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Author Topic: looking at the Epson ET-8550  (Read 3516 times)

keithcooper

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looking at the Epson ET-8550
« on: June 27, 2021, 08:24:24 am »

First up, an apology to those who like reading my long printer reviews - I've serious web site issues which means that writing/editing the review has had to be delayed (I need to move the Northlight Images site to a new server)

Here's the video review that covers much of what would go in the 'proper one'

BUT... it is ~46mins long

https://youtu.be/VOzJjffz2lI

I've done an index for it that hopefully makes the experience more useful ;-)
01:24 The Ink system
04:24 Shipping the printer
05:13 Maintenance cart
05:48 The mix of inks
09:07 Paper loading and handling
10:02 Front paper trays
12:26 Rear direct feed path
13:50 Printer display and controls
15:18 Control via a phone app
17:12 Home printer functions
18:20 Printer connectivity
19:12 Memory stick and card use
20:20 Colour management for the 8550
22:04 Using Epson Print Layout software
22:43 The importance of a test print
24:48 Profiles for your papers
26:08 Black and White printing
28:14 Media choices for black and white
31:15 Special media - board
31:39 Special media - canvas
32:52 Long prints
33:27 Scanning artwork
36:38 Choosing the right paper
39:38 Art paper differences - colour
42:16 Art paper differences - B&W
43:47 Papers for your prints
44:34 Overall impressions


I've quite a few more 8550 videos about B&W, art papers, scanning, long prints from roll paper and a whole stack of profiling I've done (~4k patch targets).

These and the papers profiled are listed at
 http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/video-epson-et-8550-review/

Note - page may be slow to load -sorry

These are the papers I profiled during testing

HP Artist Matte Canvas 380
Hahnemuhle Smooth Fine Art 265
Hahnemuhle Watercolor 210
Canson Rag Photographique 310
Fotospeed Platinum Cotton 305
Fotospeed Etching 285
Epson CPN
Epson HPB
Epson TPP
Epson PGPP
Epson Premium Lustre
Pinnacle Lustre 300
Pinnacle Matte 230
PermaJet Titanium Lustre 280
PermaJet Double sided Lustre 295


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MN

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2021, 11:06:42 am »

Keith,
what about a short summary how you assess the ET-8550 as compared:
- to other dye printer, say the Canon Pro-200; and
- to 13" pigment printers, Canon Pro-300 and Epson SC-P700.
- What papers gave you best results and would you know why; and
- You conclusion as whether useable, good, or excellent for color and/or B&W photographic/photorealistic prints.
Thanks,
MN
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keithcooper

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2021, 11:24:46 am »

Keith,
what about a short summary how you assess the ET-8550 as compared:
- to other dye printer, say the Canon Pro-200; and
- to 13" pigment printers, Canon Pro-300 and Epson SC-P700.
- What papers gave you best results and would you know why; and
- You conclusion as whether useable, good, or excellent for color and/or B&W photographic/photorealistic prints.
Thanks,
MN

I'm afraid I have a longstanding (15 yrs) policy of never doing printer comparisons, since the answer is always 'it depends' - Also, as to 'best' results - another I don't do because there is no common meaning of 'best' from my POV

As to its performance on different papers, it's covered in this and other videos... One issue I always have is that 80% of the papers people ask me about are neither available in the UK or ones I have here to test.

However - that is the sort of thing I usually specifically cover in the written review and articles.

Normally I would have them published (along with assorted graphs/charts before I produce videos (the videos are mainly intended as trailers/complements to my written stuff). The site is currently somewhat broken and needs moving to a new server.

Sorry if the videos are not your thing (I never watch photography related video myself) but lots of people have been asking me for what I've found.

So, it's good*, with good profiles and careful choices of paper...


*another thing no-one round here is going to agree upon ;-)
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MN

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2021, 02:52:11 am »

"I'm afraid I have a longstanding (15 yrs) policy of never doing printer comparisons, since the answer is always 'it depends'"

I agree that the question how a dye printer like the ET-8550 compares to pigment printers is like asking to compare oranges and apples.
Similarly, the Canon Pro-200 - being an eight color dye printer and a dedicated photo printer - is in a different category/class of printer than the ET-8550, and therefore, again somewhat comparing oranges and apples. 

But comparing prints printed by various printers, can you tell from the print that it was printed by the ET-8550 or are any quality (gamut) differences generally too subtle to tell?

To be more specific, both Epson XP-15000 and Canon Pro-200 have red ink, can you tell from the prints that the ET-8550 doesn't have red ink?

