Anyone here use an Epson 4800 printer?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Mark Conrad, May 7, 2006.

  1. Mark Conrad

    Mark Conrad Guest

    If so, are you 100% happy with that Epson printer, model 4800?

    (...or more realistically, 90% happy) ;-)

    I am seriously contemplating buying the $2,500 "Pro" version of that
    high-end Epson printer, however I have several questions before I shell
    out that extreme amount of cash.

    I am looking for final printer output that can't be distinguished from
    a regular photographic print, both viewed close up.

    Is that of quality from a printer an unreasonable expectation?

    If unrealistic, then how close can printer output come to duplicating
    real photographic prints?

    Appreciate any advice, either positive or negative.

    Mark Conrad, May 7, 2006
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  2. Mark Conrad

    JimKramer Guest

    Why do you want the "pro" version, I doubt that you really want or
    need the RIP software that you pay extra for?

    I would not call it a high-end printer, more like the bottom of the
    commercial tier.
    Most people could not tell the difference. I think the Epson K3 color
    gamut is a bit wider than a Noritsu or Fuji Frontier printer.
    Certainly better looking shadow details.
    The ink is expensive, especially when you are worrying about 8 or 9
    different inks.

    The cleaning tank is a rip off. $40 for a cotton/poly sponge and an
    Epson chip.

    Are you really planning on printing much over 13"? If not consider the
    R1800 or R2400.

    Like any other Epson after you buy it you need to keep using it or you
    will have clogged head problems.

    FYI - the first set of ink cartridges will be half emptied, just doing
    the initial ink charging.

    True borderless prints are limited to using roll paper. Margins are
    0.5" at the top, 0.55" at the bottom and 0" on the sides for
    sheet paper.

    If you are just looking at a few big prints, take them to a local shop
    and have them printed there and buy a smaller printer for "general

    The printer is heavy, 110 lbs without the ink and physically large,
    make sure you have someplace to put it that is both strong enough and
    large enough to hold it, and you have someone to help you move it. It
    comes strapped to a pallet.

    If using roll paper you will want to be able to get at the back side.

    It is a great printer; just make sure it is too much of a printer for
    what you will be using it to print.

    JimKramer, May 7, 2006
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  3. Mark Conrad

    Greg \_\ Guest

    I agree a lot with Jim Kramer, I bought the R1800 last weekend
    deciding not to buy the 4800 for several reasons. Basically I got tired
    of running to photo labs and redoing digital files to get the prints
    correct. The issue that ultimately made up my mind is: I would rather
    rarely need 16x20 for customer work. I also have a darkroom and can print
    16x20 color cheaper. I needed the printer for occasional use of
    retouching and composition. Realistically the 4800 &K3 ink is good if
    you need B&W-but supposedly the R1800 is better for color work.
    I would never need B&W as I never intend to print B&W other than
    on Silver paper.

    The top end resolution of the R1800 is higher, but beyond a point
    I think its hype. Like Jim I question the need for the Rip-thats useful
    if you intend to batch imagery- intending to drop and print all images
    from a single shoot -like a wedding. That was one reason I might have
    liked the 4800- because i do shoot weddings-ultimately it was the cost
    that decided for me, and I am really happy so far with this printer- I am
    sure which ever you decide you will be like wise happy and somewhat
    astounded by the results.
    Greg \_\, May 7, 2006
  4. Mark Conrad

    C Wright Guest

    C Wright, May 7, 2006
  5. Mark Conrad

    elcoggins Guest

    I own a 2200 and a 4800. One is a professional printer and the other is
    not. If you want to print on photo papers and fine art papers, you
    really need two printers. The cost of changing between photo black ink
    and matte black ink is $50. However, the 4800, 7800 and 9800 are the
    most ecconomical printers as far as ink usage or cost per square inch
    is concerned.

    The output of the 4800 is exceptional. I do not us any RIP. However, I
    did opt for an Ethernet card so I could place the printer any at
    distance from the CPU.

