High quality inkjet printer selection.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by JJD, Mar 5, 2006.

  1. JJD

    JJD Guest

    I'm looking at replacing my aging Epson 890 with something that might
    give a noticeable elevation in output quality. I'm using a Canon 5D,
    with L-series lenses, so the input material should be up to it.

    Firstly there is the question of A3 or A4: I would *like* the capacity
    to do A3 when I need to, but wonder about the economics of it. The A3
    printers come out at about 40% more expensive than the A4, coupled
    with the extra expense and difficulty of accessing quality A3 photo
    paper, and the extra ink involved. Would I be better to do everything
    up to A4 myself, and farm out the smaller amount of A3 work to a lab?
    Any experiences here?

    Then there's the actual machine: I was looking at the Epson R1800,
    compared to the Canon i9900, or their A4 equivalents, if that's the
    way to go.

    Can I please hear of experiences, preferably not based on "it's good
    because I've got one", but on real, observed pros and cons. For
    instance, I've read that the Canons only perform well on Canon paper,
    but I don't know how true this is.

    Thanks for any help.

    JJD, Mar 5, 2006
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  2. JJD

    Dave Guest

    Dear Jeff,

    There was an article in Popular Photography recently that addressed the
    question of using mixed brands of paper and printers. If I remember
    correctly, it was best to use matched brands. Something about the ink and
    papers working together for optimum image quality. I know there are people
    that mix brands and say they get fine results.

    I'm leaning towards a Canon i9900 myself. It will be an upgrade to my old
    reliable HP DeskJet 970Cxi.

    Dave, Mar 5, 2006
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  3. JJD

    rafe b Guest

    Do you want to hear from R1800 owners, or don't you?

    I am one. I like it a lot. I've had it for about
    two or three months. That's not long enough for
    me to say "I love it."

    Dots are too fine to see by eye. You need a loupe.
    You can print legible 2-point text, on glossy paper.

    Resolution is phenomenal. Gamut is great.
    Best prints I've ever seen from pigment inks
    on glossy paper.

    Glossy prints are waterproof. I've tested this,
    under hot running water.

    Support for ICC-based color management is solid.
    The downloadable ICC profiles (for Epson media)
    are great.

    It's fast and it's quiet.

    No clogs yet. Inks will probably cost me a
    fortune -- I'm not planning to use a CIS or
    anything but Epson inks.

    What more can I say?

    rafe b
    rafe b, Mar 5, 2006
  4. JJD

    JJD Guest

    Yes, of course, and what you've given is good information. My
    somewhat testy request stems from listening to people who, whilst
    perhaps trying to be helpful, have no information to offer except that
    they have one, therefore they recommend it. I was after the sort of
    reply you have given. Thank you.

    JJD, Mar 6, 2006
  5. I bought the Canon i9900 and am quite happy with it. I've printed some
    A3s, and the quality has been excellent. I've stuck with Canon inks
    and papers so far, but just bought some non-Canon photo paper, so I'll
    see how well they do.
    Richard Smith, Mar 6, 2006
  6. JJD

    C Wright Guest

    I have very successfully used Red River papers in my Canon i9900 so I can
    tell you that it is definitely not true that Canons only perform well on
    Canon paper.

    Also, if you are looking for a high quality inkjet why not throw the Epson
    2400 into the mix of printers that you are considering?
    C Wright, Mar 6, 2006
  7. I have the A4 version of the R1800, and it works well with the non-Epson
    papers available here in Japan; it looks as though the R800/R1800 inkset is
    designed to be somewhat compatible with papers designed for dye-based inks.
    There are _great_ glossy-paper photo printers.

    The R2400 (which I also have), on the other hand is very fussy about paper,
    and can be a disaster on some papers that it's not designed to handle. You
    need to read the fine print and use the right paper setting (and/or profile)
    in the driver. With the right paper, it looks just as good for glossy as the
    R800 to my eye, but some people seem to be fussier.

    If you think you might want to do B&W, Canon has a new 10-ink, A3+, pigment
    (!) ink printer that appears designed to compete with the R2400. The R2400
    has four blacks (matte, glossy, gray, and light gray), of which three can be
    loaded at the same time. This means that you have to change inks to switch
    between glossy and matte papers. The new Canon has three blacks (matte,
    glossy, gray), all of which are loaded at the same time, so you can switch
    papers as you please.

