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Author Topic: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.  (Read 6967 times)

iCanvas

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In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« on: October 04, 2015, 02:07:53 pm »

 Don't know about this particular European company. Any comments would be helpful as I am about to purchase a new large-format printer.  This comparison was done in 2013.

http://www.plotterstore.com/assets/content/iPF8400/BLI%20Report-Canon_iPF8400_vs_Epson_Pro_9900.pdf
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Mark D Segal

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2015, 02:33:58 pm »

Don't know about this particular European company. Any comments would be helpful as I am about to purchase a new large-format printer.  This comparison was done in 2013.

http://www.plotterstore.com/assets/content/iPF8400/BLI%20Report-Canon_iPF8400_vs_Epson_Pro_9900.pdf

Problems:
1) The company was hired by Canon to do the testing. I would have been more comfortable if the testing outfit did not have either Epson or Canon as their client.
2) The optical density evaluation on page 14 does not use the same paper in both printers, so the comparison is questionable.
3) The Profile Inspector tests on page 17 show a slightly wider gamut for Epson, but for both of them they used proofing paper which will not show the maximum capability of either printer; their results are in the 622K range, whereas on my Epson 4900 using IGFS paper my gamut volume is in the 977K range - a huge difference (and the print engines of the 4900 and 990 are very similar).
4) Furthermore, their implementation of this test was a bit sloppy. They could have clicked on the Black and White tabs to see those values, but failed to do so.
5) The Profile Inspector Tests this time using what they call Photo paper are still down in the 600~640K range.
6) In both cases they used different paper in the different printers.

I would set this report aside. This is an expensive investment and with the size of these machines once you buy it you want to keep it. If you have access to a dealer or two dealers who can demo either or both of these printers, bring in your favorite papers and a good test image and make prints with both machines using the same paper and the same photo (make sure they have good profiles for the paper you select). Then look at the output and see whether there are significant quality differences. Beyond that, read-up on user experience regarding the usability and user-friendliness of these machines, as well as customer support quality. You will of course hear different things from different people, but get as wide a range of views as you can before buying. If you happen to live in an area where there are service bureaux running both printers, they can be a valuable source of comparative information on all relevant aspects of this choice.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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iCanvas

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2015, 02:47:14 pm »

1) The company was hired by Canon to do the testing.

Mark, how do you know this is true? I don't doubt you. I just want to know where your information came from.
 
Gar
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Mark D Segal

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2015, 03:11:39 pm »

It says so in the report.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Mark D Segal

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2015, 03:15:47 pm »

See page 2. top

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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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iCanvas

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2015, 05:30:39 pm »

Thanks Mark for pointing that out. I have emailed David at david.sweetnam@buyerslab.com and asked him to chime in on this since either he or his company did the comparison. Let's see if he does. Thanks for pointing that out about Canon having commissioned the test. I totally  missed that. I will wait to see if Epson has addressed the clogging issues with the P9000. I presently have a 9900 and would NOT, NOT, NOT buy another one. To many clogs and cleanings  >:(. I would rather spend my time printing.  ;)

Gar
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dsweetnam

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2015, 04:26:09 am »

Good morning iCanvas

Thanks for getting in touch.

BLI has been in operation for over 50 years and has an excellent relationship with all vendors, which has been maintained through a professional unbiased approach to the world of imaging. BLI has two test programs, a public test program which allows vendors to send products in and BLI will test them at its own expense using a set BLI test protocol, with detailed reports being published on its website www.buyerslab.com. Hundreds of devices get tested at either BLI's European lab in the UK or in our US lab in NJ. 

The second test service BLI offers is a private test service. This allows vendors to request BLI conduct tests on its behalf. These tests can be 1) Pre-launch tests to help the vendor identify bugs / pre-launch issues and allow them to prepare a cleaner product for time of sale, 2) Individual post launch evaluations, 3) Competitive analysis studies (of which this 8400 v Epson 9900 is one), 4) Extended reliability of cost of ownership evaluations, 5) Environmental studies or 6) Assessments of third party toner / inks. 

