To Epson 4000 or not to Epson 4000?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by nobody, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. nobody

    nobody Guest

    What are the pros and cons of the Epson 4000? I think about it mostly
    because of the print size. In particular, I am doing medium format, and,
    believe it or not, I like the square format (which is no crime, I hope).
    This means that on an A3 printer I am losing about 4 inches or so in each
    direction, which makes a difference. Thanks in advance for your comments,
    in particular to Bill, who I know is the proud owner a 4000 (and, what's
    more, he actually uses it).
    nobody, Mar 14, 2005
    1. Advertisements

  2. The print speed is lovely. The size is lovely. The price, well;
    nothing's perfect.

    There is no crime in liking square pictures. Some photos really want
    to be square, which annoys me with my 35mm equipment :).

    The one thing about the 4000 that might bite you is that the Epson ink
    cartridges say they should be used within 6 months of opening. How
    much printing do you do? The 4000 can take two sizes of cartridges,
    but even the small is more than 5 times bigger than the ones for the
    little printers. (The ink's a lot cheaper in those big cartridges,
    too; unless it expires on you.) I also haven't experimented with my
    smaller printers with what happens if it does get that old. I'm sure
    it doesn't instantly curdle on the 180th day or anything. And if you
    do enough printing this may not be a consideration at all.

    You can feed roll paper on the 2200, can't you? That would let you
    print square pictures without wasting paper, at some additional
    David Dyer-Bennet, Mar 14, 2005
    1. Advertisements

  3. nobody

    rafeb Guest


    * two black carts, should be good for BW printing
    * good choice for printing on heavy, fine art matte papers
    * pigment inks, inherent longevity
    * excellent dot placement
    * good user community
    * rugged construction
    * large ink carts (110 or 220 ml)


    * permanent, non-removable heads
    * pigment inks not optimal for glossy or satin papers
    * pigment inks more prone to settling, clogging than dyes
    * slow

    You might also consider the HP DesignJet 130
    or the soon-to-be-released DesignJet 90,
    particularly if your preference runs to
    glossy papers. Either of these will cost
    substantially less than the Epson 4000.

    If you like working on heavy, fine-art matte
    papers, go with the Epson.

    Right now, the Epson 4000 holds a unique
    position in the market, for C sized prints
    (17" wide.) The Designjet 130 does 24" wide,
    and the DesignJet 90 will do 18" wide.

    Epson is now "100% pigment ink" on all their
    pro printers. HP is pushing a system of dye
    inks with matching and proprietary HP media.
    If you stick with the approved media, you
    get an 82-year print longevity prediction
    courtesy of Henry Wilhelm.

    I'm almost certain the DesignJet 30 will
    be considerably faster.

    rafe b.
    rafeb, Mar 14, 2005
  4. nobody

    Douglas Guest

    I have a designjet 130 and I couldn't be happier. There are actually two
    models. In line with the vow of poverty I took when taking up Photography, I
    made the mistake of buying the cheaper one with no roll feed. I print almost
    exclusively on rolls now! Figure that one.

    Anyway... I had a very serious look at the Epson before ordering the HP
    sight unseen. I print on Canvas, satin and gloss paper. The HP is no faster
    than the Epson but it sure as hell beats Epson hands down for ink cost and
    versitility. I ended up making a roll holder from timber and now I have a
    printer every bit as good as the Epson with the ability to make vivid prints
    on canvas as well as permenant dye ink prints on paper.

    These HPs have about half the running cost of an Epson, the inks don't go
    off and the print heads are replacable for very little more than the cost of
    fresh ink. A friend of mine with a 4000 is on his second set of heads and
    has decided to buy a HP when the latest heads need replacing. That must say
    something about the HP, surely? If you buy the roll feeder option there is
    not a lot of difference in the cost of the two printers but the HP will save
    you bucks in ink costs.
    Douglas, Mar 14, 2005
  5. nobody

    nobody Guest

    Thanks, but how do the HP printers you refer to compare to the Epson 4000 in
    terms of image or print quality?
    nobody, Mar 15, 2005
  6. nobody

    nobody Guest

    Thank you for the information, but have you compared the results from the HP
    130 and the Epson 4000 in terms of image or print quality? How do they
    nobody, Mar 15, 2005
  7. nobody

    rafeb Guest

    Both are excellent. You won't see any difference
    in the detail without a loupe.

    The HPs on glossy/satin paper will deliver better
    Dmax. Scroll down the page below for closeup view
    of shadow detail (HP vs Epson 4K.)