    It might be worth waiting and seeing what the reviews and user experience
    with the new Canon are before deciding.

    FWIW, I'm a fan of pigment inks; they really are waterproof (sneeze at a dye
    ink print, and it's dead), and while the more recent dye inks are supposed
    to be better, I've got some older dye prints here that have faded badly.

    And finally, it's often cheaper to get prints made commercially than to do
    it yourself.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Mar 6, 2006
  8. JJD

    frederick Guest

    No - not "swellable polymer" coated paper as used for archival quality
    printing with dyes. OTOH, papers specifically for pigment printers,
    Epson Premium Gloss, Ilford Smooth etc, give great immediate results
    with dyes - but very poor longevity. Suitable paper types for the 800
    are the same as for the 2400. Quirks mean that one paper may be better
    on one than the other. IIRC, Archival Matte is okay with the 800, but
    Matte Heavyweight not so good, but vice versa for the 2400.
    frederick, Mar 6, 2006
  9. I have a stack of Epson "Crispia" high-gloss paper that looks great with the
    R800, and turns everything to pale mush when run through the R2400. So
    there's at least one paper that's suitable for the 800 that's not for the
    This isn't a quirk or "better", this is great on the R800, completely
    unusable on the R2400.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Mar 6, 2006
  10. JJD

    frederick Guest

    Go for an A3 / A3+ printer. You can feed a4 paper into it anyway with no
    problems. I have been using some Ilford papers, for which my local
    pricing is about the same per area whether I buy A4 or A3. Many a3+
    (19x13") papers are however at a premium price.
    Your idea of sending the large prints to a lab has the logic the wrong
    way around in my opinion. Where I am, a 19 x 13 print costs three times
    more at the cheapest lab than my cost to print at home on premium
    papers. That advantage is less at smaller sizes, but apart from
    snapshots, I now wouldn't consider using a lab as I have become too
    fussy about quality. An exception may be for a bundle of 6x4s - which
    will be cheaper - possibly much cheaper - at a lab.
    I use an Epson pigment printer because at larger print sizes, I like
    Matte prints. HP and Canon are introducing new A3 Pigment ink printers
    to the the market in coming months. HP has an 8 colour unit, with some
    claimed advantages in head maintenance and larger cartridges than the
    Epson A3 printer. It may be economical to run - but given the market
    model used by all the manufacturers to make $$ from ink, rest assured
    that it won't be a revolution in printing cost - despite what HP may
    tell you now! They will not kill the golden goose. The new Canon A3
    pigment printer has 10 cartridges - all small - it might be stunning in
    image quality, but I'm not sure if I like that idea much - even 8 is bad
    enough! Too early to say what these new printers will be like, but HP
    and Canon have the ability to come up with the goods, so they will both
    probably be very nice in terms of output quality. Rumour is that they
    suffer from bronzing on gloss papers, but this is probably a question of
    degree, and is of course just a rumour. The 2400 also has some bronzing,
    but negligable and insignificant compared to old pigment printers. The
    R1800 eliminates bronzing with "Gloss Optimiser". The 2400 is optimised
    for B&W printing. You have some choices now, and more choices the longer
    you wait.
    Canon are also introducing a replacement to their i9900/9950, a "Pixma"
    branded a3 8 colour printer, perhaps a little like an upsized iP8500.
    Take a look at reviews at http://www.photo-i.co.uk/
    frederick, Mar 6, 2006
  11. JJD

    frederick Guest

    Hmmm - interesing,
    Crispia isn't a swellable polymer paper - like "normal" dye inkjet
    paper. Supposed to be being marketed as Ultra Premium Glossy Photo Paper
    outside Japan - but I haven't seen it. You might want to check the
    R2400 forums at photo-i.co.uk. I recall this being mentioned several times.
    There has been an update R800 released in Japan and now in Europe, an
    updated R1800 just released in Japan, and rumour of a 2400 update very
    soon. I think these have "crispia" in the drivers. I hope Epson update
    drivers for existing owners!
    frederick, Mar 6, 2006
  12. JJD