    I am extremely happy with the price and service I received from IT
    Supplies. I plan to purchase another 4800 from them this summer.

    elcoggins, May 8, 2006
  6. Mark Conrad

    bmoag Guest

    If you do not understand the issues involved it would be unwise to spend
    that much money on a printer of this type.
    I would suggest you obtain, if you do not already have them, a monitor
    calibrating device (Spyder, Moncaco), CS2/Elements and a less expensive
    printer (Espson 1280/1800 or smaller carriage variant) and master color
    management before attempting large size printing. You will save a great deal
    of money in the long run.
    bmoag, May 8, 2006
  7. Mark Conrad

    Andrew Haley Guest

    That depends on how much of an expert the viewer is. I know exactly
    what to look for, but without an experienced eye most people probably
    wouldn't notice.

    I don't consider a "regular photographic print" as something I want to
    aim for.
    It's hard to answer that. They're different, that's all. I like
    high-end inkjet output. You'll probably get a wider gamut,
    particularly in the reds, and you'll definitely get higher resolution.
    With custom printer profiles you'll get really accurate colour, too.
    You'll also be able to print on a wide range of substrates, which will
    sometimes be useful.

    Andrew Haley, May 8, 2006
  8. Mark Conrad

    Mark Conrad Guest

    Thanks for the great replies.

    Perhaps I had better elaborate somewhat on my requirements.

    Initially, I thrashed around, considering a drum Iris printer, but the
    cost, maintenance, fading inks, and other problems turned me off.

    Absolutely no banding with an Iris, and excellent ink selection if you
    do not mind fading.<g>

    Then I considered turning my photo' files over to an offset
    lithographer, but the cost for short runs of say 200 was high, and the
    color was not all that great. Excellent absence of all traces of
    banding, however, which is hard to achieve on an ink jet printer.

    None of the above rambling is first hand experience, just going by what
    I read, which may or may not be accurate.

    My expected audience will be"seminars" of hard core PC users, who I
    hope to "dazzle" with Mac video and still presentations, "slick"
    brochures, pamphlets, of as high a quality as I can afford - - -
    without informing them of the cost of my gear, naturally.

    The aim is a volunteer effort on my part to "sway" a small number of
    them into trying a Mac as a 2nd computer, to add to their existing
    productivity. A public service, as it were.

    Years ago, there was a two-store chain here called "Connecting Point",
    that sold new Macs and Mac software, had free seminars in-store to help
    new Mac users - - - they were doing a landslide business, I bought
    several Macs there myself.

    Apple, in their infinite wisdom, took the small chain to court and shut
    them down. A 200 square mile area of northern california reverted to
    100% PCs and Windows shops, who now have a vested interest in keeping
    Macs out. Lots of money to be made here servicing PCs which become
    clogged up with malware of all kinds.

    Anyhow, that is my "audience", I will be lucky if I do not get stoned
    by them.

    Don't get me wrong, I use PCs myself when the situation warrants, but I
    personally find Macs easier to use and maintain.

    Back To Business

    Question -

    Is there a noticable difference in the results produced by lower end
    consumer printers in the $100/300 range, as contrasted to higher cost
    printers around $2,000

    I have so far bought lower priced printers of all makes, and have been
    disappointed by the noticable "banding" in clear areas like the blue
    sky. (i.e. the thin overlap stripe that gets sprayed twice with ink)

    This thin stripe is especially noticable in off-white areas that do not
    receive much ink, noticable banding even when high grade photo stock is

    At least to me it is noticable, others may not be bothered by it.

    Iris printers are not afflicted by this "overlap" banding, because they
    spray the entire page edge-to-edge instead of printing in half inch
    wide swaths like ordinary ink jet printers do.

    ....but Iris printers are lousy in many other respects, so I hear.

    There also seems to be noticable "clumping" of ink dots in areas of the
    print that should be even and clear of any sorts of "clumps".

    As Regards Clogged Nozzles
    I assume there is no technical way of preventing ink nozzles from
    partially clogging, other than operating the printer continuously.

    Mark Conrad, May 9, 2006
  9. Mark Conrad

    G.T. Guest

    I have an Epson P2200.
    I keep looking at my photos given your concern for "banding" and I cannot
    detect anything. I have a feeling an Epson R1800 or R2400 should suit your
    needs fine.

    My Mom has printed brochures herself for years for her gallery and the ones
    from her last two printers have looked completely professional.
    That has been a problem with my P2200. And I don't think there is any
    improvement with the R1800 and R2400.

