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Thread: Printers

  1. #1

    Printers

    Hi All,

    My old Epson R200 printer has just given up the ghost, And I'm in the market place for a new printer maybe A3 does anyone have any recommendations at all ? I have always used Epson but would probably give another manufacturer a chance. I use Macs.

    Thanks Graeme

  2. #2

    Printers

    hello,

    sorry i cant help recommending a replacement printer :-/

    i used epson printers over the years, but now i wont have a printer in the house, i upload some of my images to an online printing firm, deciede on what sizes i want, and two days after placing the order, i have the images i wanted, on various sizes of paper, for very little financial outlay. for b+w i produce my own via the darkroom and if i had a color head head on the enlarger i wouldnt need the online printer

    except of course for digital images, but i very rarely use the digital camera !

  3. #3
    500+ Posts DaCh's Avatar
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    Printers

    Epson R2400 has worked faultlessly for me. Now the R2880 is available you should be able to find a low mileage (ex amateur) one, cheap. The 2880 is not a huge leap forward, more a refinement so the 2400 is a great option.
    But do consider the running costs, it is a top quality printer and you get what you pay for, use the original ink set, choose paper carefully and use the dedicated profiles.
    I used Harman Matt FB for my last exhibition and several people were very complimentary about the print quality; “good as conventional prints” etc. Once they are behind glass it can be very difficult to tell.

  4. #4

    Printers

    Thanks Guys

    I have been considering the R2880 and have been researching it, many years ago I had a 1520 (I think that was the number) a fine printer but had to sell it when I moved countries to work. The ink issue seems to be the biggest complaint I see (basically in its cost) I only require B+W and most people seem to sing its praises. Large negatives for alternative process's is another reason for the A3. A few years back I used to print B+W from 5x4 which I used to enjoy but I no longer have the space for a darkroom (and my partner kept moaning about the brown stains everywhere, now we just have cyanotype blue everywhere ??)

    Graeme

  5. #5

    Printers

    I use an HP printer. A big one. But their intermediate size one is very good too. An alternative to Epson worth considering.
    HP Photosmart Pro B9180

  6. #6

    Printers

    Graeme,

    I just went through this same process a week ago. Ended out getting a used R2400 and am currently getting my feet wet by doing a few tests using the ABW (Epson) drivers and Roy Harrington's Quadtone RIP. Like you I only print b/w and want to do digital negatives (though the learning curve for that appears to be somewhat like scaling the Matterhorn...) and the availability of things like QTR profiles for the Epson printers was what finally tipped the scales for me. The rumors are true though, the R2400 is a thirsty machine!

  7. #7

    Printers

    Here are the factors I would seriously consider when looking at printers (I deal with Epson, Canon, and HP large-format printers on a regular basis):

    Ink cost - printer manufacturers are really looking at establishing you as a long-term ink user (think of them as the pusher), this is where they make all of their money. Look at what it costs per tank, how much millage each tank gives you, and most importantly can you print both glossy and matte without wasting valuable ink doing an expensive tank swap (the later is only an issue on the 17" and smaller Epsons, their 24" and larger printers now have both blacks finally, Canon and HP printers have always had both blacks). Also, at the last APIS someone had done the math (Eric Nelson I believe) and found that it was actually a better value to buy a 17" Epson versus the 13" due to the amount of ink you get up front, and how much tanks cost versus the volume of the tank. It was something like $400 cheaper to buy the bigger printer based on ink volume in the starter tanks. Also, what is the relative humidity where you live/work? Some ink sets work better in dry climates, some better in humid ones. OUr Epson print heads dry out frequently costing us lots of money in inks to clear them, and heaven forbid we have to do a "power cleaning" that uses about 10% of the tanks volume! Yikes, this is a real run on I know, but I can't stress enough how important the ink is in the equation, you buy the ink not the printer!

    Print speed - Epson is the slowest, Canon is the fastest. If you only make a few prints a day this is not an issue. If you are trying to print an entire portfolio in a day this is major.

