Luminous Landscape Forum

Raw & Post Processing, Printing => Printing: Printers, Papers and Inks => Topic started by: orchidblooms on November 16, 2012, 01:45:50 PM

Title: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: orchidblooms on November 16, 2012, 01:45:50 PM
have new - no warranty 4900...

was NOB - may have been refurb oir something...    seems to fully, work...

getting ready to order first set of carts...

i will be printing - flowers - nightscapes - and landscapes - i use a d800e / zeiss lenses to capture images - use cp1p7 ot acr7.2 to process...

and plan on usinf the 4900 to do lots of printing - color and bw

i see this fellow ross @ inkjetcarts.us

ofering some sort of refillable ink system for the 4900 that is much more affordable than the epson.... inks

i will be using breathing color pura smooth - their metallic - canson baryta - maybe moab lasal and a very good possibility Red River Polar Pearl Metallic...  eventually i will find some sort of nice matte paper for a very smooth, softer look for some of my flower images (I do a lot of bog trotting in MN...)

anyone with experience using these more affordable carts vs the epson carts - please weigh in... i would surely like to keep the weight drop in the pocket book to minimum!

huge thanks

p.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 16, 2012, 02:08:51 PM
I have zero experience with that set-up, so I'm interested in seeing what others who have used it - intensively for at least a year - think about its quality and impact on the printer. But just so you'll know - given the kind of high quality papers you're using, it's the paper, not the ink, that is the biggest recurrent operating cost per print. And then IF the inks prematurely screw-up the printer - not saying they necessarily will - there's the premature cost of a new printer. To give you a flavour for the costs I'm incurring now (here in Toronto), when I print a 13*19 inch sheet of Ilford Gold Fibre Silk, the total print cost including 13% sales taxes is coming out at: machine depreciation 94 cents, paper 2.89, ink 1.09, for a total of 4.92. The ink cost does not include ink for cleanings because Epson has made it extremely difficult to estimate that, but for a 4900 I think I wouldn't add more than 5%~10% to the ink category. My maintenance tank, which captures ink that doesn't land on paper (21 dollars) lasted through about 560 of such prints, but Epson doesn't say how much ink that tank holds before it needs to be replaced.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Wayne Fox on November 16, 2012, 04:03:09 PM
I agree with mark, the risk of quality degradation and printer damage doesn't offset the small amount of ink savings.  I don't understand why anyone would want to print on $3 to $5 piece of high quality paper with something other than the best inks to save 50 cents.  If your going cost cutting all the way and using cheap paper, cheap ink because you can't sell the prints for enough to justify it, maybe.  But the cost of making a print is normally pretty small if you are selling your own work, and your putting your reputation as an artist on the line.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: irvweiner on November 16, 2012, 06:44:53 PM
I have been using Ross Hardie's Inkjetcarts refillable system for my 3880 the last 2 yrs. I purchased the 3880 only when reliable robust ink & carts were available by several vendors:
InkRepublic
Jon Cone
Inkjetfly
Inkjetcarts

Initially only 120 ml carts were available, earlier this year 3880 80 ml carts made the scene. My cost to refill 80 ml carts dropped frpm $50+ to $9-14, depending on vendor chosen. Yes, ink can come from vendor A and carts from B! My ink usage includes Cone, Inkjetcarts and Inkjetfly.

I profile with the ColorMunki and/or Spyder. I am very satisfied, Color IQ is fine, B&W quality (even with ABW) mode is awesome on paper or canvas--Breathing Color Lyve, Crystalline or Vibrance Luster. For the 1st time ever, club members asked me: "Are you doing the printing yourself?".

I am a serious hobbyist, not a professional printer/photographer--the egregious cost of ink is not a business for me. Professionals should decide themselves whether to use OEM or 3rd party inks. After my extensive due diligence in choosing a 3rd party source I'm quite comfortable in recommending the inks from the above vendors to professionals, I and others have used and tested each. Visit the Inkjet Forum and DpReview's printer forum and read our posts. I have not experienced any 'clog' difficulties yet, I execute frequent nozzle checks as a precaution.

