decision to buy printer A or printer B.

I upgraded because Canon has been so aggressive on pricing. If you have room for it, however, I would suggest an 8400 over the 6400, even if you don't need the larger prints. The bigger printer comes with 330ml ink cartridges-$2000 worth of the stuff. With the 6400, most of the ink in the initial carts will go to charging the lines and you'll be buying more soon.



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Sal Baker
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2012, 04:33:48 PM »
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I have thought very seriously about the 8400.  The only thing holding me back is indeed the size.  I've made room diagrams to try to make it fit but the only way I can do it is if I push my wife's desk workspace out to the side yard - not that there's anything wrong with that!  Smiley

Sal
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bill t.
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2012, 05:10:54 PM »
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8400 hint...there's quite a bit of storage space under the printer for media rolls, jugs of coating, glue, computers, file cabinets, groceries, the laundry bin, kegs of beer, whatever ya got.  Assuming you don't use the space-wasting cloth bin thing, which is a useless as Epson's version, and instead use a simple foam core chute down to your nearly immaculate floor.

I use that space for my winter cache of freeze-sensitive canvas coating and canvas glue.  Also have the uninterrupable power supply down there, with a spare maintenance cartridge on top.  Plus an assortment of reject prints and test strips and a pair of sandals, will do something about those any day now.
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sfblue
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« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2012, 01:47:37 PM »
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"if I push my wife's desk workspace out to the side yard..." 

Sal, I think putting your wife's desk outside would encourage creativity and enhance her productivity-- cold, fresh winter air is good for the mind!

I just went through something similar.  I've owned Epsons for a long time and my most recent one was a 7900.   I agonized over whether or not to make the switch to Canon and was really worried about giving up image quality in any tiny w ay at all. I did everything I could-- read reviews on the older x300, looked at color gamut comparisons between epson and canon, and specs, and tried to get info on black and white printing.  I was concerned that some had mentioned a visible dither pattern on the Canons and didn't know if there was any real world impact from the difference in specs:  (epson 2880x1440 and 3.5 picoliter/variable droplet size vs  2400x1400 and 4 picoliter droplet size on the Canon).   Also, I was really used to the Epson workflow and quirks and had some profiles made from a couple different people that worked really well.  My 7900 was a hassle for me to operate but the results were truly excellent and after everything, I was still super reluctant to move to Canon from Epson. 

I ended up getting the 8400, and yes, it's not small.  It doesn't fit anywhere except our dining room which is not that large, so now there's a dining room table, upright piano, and gargantuan printer with almost no room to walk through.  It's funny that the 6400 is lighter than the 7900 (154lbs vs 187lbs for the epson), but the 8400 is much heavier than the 7900 (316 lbs vs 256 lbs).  No doubt-- the 8400 is a commitment in terms of getting it into your house and finding room for it.  But I second what Rob said-- if you can get the Canon at a time with max rebates, the 8400 is just too good of a deal to turn down with those 330ml tanks.   You don't get that with the 6400 series or with any of the Epsons.  You also get the built in hard drive on the 8400 which is on the 6450 but not the 6400. 

I'm reluctant to say much about image quality as I've only been printing for about a week and I haven't had much time thus far, but so far, there have been good results out of the box.  I have only used the stock profiles from Harman and Hahnemuhle on a few papers.  (Harman, Hahnemuhle, and Canson have stock profiles for the x400 canons on their websites while the other papers I checked do not.)  I've printed the most on Harman Baryta Gloss.  Caveats aside, out out of the box, the prints look great and will only get better as I get profiles made from a couple people, have time to experiment, and also try out True Black and White.  It's not that they look identical to my epson 7900 prints- they don't. But the differences are not in a way where one is superior than the other across all types of shots; you have to examine closely and stare at different areas of the print.  There are prints where I subtly prefer the epson, but it's also an unfair comparison as I had the epson 7900 for a couple years and had experimented quite a bit with different profiles as well as trying to make my own.  I've been trying to print shots to find the Canon's weakness (lighter reds/oranges very detailed/textured shots that might show the dither pattern).  I do think the Epson has a finer and fairly remarkably detailed dither pattern, but I've been looking at prints with a 4x and 8x loupe which I know might seem excessive. I'm funny that way though and I like to understand what's on the paper.  I also think sometimes a print can give someone a stronger guttural reaction in a way they can't articulate and sometimes examining the details closely can shed light on those overall impressions.  Hopefully over the next month, I'll get profiles made and have time to experiment and have a better understanding of the differences between the two printers.

It's worth mentioning that operationally, the Canon has been a joy and a revelation thus far.  I never thought that organizing matte and glossy prints in batches was that much hassle with the epson, but it's amazing how nice it's been to not have to run cleaning cycles, switch between inks, etc.  I was always aware of how much ink was being wasted on my Epson.  Run a print check, run a cleaning cycle, switch from PK to MK and then after it's switched, when you go to print, it runs another cleaning inevitably.  I didn't think I'd care about the operational efficiency of the Canons.   I was quite used to the Epson process and I viewed ink wasting and extra steps and time as part of the process and all I wanted was the best prints I could make. 

So take it all with a grain of salt after owning it for only one week, but the Canon 8400 has been awesome to run.   You just print.  Matte or gloss, different materials, fabrics, etc.  You don't worry that you'll come out with banding because the print heads need a cleaning.  At highest quality, the Canon is quite fast-- I guess that is one of the differences in the x400 Canons vs the x300 series.  It takes about two minutes to power on, but after that, there is much less time when the printer is sort of "thinking"/getting ready to print or cleaning. 

