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Thread: Which printer ??

  1. #1
    grumpy hec's Avatar
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    Which printer ??

    Hardly an original question I know so apologies for that and please bear with me.

    I'm seriously looking at printing at home as to me it is a part of the whole image process as much as in a wet darkroom. Not withstanding the many, many questions I have about how to go about printing I'm currently looking at which printer to consider.

    Given that B & W will be a substantial part of what I will print and I want A3+ capability that narrows the field down for a start. I have also learnt that I should go for a printer with multiple inks for mono work ( black both matte and glossy, grey or light blacks of various strengths, etc) and that reduces the field even further.

    I also want to buy into a system with good software support and general help and that seems to point to Epson to me. I'm talking home printing here so physical size and cost are a consideration.

    Taking all of this into account I'm thinking Epson R3000 or R2880. The latter is a better price of course.

    Anybody got any experience of these printers and/or can offer advice or experience?

    Should I look at the Canon offerings which I suspect will still produce excellent results?

    Any thoughts gratefully received?

    cheers

    Hec

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Which printer ??

    I'm hanging onto the coat-tails of this thread as Hec has just asked all the questions that have been swimming around my head for a few weeks.

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    Re: Which printer ??

    The Epson 2880 is a darn fine choice. I use it's distant relative the 7800; Epson's printing expertise is 2nd to none, IMO.

    A warning to both of you though, once the bug bites ...

    Which printer ??

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    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Which printer ??

    Give the peeps at permajet a ring, very helpful and knowledgeable i got my 3880 from them at a good price and they have never failed to help me when i need it (which is often)

    its a hell of a learning curve but nothing is better than watching you work slide out of that printer, youll not go wrong with any epson its just a case of how much you wnt to spend and what features you want.

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    grumpy hec's Avatar
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    Re: Which printer ??

    Thanks for the comments guys.

    Looks like I better negotiate more wall space from SWMBO!

    Appreciate the comment about Permajet. I have got some of their paper which I tried for my small printer I have at the moment but that is as far as my dealings have gone so far.

    Hec

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    Re: Which printer ??

    Quote Originally Posted by grumpy hec View Post
    Looks like I better negotiate more wall space from SWMBO!
    Ha - good luck with that. I had to build my own "man cave" to get my wishes! (although I do - only - have 8 of my canvases on the walls at home!).

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    Re: Which printer ??

    Hec

    One thing that I don't understand is - Paper. There seems to be a vast array out there and I wonder how people get to the point of deciding which is the one (or two, or three) for them. Is it all trial and error? But there seems so much choice that you could go on trialling and erroring(!) for years.

    What I need is the idiot's guide to - "If you do this type of B & W image, then these are the sorts of papers you should think about ...etc". But I don't know if there is such a 'rule-of-thumb'.

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    Re: Which printer ??

    Hi Donald,

    The short answer is that "it doesn't matter as much as you'd first think". Yes - there are a zillion types out there, but once you eliminate the extremes then the difference between many is often indistinguishable.

    Weight comes into it too -- lighter papers like a 180gsm are instantly ruined if a large print kinks. Heavier papers cost more. Framers may prefer one weight over another.

    Usually it's easiest to just get a batch of samples and go from there. These days I only use 1 canvas and one paper (a 180gsm called Maranello by Sihl).

    It's a bit like the "right" or "wrong" camera model - in theory a lot of folks worry about making a wrong choice, but in reality there is a HUGE overlap. Just go primarily by weight and colour.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Which printer ??

    I'm another member of the Epson crowd with a 3880. When it comes to photo printers there really is only one other choice and that is Canon. HP also dabbles in the large printer business but they tend to target either the low end market or the business plotter market, so are a distance third choice.

    When I first got my printer I picked up a paper sampler pack made by Moab and tried different weights and finishes and found that the luster finish is the one that tended to suit my needs the most. I occassionally do print on either glossy or matte papers as well, but this tends to be for special purpose work only. I keep thinking about doing some canvas prints, but haven't gotten there yet.

