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Author Topic: Phatte Black vs. Epson Drivers in 4800?  (Read 26208 times)
JRandallNichols
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« on: November 26, 2005, 02:55:01 PM »
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Michael's article today on Imageprint 6.1 and the long-awaited Phatte Black system was, as usual, highly informative and clear.  One topic was missing, however, and that is whether the Imageprint RIP gives as much advantage over the Epson drivers as it did on the 2200-4000 series.  I believe at one point Michael mentioned he would cover this when the new Imageprint became available, but I was disappointed he did not go there in this initial review.

Since Imageprint for the 4800 costs well over twice what mine (the lite version) was for the 2200, some estimation of the real gain in print quality for both BW and color (different from the obvious ease and economy of the black ink switching) would be welcome.
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Randy
michael
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2005, 04:03:50 PM »
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Imageprint is about more than image quality. It has serious advantages in terms of workflow, throughput and especially when it comes to B&W printing.

The availability of literally hundreds of high quality profiles will also appeal to anyone using a variety of papers.

Imageprint 6.1 is otherwise not different in terms of function to 6.0, which I've reviewed in detail previously.

If you're just looking for great image quality then Imageprint may not be worth the money. But of the other aspects have value to you, it will.

Michael
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concertworks
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« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2005, 12:20:38 AM »
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is it just me or... it kinda seems that phatte black has turned a 4800 into a 4000 and k3 inks are now k2.

just wondering.

phil
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Stephen Best
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2005, 01:39:22 AM »
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is it just me or... it kinda seems that phatte black has turned a 4800 into a 4000 and k3 inks are now k2.

I think the advantage is that with you'll see the benefits of the updated K3 inks (mainly on RC papers) ... improved gamut, greater density, reduced artifacts ... and still have the ability to switch at will. Presumably the results you get won't be as good as IP 6.1 with LLK. People seem to have forgotten their gripe about cleaning cycles wasting ink from the black cartridge they're not currently using however.

I think in the end it depends on whether the convenience justifies some quality tradeoff, hassle of getting specially chipped MK carts etc. At half the price of a second printer, it doesn't seem like a compelling solution to me. I'd be more interested in a lite version of the software with just the screening algorithms and profiles, no fancy layout tools etc. Visibly improved output quality is something I'd pay for ... though I must admit to being well pleased with what I already get from my 4800 (MK) and 7800 (PK).
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2005, 12:12:56 PM »
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At half the price of a second printer, it doesn't seem like a compelling solution to me.

Totally agree!  I upgraded from the 4800 to the 7800 and considered loading the 4800 with Mk ink.  In the end, I traded my 4800 -- hated dealing with the nozzle clogs and 17" was sometimes not wide enough -- straight across for a 7600 and loaded it with the Mk ink.  

The Mk ink for the 4000 and 4800 are identical cartridge numbers which tells me the K3 and UC Mk inks are identical in formulation. IMO this is borne out in actual output as difference in the overall matte output between Mk/UC and Mk/K3 inks is essentially non-existent to my eye.  (Yes, I know others have stated differently elsewhere on the web -- I am just saying I cannot see any significant difference on matte paper output.)

While this does not deal with Michael's stated advantages of using the RIP, I personally don't need the RIP workflow nor the extensive set of profiles.  I only print on a few selected papers and have built what I consider to be excellent profiles for them using the above two printers. So for me the RIP becomes a costly luxury,  but I respect that other's needs and preferences may vary.

Cheers,
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2005, 04:05:18 PM »
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Totally agree!  I upgraded from the 4800 to the 7800 and considered loading the 4800 with Mk ink.  In the end, I traded my 4800 -- hated dealing with the nozzle clogs and 17" was sometimes not wide enough -- straight across for a 7600 and loaded it with the Mk ink. 

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=52291\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I have a hate on with my 4000 and it's clogs - this is not a problem with the 7800??
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2005, 05:20:53 PM »
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clogs - this is not a problem with the 7800??
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=52300\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Not so far!  And I've purposely let mine sit idle for over a week to check this.  With my 4800, more than about two days and I had to do the cleaning...  A real PITA that was.  I never had the problem with my 9600 and am not seeing it with the 7600 either, so I suspect it is some issue with the 4000/4800 design.

Cheers,
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2005, 09:01:04 PM »
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Not so far!  And I've purposely let mine sit idle for over a week to check this.  With my 4800, more than about two days and I had to do the cleaning...  A real PITA that was.  I never had the problem with my 9600 and am not seeing it with the 7600 either, so I suspect it is some issue with the 4000/4800 design.