    G.T., May 9, 2006
  10. Mark Conrad

    Greg \_\ Guest

    Just turn it on once a day.
    Greg \_\, May 9, 2006
  11. Mark Conrad

    elcoggins Guest

    You will not get banding from the 4800 or the 2400 printers providing
    they are properly set up. My 2200 printer has never clogged. Before I
    print on any large sheet of paper, I always run a nozzle check. The
    4800 also has never clogged. However, I have had bubbles form in the
    ink transfer tubes which waisted two 17 X 22' sheets of Luster $ paper.

    Prior to my 4800, I was very happy with my 2200. It does make
    exceptional prints. The newer version, the 2400, is even better. The
    main problem on 2200 was the 13" wide limitation. I needed a wider

    What paper stock do you plan to run? Both the 4800 and the 2200 printer
    open a world of choices. In some cases, due to size, you can only print
    on one sheet at a time, even from the paper tray. Thus roll paper
    becomes an option.

    The paper stock becomes the main issue. For it determines what black
    ink you need to run. If you are goning to print on fine art papers,
    then you will need to load matte black ink in order to get the highest

    I usually print 8 x 10 proofs on the 2200 and if I like what I see, I
    then print to the 4800. If the 13" wide stock is not an issue, I think
    you would be very happy with the new 2400 and its ease of changing
    black inks. For large runs, I would be cheeper to use a 4800 as far as
    ink consumption is concerned. However, the cost of changing out the
    black inks on the 4800 is outragous! 28 cycles would pay for another

    Regarding the computer driving the printers, the Mac is much superior
    in it's color management. I have used both the PC and Mac and the Mac
    is "plug and play." However, both platforms have their strengths. I
    don't want to start a stupid platform argument!

    elcoggins, May 9, 2006
  12. Mark Conrad

    Randy Howard Guest

    (in article
    My 2200 *will* clog, if you leave it sitting for a while (a
    couple weeks) without printing anything. A nozzle check is
    sometimes good enough, other times the ink-eating clean-fest is
    I agree that matching monitor and printer calibrations is a
    breeze on the mac. However, the Epson software to control and
    monitor ink levels and such sucks on the Mac compared to the PC.
    Overall, it's worth it though to have what you see on screen
    match what you see on the printer.

    I've yet to figure out how to get it 100% dialed in for a dual
    monitor setup though. I have two identical monitors, but
    a) Apple will apparently not allow you to copy one calibration
    setting to the other
    b) That's okay, since they aren't quite the same anyway 'as is'.
    c) Problem is I can't ever quite get the two to look exactly the
    same with the manual monitor calibration sequence (no, I don't
    have one of those colorimeters). So, I wind up using a color
    setup for one of the two monitors and do all the color tweaking
    work on that one and then print.
    Randy Howard, May 9, 2006
  13. Mark Conrad

    Mark Conrad Guest

    Hang on guys, I want to respond to all the great posts, at the risk of
    flooding the thread. I just consider the excellent posts here well
    worth responding to.

    Gimme little while longer fighting this #^%**# computer, problems
    explained in off-topic rant later in this post.

    Rebuilding everything here, including myself. Tomorrow I am ganna
    waste getting my 2nd cataract operation. The perceived white-balance
    color temp' viewed with my rebuilt right eye changed from 3400k to
    5400k, all my photographs will now have to be re-done "warmer" to favor
    my rebuilt eyes.<g>

    Eye operation is fun, doc' lets me scream in terror as he comes down on
    my eye with his handy-dandy exacto knife.

    Screaming in terror is good for one's constitution, y'know.

    Beware, Off Topic Rant -
    A temporary minor emergency popped up, eating up all my time.

    My Thoth newsreader has blown up. (I think) - - - anyhow Thoth is
    useless because it is acting screwy, for the first time in several

    I did all the usual things that us self-reliant Mac users do.

    1) Restored my entire partition from an "image" backup. That has
    always saved my bacon over the years.

    No joy, Thoth was still bad.

    2) Did hour long RAM check, checked all hardware, did low-level scan of
    disk surface, did _all_ the TechTool checks.

    No joy.

    I did not want to re-install Thoth for several reasons, the most
    important reason is that I suspected that something else was taking
    Thoth down, and I wanted to find out what in the heck it was.

    Phooey, I did some more flailing and thrashing around, finally gave up
    in disgust.

    Fairly certain sure I know what the root problem is.

