Luminous Landscape Forum

Raw & Post Processing, Printing => Printing: Printers, Papers and Inks => Topic started by: drew on February 14, 2006, 04:57:17 AM

Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: drew on February 14, 2006, 04:57:17 AM
Quote
Tracking the Cost of Printing with an Epson 4800
Interesting article by Mark Segal. What I have found over the years is that not all Epson printers are created equal in terms of their nozzle blocking performance. For example, I once had an Epson 1270 at work simultaneously with one at home. The one at home was a real good'un and hardly ever gave me any trouble with its nozzles. No it was not perfect, but it was so much better than the at work, which bears the marks of Basil Fawltyesque thrashings due to its constant nozzle blocks.
Turning to the Epson 4000, my own one does suffer from occasional nozzle blocks, but generally it is pretty well behaved and a cleaning cycle or two is all that is required to return it to reliable performance. The 7600 that runs alongside it on the other hand requires constant conditioning to keep all the nozzles up and firing. Large quantities of ink have been consigned to the waste tank to keep it on song, which just reiterates my point about not all printers being created equal.
So, I do not think it is fair to tar all 4000s in comparison to 4800s as being poor performers in this area. That leaves the ink consumption per print as the only really compelling economic reason to upgrade. Can it really be right that the 4000 uses 61% more ink than the 4800 per print? I think we need to see some verification for this. Looking at Epson's literature, I can see no mention of superior performance over the 4000 in this regard. Surely this would be a major selling feature that no Epson marketing manager would overlook?
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 14, 2006, 11:15:52 AM
Drew,

Firstly, as you know, the Epson 1270 is a dye printer and all the others you mention are pigmented ink printers, so whatever the experience with the 1270 was, it isn't comparable with the others. But I see the point you are making, hence:

Secondly, I've been careful to point out in both articles that I am talking about my experience with my printers. I agree that not everyone's experience will necessarily be the same, because nozzle clogging is subject to a number of variables that differ from user to user (e.g. environmental factors) and possibly from machine to machine, but in the latter case it would mystify me as to why that should be. The print-heads and the ink are all made with the same manufacturing processes. One possibility is that not all checkered test patterns are necessarily clogs. They can also be "ink drops" within the ink lines feeding the heads. But again, why this phenominon should differ from machine to machine, I simply don't have the technical knowledge to know.

Thirdly, inherent variability of one factor or another affecting overall ink use is most likely one of the reasons why manufacturers are generally loathe to discuss ink consumption. It is a pandora's box and there are legal ("truth in advertising" claims, etc.) and competitive disincentives for them to do so.

Fourthly, I have shown in the article that disregarding all cleanings and isolating only the ink used for prints, the consumption data is the consumption data and my 4800 is simply using much less ink per print than my 4000 did. This is not a question of "mathematics" apart from the simple arithmetic of adding up all the ink used on all the prints divided by the number of prints for each machine. If you read my first article, you will see that the way the data base is structured most of the ink for cleaning can be and is isolated from the ink used on prints. That much said, there is variability of ink use for prints from session to session because not all prints need the same amount of ink and exact print dimensions vary from print to print. That is one reason why I let the experience accumulate to well over a thousand prints, so I can see when and where the average settles-down before writing an article about it. With that size of a data base, small variances from session to session produce even smaller variances in the overall average and one can have confidence that the results are quite stable and representative. Yes, the difference of ink use for prints alone between my two machines is surprising but true. I would really expect Epson to know this and not trumpet it for reasons in my third point above.

Hope this helps.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: drew on February 14, 2006, 11:47:19 AM
Mark,
Thanks for your response. As you have noted, I was careful to point out that I have experience with dye and pigment based printers (the 4000 and 7600 as I am sure you know, use identical ultrachrome inks). I also have experience running MIS ultratone inks through a 2100 (aka 2200) and a 7000. My point remains that you cannot extrapolate your experience with your 4000 vs your 4800 in relation to nozzle blocks to all 4000s and all 4800s.
A big corporation like Epson (backed by Seiko) would have no difficulty tying down the variables that you mention for typical printing jobs and so I am sure that they would be prepared to stand by a claim like this if it is indeed correct. After all, it would be a selling point for the new printer. You cannot discount variables effecting your own data (yes, I know 1000 prints is a lot, but still, they cannot be discounted). Epson do not seem to break out in too much of a sweat over claims of print longevity do they?
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 14, 2006, 12:39:13 PM
Drew,

First to set-aside the red-herrings, Epson doesn't make its own claims for print permanence. The ratings are quoted from Wilhelm-Imaging Research test results that are accompanied by footnotes long enough to fill a chapter of Encyclopeadia Britannica, so they all have their U-know-whats well covered. I'm not about to speculate any further than I have about what Epson knows or doesn't know about ink consumption except to say that they obviously know more than they publish and they have their reasons, which may be completely unrelated to the question of how representative my data is.

As for the latter, I can only write about what I know, and what I know is what my machines have produced. I agree with you that mileage from other people's machines may well vary, but the difference of stable averages between my two machines is so striking that the comparison we've published is probably well within the ball-park for these technologies as a whole. But impressionistic hypotheses don't count here. If there is anyone out there who has collected this data in the same kind of detailed, systematic manner that I have and can factually demonstrate that my experience is somehow unique and non-representative, that would be a contribution to knowlegde, but until then this is what we now see.

Cheers,

Mark
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: alainbriot on February 14, 2006, 01:04:26 PM
Mark,

How do your calculations apply to the 4800 running under ImagePrint 6.1 with the Phatte Black mode?  After all, many of us are no longer using the Epson driver, and knowing if the cost is similar with IP would be very useful.