    User support - Epson wins this one hands down, there are just far more users on Epsons than Canon or HP (think PC vs Mac). So with an Epson you have a better chance of finding someone who has similar experiences and can help you solve issues, where as with Canon and HP you are more on your own to troubleshoot these problems. Also, Epson tends to have better documentation for their hardware, Canon's documentation is a joke, HP is acceptable. There are more reliable canned ICC profiles for Epson than the other two as well, but this is rapidly changing as more people are switching to Canon and HP lately.

    Repair cost - personally I would want a printer that could last for 5-8 years, not one I plan to throw in the garbage after only 2-3. Canon and HP have lots of user changeable parts, Epson will want you to use a certified tech for even the smallest repairs. One of my students had the ink cart chip go out for one of the colors behind the print head, the part was $15, but after paying the tech to do it he was out over $600. Our print heads on the Epson's at school (4800 and 4880 models) go out every 9-12 months (granted they get very heavy usage).

    At the school where I teach we use all Epson's, they have advantages and disadvantages. When I purchased my own printer for home I decided on the Canon Prograf 5000 over Epson for three important reasons: first I live in an arid climate and Canon inks can handle low-humidity far better than Epson (when inks dry out you get nozzle clogs that waste ink to clear out), also the Canon printer can print Matte or Glossy without the need to change out the black ink cart, this was important for me since I like to work with both media simultaneously. And finally the Canon printer has a true 16-bit export module that does borderless banner printing with ease, something the Epson struggles with. HP printers also do great borderless banner prints.

    Have I had issues with the Canon? Sure, the main one is that every once in a while one of my ink tank chips goes on the fritz and the printer thinks the tank is empty when it is obviously not (this has happened on two tanks so far, Photo Grey and Photo Magenta, my vendor has had 8 tanks go bad). Fortunately I found a vendor that will exchange these for me so it is an annoying inconvenience, but not a deal breaker. Also, the Canon needs more attention than the Epson when you insert media, it actually makes you tell it what surface and size you are feeding at the printer as well as the print driver, and if you enter one incorrectly you will be spending a few minutes clearing out all the errors to start over. HP's also tend to want more attention than Epson, but not as much as Canon. Otherwise I have been very pleased with the Canon, and it is so much faster than the Epson it's not even funny. I use it for matte and glossy media as well as Pictorico for contact printing, and so far I have been very pleased.

    Now if you put an inkjet print from each of the three manufacturers on a table side by side, I seriously doubt you would be able to see any discernible difference from print to print (with the naked eye form an appropriate viewing distance). So all that matters is your user experience on the path to the final print. Epson, Canon, and HP all do a great job at creating the illusion of a continual tone darkroom print, and all three ink sets are archival, water resistant, and fade resistant.

    Good luck!!!

  8. #8

    Printers

    One other note, I use the PDN system for my digital negatives, and I have found the Canon gives me better UV blocking densities than Epson or HP, however, I sometimes notice noise in my highlight transitions with certain color combinations which is a problem I have not had with Epson or HP.

  9. #9

    Printers

    Yes, all true but I wouldn't confuse people into thinking they get the same service for a consumer printer than they get for a professional one. I had on two occasions a technician come to upgrade parts of my printer (HP Photo z2100). This is in France. I don't know if the service is as good all over the planet.

    As for ICCs my printer has an integrated spectrometer. Useful, you don't have to go hunting after ICCs. And it keeps the printer calibrated. I don't know how crucial this is, I just let it do it's calibration when it's required.
    But for consumer and other pro printers you can either rent of buy a spectrometer if you don't know someone who can lend one to you. The cheapest would be a ColorMunki Design from GretagMcBeth/X-Rite. http://www.xrite.com/product_overview.aspx?ID=1114


    Epson has print heads designed to last the life time of the printer, or at least until it's warranty is over. Apparently from what Ilford_King says this isn't always true depending on the climate.
    Canon and HP use replaceable print heads: either part of the cartridge on smaller printers or as a inexpensive separate part with a warranty and a shorter life than with Epson.

  10. #10

    Printers

    The school environment is very hard on printers, lots of inexperienced users, lots of media types and thicknesses, and they are being used 7-days a week for 8-14 hours a day. Individual users will take better care of their printers and use it less, so I imagine the heads survive longer under those conditions.

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