Btw, the Canon 6400s have two paths for sheet feed and the 8400s only have one.  I had read some people really don't like it, but after the first few times, I've had no problems at all, even with smaller sheets. I think the Epson sheet feed in theory is better, but I have ruined a lot of 8.5 x 11 test sheets with any curl at all on the epson (larger sheets don't have that problem).  I print more letter-sized than most people as sometimes I just like to run off a small print and look at it for a while before I print something large.  There are a few quirks on the Canon (I can't print from the Canon driver on letter size without hitting preview first-- otherwise, it says I can't print because the dimensions are wrong).  But now that I have the process down, sheet loading is no problem. 

It will take a month or two to get some profiles made and experiment more.  Don't know if this is helpful for you, but basically the first week with the Canon 8400 has been really good both operationally and in terms of image quality.  If you can get a good deal on the 8400, it's worth making the room for from a value perspective.  If you have any specific questions, I'll try to answer along with the other canon owners here.  Good luck!
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Scott Martin
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« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2012, 08:24:38 PM »
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I'm not sure there is any visual differences in quality between the 6400 and the 6300 canon ipf printer because I don't think they really did much to the head or the screening. 

There's been a lot of attention paid to making small improvements in image quality in the x400 series. Not the least of which is a dramatically new screening approach that they've been working on for many years. The new x400 screening achieves greater detail, greater smoothness and less graininess in less passes than the previous methods. (7 passes vs. 8 passes in Standard mode, 16 pass vs. 32 pass at the highest quality mode). So the end result is better image quality and better print speeds.

They've also taken some measures to ensure that all of the x400 printers print exactly the same (their lab says it's within within 0.6 Delta E). The carriage speeds are now the same across the different models (which means the 6400 is faster than previous models) and the calibration procedure is refined (now called "Calibration Link"). So third party paper companies can finally release a single ICC profile and MCT profile that works for any x400 printer.

There are new LUTs that deliver more delicate shadow detail and smoother transitions, newly designed smarter ink cartridges, and lots of little things here and there. Yes, it's the same hardware platform but instead of increasing costs significantly they've focused their R&D efforts on tweaking image quality, consistency and usability across their entire line.

Aside from this I don't think a whole new write-up, comparison and review is needed. With these few x400 points noted here, I hope one can read my Canon x300 printer review and get a pretty decent idea how it compares to Epson and HP's latest.


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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2012, 08:43:15 PM »
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Hi Scott,

Your review is very insightful. The one thing I didn't see discussed and obviously of great interest would be comparisons between the Canon and Epson models for reproduction of fine detail;also it would be good to have your impression about comparative smoothness of tonal gradations.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2012, 09:09:38 PM »
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The one thing I didn't see discussed and obviously of great interest would be comparisons between the Canon and Epson models for reproduction of fine detail;also it would be good to have your impression about comparative smoothness of tonal gradations.

There's not much to complain about here. We are living in great times. Finally, granger rainbows are just incredibly smooth and consistent on both the x900 and x400 series. The profiling targets shown in the review give you an idea as to their smoothness prior to profiling and my evaluation prints made using the exact same profiling method show little differences between them in the granger rainbow. When I look at dot placement under a microscope Epson has the edge but when looking at prints with the naked eye or with a loupe I see little differences in detail (make sure the print head alignment for each machine is really tight before doing this comparison and use the highest setting on each printer). Canon used to suffer somewhat with more visible "printer dots" that the new screening improves upon...

We're certainly being geeks here (of which I'm guilty). The print quality between these printers is crazy similar. Comparing print detail and smoothness in this day in age is like questioning two race cars that finish a race within a one hundredth of a second to one another. There are other things to talk about: like how the gamut compares on different types of papers. We can't keep talking about how one gamut is simply "better" or "larger" than another - in order for this conversation to be meaningful at this point we must evolve our dialog. We need to talk about why some areas of the gamut might be more important than others. I really like Wayne's comment about the beauty of a silver halide print despite it's smaller gamut. We need dig in deep. How do you feel when you've got a 9900 on one side of the room and a 8400 on the other? How's the overall experience?
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2012, 09:18:23 PM »
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Thanks Scott. It means Canon is now a real option. Much as I'm fussy about print quality (you know!), I look at prints at the natural viewing distance from which they are meant to be looked at, and from that POV all this sounds very good.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2012, 09:49:12 PM »
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All I can say is my own experience with my 6400 unit, which I have had for many months due to my relationship with Canon, is a superb unit. The print quality is similar to my 8300, but there are some subtle differences that make me feel like an upgrade could be useful for some. The biggest benefit would be the use of profiles between x400 devices in the same environment. Some very nice functionality.
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Sal Baker
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« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2012, 03:27:29 PM »
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Thanks sfblue and others.  This is all very helpful!

Sal
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« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2013, 11:26:10 PM »
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Hi - I was just reading through your post about your new, at the time, Canon ipf8400.  I am in a similar situation you were in when you made the original post.  I have owned an Epson 7900 for several years, with relatively limited use.  I have gotten used to the clogged nozzles, cleaning cycles, and wasted ink.  But a technician just serviced my 7900 and reports he cannot clear the LLK print head nozzle, a problem he sees relatively frequently.  This cost me almost $300 to find out plus hundreds of dollars in ink that he used when trying to service & repair the printer.  A new print head is $1600 plus labor, etc., so incredibly it is less expensive to purchase a new 7900 with a full set of ink cartridges and one year warranty.  I am looking hard at the Canon ipf6400's and 8400's, finding limited information in terms of reviews on the web.  I am 150 miles from the closest dealer so cannot conveniently run tests.  I would be curious to hear your experiences with the Canon printer now that you have owned it for a period of time.  Thanks very much.   Mark Weidman
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