I am also curious if the 1300 prints you count are of your work or if you print for other photographers, or if some prints are not photographs but text or other data.  

As an aside, let me mention my own 4000 to 4800 upgrade experience.  I traded my 4000 for $900 when I bought the 4800 (from Exim Vaios which had a special trade-in offer at the time) and paid no return shipping (a significant cost given the weight of the machine). When I made the trade, all the ink carts on the 4000 were empty (luck of the draw as I print continuously and couldn't plan it).  This is a cost of about $500 for eight 110ml carts.  That's $1400 already between the trade and the cost of new carts.  I paid $1900 for the 4800, making my actual expense $500.  Print sales covering that amount were done in the week after receiving the 4800.  Plus, I saved seller and paypal fees compared to selling it on ebay.   Finally, I saved a lot of time when compared to advertising it on ebay.

So if on top of that I am saving on ink, it's really icing on the cake.

Thank you for your carefully researched essay.  Very useful.

ALain
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: drew on February 14, 2006, 01:09:09 PM
Well, I am all for setting aside red-herrings and not for splitting hairs, but....
Epson does make its own claims for print longevity, the evidence base for this is provided by Wilhelm Research. The evidence base for ink consumption could have been easily provided by Epson themselves, 'reasons' not withstanding.
As a medic, I am supposed to know something about quality of evidence and I do not think you have eliminated variables sufficiently, hence verification is required. In my own case, I would be much more interested in the qualitative differences in print output between the two before I sell off and start afresh.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 14, 2006, 02:12:29 PM
Alain, HI - You did really well on all that - congratulations! Anything like that with a one week payback is stellar indeed.

I don't use ImagePrint, so I have no Phatte Black, and therefore no experience from which to draw any comparative inferences. One of these days, maybe. I'm getting very good results with the Epson driver and profiles, and on the one issue for which I would have liked better resuts (very deep shade differentiation), a couple of tests with ImagePrint didn't make enough difference on the printed page to warrant the cost. Also, I only use matte paper for now, so the switching hasn't been an issue yet.

The 1300 prints are all my own work, and they are all photographs. I've produced several pages of text or text with photos as presentation cover pages, but I did not include those in the print count.

Drew, I've been working with numbers for more years than I care to think about, so I know the meaning of statistical signifigance, I know the limitations of samples of one, and therefore I know that what I am writing is not exhaustive, and I've made that clear. If I were a testing laboratory with a budget and several climatically controlled rooms (operating under different temperature and humidity conditions) full of multiple samples of the same equipment I could perhaps exhaust all the variables that would be of most relevance and present results that are just about 100% conclusive. However, I'm one guy with one printer after another operating out of my single digital darkroom. If the differences in the results I got between these machines were marginal, I would not write such an article, but I think, given the nature of this evidence, I have most likely found something significant. One must also ask oneself, given the high degree of uniformity and testing of Epson's professional machines, what is the technical probability of occurrence that one or both of my machines were way off the norm? I would be the first one interested in other peoples' evidence, so as I said, anyone with properly collected hard numbers should let us see what they have, to either confirm or challenge my findings.  

As for qualitative differences in output between the two machines, here we get into real judgmental stuff, but let me give you my two-cents worth. If you are mainly printing in colour on matte paper, you'll see a slight increase of colour saturation at the saturated end of test charts and slightly better blacks, which translates into a slightly more refined 3/4 tonal scale. But frankly, in actual prints they both produce excellent quality on matte media, and others who've made direct comparisons have observed that there isn't much difference between them. However. if you're printing mainly black and white or mainly on non-matte media, there is a much more substantial and noticeable quality improvement. So from the print quality perspective it mainly depends on what you use the printer for.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: alainbriot on February 14, 2006, 02:27:49 PM
Quote
I don't use ImagePrint, so I have no Phatte Black, and therefore no experience from which to draw any comparative inferences.
Also, I only use matte paper for now, so the switching hasn't been an issue yet.
The 1300 prints are all my own work, and they are all photographs.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=58147\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I understand.  I would think the difference would be minimal (?).  You mention you only use matte paper, and that makes me think the savings may be higher with glossy paper since typically less ink is used for glossy prints. The heaviest ink use is with the Watercolor Radiant White setting which is often used with third party matte papers such as Hahnemuhle and Moab.

1300 prints in 4 months is a good number.  You are working hard!  Congratulations.

Alain
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: drew on February 14, 2006, 03:17:21 PM
Mark,
I see you are an energy economist. This explains a great deal. Your print usage needs to be put into context as according to your own methodology a 'print' measures 54 square inches. Therefore, 1300 standard prints in four months equates to about 75 near full-bleed A3+ prints per month. Nothing wrong in that, but a print house would have a much larger throughput and they would be the most interested in the economics you have laid out. Also, you admit that you cannot log all type (i) cleanings and none of the type (ii) cleanings. If there was a significant difference between your throughput with the 4000 against the 4800, these cleanings may have had a significant effect on your data. Next, you say you print with profiles. Do you make them yourself or do you get them from elsewhere? Have you considered the possibility that your typical profile for the 4800 is simply a 'better' i.e. more economical profile than that you would have used typically for the 4000? A different profile might yield a radically different result for either printer. Also, your own data indicates quite significant variability in ink usage per session (a spread of about threefold). Yes, I know that in 77 out of 110 of your sessions, the ink usage is close to 1 ml per SP, but even in these 77, there is variability of up to 20%. By your own admission, you only print on to matte media, so your data is not applicable to someone like me who prints mostly on glossy (RC) media. Finally, you have changed from the 4000 to the 4800. Can you honestly tell me that you would have published the data or have been as enthusiastic about the results if you had found the opposite. This, as you know is called observer bias.
Sorry, but I do find sometimes that there is too much discussion of pseudo-science or pseudo-stats here. Give me passion for quality anyday, hence my interest in the qualitative differences between the printers. I note that you (and MR) do not think there is a huge amount of difference in quality, but this something I am going to have to come to my own conclusions about.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: DarkPenguin on February 14, 2006, 03:43:38 PM
Quote
*chomp*

I'm not about to speculate any further than I have about what Epson knows or doesn't know about ink consumption except to say that they obviously know more than they publish and they have their reasons, which may be completely unrelated to the question of how representative my data is.