The vendor does of course have an agenda in terms of the test content they are looking to have BLI conduct which they hope is going to highlight strengths of their product/s. However, BLI maintains editorial control and will only conduct tests which it believes are a fair comparison of the products. The vendor also does not have the right to cherry pick the data from the tests for inclusion in the final report.

I noticed the valuable input from Mark regarding the tests and the fact that the media were not the same across both devices. While I totally understand the comment regarding the fact that the media was not the same on both devices for the optical density test and the additional fact that proofing paper was used for the gamut analysis, the test was set up in such a way as to provide a fair comparison with equivalent papers from the vendors' own brand media library, thereby allowing a reader to see what the results would be achieved. We could of course have chosen a media that worked on both devices (and that would be an excellent test that we would happily take on if requested to do so)  but in this instance we would not have known if a third party media was more of a 'perfect fit' for one vendor than the other and hence we could have been adding in a bias to one vendor over the other, which is exactly what we try to avoid happening.

I hope this provides some clarity and a greater understanding of BLI's test. I shall be happy to answer any further questions regarding this.

On a separate point I am researching into the EcoSolvent / Latex / SUV market at present and would be very open to suggestions for tests that you would regard as beneficial during a device purchase. From our initial research we have found it very difficult to find any objective data that allows buyers to compare devices on critical issues like productivity, IQ, TCO, with no industry standard files / techniques etc being quoted to provide a level playing field, with buyers having to try to find a 'best fit' scenario of advertised performance. BLI could offer an opportunity for  providing some transparency in this industry through a common test device program that could provide test data on a common platform (IQ setting, media type, print file etc), thereby allowing buyers and channel partners to see a direct like for like. If you could like to add them onto this discussion, start up a new discussion or email me privately that would be great.

Kind regards

David Sweetnam
Director of BLI Research and Lab services, EMEA / Asia
« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 06:04:33 am by dsweetnam »
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iCanvas

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2015, 09:13:05 am »

Thanks so much for your reply David. Since Canon commissioned this test, in all honesty can you say that your results are unbiased toward either printer? Who bought the 9900 for testing? In this comparative analysis study funded by Canon, can you be unbiased in your conclusions? I have had a 9900 for 5 years and produced at least ten thousand prints which have all sold. Yet, I am so tired of wasting thirty minutes in the beginning of each run time cleaning the heads once or sometimes twice and doing nozzle checks. If I do a print run in the morning I must do a cleaning, and if I do a print run in the afternoon, i have to do a cleaning.  >:( I went to a service bureau that had a Canon 9400 and the person who ran the printer told me she never, ever had to do a nozzle check or a cleaning, other than what the printer is programed to do! Wow! sign me up.

Gar
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Mark D Segal

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2015, 09:33:05 am »


I noticed the valuable input from Mark regarding the tests and the fact that the media were not the same across both devices. While I totally understand the comment regarding the fact that the media was not the same on both devices for the optical density test and the additional fact that proofing paper was used for the gamut analysis, the test was set up in such a way as to provide a fair comparison with equivalent papers from the vendors' own brand media library, thereby allowing a reader to see what the results would be achieved. We could of course have chosen a media that worked on both devices (and that would be an excellent test that we would happily take on if requested to do so)  but in this instance we would not have known if a third party media was more of a 'perfect fit' for one vendor than the other and hence we could have been adding in a bias to one vendor over the other, which is exactly what we try to avoid happening.

Kind regards

David Sweetnam
Director of BLI Research and Lab services, EMEA / Asia

Hi David,

Yes I understand the reason why you used each manufacturer's OEM papers in the test of their printers. It does show what each achieves in "its own backyard" so to speak, which may be of interest to some people, so it's not a case of it being a "wrong" approach. The issue is whether it is the appropriate approach relative to the purpose. If the purpose is what I just mentioned, fine. However, if the purpose is to compare the inherent capabilities of the printers themselves, then it is not fine, because paper makes a huge difference to outcomes. So if we just want to know what the printers themselves are capable of, it is essential to neutralize the paper variable by using the same media in each machine.