I recommend that you consider or at least try the 3rd party products, based on my experience your greatest difficulty will be determining which prints got 'whose' ink!

good luck   irv weiner
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: orchidblooms on November 16, 2012, 07:04:23 PM
I agree with mark, the risk of quality degradation and printer damage doesn't offset the small amount of ink savings. 

....  But the cost of making a print is normally pretty small if you are selling your own work,

Wayne - many thanks

i am not sure - it is no simple as you suggest...

ross suggests to me his inks 'are the same' as epson except the price...

not sure if this is part 'boardwalk barker' perhaps part fiction..... 

how does he get to these points of interest in his product?

it is a big claim in my opinion...

in reading his www, seems the initial layout 440.00  compared to the 11x for epson @ 85.00 ea...

then much more more affordable on refills - sure there is fiddling around...

but for me this is quite a bit of $$$ - and i am thinking - what is the 'real' difference...

hoping to hear from more folks

:)

p.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 16, 2012, 07:09:19 PM

ross suggests to me his inks 'are the same' as epson except the price...


OK, let's stop right here: these ink formulations are proprietary, so the first question for him is how does he know this?

As to how the inks perform - they may look fine on paper, but what about their longevity? Have they been independently tested for degradation and fade-resistance by reliable, expert third parties?
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: orchidblooms on November 16, 2012, 08:38:15 PM
indeed mark...

i have posed questions to him...

i asked specifically how 'they' were different for the 4900...

the response... after i eluded to price difference....

"that's the difference the only difference."...

so... leaves me asking folks with experience... and leaning towords investing in carts purchased from local epson reseller...

any more users of these alternatives?  it is great irv is having good results - 2 years is a long time...  would like to hear more...

p.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: hugowolf on November 16, 2012, 10:38:24 PM
I would doubt that you will hear from anyone about real differences, because there is so little longevity testing of third party ink. You will be looking at opinions not data. I am sure that with custom profiles, some third party ink will come close to matching the gamut of OEM ink.

The question becomes: what percentage of a print sale price does the ink cost represent?

There are plenty of users of third party inks, the question would be: how many them are selling prints and how many instead have walls covered with their own work?

Brian A
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: orchidblooms on November 17, 2012, 12:26:30 AM
.....

There are plenty of users of third party inks, the question would be: how many them are selling prints and how many instead have walls covered with their own work?

Brian A


sort of sums this issue up nicely...

...perhaps their mothers and in-laws walls are all, covered with these 3rd party ink prints...

:)

i am feeling very fortunate to have been able to get a new 4900 for such an affordable price, i will be getting the epson inks for this nifty machine...

Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Alto on November 19, 2012, 03:40:46 AM
I agree with mark, the risk of quality degradation and printer damage doesn't offset the small amount of ink savings.  I don't understand why anyone would want to print on $3 to $5 piece of high quality paper with something other than the best inks to save 50 cents.  If your going cost cutting all the way and using cheap paper, cheap ink because you can't sell the prints for enough to justify it, maybe.  But the cost of making a print is normally pretty small if you are selling your own work, and your putting your reputation as an artist on the line.

+1 The overall saving is not worth bothering about when considering the selling price .

Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: enduser on November 19, 2012, 06:21:53 PM
We use cartridges fom Inkjetcarts and have done so for some time.  There's no color difference we can see from the original Canon inks.  The amount saved on purchase easily pays for our ocasional printhead replacements, so for us it's like using Canon inks and never ever having to pay for new heads - really helps the bottom line.

As for the argument about ink formula confidentiality, well so is the formulation of BP engine oil.  You'd still be happy using Shell though.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 19, 2012, 06:39:05 PM

As for the argument about ink formula confidentiality, well so is the formulation of BP engine oil.  You'd still be happy using Shell though.