Thanks,

MN
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keithcooper

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2021, 05:28:25 am »

"I'm afraid I have a longstanding (15 yrs) policy of never doing printer comparisons, since the answer is always 'it depends'"

I agree that the question how a dye printer like the ET-8550 compares to pigment printers is like asking to compare oranges and apples.
Similarly, the Canon Pro-200 - being an eight color dye printer and a dedicated photo printer - is in a different category/class of printer than the ET-8550, and therefore, again somewhat comparing oranges and apples. 

But comparing prints printed by various printers, can you tell from the print that it was printed by the ET-8550 or are any quality (gamut) differences generally too subtle to tell?

To be more specific, both Epson XP-15000 and Canon Pro-200 have red ink, can you tell from the prints that the ET-8550 doesn't have red ink?

Thanks,

MN
Well, I've tested all three printers recently.

If you gave me a print of one of my test images on a lustre paper from one of them and asked me which printed it, then no I could not reliably tell you which one printed it.

If you put the three prints on a wall equally well lit but a few feet apart, I'd still not make any large wagers

If you gave me three prints, unlabelled, and a well lit table - I might hazard a guess if I had my strong reading glasses

If you let me use my USB microscope to look at the dots I'd have a better idea

Do test prints on different types of papers, or try B&W, and the differences become more discernible, but still not obvious to most casual viewers.

The red ink is as much a marketing feature as it is one that makes an obvious difference. For it to make an 'obvious' difference, the version without it would need to have some obvious failing, and that I don't clearly see. That said in terms of ink set, the 15000 and 8550 are as 'low' down the range I go in printer testing

My opinion is that with good profiles, paper choices, good images and the skills to edit/prepare them any of the three printers could make a print I'd be happy to have on my wall.

The printer differences are as much about other features/capabilities (paper feed, media options, ink cart size). The 8550, with its scanner is much more of an 'office' printer, but one that does good photo prints as well ... good enough that the ink tanks will make it a popular choice amongst photographers wanting to print their work.

There are some types of print (colour on glossy metallic paper for example) where I'd even choose a printer like the PRO-200 over my P5000. However if we also needed something to print off/scan the odd invoice/document the 8550 would get desk space...
 
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MN

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2021, 06:28:01 am »

Keith,
Greatly appreciate your detailed reply which I think many others will find informative.

"does good photo prints as well ... good enough that the ink tanks will make it a popular choice amongst photographers".

The operative words here is "good photo prints ... good enough".
Based on the few photographs I have already printed on my ET-8550, I agree with your assessment. 
Thanks again for your detailed replies.
MN
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rasworth

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2021, 09:49:20 am »

Is the ET-8500 identical except for paper width?

Richard Southworth
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keithcooper

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2021, 10:47:31 am »

Is the ET-8500 identical except for paper width?

Richard Southworth
I think so - check Epson's specs though
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rasworth

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2021, 02:25:40 pm »

Keith,

Thanks for the review, I did check specs, the two appear identical other than the obvious.

I have a Canon Pro-100 that I'm fond of, other than feeding it cartridges.  I suspect it doesn't have a lot of life left, the ET-8550 looks to be a more desirable choice than the Pro-200, at least from the ink cost perspective.  Any opinion comparing the two?

Thanks,
Richard Southworth
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keithcooper

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2021, 03:03:18 pm »

Keith,

Thanks for the review, I did check specs, the two appear identical other than the obvious.

I have a Canon Pro-100 that I'm fond of, other than feeding it cartridges.  I suspect it doesn't have a lot of life left, the ET-8550 looks to be a more desirable choice than the Pro-200, at least from the ink cost perspective.  Any opinion comparing the two?

Thanks,
Richard Southworth

I like the 200 - fixed all the 100 features that irritated me ;-)
However if ink costs are important, the 8550 does a lot more if you add in the features
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rasworth

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2021, 03:46:55 pm »

I use my Pro-100 exclusively with Canon Semi-Gloss, with a custom profile (i1Profiler enabled by dongle that goes back to ProfileMaker, and ancient i1Pro cut), like the colors and blacks and reasonable longevity as tested by Aardenburg Imaging.  Could I "borrow" a copy of your luster profile, in order to compare black point, neutral curves and gamut?  I understand it's too early to draw any conclusions as to longevity, has Epson provided you with any indication of such?

Thanks again,
Richard Southworth

Added by edit - I looked up Aardenburg results with Epson Claria inks, not horrible but not that impressive.
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keithcooper

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2021, 04:14:19 pm »

I use my Pro-100 exclusively with Canon Semi-Gloss, with a custom profile (i1Profiler enabled by dongle that goes back to ProfileMaker, and ancient i1Pro cut), like the colors and blacks and reasonable longevity as tested by Aardenburg Imaging.  Could I "borrow" a copy of your luster profile, in order to compare black point, neutral curves and gamut?  I understand it's too early to draw any conclusions as to longevity, has Epson provided you with any indication of such?