    [You'll need a well-calibrated monitor to see
    the difference.]

    rafe b.
    rafeb, Mar 15, 2005
  8. nobody

    measekite Guest

    Take a look at the new Epson R1800, the wide carriage version of the
    Epson R800. Better yet and cheaper is the Canon i9900 unless you are
    selling your prints; then pigmented inks does offer some advantage.
    measekite, Mar 15, 2005
  9. nobody

    Douglas Guest

    Rafe just told you. On gloss or satin the HP is brighter, clearer and just
    as long lasting. On Archival matte there is not enough difference to pick
    which is which.
    Douglas, Mar 15, 2005
  10. What's your evidence for just as long-lasting? The Wilhelm Research
    Institute numbers show it lasting less than half as long.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Mar 15, 2005
  11. nobody

    rafeb Guest

    HP dye: 82 year years
    Epson Ultrachromes: about 75 yrs.
    Epson Archival: about 200 yrs.

    Mind you the "Epson Archival" inkset isn't the
    current one and (AFAIK) only available on a
    few Epson Pro models (eg. the Epson 10000.)

    The Ultrachrome inkset is what's used with
    all the current "Pro" models (except maybe
    the 10x00.)

    rafe b.
    rafeb, Mar 15, 2005
  12. nobody

    Tom Scales Guest

    I don't believe you're right. I believe it is the same ink (Ultrachrome)
    but depends on the paper.

    Tom Scales, Mar 15, 2005
  13. nobody

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Rafe B writes ...
    What Rafe calls "Epson Archival" is the original Epson six color
    pigment ink set used in the 2000p and 7500 etc printers. The
    Ultrachromes for the 2200, 4000, 9600, 7600 printers are rated (by
    Wilhelm) at about half the print life but have a significantly wider
    gamut and most of the metamerism problems were fixed, so it's a
    trade-off most professionals were happy to make.

    Wilhelm has a much fuller chart on the 4000 on his site than for
    earlier printers, with estimates for several papers without glass, with
    plain glass, with UV glass, with print spray protection (which doubles
    most of the estimates), etc etc.

    Bill Hilton, Mar 15, 2005
  14. nobody

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Rafeb writes ...
    While HP has done a good job of catching up on print life, the actual
    numbers are a bit more complex than this. Here are Wilhelm links to
    the numbers for the HP and the Epson 4000 ... note that using Wilhelm's
    bread-and-butter number (ie, under glass with no UV protection) the
    4000 estimates range from 71 years (Luster) to 108 years (Ultrasmooth
    Fine Art). But if you add UV glass and (for some papers) Premier Art
    Spray the numbers jump much higher, with most between 150 to over 200
    years for Velvet Fine Art (my favorite Epson paper) and Watercolor -
    Radiant White.

    Bill Hilton, Mar 15, 2005
  15. Epson Ultrachrome in the Epson R800, as per Wilhelm research at
    <>, says greater than
    150 years as I read it. What condition are you choosing, though?

    The figure comparable to that one for the HP 8750 is 108 years, so the
    Epson is being rated for *considerably* longer life (I'm using "framed
    under glass" here; for "dark storage" they get 185 years and >200).
    David Dyer-Bennet, Mar 16, 2005
  16. nobody

    rafe bustin Guest

    What Bill Hilton said.

    Epson's initial foray into pigment inks actually
    had substantially better longevity ratings than
    their current "Ultrachrome" inkset. About double,
    in fact. But it had other problems that almost
    everyone complained about, so the Ultrachromes
    traded some of that longevity for a reduction in
    the undesirable characteristics of the orignal set.

    I believe the "original" set are still standard on
    the Epson 10000 and 10600 but I'm not terribly
    familiar with either of those models. It was
    also standard on the 5500, 7500, and 9500.

    The current crop -- 4000, 7600, and 9600 --
    all use Ultrachomes.

    Of course the longevity will be influenced
    by the substrate, method of framing, exposure
    to air and light, etc.

    rafe b.
    rafe bustin, Mar 16, 2005
  17. nobody

    Douglas Guest

    We've been here before Bill... You keep suggesting an "institute" financed
    by a printer manufacturer to carry out testing which ignores the real source
    of degradation is somehow a viable source of information about products from
    rivals of that company. Hello...

    The Wilhelm institute is substantially funded by Epson and their estimates
    of print life are distorted towards Epson products without any evidence to
    suggest Epson are any better (or worse) than anyone else's. At my print
    centre we run a number of printers. One uses solvent inks for outdoor
    display and our own tests are in massive conflict with the estimation
    testing done by that institute.

