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Author Topic: Ink usage/cost of the canon 8400 vs epson 9890/9900...  (Read 6703 times)
mg73
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« on: February 12, 2013, 07:57:46 AM »
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Thanks for all the input on the previous thread.  I'm still deciding between purchasing the canon 8400 vs the epson 9890.  I've read the previous thread and had my concerns about the paper path and loading cut sheets on the 8400 adressed and that's now a non-issue for me.

The clogging issues have also been addressed on previous threads so I understand that and have taken that into account.  It's a concern with the epson, but not a deal breaker at the moment.  I'm prepared to clean the machine properly and not let it sit for long periods without printing.

If I buy the epson, I'll be buying the 9890 since I don't need the extended gamut of the 9900 and 9 inks are a bit cheaper to replace than 11.  So it's between the canon 8400 and the epson 9890.

I keep hearing that the canon 8400 uses less ink than the epson 9890/9900.  I believe it has to do with the canon's superior ability to deposit the proper dosage of ink to the different types of paper, and also less waste in the cleaning cycles.  Am I correct about this?  Are there other factors also?

Current pricing of the 8400 is about $3400 after rebates and include a full compiment of 350ml ink tanks.  Current pricing on the Epson 9890 is about $3300 but only includes 110ml ink tanks which will have to be replaced soon.  That would add another $1200 to the price of the epson soon after purchasing.  

So the Canon 8400 seems to be cheaper to run but initially, but the cost of 350ml ink replacement in the 8400 is almost $1900 versus $1200 for the Epson.  

Does the cost for ink even out over time, or do you think the 8400 ink cost would still be cheaper over time?
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 07:59:32 AM by mg73 » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2013, 09:49:04 AM »
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You are making a few assumptions that I would recommend you verify before "jumping-in". I don't have the answers for them, but if I were looking at these options I would want to find the answers.

You say you don't "need" the "extended gamut". I can't speak for what you need - obviously only you know that, and often what we "need" is heavily influenced by what is made available to us. I think it was Steve Jobs who once said that consumers don't know what they need/want; and way back in the 1700s one of the earliest principles of economics was coined to the effect that supply creates its own demand. Having acknowledged all that, let me put it to you this way: we have been witnessing the steady expansion of inkjet printer gamut in the pigmented ink sector since Epson produced the 2000P back in 1999/2000. This has been welcomed by the photographic community. Finally, with the x900 series from Epson, we have a gamut that at least for the warm tones and a bit of the blue moderately exceeds ARGB(98). Whether this is of practical importance depends on the kind of images you are printing, but having that capability at hand when desirable is one of the reasons why I took such an interest in the Epson 4900.

You are assuming that 9 inks is an advantage over 11 because you are assuming cheaper replacement cost. I don't think this is a correct way of approaching this calculation. What matters is how much ink is consumed for printing a square foot of paper, not how many different tanks the inks are drawn from, and there are numerous factors determining this, not least of which the kind of images you are printing. If you print many snowy scenes they use much less ink than if you print forest landscapes - it's density that matters. Different papers require different inking, and the printer driver and your profiles look after that under the hood. The printer's screening and dithering algorithms make a difference. The resolution (printer dpi) is a minor factor. Also please be aware, that ink usage is not uniform. You will find certain colours always running out faster than others.

But underlying this consideration of ink usage is a further question of the extent to which ink matters in the overall construct of your printing costs. I have determined - using data and arithmetic, not just impressions, that the cost of paper (when using high quality professional papers) far exceeds the cost of ink, and depending on your print volume, the amortization of the printer itself is a very visible component of the cost per print. I'm not making prints as a service bureau or as a seller of photographs. For a service bureau the cost of ink may be more of a consideration, because all costs reduce profits as they increase, but compared with all their other costs, probably not the number one issue either. For sellers of fine art photographs, prices depend on the market and the cost of the ink is a trivial component. I print for my personal collection and I don't worry about ink cost any longer. But I am concerned about wasting paper, because for me, that is where the real money goes.

I would be very surprised if Canon printers have any superior ability to deposit the proper dosage of ink on different kinds of papers. "I keep hearing" wouldn't prove anything to my satisfaction. I keep hearing all kinds of unsubstantiated rubbish all the time and it's a straight pass-through. If you can find objective evidence that unambiguously substantiates these claims I for one would be most interested in seeing it. Now of course Epson claims "unprecedented accuracy" in this very respect, but they are the vendors of their products so any savvy consumer would want to look behind the claim. Unfortunately, given our lack of testing ability and the number of variables (some of which I noted above) that would need to be standardized for proving these claims, we as consumers don't have a satisfactory way of drilling down on this matter. But in light of what I mentioned just above about the relative importance of ink costs, perhaps we should focus less on this and more on what the printers produce.

