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Author Topic: Epson P800 - First Impressions  (Read 31038 times)

Jager

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Epson P800 - First Impressions
« on: July 01, 2015, 08:07:43 pm »

My new P800, pre-ordered from B&H when it was announced a few months ago, arrived this morning.  As a current 3880 owner (dedicated to Piezography), and prior owner of a 3800, 2400, and a couple of early, small-format dye-ink Epsons, some quick first impressions...

- Basic weight and footprint are very similar to the 3800/3880.

- General build quality is on par with the 3800/3880.

- The touch panel front display is very nice.  And it can be rotated upwards so it is easy to see when looking down at the printer.  Nice touch.

- The remove-all-the-blue-tape pre-installation drill is still very much in place.  I have to tip my hat to the engineer who came up with those million pieces of tape.  And I'd sure as heck like to know how they get them all in place!

- Basic setup takes a while, but is very straightforward.

- Unlike the full, 80ml carts provided with the 3800/3880 (one of the reasons those printers were/are such terrific purchase values), the P800 comes with 64ml 'starter' carts.  Losing 16ml per isn't the biggest deal in the world, but, hey, it's something.

- The wireless WiFi connectivity is very nice.  Easy to set up and, if it proves reliable (the wireless on my general purpose HP Laserjet is not reliable, dropping the connection and requiring a power-cycle of the printer in order to reestablish connectivity) is a nice convenience.  That said, it's not that big a deal - the printer will obviously be utilized in a fixed location and including a USB cable in that scenario is trivial.

- ICC profiles for Epson papers are obviously included in the Epson driver download.  Canson profiles are not yet available.  When I inquired, a Canson rep got back to me very quickly and said their team in France is currently working on them and they should have them up very soon - within a couple weeks.  Unlike previous Epson printer releases, Canson did not receive a pre-release unit so that they could have them available when the printer shipped.  I did not check with Hahnemuehle.

- Absolutely nothing definitive - I only made a couple prints - but (color) image quality seems pretty much identical to what I received with my 3880 before I turned it into a dedicated B&W printer. 

- Biggest disappoint is the paper handling.  I print exclusively using a variety of fine art papers, typically around 300gsm.  On my 3880 I use the rear manual feed pretty much exclusively, only using the auto sheet feeder when dropping in a sheet of plain paper for my daily nozzle check.  The front tray feed can be used for very heavy media, of course, but the much greater distance to the heads tends to slightly diminish image quality.  The front feed is also just a little finicky.  The rear manual feed is quick, easy, and works very well.

With that as the backdrop, I was very disappointed to find that the P800 has eliminated the rear manual feed altogether.  Your choice is the auto sheet feeder or the manual front tray (or optional roll feed, which I do not have).  According to the manual, the auto sheet feed is only for thinner media - typically NOT the papers a serious fine art photographer would be using. 


On balance, it seems like a nice enough printer.  But I remain deeply puzzled by Epson's choice in dropping the rear manual feed.  I may change my mind in coming weeks as I use it more, but after one day my assessment is that the P800 is a step backward.  If I had it to do over again I'd have bought a second 3880.





rdonson

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2015, 09:14:59 pm »

Thanks for the first impressions, Jeff.   This is a printer I'm considering for purchase.  I'm not sure how I feel about the front feed for heavier paper but it could be worse I suppose.  I got used to feeding the HP Z3100 sheets from the rear and it does seem nicer perhaps to feed sheets from the front.  

I read Keith Cooper's review http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/reviews/printer/epson-sc_p800_review.html and thought this might be a good machine.  

I look forward to more insight from you as you use the printer.

Thanks!
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hugowolf

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2015, 12:15:36 am »

Thank you for your overview.

Does the front feed have the same size limitations as the 3880: basically A2 max (16.5" x 23.4") with minimum borders of 0.78' leading and trailing, 1/8" sides, no borderless? You can get around the platen gap by using a carrier sheet underneath to raise the printable sheet, but it is a hassle.

I must admit, I have never had problems feeding 300 g/m2 art paper through the sheet feeder, but it will not take Epson Somerset Velvet 505, and I have my doubts about Hahnemühle Museum Etching 350 g/m2.

Can you feed sheet through the roll feed?