    If you could stop the bullshit coming from their predictions and somehow
    explain how an estimate can become a statistic, there might be half a chance
    of discovering comparative lifespan. Why can we not compare an inkjet
    print's life to the life of a chemical print? Why too must we accept a
    totally different set of measurement in estimating the worth of paper and
    ink prints compared to real photographs? It wouldn't by any chance be
    because even today, the life of inkjet prints is fractional compared to
    chemical ones, would it?

    We know for example what to expect from traditional photographic prints by
    virtue of the fact they have real world history of how long they will and
    will not last under certain conditions. One of the most significant print
    life factors effecting ink prints is the environment a print will be stored
    in and this has nothing to do with fading from exposure to light. Under some
    conditions of simply leaving a print in the path of an airconditioner's
    airflow, it will show significant degradation in as little as a month.

    Storing prints in a draw which has formaldehyde glue used in it's
    construction will severely degrade some prints from some printers in a
    matter of weeks. Exposing a print to ordinary domestic kitchen odours can
    remove the colour from Canon prints in days.

    Wilhelm has somehow managed to create an opportunity to profit from the
    estimation of life that so many gamblers have sought to do for hundreds of
    years without success. If he had produced some evidence his results are not
    tainted by the source of his funds and his results came even close to what
    many people who rely on these things for a living have independently
    discovered, his predictions might not be in the same class as those from

    Douglas, Mar 16, 2005
  18. nobody

    RSD99 Guest

    So ... Douglas ... please point us in the direction of someone who is
    making print life tests that you agree with.
    RSD99, Mar 16, 2005
  19. nobody

    rafe bustin Guest

    So tell us more about "your print centre" and why it's less
    biased than Wilhelm's. Is it because you have no paying
    clients (yet?) Where are your test results posted?

    It is regrettable that we need to take so much on faith from
    Dr. Wilhelm. OTOH, one can set up informal testing of print
    longevity at reasonable cost. Harald Johnson explains how
    to do that in his book, "Mastering Digital Printing."

    Even in the Epson community, opinion is deeply divided about
    Wilhelm's credibility and the worth of his print-life estimates.
    A good deal of this aninmosity stems from the "orange-shift"
    fiasco with the original Epson 1270/1280.

    But like any good scientist -- Wilhelm revised and refined
    his testing regime and moved on.

    Aside from RIT and Wilhelm, who else is there that does any
    sort of standardized testing of print longevity?

    How do you get "objective" measurements of commercial products?

    The FDA can't (or won't) even do that on prescription drugs,
    where the results are far more critical.

    rafe b.
    rafe bustin, Mar 16, 2005
  20. nobody

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Douglas writes ...
    Most people understand it, some don't. You don't.
    Wilhelm isn't financed by any printer manufacturer. He began these
    longevity studies in the late 1960's and refined the technique in the
    1970's, 25 years before Epson or anyone else brought out an inkjet
    printer. His early financial angel was a Grinnel, Iowa businessman and
    he was also financed by the motion picture industry, primarily Martin
    Scorsese, as they struggled with how to save those old 1930's
    Technicolor films.

    He charges $5,000 to test a paper but as you can see from his site most
    of the big companies (Kodak the big exception) are paying this because
    he's the official seal of approval, since his testing methods are
    widely seen as the most accurate and reliable. This includes Epson,
    HP, Canon, Arches, Legion, etc.
    No it's not.
    Look, there are two separate parts to these longevity tests. The first
    is scientific ... repeat, SCIENTIFIC ... you expose the paper with a
    test pattern, measure the color densities with a spectrophotometer,
    expose the print under fixed, repeatable accelearated light conditions,
    re-measure, repeat until a certain % of density is lost. This is
    repeatable, anyone can buy the gear and run this exact same test.
    EVERY company doing these types of tests does pretty much the same
    thing. How could he fake it for Epson when you know their competitors
    are duplicating his tests? (There's a description of the tests in the
    ANSI standards and also in his 1993 book). There is no way to fake the
    data since anyone can repeat the test. And the same test standard was
    in place back in the 1970's used for testing Kodacolor prints and
    Cibachrome prints so only an idiot would say he's slanted the tests so
    that Epson does better (since Epson didn't have a printer for the first
    25 years or so that he was running the tests). So far as I can tell
    the only change he made was to increase the intensity of the
    accelerated lighting from 21,500 lux to 35,000 lux because newer
    materials weren't fading quickly enough to get readings in a reasonable