Then the question is what media? Again, purpose driven. If the purpose is to show the maximum black and the maximum gamut each printer can produce, I would select a well known very high gamut paper such as Ilford Gold Fibre Silk, or Canson Baryta Photographique or their likes, because of their outstanding properties in these respects. Then I would use the best available profiling package to make custom profiles for each paper based on the rendition of the profiling targets from each of the test printers - because let us always remember, those gamut diagrams and volume readings come from the profiles, not the prints themselves. So the results also depend very much on the quality/properties of the profiles. However, if my purpose were not to see maximum quality possible, but maximum quality on more difficult papers ( such as most matte papers), then of course using a fine matte medium makes sense.

Turning to your results, as I said, I can't help thinking something unusual is going on. Your gamut volumes for both printers using the glossy photo paper just seem very low, relative to my experience with my Epson 4900, which has a very similar print engine to the 9900. As well, while I have no experience measuring gloss profiles for the Canon 8400, given how competitive these machines are, it would surprise me to see such a large difference of gamut volume between my 4900 and your Canon 8400 for the gloss paper. The proofing paper results are within expectations.

Now - one more thing which one seldom sees outside of printing bureaux, and I have been playing around with lately (curiosity, I'm not a commercial service) - is accuracy of the results. Very often accuracy is not the purpose. It may well be for various scientific, medical, forensic and marketing purposes, but for most "fine-art" and casual photography it is not. Where it is, one likes to know whether the prints really reflect the file values. That of course is basically a test of the profile quality, and whether the combination of the profile and the printer can deliver an accurate result. I do this (and I have no doubt there are more sophisticated ways) by round-tripping a purpose-built file of the Gretag-MacBeth ColorChecker (24 patch version) and calculating the dE values from the differences between the file numbers for the GMCC and spot readings of the 24 patches off the prints once they are dried. You may or may not be surprised by how good or how bad these dE values can be! I think in professional printer evaluation comparisons this may be an interesting test to conduct if the client were prepared to pay for it.

So there you have an extended explanation of my concerns with those aspects of the tests. I do a fair bit of product testing for reviews published on this website, so I am well aware of numerous conceptual difficulties and pitfalls one encounters along the way doing this kind of work - those who know what they're looking for and have tried it will fully understand the conundrums and the issues, so I appreciate that your work is not easy. All the best.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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dsweetnam

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2015, 03:53:58 am »

Good morning Gar and Mark

To save time I shall answer your posts together which I hope is OK.

Gar - BLI purchases all competitor devices on the open market and has then installed and professional set up by the authorised reseller before testing commences. Regarding 'in all honesty can you say that your results are unbiased toward either printer,' yes I can say that. BLI's  business model demands that it acts in an unbiased objective manner or the cards come tumbling down very quickly. BLI's primary business is subscription model supported by its public test service, and based around providing the market a high quality, all vendor inclusive research and test data set that buyers sales channels across the world. This model has been successful for over 50 years with every major vendor providing at its own expense devices to BLI for its public testing service. It is critical for BLI to be unbiased in all that it does to ensure its integrity is upheld and the relationships with all vendors that BLI holds so dear is maintained.   

Mark - Many thanks for your input again, much appreciated. I totally understand your point and it is one that we have discussed internally on multiple occasions. I will be meeting with my US colleague who oversees WF testing in the US lab at the SGIA show in Atlanta in a few weeks and I shall be sure to discuss your valuable input with him to see how we could add additional tests into our public test suite and offer more testing options to vendors who commission BLI for private studies. I would be interested to know which profiling software you would recommend as I am also considering investing in new software.