    I am addicted to "image" style backups, done on my OS X Macs with
    Terminal based voodoo involving "dd", "dc", "pdisk", "hexdump",
    "split", and a few other Unix utilities that I can't think of at this

    An old app' named "ShrinkWrap" is used to create image backups on my
    older OS 8.6 Mac, like this old Lombard powerbook that is giving me
    grief right now.

    Image style backups are fine, they allow me to frolic around doing
    great things such as creating a customized partition map sector,
    instead of being limited by OSX's "Disk Utility".

    But image backups _do_ have several drawbacks compared to
    conventional backups.

    "Creeping Corruption" tends to work its way into my backups over the
    years, corruption caused by offbeat stuff like cosmic radiation.

    Cosmic and other radiation sometimes causes "soft RAM failures", which
    can be minimized by using ECC types of RAM.

    ANYHOW, all my time has been wasted recently, loading up a completely
    fresh OS 8.6 into this old Mac, and completely fresh app's from their
    CDs. Needless to say, all my problems with Thoth disappeared.

    Doing fresh installs every 3 or 4 years is good for one's constitution,

    Back to work, I have many more app's to load and configure, and
    tomorrow will be wasted with the operation on my left eye.

    Grr, grrr, I will never get to use my new Canon 5D outfit, nor get to
    buy my dream printer which is a combination of the best features from
    Iris and Epson printers, with automated switching of black ink
    cartridges, and a seperate tank of solvent that automatically gets
    sprayed through all nozzle holes at printer startup. ;-) ;-) ;-)

    grr, grr. grrr.
    End of Rant-

    Mark Conrad, May 9, 2006
  14. Mark Conrad

    elcoggins Guest

    Randy Howard said:
    monitor setup though. I have two identical monitors, but
    a) Apple will apparently not allow you to copy one calibration
    setting to the other>

    You never will get 100% agreement between the monitor and the printer.

    <b) That's okay, since they aren't quite the same anyway 'as is'.
    c) Problem is I can't ever quite get the two to look exactly the
    same with the manual monitor calibration sequence (no, I don't
    have one of those colorimeters). So, I wind up using a color
    setup for one of the two monitors and do all the color tweaking
    work on that one and then print. >

    Not having a colorimeter is your problem. I do know that when I give a
    presentation with a projector, I run a separate ICC profile for the
    Ti-Book LCD and the projector. In fact, it is automatic. Each device
    will seek out the latest ICC profile.

    Colorimeters are not that expensive. I cannot afford a GM Eye One at
    $1700. To me, that's the cost of a 4800! I have purcheased a Pantone
    Spyder2Pro and it works very well on both my CRTs, LCDs and Projector.
    The Apple color calibration technique leaves alot to be desired. But do
    keep in mind that you will never have 100% agreement between monitor
    and printer. You can, however, get very close. In my case, the CRT is
    always slightly more magenta than the print. Knowing this, I adjust

    elcoggins, May 9, 2006
  15. Mark Conrad

    Randy Howard Guest

    (in article
    That's not what I was talking about. I can't get 100% agreement
    between monitor A and monitor B. both are the same brand, model
    and purchased at the same time, with equivalent backlight time.
    I just can't get them both to match exactly, which means that I
    have one that is a bit better at matching my printer than the
    other, so I use it for color proofing prior to printing.

    As far as it matching the print output, I'm relatively happy
    with it as is.
    I'd like to be able to control the monitor to monitor aspect
    right now, as it's hard to have two versions of an image open in
    PS, one on the left monitor, one on the right and compare them
    visually when the colors are slightly different on each.

    I'll look into the Pantone Spyder2Pro option. Thanks.
    Randy Howard, May 10, 2006
  16. Mark Conrad

    C J Southern Guest

    I bought it's big brother (the 7800), and pondered the same question. Short
    answer is, for most, the RIP just isn't necessary.
    Output is exceptional, but prints are easily damaged if they're going to be
    handled a lot - so fantastic for framed prints, "OK" for things going into
    an album, and "hopeless" for printing postcard prints that'll be passed
    around (same goes for most inkjets I would think).
    The ink IS expensive, but then again, there is a LOT of it. When I did the
    maths it worked out that it was costing me around 1/4 the cost of having my
    stuff done at the "lab" (and I got better results).
    Having said that, it lasts practically forever, unless you're doing frequent
    cartridge changes or power cleaning (both are unnecessary in my experience).
    I think the idea of the "chip" is to make sure the maintenance tank is
    changed before it overflows - I can imagine that if it wasn't chipped then
    some would forget to check it, and have one hell of a mess. By the way, it's
    not just the tank and carts that are chipped/lifed - so is the line-feed and
    head motors and the cutting blade.