That analogy is inapplicable. Motor vehicle fuels must be made to certain specifications regulated by governments and industry, and whatever bells and whistles they advertise about them for marketing purposes, the bottom line is that they must adhere to regulations and industry standards and can't impair the safety and reliability of operating the engines. Printer ink isn't subject to any such regimen. I'll stick with products whose longevity has been rigorously tested, whose performance characteristics meet well-tested standards by respected industry practitioners and that are backed by a manufacturer I know something about and to which I have recourse now and five years from now. OP was looking for guidance. That's mine, FWIW. After all, I have not accumulated any experience with the set-up he first explained and for reasons I stated I wouldn't intend to. Of course, readers can treat that advice as they see fit. I'm done.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: irvweiner on November 20, 2012, 12:03:59 AM

Mark Segal: " I'll stick with products whose longevity has been rigorously tested, whose performance characteristics meet well-tested standards by respected industry practitioners and that are backed by a manufacturer I know something about and to which I have recourse now and five years from now."

Will you post the references to these 'well tested standards'?

Will you post the the results of these products whose longevity has been rigorously tested? And the resultant  ink performance data?

Will you post the names of these 'respected industry practitioners'?

And what recourse do you expect in 5 years from now?

I find it rather distressing to see aggressive, intimidating responses hurled at individuals requesting aid about inks. When the per cc/ml price of the ink in your cart costs more than 2X that of Human Blood something is wrong!  Inks have been created over 2K+ years ago, long before the Internet.
I have been assisting voluntarily many who have posted similar ink questions, my response is based upon the due diligence I and others (names on request) have exercised by actually using and sharing info about 'good' inks--not anecdotal commentary.
For non-pros: hobbyists, student and families the greatest deterrent was fear. Fear that their warranty would be voided and/or the printer be damaged or destroyed--And yes, your manufacturers did issue warranty threats until the US and EU told them that is illegal. Did that stop'em? No, printers were often refused repair or the repair charges were excessive.


Regards irv weiner
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 20, 2012, 10:38:54 AM
Hi Irv, OK - first please note I'm not trying to scare any one from any thing. It's no skin off my nose who prints with whatever fluid they want to run through their printers. I only raised considerations about things to be mindful of. Up to readers to do their own research and make up their own minds. Now, on the questions you raised: speaking for my own ways of developing confidence - if I were to see test results published on Wilhelm-Imaging Research or Ardenburg confirming adequate longevity for these products on the papers I use, that would satisfy me on the longevity question. When it comes to performance (colour gamut etc), we assess that through the profiles we create. You create, or have created for you, printer profiles using your ink and paper combinations, and those profiles can be measured either in the profiling software itself or in applications such as ColorThink Pro. I would like to see comparisons of profile measurements for the same papers, comparing OEM with 3rd party inks, and done by respected professionals who know this business and technology well - you should know who I mean, but if you need examples, folks such Andrew Rodney, Scott Martin and their likes. As for other respected industry practitioners - well the multitudes of professional photographers selling high end photographic work and who would only use inksets and papers that have been properly tested as mentioned above. All I can do is recommend considerations to be aware of. Having done so, this ends my participation in the discussion of this matter.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: KeithR on November 20, 2012, 11:50:35 AM
As to how the inks perform - they may look fine on paper, but what about their longevity? Have they been independently tested for degradation and fade-resistance by reliable, expert third parties?
If you consider Aarenburg a reliable independent tester then Jon Cone's inks have been undergoing tests in Aardenburg testing for some time now. His B&W inksets have been around for years and are considered the benchmark by which other inks are judged. Jon puts out a very high quality product and has for years.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 20, 2012, 12:02:30 PM
Yes I agree.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Peter McLennan on November 20, 2012, 03:28:31 PM

There are plenty of users of third party inks, the question would be: how many them are selling prints and how many instead have walls covered with their own work?
Brian A

A critical point, Brian.  For those of us who print for pleasure and not for sale, the price of ink is important.  I've sidestepped that issue for many years using third party inks and various CIS systems with constantly satisfying results. I've experience zero ink-related issues on any of the half dozen or so printers I've used over this time.

Ink prices become even more important when large prints are made. A friend recently decorated her new house with a half dozen 40" canvas prints, all made on Lexjet Sunset Matte, printed with MIS Associates inks and stretched on frames of my own construction.  Image quality is superb.  Both she and I are extremely pleased with the results.  They were a gift.

