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Author Topic: First serious photo printer advice  (Read 7234 times)
situgrrl
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« on: December 12, 2005, 08:29:24 PM »
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Hey

I want a new photo printer.  Currently I use an HP 2179 all in one.  

Really, I want the ability to print A3 but am on a tight budget.  I can get an Epson 1290s for around 200 which seems reasonable.  

Does anyone have any experience using one?  I've heard that they are slow but the quality is good.  What are running costs like?  Who makes the best CIS for them?

I do a lot of B+W photography, with my HP, using the colour carts I get a green tint, using only the black I loose lots of shadow detail.  What's the solution to this with the Epson?

Thanks

Charlee
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kbolin
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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2005, 09:34:32 PM »
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I owned the Epson 1280 (North American version of the 1290).  I loved the printer overall and have a good number of great B&W photos that were printed using the standard driver (at the time).

Kelly
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2005, 10:48:32 AM »
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One important question to ask yourself before buying a printer is how long you need the prints to last.  If you will only look at them for a year or less and then throw them away, a dye ink printer like the Epson 1290 will probably give you the best image quality per monetary unit.  If you'd like them to last for several decades (or more), then you'll want a pigment-ink printer (like the Epson R800, R2400, etc.).

I used to own a 1280 (a slightly older version of the 1290), and loved the image quality, but didn't like the lack of print longevity, and the paper/ink combination's habit of outgassing (slightly fogging up the inside of the glass for framed prints when using glossy or semigloss papers).  It was very slow, but then pretty much all Epson photo printers (and the vast majority of decent-image-quality photo printers) are very slow; you just have to get used to that.

For getting neutral B&W prints, there are several options I know of.  One is to buy a good custom profile for your printer, which will make the neutrality *better* compared with the canned printer profiles that come with the printer, though whether you consider them to be good enough is unknown until you try them.  Another is to get an Epson that comes with the Grey Balancer, a little utility that has you print a sample image in your printer and choose the most neutral patch in it, then it adjusts the printer profile accordingly; however, I don't know whether current Epsons in the U.K. come with this or whether you can still download it (it works well for me, but I got it a couple of years ago for my 2200 so I don't know whether it is still available).  Another is to read printer reviews at sites like this one; good reviews will look at the neutrality of B&W prints, and you can choose a printer that's particularly good at it.  Another option that some people use, though it is a crude and imperfect one (so I'd recommend it only if the previous options can't be make to work for some reason) is to experiment with putting a Curve command (with one or two of the three colors only) on images just before you print them to try to compensate for the color cast.

Lisa
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situgrrl
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2005, 07:03:08 PM »
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What do you think of the 2200?  I've been offered a 2100 for cheapish but have heard that the prints can lack contrast.  At least they stay on the paper though - I've kind of ruled out the 1290s because of this now.

I've also been offered some HP for cheapness but the inkset is about 100!
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2005, 08:28:56 PM »
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What do you think of the 2200?  I've been offered a 2100 for cheapish but have heard that the prints can lack contrast.  At least they stay on the paper though - I've kind of ruled out the 1290s because of this now.

I've also been offered some HP for cheapness but the inkset is about 100!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=53494\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I've been delighted with my 2200 for a couple of years now. The 2400 is tempting, but not until this one breaks. I print mostly on Epson Enhanced Matte and a little bit on Premium Luster when a shinier surface is needed. My first partly-digital exhibit was last summer, with about half of the show B&W darkroom prints (11x14" in 16"x20" frames) and the rest digital prints from the Epson (both B&W and color), printed 10x15" in 16x20" frames. I sold several prints from that exhibit, all color and printed on the 2200.

It is true that matte prints (which the 2200 does well) don't show the same contrast as glossy prints, but under glass they are indistinguishable.

I hope this helps.

Eric
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2005, 10:28:08 PM »
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What do you think of the 2200? I've been offered a 2100 for cheapish but have heard that the prints can lack contrast. At least they stay on the paper though - I've kind of ruled out the 1290s because of this now.

I've been quite happy with 2200, though it's not perfect either.  If you look at a brightly-colored 2200 print side by side with a 1280 print, the latter will look a *little* bit nicer (the advantage of dye inks), but if you saw them a few minutes apart, not side by side, you'd probably not notice the difference.  The 2200's inks work extremely well with matte papers, which is good for a nonshiny "fine art" look; however, matte papers don't print blacks quite as dark as glossy and semigloss papers, and the colors aren't quite as saturated, so you'd lose a little bit of image quality there if you like the shiny traditional photo look.  The 2200 is fine on *some* glossy/semigloss papers, but they can be hard to find; on most glossy/semigloss papers, the gloss differential (in regions of different darkness) is a bit of a problem, as is the same old outgassing problems the 1280 has.  The newer Epson inks used in the R800, R2400 etc. don't have the gloss differential problem on glossy/semigloss papers; don't know about the outgassing problem.

To summarize a lot of detailed comments, the 2200 is great on matte papers, at the expense of a bit of image quality for blacks and bright colors (not much, but enough if you're fussy).  On the other hand, it's archival and doesn't have any of the annoyance problems (if you use matte paper).  If you really like the shiny, bright look, though, it's probably not the best printer for you.

