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Author Topic: "Poor man's" quality printing  (Read 5996 times)

rasworth

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"Poor man's" quality printing
« on: April 20, 2018, 10:50:05 am »

Several months ago B&H had their Canon PRO-100 printer sale running, $380 with a $250 credit card rebate and 50 sheets 13x19 Canon Luster, net $130.  I polled this forum, received positive remarks as to the printer's worth, and purchased one.  Of course I had to fill out the forms and wait for my credit card, but it "worked" with no problems for groceries, etc.

I am today very pleased with this printer, run only rc papers thru it, primarily (inexpensive) Canon Photo Paper Pro Semi-gloss.  The prints are pleasing in hand-held mode, dye inks penetrate the surface such that there is little or no gloss differential, with reasonable gamut and black density.  As a bonus Aardenburg reports this combination as low in OBAs (slight glow with the black light) and good longevity.

B&H is running the same deal today, I can't think of a better way for someone new to this game to get started.

Richard Southworth
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Mark D Segal

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2018, 10:58:46 am »

Based on what I've seen produced with this printer I agree with you - very good print quality and the entry price would be hard to beat. But do you have a feel for the on-going cost of ink per print of X dimensions?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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rasworth

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2018, 12:23:40 pm »

Not a good quantitative evaluation.  I've had the printer 10 months, cranked out a fair number of 8x10s for the local photo club, as well as a bunch of profile targets and test prints, as well as personal printing.  I've replaced all 8 cartridges once each at $17 a whack, all but the two greys near full, and those two about 20% depleted.  Probably should rate at light printing, figure on at least the original cost of the printer each year in ink.

Nozzle checks are always clean, no clogging.  The printer goes into a noisy mode occasionally, don't know if it's shaking/squirting or what, will bang around for 20 seconds or so before being ready to print.

Richard Southworth
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NAwlins_Contrarian

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2018, 02:26:28 pm »

I agree that the Canon Pro-100 is an excellent printer for many papers, including more varieties than you'd expect. Prints on baryta papers can look excellent. Prints on Canon Premium Matte (PM-101) can look considerably better than you'd expect.

In the U.S. at least, the Pro-100 is a bargain. Last I checked, the cheapest real deal was at Adorama, $119 net of rebate with a full (or slightly more-than-full) set of inks, 50 - 13x19 sheets (semi-gloss or luster), 10 - 8.5x11 sheets (luster), and free shipping. But within the last year there have been deals for half that amount.

Quote
[D]o you have a feel for the on-going cost of ink per print of X dimensions?

As some (maybe most) of you know, Red River Paper ran a test (http://www.redrivercatalog.com/cost-of-inkjet-printing-canon-pro-100.html). Their reported costs are actually conservative for prevailing U.S. ink prices. They used 10.29 'cartridge equivalent units' to print 200, 8x10 inch prints (of Bill Atkinson's printer test page). At prices I've actually paid for sets of CLI-42 ink within the last year, that works out to somewhere between $0.66 to $0.77 of ink per 8x10 inch print (Red River reports $0.875, using $16.99 cartridges--I've never paid that much). Because of the mixed use our Pro-100 gets (not all prints are photo prints, and not all photo prints are full coverage), I can't give you very relevant stats; but my sense is that Red River is about right. If you use Canon's better but not really high-end papers (e.g., Glossy II or Pro Luster), they cost about $0.32 each for letter-size (B&H prices at last order). So an 8x10 inch print on letter-size paper costs about $0.98 to $1.09.

Also as some (maybe most) of you know, these Canon printers use ink for automatic self-cleanings, especially if nothing is printed for several days or weeks (reportedly there are different levels of cleaning triggered when a new print is made at intervals from 60+ to 480+ hours). How often you print determines what fraction of your ink gets used on self-cleanings. I have 'measured' (using Canon's driver-based ink-level reporting) the ink used, and even the heaviest cleaning (i.e., after 20 days) appears to use less than 0.5 ml per cartridge (how much less I won't be able to tell until I have more data). On the other hand, if you make a couple of prints, wait a week, make a couple more prints, wait a week, repeat, it would not shock me if ultimately half of your ink gets used in self-cleanings.