Cheers,
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=52306\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It sure makes you wonder what variables are at play here.  In five months, my 4800 has yet to clog a single nozzle.  It sits for two weeks sometimes without printing.  I never turn it off.
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jani
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2005, 06:19:27 AM »
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It sure makes you wonder what variables are at play here.  In five months, my 4800 has yet to clog a single nozzle.  It sits for two weeks sometimes without printing.  I never turn it off.
I seem to recall that there is a connection with air humidity. If the relative humidity is too low, it's easier for the nozzles to clog.

Check with a hygrometer that the humidity is between 40% and 70%, which is what I recall as the ideal range (80% probably won't hurt, either).

Note! I don't own either printer, so the above comes from osmosis.
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Jan
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2005, 08:42:00 AM »
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The osmosis on humidity conditions might have come from my L-L article on Epson 4000 Printing Costs, where I discuss this. It was based on advice from Epson America. I have now up-graded to a 4800 and I am watching the cleaning and printing ink usage factors carefully - same methodology I used in the past on the 4000, as explained in that article. I have only had the 4800 for about a month so it is premature to report any conclusions about comparative performance regarding costs and clogs; let me just say that so far so good. I work only with matte papers so the ink change business is a non-issue for my workflow. Note, however, that anyone changing media about 14 times in a year would pay for ImagePrint within that time period, without investing in the cost and space of a second printer for that purpose alone. If I needed to make frequent paper switches and/or needed the other workflow advantages, I think ImagePrint 6.1 would be a convenient and economic investment.

As for comparative print quality in colour on matte media, both the 4000 and the 4800 produce excellent results using the Epson printer profile and a properly profiled and calibrated monitor. Based on test prints I have made with both printers using the same Gretag-Macbeth printer test page, the 4800 provides a slight but obvious improvement in colour gamut and grey neutrality.
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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
mikeseb
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2005, 12:58:17 PM »
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I have a hate on with my 4000 and it's clogs - this is not a problem with the 7800??
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=52300\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Tim, I've not had much trouble with clogging with my 4000. Maybe twice in a year and a half of ownership? do you leave yours on all the time? I'm told that this is what epson recommends.
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michael sebastian
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2005, 03:09:28 PM »
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Actually I thought Epson's recommendation was to turn it off - that way the power down cycle would park the heads in the appropriate place.  In any event I've tried both leaving on and turning off - it seems that turning off creates less hassle.

It isn't humidity in my case either - during this last summer in Toronto - very high humidity I had at least weekly problems, and this was at a minimum  printing the solid test pattern (not the jaggy lines) every day.  If I go 2 or 3 days without printing I'm guaranteed to require a cleaning cycle or 2 or 3 (using the "auto" option on the nozzel test).  I've never actually tried a dedicated cleaning cycle - most of my inks are at different stages of fullness, and the last time I considered a dedicated cycle (let alone a power cleaning cycle through the dedicated controll program) it told me I didn't have enough ink, and this was when none of the cartridges were at the "low ink warning" point.   Sheesh....

My suspicion is that there is something mechanical that has slipped out of tolerance and perhaps the heads aren't seating correctly in down mode, since for the first 3 or 4 months I didn't seem to have any problems.  I can't decide based on the limited samples of others' experience whether there is a systemic issue or not.  

I guess I'll give Epson another call - if I could just pick it up and carry it to Epson, I probably would, but the logistics of moving it are significant (I know they'd send me a container if I asked) and I have a very low expectation that they could actually fix the problem.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2005, 04:08:41 PM »
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Tim, yes you are right about the merits of turning the machine OFF when not in use. It parks the heads in an area that has a rubber seal around it designed to retard the drying of ink, which causes the nozzles to clog. This is the firm and repeated advice I have received from Epson America. (This machine does not have the same vintage print-head as a 7600/9600 - at least more nozzles and likely other differences too, therefore comparisons with the latter are not necessarily useful.)

I strongly recommend that you address the problems you have been having to Epson America technical support, at first using their email system (which works very well - they do respond) and if need be later by phone. In doing so, you should provide whatever evidence you have about the extent, timing and cost of the cleaning cycles you have encountered since you bought the printer. If they want to see your printer, the likely drill is that you (and a helper) would be asked to load it into your car and bring it up to Epson Canada on Victoria Park. It's a bit of physical exercise and driving but all told not that big a deal.
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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
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