Brian A
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howardm

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2015, 02:06:04 pm »

fer chris sake.  Really Epson?  starter carts w/ a whopping 16ml less?  could you be more chintzy?

And I get the feeling that the standard answer is going to be 'well, just buy the $200 roll widget and get your FA paper on a roll'

C'mon Canon, this is a ripe opportunity to do a 5100 replacement.

Dan Vincent

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2015, 04:23:45 pm »

I'd say knowing about the lack of rear manual feed (looks like it's been repurposed to be the roll feed, and can't be toggled) is pretty important.

The roll feed is not vacuum fed nor is the roll spindle mechanically driven, could the printer simply be tricked to say "hey use the roll feed" when you just load a single sheet through it instead?

MHMG

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2015, 06:04:19 pm »

I don't have the P800, but the P600 also seems to have had a major redesign for how you load thicker fine art media into the printer. There is a secondary rear door on the back of the printer you open for thicker media, but you don't insert media there. You feed all thicker media from the front of the printer.  Epson obviously had some reason to do such a major redesign for paper transport. That said, I don't really get it, either. It seems different but not discerningly more capable or reliable.  I have just gone along with the new feed mechanism and gotten used to it, but I don't know what the practical improvement is, if any, to this new design philosophy, other than conjecture that Epson engineers might have been responding to user feedback saying customers didn't like to have to reach behind the printer to load media. It's just a guess on my part.

cheers,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
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cortlander

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2015, 06:16:49 pm »

Actually, the fine art loading works pretty well.

You have 3 options:
1. No change in the sheet feed
2. or the old front loading for heavy sheets.
3. For fine art papers, you pull out the rear support tray. Load the paper from the front and when you press the load button it goes to rest in the rear tray. Push the front tray in after loading. When you are ready to print, from Lightroom or wherever, the paper flows nicely out the front.

I tried this with an Ex Fiber 13x19 and a Canson Barytya 17x22.
No issues, and in my view, an improvement.

Both the color, as well as the ABW prints looked great.

In the Basics manual, check pages 8-9 - Loading Fine Art Paper

My SC-P800, also purchased from B&H, replaced a 3880 which died after just 600 prints.

« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 07:07:14 pm by cortlander »
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cortlander

Kevin Raber

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2015, 09:02:00 pm »

Luminous-Landscape review on the P800 by Mark Segal by 7:30 AM on Friday.
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2015, 09:25:37 pm »

Luminous-Landscape review on the P800 by Mark Segal by 7:30 AM on Friday.
I hope my 3800 will hold out until Friday.   ;)
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rdonson

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2015, 09:40:08 pm »

Thanks, Kevin.  Looking forward to Mark's review. 
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Ron

enduser

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2015, 10:36:01 pm »

Is it possible that the rear flap is to allow thick media to load from the front but be kept flat whilst printing. If so,the media can roll through the rear before printing starts?  My old ipf 6100 worked like that.
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cortlander

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2015, 06:30:55 am »

Is it possible that the rear flap is to allow thick media to load from the front but be kept flat whilst printing. If so,the media can roll through the rear before printing starts?  My old ipf 6100 worked like that.

Both the fine art paper, and the thick media are loaded from the front, but for the fine art paper the rear support tray is pulled out whereas it is kept closed for the thick media. So thick media will go straight and fine art paper goes up the support tray and sits there until printing.
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Jager

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2015, 06:56:23 am »

The primary benefit of the manual front load on the 3800/3880 was/is that media remains flat.  The feed path is perfectly horizontal and there is no need for the paper to bend at any point.

To obtain that benefit you had to accept two disadvantages... at least a theoretical - and in most cases, real - slight diminishment in image quality, due to the much greater distance between the heads and the paper; and a fiddly loading arrangement.  The quality issue can be mitigated somewhat, though perhaps not altogether, by placing an appropriately-sized piece of matt board under the paper.  There's no way getting around the fiddly loading arrangement.

The P800 has combined the worst of both worlds.  You're forced to use the fiddly front load. And the feed path is NOT flat - as the paper is captured it is pulled back into the rear of the printer, where it then curls up against the rear support.