    The only consideration I make when buying a paper is that I stick with suppliers that have ICC profiles available for the paper / printer combination that I use, and this includes pretty well all the reputable manufacturers. I usually use the Epson papers, just because, as Colin has pointed out, all of the major manufacturers have their own version of the main types of paper. Integration with the printer driver is a tiny bit less work that with other brands and where I live the prices are very competitive, so why not?

    I have played with some of the exhibition papers, but most of the prints I display are mounted on backing boards and have a protective film applied. I am not selling my work as fine art prints and really don't expect them to be around in 100+ years, so the premimum price is not worth it to me. If they fade noticeably I have a stock of other images that I am more than willing to replace them with.

  10. #10
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    Re: Which printer ??

    Like Manfred, I bought a sampler pack from Moab. I also bought one from Red River. It's quite a bit of fun to see how the same image appears on different types of paper. I found a few from both manufacturers that I use now as standards, and I have been happy enough with them that I have not bothered trying other manufacturers.

    I'll throw in a couple of things to think about:

    -- if you don't have software that can soft proof, you should consider getting some. Lightroom now has it, as of version 4. Some papers, such as a very white luster, will change the image relatively little from what you see on the screen, while others, such as matte papers, will change it a lot. You can tweak the image to offset changes you don't like. LR makes this very easy--it offers you the option of creating a virtual proof copy. I have some images that have two or more proof copies for different papers.

    -- Think about whether you care about archival properties, that is, prints that will last longer than you will. If you do, you need pigment inks, and you may want to consider papers that are low in optical brighteners (OBAs). If not, you are free to use dye-based inks and high-OBA papers. I opted for the latter, as I rarely want prints for more than a few years, and my experience has been that good due-based printers (I have two Canons) never clog, even if left unused for a few months. However, if you do use dye-based inks, as I do, you have to find a different way to print if you want to sell prints--either use a lab or another printer.

    --As Manfred says, ICCs are essential. If you choose a vendor that does not supply them, you will have to have them made.

    Have fun!

  11. #11
    grumpy hec's Avatar
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    Re: Which printer ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Hec

    One thing that I don't understand is - Paper. There seems to be a vast array out there and I wonder how people get to the point of deciding which is the one (or two, or three) for them. Is it all trial and error? But there seems so much choice that you could go on trialling and erroring(!) for years.

    What I need is the idiot's guide to - "If you do this type of B & W image, then these are the sorts of papers you should think about ...etc". But I don't know if there is such a 'rule-of-thumb'.
    I have the same thoughts! My thinking up to now is to pick a lustre style, which is what I tend to prefer, from say Epson or Permajet which will have an ICC profile and stick with it. Certainly in the short/medium term. When I've sussed that then maybe look at gloss. I say this as I regard printing as a skill where I have a lot to learn so my plan is to keep things simple with as few variables as possible initially.

    Good luck to us both

    Hec

  12. #12
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    Re: Which printer ??

    Thanks for the very sensible sounding help.

    A question regarding lustre type papers if I may. For printers which have two blacks, one each for gloss and matte, which one do you use for lustre given that it sort of sits between the two paper finishes?

    As for which printer. I think Epson seems to be the way to go. Just got to decide on R2880 or R3000. The price rather points to the former!!

    cheers and thanks

    Hec

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    Re: Which printer ??

    hec you would use the photo Blk for the paper, my 3880 selects the correct one automatically but you can override the selction i think.... ive not tried tho! Try and batch your prints i think the printer uses 3 mill of ink every time you change blacks!!

    Donald most manufacturers do sample packs with a few sheets of the range contained within, start with one of those and print a few images and see which you like.

    Again i would recommend permajet give them a call or look on their site, they are very helpful.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Which printer ??