Kind regards

David
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Mark D Segal

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2015, 08:17:35 am »

Hi David,

The going "top-of-class" profiling software that I see the most well-known professional photographic profile providers using is X-Rite's i1Pro 2 package (there are several variants with different feature sets - check their website and the B&H website for the one most relevant to your needs). It's not exactly cheap, but for a professional, high-standard service of the kind you provide it's likely the most appropriate, given the importance of profile quality in the kind of work you are doing.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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iCanvas

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2015, 12:58:10 pm »

Thanks David for taking the time to respond. Looking forward to future comparisons on wide Format printers. Will be looking for reviews on the Epson P9000 before making a final decision. Your review of both printers was very helpful.

Gar
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dsweetnam

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2015, 04:07:22 pm »

Hi Gar and Mark

In closing I am glad that I have able to clear up at least some of your queries and I thank you both for the valuable input and thougth provoking conversation.

By any chance are either of you attending the SGIA show in Atlanta in a few weeks, I shall be there for most of the show and it would be great to meet up, buy you a beer and pick your brains a bit more.

Kind regards
David
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Mark D Segal

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2015, 04:15:44 pm »

You are welcome Dave, nice chatting with you. I shall not be in Atlanta, but perhaps on some other occasion.

Regards,

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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iCanvas

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2015, 08:17:24 pm »

Ha, Ha, Ha! David, if I do show up I'll seek you out and you can buy me a root beer since I don't drink alcohol. I'll probably be picking your brain more. LOL!

Thanks again,

Gar
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Czornyj

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2015, 07:53:40 am »

Thanks David for taking the time to respond. Looking forward to future comparisons on wide Format printers. Will be looking for reviews on the Epson P9000 before making a final decision. Your review of both printers was very helpful.

Gar

You'd better wait for new Canon printers ;)

As a former Stylus Pro user and present iPF user I can only confirm that the BSI test is true. In all 5 years of iPF6350 and iPF8300 use I had never seen a single clog. Think of life without making nozzle checks :D The iPF wastes waaaaay less ink and time for maintenance, not to mention that it doesn't need to change PK<>MK inks.

howardm

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2015, 07:57:57 am »

We dream of such a day ;)

I'd much rather have to know that 'in N years I'll have to eat a head replacement' than live in the constant fear of 'is it hopelessly clogged today' ?

iCanvas

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2015, 12:05:53 pm »

Hey Marcin,

Thanks for commenting. As a former Epson user do you feel that there is any loss of quality using the Canon printers? The BSI test says that there isn't, but would like to get comments from everyday users.

Gar
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Czornyj

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2015, 04:00:48 pm »

There are countless print quality aspects.
After custom profiling (i1Profiler, i1Pro2, i1iSis) prints from iPFx300/x400 are virtually indistinguishable from SPx900 for untrained observers.
Canon has deeper blacks on glossy/semiglossy/satin/pearl media which gives more 3D look to them, Epson uses more bright inks, so the prints are less grainy from the very close distance. On the other hand Canon uses ~30% ink for the same images.Canon prints are more scrach resistant, less prone to bronzing/gloss differential, metameric issues. Epson has slightly deeper blacks on matte papers.

Hey Marcin,

Thanks for commenting. As a former Epson user do you feel that there is any loss of quality using the Canon printers? The BSI test says that there isn't, but would like to get comments from everyday users.

Gar

Jglaser757

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Re: In-depth comparison between canon 8400 and Epson 9900.
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2015, 01:58:32 am »

I am in no way an expert at all, but for the trained eye, comparing the two printers, you can see the difference. Two identical test print comparisons show this. If you never compare and don't care about that, then  go for the canon.  Yes, the canon has deeper blacks, but the shadows on prints are blocked up more. There are smoother transitions and tones in portraits on the epson also. I bought the canon, canceled the Order and got the 9900. Yes  it gets clogged, but if I was letting someone else print my images, I would base that upon which printer they had. And it would not be a canon.
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