The steps to load a sheet using the manual front feed (on 2nd and subsequent prints during a session) are:

- return the front paper support to its parked position
- press the center of the manual feed tray, which then drops down and extends slightly
- place your sheet on that tray, aligned with the right and front edges
- press the 'load' button on the printer display and wait for the printer to raise up and capture your sheet
- press the center of the manual feed tray, which then retracts
- pull out the front paper support
- print

Repeat for each print.

(Note, there is an option to maintain a perfectly flat feed path using the front feed, just like in the 3800/3880).

If your media is perfectly flat, it goes in with no issue.  If it has any curl at all, however, you'll need to - literally - fiddle with it.  I also wonder about the durability of the ratcheting mechanism of the center feed tray, on a printer made largely of plastic, when it must be used on every single print.

Other than that aspect of the paper handling - something which may prove to be little about nothing, after extensive use - I quite like the printer.



« Last Edit: July 03, 2015, 06:58:39 am by Jager »
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Jager

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Not-so-Reliable WiFi?
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2015, 10:43:55 am »

I've long wondered how reliable the WiFi connection to a printer might be.  Particularly in a photo application where very large amounts of data must be supplied.

The wireless connection on my P800 seemed pretty reliable the first two days.  The router is in the same room, about ten feet away, and going into the network panel on the printer shows connectivity to be 'Excellent.'

Alas, today I noticed several long pauses while printing.  The first few times, printing resumed after the pause.  Finally, however, the print job halted with a 'Communications Error.'  It did not restart.  And I did not see any way to prompt it to resume.

I don't necessarily ascribe those difficulties to the Epson, but more to the vagaries of wireless communications in general.  In any event, I've pulled out a USB cable and that works fine.

cortlander

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Re: Not-so-Reliable WiFi?
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2015, 10:57:25 am »

I've long wondered how reliable the WiFi connection to a printer might be.  Particularly in a photo application where very large amounts of data must be supplied.

The wireless connection on my P800 seemed pretty reliable the first two days.  The router is in the same room, about ten feet away, and going into the network panel on the printer shows connectivity to be 'Excellent.'

Alas, today I noticed several long pauses while printing.  The first few times, printing resumed after the pause.  Finally, however, the print job halted with a 'Communications Error.'  It did not restart.  And I did not see any way to prompt it to resume.

I don't necessarily ascribe those difficulties to the Epson, but more to the vagaries of wireless communications in general.  In any event, I've pulled out a USB cable and that works fine.


In places that need heavy network traffic, such as TV and printer, I extended the wireless network by adding powerline adapter access points. Works for me.
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cortlander

Herbc

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2015, 11:57:31 am »

Anybody try canvas on the P800?  I have had a hell of a time with my 3800, but as I am not doing this for a living, I can live with it.  If the roll feed works well with canvas, that would be a positive, and of course my inks are not up to the latest version. My 3800 is at least 5 years old, or whenever they came out.
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jduncan

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2015, 02:27:20 pm »

Hi,

I know this is the luminous landscape for a reason, but even in the review no information is mention about skin tones. All the test images, are naturally, landscape /city scape like.

Any information about skin tones, both dark and light will be even better.

Thanks,
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Jager

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2015, 03:56:40 pm »

I'll let Mark comment on any skin tones he may have printed in the course of his review (and many thanks for that extensive effort, Mark.  It is very helpful).  I'll only say that in prints I've made, including people, there have been zero surprises with respect to tonality or color.  To my eye the P800 renders pretty much exactly as does the 3880.  (I've yet to print anything that would exhibit the deeper blacks that Mark speaks of).
« Last Edit: July 03, 2015, 03:58:24 pm by Jager »
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jduncan

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2015, 08:21:22 pm »

I'll let Mark comment on any skin tones he may have printed in the course of his review (and many thanks for that extensive effort, Mark.  It is very helpful).  I'll only say that in prints I've made, including people, there have been zero surprises with respect to tonality or color.  To my eye the P800 renders pretty much exactly as does the 3880.  (I've yet to print anything that would exhibit the deeper blacks that Mark speaks of).

Hi,

Thanks a lot.
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stever

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Re: Epson P800 - First Impressions
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2015, 11:57:18 pm »

I can't find info on maximum print length>
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