Lisa
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nma
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2005, 12:45:05 PM »
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What do you think of the 2200?  I've been offered a 2100 for cheapish but have heard that the prints can lack contrast.  At least they stay on the paper though - I've kind of ruled out the 1290s because of this now.

I've also been offered some HP for cheapness but the inkset is about 100!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=53494\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

With respect to image quality, the 2200 is hard to beat. Pictures on matte, watercolor and velvet-style paper are outstanding. Results on Lustre and similar surfaces are also top notch. Many report disappointment with "bronzing" on glossy papers, though my experience has not shown this to be a problem.  People having problems with contrast probably don't understand what they are doing. Good results require starting with a color-calibrated monitor and use of an icc-profile matched to the paper and printer. Without this quality control, you are wasting your money and you will never realize the potential of this (or other) printer(s).

Hope this helps.
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Phuong
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2005, 02:27:28 PM »
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sorry to interrupt. i am thinking of crapping my SP9000 and buy a new one, mostly will be for home use and study (printing) purpuses. im interested in the R800 and R1800 that nniko mentioned. the 2200 and 2400 are too high for me.
my question is, would it worth spending an extra $150 to get the R1800 instead of the R800?
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2005, 02:34:20 PM »
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There's no image quality difference between the R800 and R1800; the only difference is the maximum print size, just like the 7600/9600.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2005, 03:41:26 PM »
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People having problems with contrast probably don't understand what they are doing.

It's a little more complicated than that.  The 2200 inks on matte paper (which is what the 2200 does best) simply do not have quite the contrast range of the 1280 inks on glossy or semigloss paper.  That may be the "contrast" issue that you mentioned.  It's a function both of the printer and of the paper type, with the paper type being the more major factor.

That said, there are *many* fine art photographers (the creator of this web site included) who are perfectly happy with matte-paper images from the 2200.

Lisa
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nma
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« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2005, 07:46:07 PM »
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It's a little more complicated than that.  The 2200 inks on matte paper (which is what the 2200 does best) simply do not have quite the contrast range of the 1280 inks on glossy or semigloss paper.  That may be the "contrast" issue that you mentioned.  It's a function both of the printer and of the paper type, with the paper type being the more major factor.

That said, there are *many* fine art photographers (the creator of this web site included) who are perfectly happy with matte-paper images from the 2200.

Lisa
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=53545\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It may even be more complicated than that   .  The printer is perfectly capable of printing on glossy, semigloss and lustre surfaces, in addition to the matte and watercolor papers.  Bronzing may be mistaken for lack of contrast, but framing glossy prints under glass virtually eliminates the problem. In addition, i have found that  bronzing is a non-issue on Pictorrico glossy film. It must be seen to be believed. Many users of the 2200 use Epson Lustre  to produce high impact prints.

Hope this helps
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DavidJ
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« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2005, 09:41:39 AM »
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The 1290 can give excellent results however it is vulnerable to the heads blocking and becoming almost impossible to get to function well again. Also the mother board is said to have quite a limited life. I have been using one with CIS pigment inks and purpose made profiles with excellent results until the print head became erratic in its function and has not responded to various attempts to clean it even when it chooses to put yellow ink down there is a magenta cast. The cost of replacing the head is not economic even using an independent technician the cost comes in at only 30 less the than cost of replacing the whole printer. I am very tempted to replace the printer with a Canon i9950 as the heads are easily replaced if necessary but the problem of image permanence then becomes an issue. Are the newer printers from Epson more reliable? My 1290 is only 2 years old.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2005, 09:43:37 AM by DavidJ » Logged

David Allen
Peter McLennan
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« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2005, 11:52:27 AM »
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The cost of replacing the head is not economic even using an independent technician the cost comes in at only 30 less the than cost of replacing the whole printer. .
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=53760\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Typical Epson.    

I had the same experience with an 1160.  In fact, the cost of head replacement far exceeded what I paid for the printer.  I see no reason why head replacement shouldn't be cheap and easy.

That said, my *other* 1160 has lasted five years and produced thousands of delightful prints.

Peter
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DavidJ
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« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2005, 04:06:19 PM »
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Yep the Epson quote for replacing the heads came in at 60 more than the cost of a new 1290.

One of the initial questions was about continuous ink systems for the 1290 here in the UK there was a choice between two excellent systems. One uses Lyson inks  and the other which I have been using from Fotospeed (who do both dye and pigment inks for the printer). If you use their paper they will provide custom profiles for free!! I certainly would recommend their service.
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David Allen
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« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2006, 01:40:54 PM »
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Just a quick follow up to my last post. I have just replaced the malfunctioning 1290 with a R2400. Wow is my reponse to the image quality I am getting. The improvement in shadow detail over the 1290 is very noticeable. It seemed like a lot of money but it now really shows what my 10D is capable of.  
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David Allen
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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2006, 01:23:48 AM »
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Over the past 6 years, I have owned the Epson Photo 750, 870 (smaller brother to 1280), and recently the R1800.    To me, the R1800 is far and away the biggest quality and ease of use jump, and the first true home printer that makes prints that I am satisfied with.  Before the R1800, the prints I got from Pictopia or West Coast Imaging blew away my home printers at the same sizes from the same slide scan files.  I played with custom ICC profiles, special PS settings and all the other tricks to make my printers be at their best.  The R1800 truly delivers high print quality without special settings and makes it easy in the process.  I would expect the R800 to be the same.
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