*chomp*

My guess:  The patented epson clogmaster technology means that ink usage is completely random and that any numbers they might provide would just open themselves up to lawsuits.

I'd love the opportunity to sue them into the stone age.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 14, 2006, 04:18:44 PM
Dark Penguin,

Based on my data and other information, I don't believe for a moment that ink usage is completely random - certainly not the ink that is consumed for printing, as opposed to cleaning clogs. The extent and severity of clogs, and how much ink is needed to clear them, does depend on a number of atmospheric and technical factors, including the firmware in the printer. Epson has up-graded the firmware for the 4000 and incorporated their latest firmware in the 4800, so this probably accounts for some of the improvement that has taken place.

Your statement at the end of your post I think reflects the kind of reason why they may be reluctant to publish data on ink performance. If I were them I wouldn't want to be sued into the stone-age either.

On a light-hearted note - if they were back in the stone age we wouldn't have this wonderful technology they are producing.  
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 14, 2006, 04:50:27 PM
Alain, if my memory serves me correctly, I seem to recall some talk that ImagePrint profiles are more economical on ink, but it came up some time ago in a seminar and there may be context I have forgotten since. In any case, one would really need to measure it to know objectively.

And yes, I have been printing a great deal over the past few months! I just keep thinking if this were the old wet darkroom days the productivity would have been a fraction and the colour quality nowhere near.............
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 14, 2006, 05:23:17 PM
<<I see you are an energy economist. This explains a great deal. >>

Actually it explains nothing.

<<Your print usage needs to be put into context as according to your own methodology a 'print' measures 54 square inches. Therefore, 1300 standard prints in four months equates to about 75 near full-bleed A3+ prints per month. Nothing wrong in that, but a print house would have a much larger throughput and they would be the most interested in the economics you have laid out. Also, you admit that you cannot log all type (i) cleanings and none of the type (ii) cleanings. >>

I can log all the type (i) cleanings, there are few type (ii) cleanings and they happen with both machines. With the 4000 I may have missed several type (i) cleanings. They consume 4 ml each. No big deal as a fraction of the total.


<<If there was a significant difference between your throughput with the 4000 against the 4800, these cleanings may have had a significant effect on your data.>>

They don’t have much effect on the data relating to ink used for printing alone, because just from recollection of what the machines do while printing, I am certain that type (ii) cleanings are considerably less important than type (i) and type (iii) cleanings. To the extent the 4800 needs less cleaning altogether, there have probably been proportionaly fewer type (ii) cleanings, so that is part of the overall performance improvement.


<<Next, you say you print with profiles. Do you make them yourself or do you get them from elsewhere? Have you considered the possibility that your typical profile for the 4800 is simply a 'better' i.e. more economical profile than that you would have used typically for the 4000? A different profile might yield a radically different result for either printer. >>

Everyone must print with profiles, as you know. 99.5% of all the prints I made with both machines use Epson profiles for Enhanced Matte paper. If they've improved their Enhanced Matte profile in respect of ink consumption for the 4800 that may be one validating reason for the improved performance of the 4800.

<<Also, your own data indicates quite significant variability in ink usage per session (a spread of about threefold). Yes, I know that in 77 out of 110 of your sessions, the ink usage is close to 1 ml per SP, but even in these 77, there is variability of up to 20%. >>

There is variability from the 4800 also. To date, the minimum ML/SP has been 0.54 and the maximum 1.00. Once we get into the kind of print numbers I've done, and visually see with each session how little the overall average wiggles around as more and more data gets added to it, one develops confidence that this variability is not randomly impacting conclusions in either case.

<<By your own admission, you only print on to matte media, so your data is not applicable to someone like me who prints mostly on glossy (RC) media. >>

Agreed. As I said, I'm not a testing lab. I'm a guy who prints his own pictures - with some seriousness, and I wrote the article to give readers on this website whatever benefit there is to sharing my experience.

<<Finally, you have changed from the 4000 to the 4800. Can you honestly tell me that you would have published the data or have been as enthusiastic about the results if you had found the opposite. >>

Having presented my first article on the 4000 to Luminous-Landscape for publication, the follow-up story for the successive printer model is a natural, regardless of the results. Of course if nothing had changed the story would be less interesting, but findings of either substantial improvement or substantial deterioration make it more useful to readers whichever way the cookie crumbles.

<<Sorry, but I do find sometimes that there is too much discussion of pseudo-science or pseudo-stats here. >>

No need for apologies. These are not pseudo-stats. The data is carefully and correctly logged session by session, subject by subject. The exercise is scientific to the extent that the methodology consists of conventional addition, subtraction, multiplication and division embedded in a fairly straightforward Excel spread-sheet and completely repeatable by anyone who wants to use it.