You mention that you would be adding 1200 dollars to the purchase price "soon after purchasing" because the tanks with the Epson are "only" 110ml. That multiplied by 11 is over 1200 ml of ink. When you first charge-up the printer, a goodly percentage of that ink (25 - 30% from my experience with the smaller models) is used on initial charge-up, but a high proportion of that remains within the lines and it will be used to make prints. I don't know how much of this initial charge-up truly ends-up in the maintenance tank, but even if you were left with 1100 ml of usable ink, and given say that my 4900 requires on average 1.5 ml per square foot of printing, I can print over 700 square feet of paper before replacing all those inks. Depending on how much you print, that won't happen over night. As well, you haven't mentioned whether you've compared the cost of ink per ml between the two vendors. Remember, ink per print depends not only the number of ml used, but also price/ml - p*q.

All said and done, the apples-to-apples comparison of initial acquisition cost between these printers can vary from "quite a bit" to "very little" depending on who has what on special at what time. But even within quite a few hundred dollars of difference, if I were making this purchase, unless I were truly constrained financially, it's probably not the item I would put high on the list of considerations. Recall, this is an investment you intend to be using for a number of years. Amortize that price difference over say four years and I'll bet it's less than you spend in a year buying coffee from your neighbourhood coffee shop (if you do that).

For me the bottom line issues are: (1) final print quality: gamut, resolution, smoothness of tonal gradations - that kind of stuff, and (2) usability - am I going to have pleasure or pain using my printer; (3) Quality and ease of service and support. I would make my choice based on those three items.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Czornyj
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2013, 09:50:46 AM »
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iPF x400 ink consumption is 30-40% lower than SPx900. To put it in simple words - the 700ml Canon ink tank cresponds to 1000ml Epson ink tank.

It also wastes much less ink for maintanance.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 09:53:02 AM by Czornyj » Logged

Mark D Segal
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2013, 10:04:28 AM »
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Can you point me to verifiable tests proving this, or is it based on your own controlled measurements using both kinds of printers? If so, do you care to publish the details?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2013, 12:04:38 PM »
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Can you point me to verifiable tests proving this, or is it based on your own controlled measurements using both kinds of printers? If so, do you care to publish the details?

I ran my own tests. The setup was SP7900 and iPF8300 of my friend, and my own  iPF8300. All printers were profiled by X-Rite i1Profiler + i1Pro 2 and i1iSis with exactly the same profile creation options. I used LR4 and my test image set rendered to ECI RGB editing space:


The ink consumption of our x300 iPFs was exactly 30% lower than SP7900 on PK papers. We didn't have enough time to create profiles and make evaluation prints on MK papers, but we plan another printing sesion to compare MK output of iPF and SP.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 12:07:49 PM by Czornyj » Logged

Mark D Segal
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2013, 12:07:19 PM »
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OK, that looks like a serious and credible approach. Very interesting.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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mg73
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2013, 12:22:46 PM »
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Thanks for the input.  Interesting points to consider, especially about the paper cost far outweighing the ink cost.   As for the difference in ink cost between the printers, I did the following calculations based on price per ml of ink using epson 350 ml tanks vs canon 330ml tanks using current Atlex prices:
Epson:  $131/350ml = .37 per ml
Canon:  $162/330ml = .49 per ml

So the Canon lucia inks are about 25% more expensive per ml than the epson inks.  So if it's true that the Canon 8400 uses about 30% less ink than the Epson 9890, then the 25% higher price of the canon inks almost makes it a wash for ongoing usage.  However, the Canon does initially come with almost $1400 of ink more than the epson (I calculated this by subtracting 330ml-110ml = 220ml which is the amount more in each ink tank that the canon comes with.  220ml X 12 (tanks) X $0.49 = $1401 which is the total price of the extra ink that the canon comes with.)  So even though the cost of ink for printing is roughly the same, the Canon has an edge in that you start off with 66% more ink than the Epson.  Interesting...

So it seems that cost of ink over time isn't that great over time between the two.  So I'm thinking I should probably be looking more at image quality and maintenance issues to make my decision 
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Czornyj
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2013, 12:42:19 PM »
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It's possible that SP9890 ink consumption can be a little higher than SPx900.

I had compared my 12 color iPF8300 to 8 color iPF8300s, and 12 color Canon consumed 10% less ink. It uses R,G,B inks instead of M+Y, C+Y and C+M, which gives certain savings.