    As for the price of the tank - I'm sure Epson don't get the $40 for it -
    they probably sell it for $10 and it ends up at $40 by the time everyone has
    added their margins. It's really insignificant either way though - mine has
    dropped 30% in (available) volume over a period of about 10 x 220ml carts.
    I've had mine sit idle for up to a couple of weeks at a time, and never EVER
    had to run a power cleaning cycle - I suspect that this is an issue solved a
    long time ago?
    I was told that, but in reality it wasn't quite that dramatic - and that was
    with the 'uneconomic' 110ml variety (assuming that the 4800 uses the same as
    the 7800?). I was able to use the "remaining" ink to print many many large
    C J Southern, May 10, 2006
  17. Mark Conrad

    Randy Howard Guest

    wrote (in article
    I have a question about using the Spyder2Pro product. When you
    do that, do you delete the OS X specific monitor calibration
    information, or leave it in place? Along the same lines, do you
    reset the flat panel to it's factory settings, or adjust them at
    all? Or, is that all in the manual? I'm ordering one right
    now, just curious for information from someone that has used it
    Randy Howard, May 10, 2006
  18. Mark Conrad

    C Wright Guest

    You don't delete any of the existing monitor calibration information. The
    Spyder2 software will write a new replacement profile and you can accept the
    name it suggests or rename it with another name if you like.
    As far as display settings are concerned, you do adjust the settings and
    they are not always the factory settings. However, there are way too many
    monitors with different combinations of manual hardware settings and
    software settings to get into any specifics. The Spyder software will tell
    you what to adjust.
    C Wright, May 10, 2006
  19. Mark Conrad

    elcoggins Guest

    I have a question about using the Spyder2Pro product. When you
    do that, do you delete the OS X specific monitor calibration
    information, or leave it in place? Along the same lines, do you
    reset the flat panel to it's factory settings, or adjust them at
    all? >

    C. Wright answered most of your questions. However, some monitors have
    a reset button. So I wouuld reset the monitor before starting
    calibration. The better ones also allow you to set your white balance
    and have individual color gun controls. If yours does not, no big deal.
    You will still get good calabration. The software prompts you for the
    monitor setting parameters before proceding with the new calibration.
    What manual? I would have liked Pantone to include one as they did on
    the older model; at least a PDF file. But they figure the new program
    is made for idiots where you just follow the on screen prompts. There
    is on screen help.
    now, just curious for information from someone that has used it

    Great! I think you will be very pleased. Your homework prior to
    receiving it will be to decide what color temperature you want to work
    in. In the past some photographers choose 6500* K. A little on the cool
    side. The new feeling is that one should match the color temp of the
    sun. That's 5200* K. Since 5000* is closer to 5200* K, I opted for the
    5000*K. At first is seems a little red. But you quickly get used to it.

    Remember, you can calibrate as many time as you want. Just give the
    monitor ICC (ColorSync) file a new name after each calibration and they
    will all be there for your choosing.

    As a suggestion, I calibrate my CRT monitor every two months. If the
    monitor was on all day every day, then I would consider weekly
    calibrations. For LCDs, three times a year for they never seem to
    change with age.

    elcoggins, May 10, 2006
  20. Mark Conrad

    elcoggins Guest

    I forgot one more issue that should have been in my last post.

    Most people seem to forget the color temperature of the lights in the
    room where they proof their photographs. If you are viewing your prints
    under cool white fluorescent light, the colors on the print will also
    seem cool. Conversely, prints under incandescent lights will seem wam.

    The first thing I did in my work area was to replace alll the lights
    with 5000* K lights. Now I am better able to judge the colors on the
    prints. Home Depot sells tubes under what they call "Full Spectrum"
    lights. They cost about twice as much, but is is worth it. Also even
    though gallries tend to use halogen lamps, I would also avoid them
    since they give off a yellow cast.

    I don't mean to imply that you are not aware of this. Just some
    additional suggestions.

    elcoggins, May 10, 2006
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