<<Give me passion for quality anyday, hence my interest in the qualitative differences between the printers. I note that you (and MR) do not think there is a huge amount of difference in quality, >>

Well Drew, cost-accounting and appreciating quality are two separate aspects of all this, and like you I very much appreciate the latter to the extent that I put a great deal of time and effort into it. From comparisons I have seen of 4000/4800 prints on non-matte media (i.e. what you use) there is a quite noticeable difference in quality - if bronzing and gloss differential matters to you. I've never been all that impressed with those issues because if you look at the print from one angle you see the problems and from another angle you don't. It's a bit elusive, but many serious photographers find brozing and/or GD totally unacceptable. This is a matter of taste and standards, which vary legitimately from person to person. I agree that you need to see these things for yourself and come to your own conclusions based on what you see, what matters to you and hence what you know.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: drew on February 15, 2006, 04:23:26 AM
Mark,
I find that Lyson Print Guard deals very successfully with the issue of bronzing/gloss differential. Of course, this adds a further cost to the prints, but the cloud of intoxicating vapour produced is worth taking a few inadvertent breaths of as, in my view, it raises the prints to a higher level of quality. Not only does it largely eliminate GD, it also has the benefit of making the prints much more resistant to scuffing/abrasion. I would probably coat RC prints out of the 4800 in the same way in anticipation that it would totallly eliminate GD and have the other benefit.
So, returning to your economics, it would be fair to say that if you are a 4000 user thinking of upgrading to a 4800 and you print only on matte papers using the epson provided profiles, you will probably see a benefit in ink consumption. If these usage criteria do not apply to you (and you need to know....., especially if you are an energy economist  ), you need to repeat the tests.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: tsjanik on February 15, 2006, 11:35:48 AM
Drew et al:

I’ve used a 4800 since October.  The Epson print monitor indicates ink usage of 0.5-1.0 mL per 8.5x11 print.  I haven’t averaged the values, but Mark’s value is certainly consistent with my observations.  Apparently Epson reports that the K3 inks are twice the density of UC inks, this would certainly  explain less ink usage vs. the 4000.  An interesting, well-written report from a participant in the Epson Print Academy can be found here:

http://forums.robgalbraith.com/showflat.ph...0&page=1#395665 (http://forums.robgalbraith.com/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=395665&an=0&page=1#395665)

Regards,

Tom
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: drew on February 15, 2006, 12:13:48 PM
Tom,
Thanks. I read the thread from end to end and it is as you say very interesting. If the K3 inks are indeed 2x the density of the UC inks, this would probably explain most of the advances (bronzing, GD etc.) and also possibly the economy issue. The upcoming Focus show in the UK is going to give me an opportunity to take along some of own prints and compare on the Epson stand. That said, I make my own profiles, I work in Adobe RGB 1998 with 16 bit files and I am happy generally with both colour and black and white prints from UC inks, so I will take some convincing.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: tsjanik on February 15, 2006, 12:46:12 PM
Drew:

You mentioned you use glossy paper, as is my preference for most prints.  Based on my admittedly limited experience the improvement on glossy media is dramatic.  I largely switched to matte papers when using the UC inks, the GD bothered me that much.  It's a non-issue with the K3 inks and other improvements are noticeable if not as dramatic.  I solved the MK/PK change problem by keeping a 2200, as the improvement on matte papers with K3 is very subtle.

Tom
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: drew on February 15, 2006, 01:09:21 PM
Tom,
The GD bothers me too, but it is effectively dealt with by Lyson PrintGuard. I have no idea what this product does to the otugassing issue, but I do not intend to generally offer framed prints for sale. The main change to my workflow has been the purchase of equipment to make my own profiles. I find that this virtually guarantees accurate colour and neutrality in black and white. I then add a bit of warmth to my B&W work as I am not a fan of neutral/cool black and white.
This topic interests me because I probably should be rationalising my printer (as in also my camera) collection.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: djkessler on February 17, 2006, 01:27:49 PM
I thought Mark's article and analysis was pretty interesting. I was wondering about cleaning though. Has anyone tried using any of the head cleaning kits so it's unnecessary to use any ink (except, I presume, what's necessary to recharge after the cleaning).

I did a Google search for:
+epson +"cleaning cartridge"

This was the first link that came up for me:
http://www.maxpatchink.com/epsonclean.shtml (http://www.maxpatchink.com/epsonclean.shtml)

Some time ago I read about these things. There was a comment I remember to the effect that when someone has a clog that's simply not going away and sends the printer in for repair that the repair people use these kinds of head cleaning cartridges.

Thanks in advance for the comments.
David
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: drew on February 17, 2006, 01:34:39 PM
Using the head cleaning kits may be cost effective in the long term, but certainly not in the short term.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 17, 2006, 02:29:02 PM
I have a couple of comments about this:

Firstly, that product seems directed at scrubbing the surface of the printhead for major amounts of dried ink due to printer disuse over some period of time. This is not the usual situation where more routine clogs need to be - from what I've been told by Epson tech support - flushed with liquid coming through the printhead.

Secondly, on the 4800 much of the MLs ink used for cleaning comes from the routine 4.1 ML of ink used when the printer is switched on and it decides on its own that either enough time or enough prints have gone by that it triggers a start-up auto-clean cycle. The referenced product is irrelevant in that situation, and using that product will not curtail these cyclical self-generated cleanings, which Epson tells me users are not at liberty to interfere with.

All that said, I've book-marked that web-page in case circumstances ever arise where such a product could be useful - but I'll check with Epson tech support before ever using it, to insure they know what it is, they know whether it can do any damage and using it wouldn't void my warranty.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: tsjanik on February 17, 2006, 10:40:34 PM
Just some relevant information I’m aware of:

The automatic head cleaning can be turned off through the menu button on the printer. Menu> to printer setup>then right arrow followed by down arrow until auto head cleaning appears.  The default is on, make sure the * appears next to “off” if you wish to turn off auto cleaning.  Epson does not recommend this of course.  I’ve been using the printer with the cleaning off.  I routinely do a nozzle check and have had no problems with clogging.  Several users on the Yahoo 4800 discussion group and others have reported clogging problems with or without the auto cleaning on.  Mine has been in light use since October with no problem; it is in a fairly cool (55-60F) room, so that may be a factor.