So accounting for ink used to print, ink used for automatic self-cleanings, and paper, IMO a reasonable estimate is somewhere from $0.98 to $1.86 per 8x10 inch print. Obviously YMMV!
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bgberlin01

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2018, 02:46:53 pm »

New subscriber and first time posting on this site.

Another positive "review" of the PRO-100 - extremely pleased with its performance. I've had it about a year and until a month ago it was
my first semi-pro printer. My learning curve was steep, ICC profiles, soft-proofing, calibration..etc. Now the results are consistently what I expect and they match my monitor. (As I learned - that doesn't happen automatically!) The price for this printer with rebates gets you into the arena of quality printing at a fantastic price. Ink ain't cheap, but compared to my new PR0-1000, that's what occurred a month ago, it's a cheap way to learn and practice your skills.
 
Enjoying this site, it's a fantastic resource.
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stockjock

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2018, 03:49:49 pm »

I can add a little color to this conversation.  My main printer is the Canon iPF8400 but recently I have needed to print a high volume of 8 1/2x11" photos and feeding that many cut sheets through the iPF8400 is completely untenable.  I also wanted to reduce my ink costs as much as possible and I didn't care at all about print longevity.  My solution was to unbox one of the Pro-100's that I had bought in the past when the prices dropped below $79 and refill the ink cartridges with Precision Inks bulk ink.  I've run over 1000 prints through the Pro-100 now and have printed on the Canon Luster and the Kirkland Photo Glossy.  So some observations:

1) I haven't tracked my ink usage closely but the cost per page using the OEM inks is probably inline with the Red River estimates of $1 a page.  If you are using bulk inks that cost is around a tenth of that although that is more of a guess than an accurate estimate.  You can find new bulk packs on ink on eBay for about $95 so that is a good way to lower your cost in you are sticking with the OEM inks.

2) The Pro-100 does provide very good print quality and where it really shines is the almost complete lack of gloss differential.  However, the color gamut is quite a bit less than the iPF8400.  The addition of the red, green and blue inks in the larger format printer really makes a big difference on certain prints.  But in general, the quality is quite good.

3) If you don't care about the archival quality I can't recommend the Kirkland Glossy Photo Paper enough.  Loaded with OBA's but the surface is terrific and prints are stunning on that paper.  I have no idea how long they will last and for my application I don't care.

4) Refilling the cartridges is both hard and easy.  The big gotcha, over and above the time and some mess, is that the Canon Ink cartridges were never designed to be refilled.  There is a sponge that is integral to the system and the Pro-100 is designed to sense when the ink reservoir is empty and then continue to print a certain amount of ink that is withdrawn from the sponge.  The problem is if you let the sponge get depleted of ink it fills with air and stops reabsorbing the new ink when you refill the cartridge.  That leads to two problems both of which can apparently cause the print head to burn out.  The first issue is since the sponge doesn't completely resaturate the Pro-100 will miss estimate how much ink is left and print an empty ink channel and online reports say that can burn the head out.  Secondly, the sponge may not saturate with ink at all so you can have what looks like a full cartridge but no ink gets delivered to the print head which is obviously a bad situation.  I have had that happen but fortunately I caught it right away so no damage was done.  The "solution" to this problem is never let the sponges go dry and replace the cartridges as soon as the low ink warning comes on.  This is a problem when you are running a large print job.  Also, the consensus online seems to be that regardless of whether you replace one or eight cartridges the same amount of ink gets flushed to the waste pads which aren't replaceable so you should change and refill all the cartridges at the same time when just one of them gets low.  That is a pain and fairly time consuming.

5) The Precision Inks do a very good job of matching the OEM inks although I would say prints made with Precision Inks lack a subtlety that the OEM inks provide but that might just be a difference in profiling.  The consensus seems to be you can't expect much longevity with bulk inks while the OEM inks do provide exceptional longevity for a dye ink if that is important to you.

6) The Pro-100 has performed flawlessly with the relatively high volume I have put through it.  Great printer for the price.  If you have a low volume of printing, or are indifferent to the costs, the OEM inks are definitely the way to go.  The quality on glossy paper is really very high.  Refilling the cartridges is a pain but it drops the price per print to very low levels.  But it is likely that at some point you will screw up the print head or saturate the waste ink pads so I view the Pro-100 itself as being a disposable.  That actually makes sense when you can buy a brand new printer every few months for less than the cost of a set of OEM ink cartridges!  Bad for the planet but good for the wallet.