    Skip M Guest

    The only part I can really comment on is the last paragraph. I've gotten
    better results with Ilford Classic Pearl on my Canon s9000 than I ever did
    with Canon paper, or any other printer mfr's paper, for that matter.
    Lumijet comes in a close second. And that is in A3 size, too.
    I've been extremely happy with the performance of our 9000, but I've not
    compared it critically with other printers in the same market. I have an
    Epson R200 for document printing, it does a competent job, as such, with
    photos, but it isn't in the same class as the Canon, which is two, going on
    three, generations old, now.
    Skip M, Mar 6, 2006
  13. I'm actually perfectly happy with the generic Epson glossy photo on the
    2400. Some of that is expectation: since it doesn't have the gloss
    optimizer, I don't expect ultrasuperzorch gloss. But it just looks good, and
    I'm quite surprised at the lack of "bronzing", and I'm more than happy with
    the B&W on this paper/printer combination.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Mar 6, 2006
  14. JJD

    frederick Guest

    I think the threads on photo-i forums concluded that Crispia was more or
    less the same as Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper - heavier perhaps and
    "whiter" (may have optical brightener like enhanced/archival matte?)
    Bronzing really was an issue with the previous generation pigment
    printers. It is a non-issue now for Epson. If you have to look at a
    print at an extremely acute angle to see it, then you have to wonder why
    bother even checking.
    frederick, Mar 6, 2006
  15. JJD

    k-man Guest

    Can I please hear of experiences, preferably not based on "it's good
    I have a Canon iP3000 and iP4200. You asked about paper, I have found
    that the Kirkland (i.e, Costco brand) glossy photo paper kicks butt on
    those printers! I've tried a K-Mart brand and it didn't work
    correctly. But the Costco paper WORKS.
    k-man, Mar 6, 2006
  16. JJD

    rafe b Guest

    Dye ink printers work well with kaolin
    or microcrystalline papers, for example the
    old Epson Photo Paper. Pictorico's papers
    are all microcrystalline.

    Kaolin is clay. A super-fine clay, the same
    stuff used to make fine china. I don't know
    where it's found nowadays, but 100 years ago
    kaolin was mined in Cornwall, England.

    It works because it has just the right
    porosity for dye inks. Just enough to
    quickly pull the ink into the paper,
    but no more than necessary.

    These same papers end up being problematic
    for pigment inks because the pigment
    particles can't get down *into* the
    paper, below the surface.

    When pigment particles are left on the
    surface, a number of bad effects ensue --
    gloss differential, smudging, bronzing,
    and even metamerism.

    Here's a way to test the porosity of the
    paper. Touch your finger to your tongue.
    Now touch your finger to a corner of the
    paper and then lift your finger. On a good
    clay-coated paper, there will be enough
    adhesion to lift the paper.

    This is also a good way of testing to
    see which side is the "printing" side of
    the paper.

    rafe b
    rafe b, Mar 6, 2006
  17. JJD

    Don Stauffer Guest

    My S9000 makes excellent prints WHEN it is working. I had to have it in
    to have printhead cleaned (Canon printheads are NOT part of cartridge).
    Technician told me to never have ink over three months old in machine.
    Change cartridge if it gets that old. While the individual cartridges
    are not real expensive, there are six of them, so that still gets a bit

    I only use this printer for photo printing- I have a monochrome laser
    for routine printing of email and stuff.

    I have to run cleaning cycle frequently. Now, I had thought individual
    ink cartridges would be a cost savings- turns out it is only if you
    print LOTS of prints.

    Still, when it is working, it works very well. If you only occasionally
    print large color, however, consider a printer that has
    nozzles/printhead as part of cartridge.
    Don Stauffer, Mar 6, 2006
  18. There is a very large area of kaolin in the US in Georgia.

    Scott in Florida, Mar 6, 2006
  19. Kaolinite (that is the actual name of the mineral) is found all
    over the place, and mined in many locations. There is a small
    kaolinite mine a few miles from my house, for example, at the
    base of the Rocky Mountains. Most people do not even notice
    it. Kaolinite is used in most (all?) ceramics, both industrial
    and ornamental.

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Mar 7, 2006
  20. JJD

    Skip M Guest

    ;-) That's not a problem around here, I get nervous if we haven't gone
    after ink on a weekly basis for that thing. We print A LOT!!
    Skip M, Mar 7, 2006
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