Regarding longevity, my walls are adorned with many prints made on various media with third party inks, some well over a decade old.  Many of these prints experience periods of direct sunlight, some are canvas, some are behind glass.  I see no changes in any of the prints, unlike some very expensive Cibachrome prints, which faded to unusability in a few years.

Mark, your diligence in cost accounting for print making is exemplary and long-standing.  I suggest you weigh both a new maintenance tank and a full one.  You might be surprised at how much ink your printer is pouring down the drain.  I know I was.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 20, 2012, 04:37:42 PM
Good points Peter, and interesting data. Yes, the maintenance tank I just replaced was not light. I didn't bother weighing them but when the new one is full that could be an interesting thing to do if I knew the specific gravity of the ink in order to convert from weight to volume.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Peter McLennan on November 20, 2012, 10:48:02 PM
A forensic investigation of ink jet ink by Wired Magazine declared inkjet ink to be 95% water. 
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 20, 2012, 11:19:44 PM
Kidding? How credible? Can you share access to that article? Would be fun to see.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: BrianWJH on November 20, 2012, 11:59:22 PM
Kidding? How credible? Can you share access to that article? Would be fun to see.

I think this is the article mentioned:

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/04/st_whatsinside_inkjet/

Brian.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 21, 2012, 12:26:50 AM
Thanks Brian. OK, that's for HP dye-based inkset #22, and there's nothing in the article about how they derived these findings. Nevertheless.....when we're talking Epson 4900 or 3880 or equivalent Canon models, we're talking pigment inks. There's ink and there's ink. We don't know what the composition of Epson's Ultrachrome HDR inkset is, but whatever it is, there is a lot more than the ingredients that go into the price. These compounds need to be developed and tested. That requires people and laboratories and time. Then there is the manufacturing and packaging costs, to a consistent and high quality standard, so again probably lots of testing; then the manufacturer is entitled to some rate of return on its invested equity; then there is transportation, marketing, advertising, wholesalers' margins and retailers' margin, plus various taxes along the way. Note, I am not trying to defend any particular pricing practice - just saying there's a whole lot more going into the cost than the raw materials, whatever the percentage water content, and we consumers must pay for all that. It may also be true that the price of the ink subsidizes the up-front cost of the printers (the razor blade and carrier-provided cellphone business models), and this perhaps explains why 3rd party inks can be a lot cheaper than OEM inks - the 3rd party guys don't design, manufacture, market and warranty printers that need to be marketed at attractive enough prices for a large enough body of consumers to buy-in.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Peter McLennan on November 21, 2012, 11:13:12 AM
Kidding?

Not kidding.  Wish I was. 

Someone calculated that filling an average SUV fuel tank with inkjet ink from carts would exceed a hundred thousand dollars. I don't have a link for that calculation, but the math should be easy.

Quote
How credible? Can you share access to that article? Would be fun to see.

I notice on review that the article specifies dye inks.  Pigment inks might have a slightly higher specific gravity.

As for credibility, I have no references other than Wired's reputation.  This article is typical of a an every-issue column wherein they examine "What's Inside"  many common products.


http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/04/st_whatsinside_inkjet/

For ordinary consumers, usurious ink prices actually inhibit printing.  The extensive efforts by printer manufacturers to restrain, even prohibit, third party inks and cartridges points to the importance of ink prices to the business model.  A more honest approach would charge higher prices for the printers, thus allowing the consumers to use their machines for what they were designed for: Printing.

I also re-use my maintenance tanks.  It is an environmental and social insult to continually discard those easily re-used plastic components.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 21, 2012, 01:56:56 PM
"Ordinary consumers"? I think one needs to look at the whole thing as a package. Think back to the days of the chemical darkroom if you wanted to make your own colour prints, or the cost of getting them printed at a decent lab. Today we are getting far superior results for far less cost in real (i.e. inflation-adjusted) terms when you add up both printer and consumables. So whether the pricing should be more weighted to consumables or hardware one can discuss forever, but the bottom line is that unless consumers somehow cover ALL the costs + profits right up the line from retailer to manufacturer, we wouldn't have all this wonderful stuff we are complaining about. :-) Are they making egregiously high profits on all this? You can always check Epson's annual reports, any SEC filings, or whatever other financial information they have available and decide. Of course you won't get much broken down by micro business unit, but you'll get some insight.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Peter McLennan on November 21, 2012, 03:07:17 PM
"Ordinary consumers"? I think one needs to look at the whole thing as a package. Think back to the days of the chemical darkroom if you wanted to make your own colour prints...