One suggested method of head cleaning involves parking the head in a pool of water (the puddle method).  It has been discussed extensively on the Yahoo 4000/4800 discussion group; here’s one of many: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Epson4000/message/3692 (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Epson4000/message/3692)

A search will yield many more links

Tom
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 18, 2006, 12:21:58 AM
Interesting about turning off auto-clean - Next time I fire-up the printer I shall check it, because when I asked Epson tech support this very question about turning off auto-cleaning they told me I can't and I shouldn't try. So it was more than a recommendation. In a way, perhaps best not to try outsmarting them on this one - they probably know exactly why they want that feature enabled and they have probably tested the frequency quite carefully to minimize the traffic on tech support from dissatisfied customers with clogged printers.

Room temperature matters. In deference to both my previous 4000 and current 4800 I do not have the heat on in my workroom. It remains cool. The real culprit is excessive dryness and this easily occurs in over-heated rooms. Epson tech support recommended to me quite some time ago that room humidity should be at least 25%. They also mentioned the idea of moistening the print-head area using an eye dropper with distilled water. The purpose however is not head cleaning, but to keep moisture in the rubber seals that enclose the print-head when it is parked for a long time, because ink dries if these seals dry-out causing them to shrink a bit and let in air. That was on the 4000. Whether the same applies to the 4800 I don't know, because it hasn't clogged enough to warrent any such tinkering. I did try it when I had the 4000 and it wasn't effective.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: tsjanik on February 18, 2006, 10:06:06 AM
Mark:

I have some concern about turning off the auto clean as well; however, I think Epson has the printer configured to prevent clogs under worst case conditions.  More than once the printer has asked if I want to do a “power clean”, even though nozzle checks have never indicated a clog.  My typical use of the printer involves 1-2 prints per day and so if I turn the printer off each day I use 2 to 4 times as much ink for cleaning as I do for printing (as you know from your detailed analysis).   I will likely continue with the auto clean off until a nozzle check indicates a problem.

A more detailed description of the “puddle method” can be found here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=16862722 (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1003&message=16862722)

BTW good weather to be inside working with the printer (I’m just south of Toronto).
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on February 18, 2006, 10:35:05 AM
Hello TS, you may well have a point. I think Epson has received so much flack about clogging and cleaning that they are possibly being super-careful.

The "power-clean" business is a different kettle of fish, and here the answer is very clear and certain: SAY NO unless your machine is seriously clogged. That is advice direct from Epson Tech Support. It is a nuissance reminder for an expensive process that they themselves say one would seldom need to use.

Now back to the question of those little "start-up" auto-cleanings - they should not get triggered more or less frequently as a function of turning the printer on or off. Tech Support have told me the printer's memory schedules these cleanings according to a combination of time lapse between printing sessions and the volume of printing done. For clarity, if you leave the machine shut for quite a few days, it is likely to do a start-clean on re-opening. Or, if you print 15 or so A3s, it is likely to trigger an auto-clean either during the print session or next time you open the printer. But it should not trigger auto-cleans simply because you open and shut the printer frequently. If it does, I think what you are doing could make sense, with the caution however that these cleanings probably prevent accumulation of dried-up gunk inside the nozzles, which could become quite expensive to flush-out if it sets in firmly. Remember we're talking about a grid of nozzles each one of which is smaller than a human hair. So I just leave the in-built cleaning routine activated.

The weather - me-0h-my - I was hoping to do exactly what you say but I need to rush out to Future Shop because my headset for using Skype decided to crash-out. Sigh. Happy printing.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: drew on March 11, 2006, 12:52:02 PM
Just thought I would add an update on this as I started this thread.
I went to the Focus show in the UK at the end of last month with disc in hand to speak to epson and to get them to print out some of my files and compare them directly with my own files printed off my 4000/7600 as I have been toying a bit with the idea of an upgrade. I had a long chat with one of the sales guys on the stand and there was a lot of talk about the longer neutral spine of the current K3 printers due to the included third black. He thought this might be a plausible explanation as to why the current K3 printers might be more economical (he could not verify this as Epson have not tested it). This is to do with less colour inks needed to balance tones in the mid to hightlights. It might also explain why on the RC papers that there is slightly less bronzing and gloss differential as less ink may be laid down on the paper. However, from a qualitative point-of-view, I thought my own prints made with my own profiles on the 4000/7600 were better than the Epson made prints of my own files using their generic profiles on the 9800. Yes, ever so slightly less bronzing/GD on the 9800, but my prints had slightly richer colour and better blacks. I would accept that somebody else might think otherwise, but I would assert that any expression of a strong preference either way is subject to wishful thinking. Anybody running Imageprint's PhatteBlack system on the K3 printers, I would suggest is unlikely to see an economy over the K2 printers as they have reduced their inkset to a K2 setup. So, I came away from Focus with no real qualitative reason to upgrade and an unproven economic one.
At home, I decided that regardless of upgrade or not, it was time to sort out my 7600 with its intermittent nozzle blocks and deflections. So, I spoke to Epson technical support. The tech guy recommended a service and fitment of a maintenance kit (pump, wiper blade etc.). I asked specifically about the economy issue and the answer I got was 'no difference in running costs between the (newer and older ultrachrome) printers'. The Epson engineer arrived a few days later and I had a chance to quiz him some more. 'No point in changing your printers, you will hardly see a difference' and 'no reason why the newer pinters should be more economical'. It was particularly interesting to hear what he had to say about the 4000. Apparently, the self-aligning head of the 4000 was a major development for the printer and Epson had wanted to sell it for three times the price it was eventually retailed for, but their marketing department vetoed this. The self-aligning head was carried over to the 4800, but the Epson engineer suggested that 'some of the bells and whistles from the 4000' were not. Of course I have absolutely no idea what he meant by this, but I see that remaining stock of the 4000 is being sold off in the UK by some retailers at just £749.00 ex VAT. At this price, it represents an absolute bargain, in my view.
So I am going to skip this generation of Epson K3 printers in the hope that Epson will finally fix the ink changing issue in the next generation. There is one thing I was impressed by in the K3 printers and that is the straight-out-of-the-box B&W printing capability. Still, if you are like me sticking with a 4000/7600/9600, the answer to this is accurate output profiles. These will give you neutral black and white.
BTW servicing the 7600 has returned it to the same rude good health that it had when it was new.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 11, 2006, 03:06:52 PM
Drew,