Paul
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rasworth

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2018, 05:09:17 pm »

It's amazing to me how much info can be collected from this forum with a seemingly simple topic.  Thanks to all who contributed.

Richard Southworth
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donbga

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2018, 05:23:56 pm »

I own the Canon Pro 100 purchased last year during the big rebate. I also own 2 Epson 3800s and an Epson 3880.  I purchased the Canon sort of on a whim because of the fantastic rebate.

Long story short this printer is a jewel at the rebate price And Precision Colors sells an excellent set of non-oem inks and refillable carts.

Precisioncolors.com

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nirpat89

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2018, 10:32:37 am »

I own the Canon Pro 100 purchased last year during the big rebate. I also own 2 Epson 3800s and an Epson 3880.  I purchased the Canon sort of on a whim because of the fantastic rebate.

Long story short this printer is a jewel at the rebate price And Precision Colors sells an excellent set of non-oem inks and refillable carts.

Precisioncolors.com

Hi, Don: 

I wonder if you have made diginegs with this printer.  Do Lucia inks have sufficient UV opacity?  Need to find a printer that is as good as my now dead B9180 was. 

:Niranjan
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NAwlins_Contrarian

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2018, 11:52:03 pm »

Quote
I wonder if you have made diginegs with this printer.  Do Lucia inks have sufficient UV opacity?  Need to find a printer that is as good as my now dead B9180 was.

The Pro-100 does not use Lucia pigment inks (as your B9180 used pigment inks). The Pro-100 uses ChromaLife 100+ dye inks. If you want to use pigment inks, you need to step over to the similar Pro-10, which does use Lucia pigment inks.
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nirpat89

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2018, 06:28:16 pm »

The Pro-100 does not use Lucia pigment inks (as your B9180 used pigment inks). The Pro-100 uses ChromaLife 100+ dye inks. If you want to use pigment inks, you need to step over to the similar Pro-10, which does use Lucia pigment inks.

Yes, indeed.  Right you are.  I did mean the dye-based inks of Pro-100...used the wrong name.  Not much is known about the viability of ChromaLife inks for digital negatives.  At least that I have found.  I already own one printer, the P400 of Epson that I bought to replace the B9180, that is not cutting it for the purpose.  The P600 and P800 are supposed to work but I don't want to spend that kind of money.  I was thinking may be I can buy a Pro-100 for the cheap price of 120 bucks and use it for making digital negative.  But not until I have some idea the UV opacity of the ChromaLifes stacks up.

:Niranjan.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 08:09:01 pm by nirpat89 »
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enduser

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2018, 11:15:39 pm »

The Epson ET-1400 A3 EcoTank printer lets you refill from bottles of Epson ink. It's only a 3 color but 5 colors are already at prototype stage.
Product specs state "Technology - dye ink".   But if they did a printer like this using pigment inks ......  Imagine buying Epson (or Canon or HP) pigment ink in bottles. Third party suppliers would disappear overnight.
I asked Canon why they didn't use their Chromalife 1+ and I got quickfire replies from about 5 people at Canon who said, "Oh, it's totally different printhead technology". Which begs the question, Why not use whatever printhead Chromalife needs in a refillable tank printer. Got no replies to that.
All in all though maybe a "Poor man's" quality printer is coming.
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nirpat89

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2018, 09:53:40 am »

For what I could find, these EcoTanks so far make letter size (8.5"x11'') prints only.  Plus they all seem to be the Fax, Scan, Print combo types.  As far as the cost, I think they will get you somehow.  Apparently the price of the printer upfront is much more when compared to a similar printer with standard cartridges.  According to this analysis, if you use refillable inks in a comparable standard printer, you will still come out ahead of the EcoTank for the first 20K prints.  Plus the third party suppliers will simply supply you the bulk inks just as they have always done, but now no longer have to worry about resetting of the chips and other auxiliary problems of refilling carts etc that folks have to deal with. 

https://www.ldproducts.com/blog/is-the-epson-ecotank-really-worth-the-money/

I wouldn't worry yet if I was a third party ink supplier. 
« Last Edit: April 23, 2018, 09:59:32 am by nirpat89 »
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donbga

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2018, 05:27:29 pm »

Hi, Don: 

I wonder if you have made diginegs with this printer.  Do Lucia inks have sufficient UV opacity?  Need to find a printer that is as good as my now dead B9180 was. 