Absolutely.  I never considered equipping any of my darkrooms for colour for exactly that reason.  That and the fact that you'd work all night to make one print. 


Quote
Today we are getting far superior results for far less cost..

Also true.  I've said it elsewhere here: For many, many reasons, this is the Golden Age of Photography.

Quote
unless consumers somehow cover ALL the costs + profits right up the line from retailer to manufacturer, we wouldn't have all this wonderful stuff we are complaining about. :-)

Again, absolutely.  I have no problem paying for these wonders.  I recently paid over three large for a Nikon.  It's a superb photographic tool and I don't regret a penny of it.  If instead the camera cost $100 but every shot cost me $5, I wouldn't enjoy using it half as much.  It would stand in the way of its own use.  Just like those printers.

Quote
Are they making egregiously high profits on all this?

I don't know.  I do know that the cost of ink inhibits printing, which is just plain dumb, no matter how pretty the prints.  What if they halved the price of ink?  People would print twice as much and the printer people would make the same profits.  Everybody wins. Especially those who wish to print.  Probably we'd have fewer clogging problems, too.  : )

I do know that the endless stream of one-time-use plastic carts, each containing a thimbleful of ink, most of which are specific to single printers is egregious.  Ask retailers what they think of the amount of shelf space they need to assign to this unjustifiable practice.  We've all seen printers that retail for less than the cost of a single set of carts.  This is nonsense.  Nonsense, I tell you!  To the barricades! : )
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Mark D Segal on November 21, 2012, 03:30:53 PM
You know Peter, there is another nasty little truth sort-of hiding under the surface: it could well be that printing on any scale is going the way of the Dodo bird (not Big Bird). More and more people are storing and sharing photos on devices and over the internet rather than printing them (which let's face it - is real work and needs to be mastered), and from what I'm reading and hearing from the retailers: demand for printing supplies is either stagnant or in decline - and I don't think this is on account of ink prices, because those prices have not changed much *in real terms* over the years - it's cultural and technological change. If it's true, a phenomenon of declining volumes is bad news for those of us who still think a *real* photograph is an impression on a piece of paper, because it means there will be an uphill battle to maintain the variety of supplies and costs we now have. Remember good film scanners?
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: Peter McLennan on November 21, 2012, 08:34:35 PM
it could well be that printing on any scale is going the way of the Dodo bird ... it means there will be an uphill battle to maintain the variety of supplies and costs we now have.

Sad news indeed.  I certainly wouldn't blame the high cost of materials for this, rather I'd blame the yawning gulf that exists between screen and print.  It's not an easy gulf to bridge, as most of us here know.

If there's one signal joy of photography, it's saying "WOW!" when we pull a new image out of the printer.  Long may it persist.
Title: Re: epson 4900 ready to order first inkset....?
Post by: enduser on November 21, 2012, 09:19:31 PM
As Mark suggests, I'm sure ink prices subsidize printer prices. If you go to buy equivalently complex machinery for lab or factory use you will see much higher prices.

I still wonder about ink though.  The most highly refined and revered artist's colorants complete with a light fastness rating (typically BWI) are much cheaper than digital ink on a volumetric basis.

The ink's pigment is said to be about half the cost of manufacture and if we assume that 25% by weight of ink is pigment, and the most commonly used magenta pigment is quinacridone, which costs about $40 - $50 a kilogram, then the pigment in 130ml cart will weigh about 33 gm.  That is 0.033 x 50 in dollars, which is $1.65.

If that's half the materials cost then the full cost of 130ml is $3.30.  A cart might cost $10 giving a cost of $13.30 per filled cart ex factory.  Add reasonable margins of 80% to get to retail of $23.94. (Probably less since actual pigment is likely less than 25%). Current retail is around $79 for Canon that size.

(Price of pigment is out there for all to see, the 50% cost estimate is from a British Chemical Institute paper)