Epson is a very large corporation with many people working for it and they don't always all sing from the same song-book. Epson themselves have recently produced advertising proclaiming the much greater economy of ink usage in the 4800 compared with the 4000 and went as far as to tell readers how many prints (in their calculations a standard print being 13*19 inches) they should make per year to justify the upgrade on purely financial grounds. So to say they don't know or haven't been measuring it is just not correct. By the way, they find the cost ratio of the 4800/4000 lower than I do, but both of us are in territory well below 1:1. I do have considerable confidence in the quality of my data on this matter. Others with relevant experience using both the 4000 and 4800 have also told me that while they do not keep the kind of records I do, they also find the 4800 using less ink per print than was the 4000.

As for print quality, anyone printing colour on matte paper will see very little difference. This was generally acknowledged in the industry from the get-go. It is also unambiguous that the 4800 produces better quality than the 4000 (in both cases using with Epson profiles) for black and white and non-matte output.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: drew on March 11, 2006, 05:03:06 PM
Mark,
So they do not all sing from the same song book. Right, so who does one believe? Perhaps you would like to provide a reference? So far, we are left with your own 'data' which was collected in retrospect, is uncontrolled and likley to be subject to your own bias i.e. you upgraded and found your new purchase was more economical.
As for your assertions about quality, I know what I see with my own eyes and no amount of lecturing from you is going to change that. Others should make their own minds up on quality and not accept your givens.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 11, 2006, 05:49:55 PM
Drew,

Some people who get behind a keyboard think that gives them the right to be nasty. Fine.

But...........by definition all data is collected in retrospect. If you don't think I'm capable of being objective about what I buy and how I find it works, that is your privilege, but you don't know me and you have no business attacking my objectivity or my integrity.

As for quality - sure you have your opinion about it, I was simply stating mine. It may become lecturing in your mind if what I see is not the same as what you see, but I wouldn't consider that very lenghty post you put up as lecturing, and likewise, there is no need to insult mine. What I observed about the relative qualities of these machines has been corroborated by knowledgeable professionals and people in the industry, so I am not outside a considerable body of opinion about comparative quality, but that doesn't matter. Unless one sits down with a spectrophotometer to take measurements under scientifically controlled conditions, this is largely subjective and we are each entitled to our views without being attacked for it.

I happen to think the 4000 was/is an excellent printer in terms of quality, and I'm sure it will continue to serve you well. I wish you the best in your future endeavours with it.

Mark
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: drew on March 11, 2006, 06:08:00 PM
Mark,
You are too sensitive.
I will be happy to admit that you were right all along on the economics when I see convincing independent verification and that is applicable to all media types. My point about retrospective data is that one should set out prospectively to collect data to establish the truth. This is established good scientific principle. You cannot deny that there is no control. If you find the addition of quotation marks to data insulting then I apologise.
Even then, if we accept that the ratio is of the order of say 1:0.8 or 0.7, then the ink changing costs also have to be factored in if one wishes to print on photo and matte media.
As for lecturing, yep I could be accused of that, but I actually think I am just reporting my own experiences and quoting what others have said to me. Under these circumstances, I am entitled to be sceptical about 'knowledgeable professionals', 'industry people' and 'considerable bodies' of opinion on comparative quality.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 12, 2006, 08:06:45 AM
I only get sensitive when people attack my integrity. I call the shots as I see them, and before I submit anything for publication (that isn't just a matter of opinion) I'm pretty sure my methods and data are correct. As well, the people I listen to, when I'm quoting their experience, are people whose knowledge and judgment I have found to be reliable. I submit things for publication that I think are interesting, a bit new, and will be helpful to others in the community. But of course, anyone reading my contributions can accept them or not accept it as they please. These days some skepticism is healthy when it is well-placed.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Stephenaweiss on March 12, 2006, 11:41:52 AM
Quote
Interesting article by Mark Segal. What I have found over the years is that not all Epson printers are created equal in terms of their nozzle blocking performance. For example, I once had an Epson 1270 at work simultaneously with one at home. The one at home was a real good'un and hardly ever gave me any trouble with its nozzles. No it was not perfect, but it was so much better than the at work, which bears the marks of Basil Fawltyesque thrashings due to its constant nozzle blocks.
Turning to the Epson 4000, my own one does suffer from occasional nozzle blocks, but generally it is pretty well behaved and a cleaning cycle or two is all that is required to return it to reliable performance. The 7600 that runs alongside it on the other hand requires constant conditioning to keep all the nozzles up and firing. Large quantities of ink have been consigned to the waste tank to keep it on song, which just reiterates my point about not all printers being created equal.
So, I do not think it is fair to tar all 4000s in comparison to 4800s as being poor performers in this area. That leaves the ink consumption per print as the only really compelling economic reason to upgrade. Can it really be right that the 4000 uses 61% more ink than the 4800 per print? I think we need to see some verification for this. Looking at Epson's literature, I can see no mention of superior performance over the 4000 in this regard. Surely this would be a major selling feature that no Epson marketing manager would overlook?
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Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Stephenaweiss on March 12, 2006, 01:59:17 PM
oops, meant to ask if anyone has the link to the two articles metioned at the start of the thread, can''t seem to find them, thanks, sw
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 12, 2006, 04:05:34 PM
Stephenweiss: Check www.vistek.ca. They say the savings is even greater than I found it.