Note that Canon has separate PK, MK printing heads, so there's no ink/time waste when you switch paper types. It also wastes much less ink for cleaning cycles and head maintanance.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2013, 12:55:45 PM »
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I ran my own tests. The setup was SP7900 and iPF8300 of my friend, and my own  iPF8300. All printers were profiled by X-Rite i1Profiler + i1Pro 2 and i1iSis with exactly the same profile creation options. I used LR4 and my test image set rendered to ECI RGB editing space:


The ink consumption of our x300 iPFs was exactly 30% lower than SP7900 on PK papers. We didn't have enough time to create profiles and make evaluation prints on MK papers, but we plan another printing sesion to compare MK output of iPF and SP.

Just curious, what was the actual quality settings used for each printer?
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« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2013, 01:08:30 PM »
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Just curious, what was the actual quality settings used for each printer?

Both at highest quality - but the quality setting didn't have big influence on ink consumption. We did the comparison just out of curiosity, so I didn't care to write the exact numbers, but I'll remember to note it when we meet again to make MK tests.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 01:13:58 PM by Czornyj » Logged

mg73
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« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2013, 01:28:35 PM »
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Since subject matter may influence printer decisions, here's a bit of info on what I generally shoot and print:

2/3 Landscape (3/4 color  1/4 BW)

1/3 people (with most of the people shots done in studio with strobes.  (3/4 color   1/4 BW)

I also like to experiment with some artsy-fartsy "modern art" type images, usually with bold colors.

Here's a link to my pics if anyone's interested:  www.markgenero.com

I have two printer currently.  I've been using an epson 7600 for years set up with photo black ink and print on Epson canvas and Epson lustre mostly.  I've also had an epson 4880 for a couple of years set up with MK black for matt papers (Mostly hahnemhule William Turner and Photo rag as well as Epson Velvet Fine Art).  I'm looking to go to one 44" printer to handle all my printing, and I want the ability now to print larger prints on canvas for gallery wraps than my trusty 24 inch 7600 can deliver.  I rarely print smaller than 11x14.  I guess you'd say I'm an advance amateur, but have made some sales over the years.  The printer isn't always going, but rarely sits for more than a week without use.
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DeanChriss
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« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2013, 01:40:27 PM »
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I don't know which printer uses more ink overall, but the cost of ink per print is insignificant compared to any other factor I can imagine. I've had an Epson 7900 for over 4 years. Given how long the maintenance tanks last there can be only a very tiny percentage of the total ink consumed going into them. It's important to remember that the Canon print heads are a consumable. It costs about $1000 to replace the set, and changing them involves using a lot of ink, though I don't know the exact quantity. Both printers use ink to clean the nozzles, but the way the Epson works makes you very aware that this is happening. I think that tends to make it seem like it's using more ink than it actually is.

The bottom line is that I agree with Mark's assessment. Ink use just isn't a big factor in deciding on a printer. Both printers will make great prints, which doesn't mean they will look identical. It's a good idea to look at samples of the same file on the same paper from each properly profiled printer to decide which you like better. You may notice differences in things like the sheen of the ink on papers that use PK ink, and bronzing may be a little different on some papers. Other differences will be much more subtle. In terms of useability I'm guessing the Canon could score higher because you do not have to deal with clogs, or be aware they exist, until the head has no more nozzles to "map out". It makes daily use easier, except on the days when you need to install a new head. I think heads last about two to three years on average, but maybe someone who knows more about it than I do can chime in on that. I'd expect service calls for either printer to be extraordinarily expensive, though your location may make one less expensive than the other. A several year old printer is often not worth the cost of a service visit. I've heard praise and horror stories regarding technical support telephone calls to both manufacturers. I think it depends more on the technician you end up talking to than it does on corporate policy.

When I was looking for a printer I found that there was no truly bad choice, and there was no perfect choice either. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses so it's a matter of determining what they are and which are the most important to you. In the end you'll like the printer you buy, and there will always be some aspect of the one you didn't buy that's better.
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Sal Baker
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« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2013, 01:42:06 PM »
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It's possible that SP9890 ink consumption can be a little higher than SPx900.

I had compared my 12 color iPF8300 to 8 color iPF8300s, and 12 color Canon consumed 10% less ink. It uses R,G,B inks instead of M+Y, C+Y and C+M, which gives certain savings.

Note that Canon has separate PK, MK printing heads, so there's no ink/time waste when you switch paper types. It also wastes much less ink for cleaning cycles and head maintanance.

Unlike the OP, this is a major deal breaker for me--one I can't dismiss easily.  The cost of changing the mk and pk inks for various papers is substantial enough to keep me from doing so with my 3880.  My previous Epsons required constant nozzle checking and head cleaning.  This is like buying 3 bottles of Dom Perignon for dinner--1 bottle to drink with the meal and the other 2 for washing the dishes.  