Thanks again,
Richard Southworth

Added by edit - I looked up Aardenburg results with Epson Claria inks, not horrible but not that impressive.

Email me at Northlight...  I presume you mean the 8550 profile on Epson PLPP?

I have no info about longevity
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dgberg

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2021, 08:48:07 am »

No one has mentioned where these dye Claria ink printers really shine.
Printing on Hi-gloss film gives the look of Cibachrome.
Pictorico Pro hi-gloss white film, Canon Pro Platinum, Graphica pro hi-gloss, plus the now discontinued Ilford Glossy film.
All of these papers when printed with dye ink give a look that cannot be duplicated with an inkjet pigment printer.
Now the catch. There is always a catch and we are not talking longevity. It is mounting. In our studio we have tried everything and I mean everything.
You cannot use any kind of heat due to the makeup of the film/paper. We tried Seal and Drytac mounting adhesives with poor results. It is an extremely delicate surface and has to be covered with something.
We tried over laminates and it can be done but the outcome is not worth the effort.
Also as soon as you cover that beautiful finish with anything it is not the same look. We found two options that cover and protect properly.
Face mounting and glass. We have an older Epson 1430 we use for smaller prints someone may request. Think I will order an 8550 to play around with just because I like the look.

Third party ink is probably where some of us might disagree. But.. Always a but. OEM refills for the new Epson are .25 per ml. Pretty much in the ballpark for OEM inks.
The Ink Owl 500ml bottles are 4.2 per ml or 7 times less expensive. Been using it for 7 years, it is that good. For snapshot, vacation photos, where people don't want to spend a lot.
Only a couple of companies that are offering the new dye inset but as time goes by everyone will have it.

« Last Edit: July 05, 2021, 08:13:04 am by dgberg »
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Richard.Wills

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2021, 09:23:11 am »

When working with ultra gloss, our combination is Drytac Face Mount adhesive (the really pricey version), with a polyester gloss laminate, also form Drytac. I believe that Neschen do a polyester laminate with a removable clear protective coating.
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dgberg

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2021, 09:30:01 am »

I have the Seal (Opti Mount Ultra) and yes it is a great look. Problem is that the process is too time consuming to be profitable.
I can do a $1,000 worth of metal prints in the time it takes to do 1 Facemount. Plus I never got much better than a 25% waste factor (dust issues) which was the real killer.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2021, 09:34:32 am by dgberg »
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Richard.Wills

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2021, 11:06:05 am »

I'm not doing face mount, rather using it to bond mount polyester based gloss print materials to aluminium, then laminating with gloss polyester laminate.
It is a PITA, and I don't do this with DiBond (holds a lovely static charge). I'd put wastage at about 10%. Client has to get me in a really good mood to even think of doing these jobs, and has to be resistant to sticker shock.
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keithcooper

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glossy glossy prints
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2021, 05:22:23 pm »

One example I didn't show in the video was the results on a metallic gloss paper (Permajet Ti gloss) where the intensity of colour is where dyes can really earn their keep.  I first tried this on the Canon PRO-200 where the look absolutely suited some of my images of electronic parts I do for trade shows etc (back when they were a thing...)

I'd like to try some of the white films though...
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MN

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2021, 03:53:00 am »

Keith,
more out of curiosity, did you ever test or tried out the Epson Ecotank L1800 6 Color A3+ printer?
Apparently Epson's first six color tank printer.
I assume outdated and outclassed by the Epson EP-8550. (The L1800 was never offered in the US market in the first place.) And similarly, Epson-T673 ink not comparable with Epson 552 "Claria ET Premium" ink.
Markus
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keithcooper

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2021, 04:47:14 pm »

Keith,
more out of curiosity, did you ever test or tried out the Epson Ecotank L1800 6 Color A3+ printer?
Apparently Epson's first six color tank printer.
I assume outdated and outclassed by the Epson EP-8550. (The L1800 was never offered in the US market in the first place.) And similarly, Epson-T673 ink not comparable with Epson 552 "Claria ET Premium" ink.
Markus
No I haven't.
The XP-15000 and ET-8550 are the only printers of this sort I've looked at recently.
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MN

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Re: looking at the Epson ET-8550
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2021, 11:15:53 am »

Keith,
thank you for the reply.
Will be interesting to see whether or not Canon will respond with a 13" version of the G620 PIXMA six-tank printer.
Markus
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