I would be very interested in other peoples' measurements of the coparative performance of these two printers. Some people have difficulty believing it, despite the valid methodology I used to compile the data for both printers. This exercise is not rocket-science. It just requires a large enough sample, good record-keeping and elementary arithmetic.

Cheers,

Mark
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 12, 2006, 04:09:15 PM
stephenweiss, sorry, I was responding to a quote in your post from someone else, not your question. My apologies. Please go into the L-L website, scroll through the What's New for the past couple of weeks, anmd you will find a link to my article on the 4800, which also contains a link to my article on the 4000.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 12, 2006, 04:13:57 PM
Stephenweiss, and others who lost track of where the article is on L-L website, I've now had a moment to find the URL for you: http://luminous-landscape.com/essays/4800%20tracking.shtml (http://luminous-landscape.com/essays/4800%20tracking.shtml). Once you go there, there is also I hyperlink to my first article.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: drew on March 12, 2006, 06:50:27 PM
Mark,
Where exactly on www.vistek.ca are you looking?
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 13, 2006, 04:56:04 PM
Drew, I'm far away from my references just now, but if my memory serves me correctly, now that I think of it, it was a feature of their most recent electronic newsletter that they send out to people on their mailing list - it may not have been posted on their site proper - I'm not100% sure, but they would have the information. I suggest sending them an email and asking them for it.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: drew on March 14, 2006, 05:15:22 PM
Mark,
I did as you suggested and had the enews letter you referred to sent to me today:
Quote
Comparing the 4000...

The Epson 4800 requires far less ink to print. The 4000 uses two thirds more ink per standard print* than the 4800 - Uses UltraChrome K3 Ink Technology. - Has better blacks, grey balance and tonal range. - Has extremely wide colour gamut. - Has 60% fewer nozzle clogs and costs approx two thirds less per clog than the 4000.
So, on the face of it that looks pretty conclusive. However, I also emailed them about the methodology of their claim and this was part of their response:
Quote
I could not for the life of me tell you all the sites I visited, but one I remember that always has excellent info is
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/ (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/)  there is lots of good info out there, just need the time to surf for it.
So, looks like we are back to square one!  
I think we are unlikely to really get to the bottom of this. Looking back at what has been written, I think it is worth pointing out that it was never my intention to question your integrity, but to question the integrity of your data for the reasons I have already given. However, if you still feel insulted, can I suggest an old-fashioned duel over the quality issue. We can call it Epson large format printers at 2000 miles. I send you a disc with three of my pics, 8bit RGB TIFFS, together with A3+ prints off those images made with my 4000 with my workflow and my usual media of choice. You do the same with prints off your 4800 made from three of your images, again 8bit RGB TIFFS on disc sent to me. Then you try to make better prints than mine off my images without doing anything to the original files and I do the same with your images. Since I am the competition secretary of the local camera club, I would propose taking the prints of your images down there and arrange them in a grid of 3X2 of paired prints. I would not put all your prints on the same row, but the columns would be matched pairs. Then I would ask the members to vote in the grid by marking the 'best' print out of each pair. The members would not be told why they were being asked to do this and I would blind them as to whose prints were whose. You could adopt a similar methodology. What do you think?
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 15, 2006, 03:47:15 PM
Thanks drew, I appreciate the effort you are putting into this matter. I'm not insulted about the integrity issue - that matter is behind us. As for the quality of my data, given the large sample size, the systematic manner in which it was collected and the relative simplicity of the collection and calculation procedure, I think that its reliability is quite OK. I doubt Vistek was basing their advertising on my work, because what they quote is a different standard print size, and their ratio 4800/4000 as I recollect is better than my results warrant. So they've done something beyond reading Luminous Landscape. I would like to explore this with them, and living in Toronto as I do, when time permits I can drop in there and ask a few pointed questions. If I do, I'll report here what I learn.

Turning to your quality testing idea, the procedure you suggest is interesting and the adjudication approach you suggest is scientific - like blind-tasting contests of good wines. There are, however, four issues with it:

(1) choice of media and drivers needs to be consistent between all prints otherwise the comparisons would be invalid. For the 4800, a change from matte to non-matte would cost about 150 dollars in ink round-trip for the change between MK and PK inks. For the 4000 you don't face this cost, but the quality difference on non-matte media is APPARANT in respect of bronzing and gloss differential.

(2) One needs to be quite deliberate about the choice of images for such a test, because if you want to stress test for true quality differentials between these machines we would both need to think hard about the kinds of image characteristics required and be consistent about it.

(3) As there may be differences of workflow between us it may be hard to tell what is due to the printer and what to other aspects of the workflow.