The Canon x400 series use less ink for prints, there's no black ink change penalty costs, and much less ink over time for maintenance and head cleaning.  You can even buy replacement Canon heads for $412 and replace them yourself in minutes.  Canon printers aren't perfect either, but at least someone is trying to address the ink waste issues in WF printers.

Sal
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Sal Baker
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« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2013, 01:56:42 PM »
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I don't know which printer uses more ink overall, but the cost of ink per print is insignificant compared to any other factor I can imagine. I've had an Epson 7900 for over 4 years. Given how long the maintenance tanks last there can be only a very tiny percentage of the total ink consumed going into them. It's important to remember that the Canon print heads are a consumable. It costs about $1000 to replace the set, and changing them involves using a lot of ink, though I don't know the exact quantity. Both printers use ink to clean the nozzles, but the way the Epson works makes you very aware that this is happening. I think that tends to make it seem like it's using more ink than it actually is.

Current costs for Canon heads are $820 for a set with no service call required (assuming the heads were the only problem).  It's been reported by fellow forum members that Canon hasn't been charging for replacement print heads, even out of warranty.  Here's an example from another thread (towards the bottom of the page)...

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=75000.0

Sal
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2013, 02:08:49 PM »
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 The cost of changing the mk and pk inks for various papers is substantial enough to keep me from doing so with my 3880.
Sal

Sal,

I'm surprised to read this. On the 3800/3880, the round trip for an mk/pk switch is about 4 ml of ink (it was a much bigger deal on the 4000/4800 models). Here in Toronto I'm paying about 57 cents per ml, so we're talking a little over 2 bucks, and one can strategize the number of times a week or a month one would need to do this.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2013, 02:09:43 PM »
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Both printers will make great prints, which doesn't mean they will look identical. It's a good idea to look at samples of the same file on the same paper from each properly profiled printer to decide which you like better. You may notice differences in things like the sheen of the ink on papers that use PK ink, and bronzing may be a little different on some papers.

After creating profiles (i1Profiler+i1pro2/i1iSis) for both printers, the resulting prints were virtually inditinguishable from a normal viewing distance. The easiest way to distinguish them was a "nail test" - PK print from Canon is much more scratch resistant and has more slippery surface.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 02:13:23 PM by Czornyj » Logged

mg73
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« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2013, 02:23:03 PM »
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How does the canon do with black and white images?  I understand there's a good third party BW printing program for the canon, but only for the Mac.  I use windows.
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Sal Baker
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« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2013, 02:44:08 PM »
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Sal,

I'm surprised to read this. On the 3800/3880, the round trip for an mk/pk switch is about 4 ml of ink (it was a much bigger deal on the 4000/4800 models). Here in Toronto I'm paying about 57 cents per ml, so we're talking a little over 2 bucks, and one can strategize the number of times a week or a month one would need to do this.

Mark, it's not a matter of going broke.  I just hate having to accept paying Epson $5 per week for expensive ink in the waste bin if I changed paper types as often as I would like.  Plus, switching from pk to mk and back caused a clog or air bubble in the black channel several times which required wasting even more ink for head cleaning.  And like you said, other Epsons cost a lot more for the black switch.  

Wasted black ink probably adds a fair amount of $$ to their yearly bottom line, and it's probably the reason why they don't get around to designing and implementing separate channels for black inks.  Canon can do it in less expensive printers and they aren't necessarily rocket scientists...well maybe they are?   Smiley

Sal
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 02:49:58 PM by Sal Baker » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2013, 02:57:00 PM »
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How does the canon do with black and white images?  I understand there's a good third party BW printing program for the canon, but only for the Mac.  I use windows.
I believe the ipf8400 has new black and white software that may or may not be in the 8300's tested above.

From Canon re the 8400:

New Tint and Tone Adjustments
The new tint and tone controls over the four monochromatic shades allow a user to create even more expressive blacks with smoother gradations especially in dark areas. Found in both the Printer Driver and Print Plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, the new tone control in the monochrome photo mode includes adjustments for:
Soft Tone
Middle Tone
Medium Hard Tone
Hard Tone
Strong Hard Tone

I too would be interested in hearing if any 8400 or 6400 users have found these controls worthwhile.

Sal
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« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2013, 02:59:47 PM »
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I guess the Hp z3100/3200 is the cheapest after all - ink about the same price- hardly any ink wasted- heads that allways work - and if not replaced for 60 each...- a very reliable machine ( i am using it for 6 years) and the best non fading inksets...very good Black-White...
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