    Hec - the one thing that I looked at quite carefully when choosing a printer was the ink cost. I was looking at the 2880 and the 3880 and the reason I went for the 3880 as it uses 80ml cartridges versus the 11.4ml cartridges, so while the 3880 cartridges are more expensive, the cost per ml of ink is far lower. Roughly half of the selling price of the printer were the cost of the ink cartridges. You might want to do this analysis. Epson claims that ink cartridges last about 6 months after first use, but I find that this is fairly conservative when I ran some tests and did not see any difference with cartridges that lasted a year.

    As for the black inks, my printer makes that selection for me, so I'm not totally sure which cartridge it uses. The problem is that the two blacks use the same nozzle, so the ink is wasted as the printer switches between the two blacks. The advantage of sticking to the same paper is that there is less ink lost to the changeover. I seem to remember that some of the mid-range printers required you to physically swap the cartridges (I'm not sure if this applies to the ones you are loooking at).

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    Re: Which printer ??

    Hec: you will find with Epson that luster is grouped as a gloss stock and the black is PK (photo Black), matte black is (MK). If you want a very good fine art paper than Epson Hot Press Bright is excellent very much on par but smoother than Hahunemuhle 308 rag which I really love for B&W for a great rich feel and look (Donald you would love either for you work). If I am printing something that I want to jump out at you either colour or B&W I use Epson Exhibation Fibre it is very bright and white rating of 110 brightness most are around 97 bright. Oh I purchased the Epson 4900 as they had a deal that you could not walk away from. Oh and another thing I found that when you are printing B&W I found setting the printer to B&W and letting it handle the colour management with Epson stocks you acutally get better prints than if you let photoshop manage. That is for B&W printing only.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Which printer ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Polar01 View Post
    Oh and another thing I found that when you are printing B&W I found setting the printer to B&W and letting it handle the colour management with Epson stocks you acutally get better prints than if you let photoshop manage. That is for B&W printing only.
    Allan
    I found the same thing. I find that I get a very slight green overtone when I don't do what you are suggesting. When I let the printer (rather than Photoshop) control the colours, the blacks come through beautifully; again for B&W only.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Which printer ??

    This is wonderful stuff. All very much a new language and terminology for me, but thankfully it's making sense. In terms of the Epson 2880 and 3000, I've also come across video tutorials about the use of continuous ink systems. Anyone got any comments about these systems?

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    Re: Which printer ??

    I use a continuous ink system on a little canon printer that i have, it halves the ink costs and i use lyson inks which are great, you can get good advice on theses systems from both Marrutt who are in sussex and the sell Lyson inks http://www.marrutt.com/

    or again from Permajet http://www.permajet.com/Home who are located in stratford who sell an ultra chrome equivalent which i use in my Epson and are not distinguishable from the Epson ones Both of these companies are reputable and helpful and have bee in the business for a long time.

    I have also used city ink express and cant recommend them any more.

    hope that helps

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    Re: Which printer ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Hec

    One thing that I don't understand is - Paper. There seems to be a vast array out there and I wonder how people get to the point of deciding which is the one (or two, or three) for them. Is it all trial and error? But there seems so much choice that you could go on trialling and erroring(!) for years.

    What I need is the idiot's guide to - "If you do this type of B & W image, then these are the sorts of papers you should think about ...etc". But I don't know if there is such a 'rule-of-thumb'.
    Last week while looking at a Fuji XE-1 in my local shop, they showed me a print (image shot with the Fuji) done on MOAB Sliprock Metallic Pearl paper. It has a bit of a metallic look to it, and seemed to render very fine detail very well. I'd never seen it before - very impressive.

    Glenn

    The paper:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Pearl_260.html
    Last edited by Glenn NK; 19th March 2013 at 06:02 PM.

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    Re: Which printer ??

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    As Manfred says, ICCs are essential. If you choose a vendor that does not supply them, you will have to have them made.
    Long-term it's easiest to just gear up and make them yourself -- that way you can tweak them as you need.

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