Finally (4) if the test were confined to matte media, there would be very little apparent quality difference between them on account of the printers. I have made general comparisons of image quality between the 4000 and the 4800 on Epson Enhanced Matte, and frankly, I would be very hard put to see any eye-popping improvement of the 4800 over the 4000. They both produce stunning results. Black and whites may be a bit more neutral but that is about it. I have also test printed the Gretag McBeth color printer test page on both machines, and apart from slightly more saturation of the colors and slightly more neutral rendition of the neutrals favouring the 4800, on matte paper even these test charts are within spitting distance of eachother quality-wise.

Bottom line, I'm not sure such quality testing would be conclusive, but let me think about it a bit more.


Cheers,

Mark
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: drew on March 15, 2006, 06:15:48 PM
Mark,
The reply I had I believe was from the Vistek webmaster and I have not quoted all of it, but the content indicates that the data was derived from the web and that the luminous landscape was the only referenced site. If you like, I will forward on the email and you can ask the questions yourself. The difference in 'standard' print size could quite easily have been derived from this:
Quote
Therefore, 1300 standard prints in four months equates to about 75 near full-bleed A3+ prints per month
which is of course what I wrote earlier in this thread.
I agree with everyhting you say on my little quality duel. There seems little point in comparing matte prints and I entirely accept that changing inks on your printer is something that you would not want to undertake. But hey, I just thought it would be a bit of fun and I really think there is very little difference in quality regardless of media. If nothing else, it might make you think about whether you should be printing matte and it might make me think whether I should be printing glossy and it is always interesting to see someone elses work.
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: rmlickteig on March 16, 2006, 11:42:44 PM
Thanks for all the info on the 4800.  I currently own a 2200 and am thinking of moving up to the 4800.  The big question for me though is cost per print.  I am new to all the terminology and things but I believe I understand the info about 54 SQ inches as a standard print.  That being said correct me here if I'm wrong; approx 4 of these standard prints would fit on a 17 x 22 stock?  Doing some quick math ( math is not my thing ) I figured it would cost about $2.50 to $3.00 a print (17 x 22).  I am close?  I got this by figuring 1 standard print (54 sq) takes about 1ML of ink.  Seeing that there is 880 ML of ink that means 4 standard prints divided into the 880 gives you basically 220 (17 x 22) prints?  Divide the 220 prints into $560 big ones for ink and I get $2.50 per print.  Is this correct?  Take the $2.50 per print for ink and $4.00 for a piece of nice paper and you end up with $6.50 for a beautiful large print.  

I hope this is right because it sounds like I could have a nice profit margin.  

Thanks for your time and help!!!
Russ
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on March 17, 2006, 01:49:15 PM
Quote
Thanks for all the info on the 4800.  I currently own a 2200 and am thinking of moving up to the 4800.  The big question for me though is cost per print.  I am new to all the terminology and things but I believe I understand the info about 54 SQ inches as a standard print.  That being said correct me here if I'm wrong; approx 4 of these standard prints would fit on a 17 x 22 stock?  Doing some quick math ( math is not my thing ) I figured it would cost about $2.50 to $3.00 a print (17 x 22).  I am close?  I got this by figuring 1 standard print (54 sq) takes about 1ML of ink.  Seeing that there is 880 ML of ink that means 4 standard prints divided into the 880 gives you basically 220 (17 x 22) prints?  Divide the 220 prints into $560 big ones for ink and I get $2.50 per print.  Is this correct?  Take the $2.50 per print for ink and $4.00 for a piece of nice paper and you end up with $6.50 for a beautiful large print. 

I hope this is right because it sounds like I could have a nice profit margin. 

Thanks for your time and help!!!
Russ
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I hate to put a damper on your enthusiasm, but a 17x22" print has an area of 374 square inches. Dividing 54 into 374 gives just below 7 "standard" prints in a big one, so you get only 880/7 or about 125 big prints oot of 880 ml of ink. Then $560/125 gives you about $4.50 just for ink for a big print. Adding paper, it comes to $8.50 rather than $4.50.

Or, if you count on one-inch margins taking no ink on the big print, you have 15x20" which is 300 square inches, or a little over 5.5 "standard" prints in one big print, giving you 880/5.5 = 160 big prints in 880 ml of ink, or $560/160 = $3.50 per big print for ink, or $7.50 including paper.

You might want to figure in amortization on the cost of the printer, plus costs for some unsellable prints before you start advertising 17x22" prints for sale at, say, $6.98 each.  

Eric
Title: Epson 4000 vs Epson 4800
Post by: Mark D Segal on March 18, 2006, 01:25:51 PM
Hi drew,

Sorry for the delay in replying. Paper choice is largely a matter of taste and sometimes a matter of apparently wider gamut. I like matte because it doesn't glare (reflections), which I find distracting. The worst part of matte is said to be tonal separation of the bottom quartile of the tone curve. A friend who has Imageprint with Phatte black ran a couple of my files suffering from this problem. He used the new Crane Museo Silver Rag he had for testing, and we found that it made a bit of difference to this problem but nothing that really hits you in the face. The paper by the way is lovely, and I understand there is better to come from another manufacturer. So, in a nutshell, as new papers hit the market we need to keep re-evaluating what we like best to use.

One nice thing about Epson Enhanced Matte is the cost - so if you mess-up it is quite painless. These other high-end papers really are pricy by comparison. If you do prefer non-matte finishes, the 4800 really does reduce gloss differential and bronzing (I've personally seen evidence of this with prints from both the 2400 and the 4800), but whether or not it is worthwhile to up-grade for this once you have a 4000 - which is a great machine - only you can be the judge by getting some side-by-side samples done under your supervision by someone near you who has a 4800.

Cheers,

Mark