:Niranjan

No not yet - it's been on my list of things to try. However, I think you could reasonably expect this printer to be capable of making digi negs. I'm not sure how they would hold  up to UV light for multiple printings. Even pyro stained negs fade when used to make LONG exposures so that is something to be concerned about. On the other hand properly made digi negs don't require excessively long exposures.

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donbga

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2018, 05:31:10 pm »


... I can't recommend the Kirkland Glossy Photo Paper enough. 



FWIW Kirkland Glossy makes very good digital negatives for making silver gelatin prints.  :)
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nirpat89

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2018, 06:52:34 pm »

No not yet - it's been on my list of things to try. However, I think you could reasonably expect this printer to be capable of making digi negs. I'm not sure how they would hold  up to UV light for multiple printings. Even pyro stained negs fade when used to make LONG exposures so that is something to be concerned about. On the other hand properly made digi negs don't require excessively long exposures.

Thanks Don.  No worries about multiple printing...so far all are one-of-a-kinds.   
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enduser

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2018, 08:14:36 pm »

EPSON ET1400 is an A3 refillable.  No third party ink has ever come close to OEM ink for longevity.
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NAwlins_Contrarian

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2018, 10:35:10 pm »

Quote
For what I could find, these EcoTanks so far make letter size (8.5"x11'') prints only.  Plus they all seem to be the Fax, Scan, Print combo types.

Quote
EPSON ET1400 is an A3 refillable.

The Epson ET-1400[0] does not appear to be available in the U.S. at least, but Epson is selling some larger inkjet all-in-ones here (see https://epson.com/ecotank-super-tank-printers):
ET-16500, prints up to 13x19 inches, list price $1000;
ET-8700, prints up to "A3+" (odd designation for U.S., but presumably also means 13x19 inches), also $1000; and
ET-7750, prints up to 11x17, with "photo black" in addition to the other models' (plain/undifferentiated) black, $650.

But again, these are four-color all-in-ones using cheap inks. They do not use, and I would not expect the photo printing quality of, Epson's UltraChrome pigment inks or Claria HD dye inks. They do not use, and I would not expect the fade resistance of, Epson's UltraChrome or DuraBrite pigment inks, or probably even Claria HD dye inks.

Also, in the U.S. at least, AFAIK you can't just dump ink into the reservoir: each bottle of Epson ink has some sort of serial number or activation code that you have to enter before the printer will recognize the refill. So I would not just assume that these printers are usable with any other inks.
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nirpat89

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Re: "Poor man's" quality printing
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2018, 07:24:08 am »

The Epson ET-1400[0] does not appear to be available in the U.S. at least, but Epson is selling some larger inkjet all-in-ones here (see https://epson.com/ecotank-super-tank-printers):
ET-16500, prints up to 13x19 inches, list price $1000;
ET-8700, prints up to "A3+" (odd designation for U.S., but presumably also means 13x19 inches), also $1000; and
ET-7750, prints up to 11x17, with "photo black" in addition to the other models' (plain/undifferentiated) black, $650.

But again, these are four-color all-in-ones using cheap inks. They do not use, and I would not expect the photo printing quality of, Epson's UltraChrome pigment inks or Claria HD dye inks. They do not use, and I would not expect the fade resistance of, Epson's UltraChrome or DuraBrite pigment inks, or probably even Claria HD dye inks.

Also, in the U.S. at least, AFAIK you can't just dump ink into the reservoir: each bottle of Epson ink has some sort of serial number or activation code that you have to enter before the printer will recognize the refill. So I would not just assume that these printers are usable with any other inks.

Looks like there already is an ecosystem of third party inks available for these EcoTanks all over the place.  Example for 16500:

https://www.4inkjets.com/T644SET-Canon-Ink-Cartridge-4-pack-OEM

Couldn't find instructions for refilling on this site - no mention of activation code that I came across in my rather cursory search. 

I did come across this neat demonstration on how to fill conductive ink straight in a new EcoTank so there is no need to flush or anything:

https://nirzaree.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/setting-up-conductive-inkjet-printing/


:Niranjan.
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