    The second part of this is more an art and not a science and that's
    deciding what non-accelerated criteria to use and whether to assume
    it's linear or not. Wilhelm decided to use 450 lux for 12 hours/day at
    a certain temperature and relative humidity, displayed under glass.
    This is not scientific since you can't assume every place displaying
    photos will adhere to it but if you read his book you can see that he
    measured the actual display light intensities in hundreds of homes,
    museums, galleries etc before reaching these numbers. He's assuming a
    linear relationship for the light (ie, one year at 4,500 lux is
    equivalent to 10 years at 450 lux) but has also run tests on papers
    from the 1970's and 80's to see if there is a reciprocity failure or
    not and has published this in his book as well (you can download the
    book in PDF form for free from his website). There is some reciprocity
    failure (for example, the yellow patch in Ilfochrome prints fades in
    about 18 years instead of the projected 29 years) but at least he's
    trying to document it.

    There are 20 companies (printer and paper companies, mostly) publishing
    longevity estimates with their products and 18 of them are using
    Wilhelm's estimates or close to it (a couple assume 500 lux at 10
    hours/day, for example).

    The two that are not using Wilhelm's display assumptions are Kodak and
    Agfa. They assume only 120 lux and slightly more forgiving temperature
    and relative humidity conditions. Also, whereas Wilhelm defines a
    "fade" as the least density loss that is discernible by the human eye
    (typically 7-15% density loss, depending on the color patch) Kodak
    defines a "fade" much more liberally, up to 30% density loss. The net
    result is that Kodak numbers look about 500% better than Wilhelm
    estimates even for the same materials. In other words, Kodak claims
    100 years for the new Supra papers yet Wilhelm sees only 18-22 years,
    even though they both get the exact same fade rate in the scientific
    part of the test.
    An estimate is an estimate. As explained, there's a scientific,
    repeatable basis for this, then there's an assumption based on display
    conditions. It is what it is ...
    Wilhelm has been running the exact same set of tests for over 30 years,
    starting with Kodacolor and Ilfochrome prints (and whatever else was
    around) in the early 1970's and using the same tests on early inkjet
    prints (which lasted 6 months to 2 years at first) to later inkjet
    pigment ink prints (which is where the current 75-200 year estimates
    come from). Same tests, same conditions (except for increasing the
    accelerated light intensity from 21.5K lux to 35K lux).
    The tests are identical Douglas. Hello .... anybody there?
    ? The Kodacolor chemical prints had estimates of 14-18 years, then
    later as the process improved 18-22 years to Wilhelm's criteria.
    Ilfochromes (Cibachromes) were estimated at around 29 years. These
    processes are old enough that he could do actual 2x tests (ie, 450 lux
    24 hours/day instead of 12) and found that the estimates were slightly
    long due to reciprocity. He's running the same accelerated tests on
    inkjet prints today. Since the tests are the same why would you
    conclude that an Epson pigment print with say 90 years estimated life
    would fade faster than say an Ilfochrome with an estimate (proved
    correct by the non-accelerated tests) 1/3 that. This makes no sense to
    me ... same tests, same conditions.
    This is true, and why the display conditions are part of the fine
    print. So?
    Read Wilhelm's book ... in one section he describes putting up test
    prints in various rooms of his house for years, some uncovered and some
    under glass, and he found that prints in the kitchen did indeed fade
    faster (even when not exposed to extra light), concluding as you have
    that gases affected the print life (this is with conventional silver
    prints, these tests were done before inkjets came out).

    If you look at his test array on the 4000 link I gave he has a box for
    "gas fastness". After some users found Epson 1270/1280 prints on PGPP
    faded very quickly when uncovered in certain environments Wilhelm added
    this gas fastness test and published the results. Before this he was
    always assuming prints would be displayed under glass.
    You miss the point ... it's a scientific test under accelerated
    conditions to get the raw numbers, then a semi-scientific guess as to
    how long they'll last under assumed display conditions (light
    intensity, temperature, rel humidity).
    His "evidence" starts with his 744 page book published in 1993, widely
    hailed as a classic. Where is your "evidence" that his results are
    tainted? If you test the Epson papers under the same conditions you
    should get the same results. If you find differently I'm sure Canon
    and HP and other Epson competitors would pay you well for your findings
    Again, where is your proof? Here in the US we have a set of scientific
    boards which set standards for things like this, called ANSI (American
    National Standards Institute). The European parallel is ISO
    (International Standards Organization). Wilhelm was one of the
    founding members of the ANSI committee on print longevity and served as
    the secretary for many years. Where is the independent proof that he
    is a shill for Epson? There is none.

    Bill Hilton, Mar 16, 2005
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.