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February 14, 2011

Comments

Might be interested in a silver-gelatin print

Silver-gelatin sounds nice, and such prints would interest me. I have been reading up on the platinum printing process with the idea of eventually giving it a try. However, I purchased the 3880 last October when Epson had a $300 rebate going. My prior printer was the HP 9180, and although it made nice prints, it was a constant battle to use every time, with error message after error message. I finally had it after two years and countless weeks and weeks of down time and got the 3880. I cannot believe the difference in quality of prints, and ease of use. You will not regret this printer.

I highly recommend the Epson 3880. I have it's predecessor, the 3800 and it's the first inkjet printer I've owned that produces neutral B&W prints without metamerism. The only other system I tried that came close, is Jon Cone's Piezography System. But I had too many problems with head clogs. The 3880 is a professional printer with features like adjustable platen gap for printing on very thick papers.

The first image is just great!

I don't suppose you'd care to say which photo labs you've had good results with? Printing drives me nuts.

>>I don't suppose you'd care to say which photo labs you've had good results with?<<

For high-quality, low-cost machine prints in color and B&W I can recommend AdoramaPix. They even provide downloadable color profiles for their machines. You upload your files to their website and they mail you back the photos.

For custom inkjet prints I rely on Profiles Studio, a small lab here in Philadelphia. I've also had good results from Digital Silver Imaging, which is a lab that specializes in producing B&W digital prints on fiber-based and RC silver gelatin papers. Back in the days when I lived in Los Angeles and shot professionally I used A&I Color. They accept work from all over the country and produce consistently high quality results.

I would like to get a larger printer but my HP 8450 uses carts that have the print head built in, this means no more clogged heads like on my now gone Canon and Epson. It only prints up to 8.5 x 11 though.
I have thought about bringing back my darkroom. I would not need a larger printer for large prints, just buy larger paper. But how to I get it to print digital?

Owen

As I mentioned in my comment to your earlier post about getting a printer, I recommend the 3880. I have the 3800, which has been fabulous and the 3880 is, from all I hear, even better. There's also the advantage that it comes with $450 worth of ink which brings the price down quite a bit. Add to that the lower per ml cost to replace the larger cartridges and I can't see any reason to go for a 13" printer even if you didn't need to print larger than 13". It's just a better deal for a larger, sturdier, more professional printer and you get Epson's professional support rather than their consumer support.

Steven,

Trust me, your argument is most persuasive. I mentioned Epson's new R3000 more as an "oh, by the way..." than as a serious contender. Its cost per ml is still too high for anyone who plans to print frequently.

Gordon - Like Paul above, I too bought an Epson 3880 when they had the rebate. I have not regretted the purchase for a moment. Both colour and B&W prints are excellent - and that's for someone who started printing in a darkroom at 12 years of age - a looooong time ago.
I cannot see how you would regret it. I only wish they had brought out a 3900 with more economical ink change-over (for matte papers) - there again I haven't used matte papers yet and have no plans to, so far.

Gordon - Strangely enough I talked to e very knowledgeable friend about this a few weeks ago. He had a 3800 he was planning on selling to upgrade to the 3880. His recommendation was that unless i planned to do a lot of printing consistently, the Canon printers were a better buy. The Epsons eat up a lot of ink if you need to flush and clean the heads every time you print - unless you print frequently. The Canons do not.

For what it's worth.

Gordon, I have the 3800 for some years now. I agree with what has been said about its B&W print quality. I print mostly on glossy and don't mind the switchover cost to print matte, but that could be an issue for you.

The only pet peeve with the 3800 is that the flimsy latch that holds the output tray closed keeps coming apart. I don't know if it's different on the 3880.

When left unused for several weeks, the 3800 does clog, but it clears up reasonably easily using its own utility (no soaked towels under the heads a la 2200!).

The reason I didn't buy the Canon 17" equivalent is simply that it takes too much space. Otherwise, the Canon for me would have the added advantage of a dedicated B&W print driver (from BowHaus). Canon large format printers are fast and I have seen outstanding output, but I have not directly compared it to Epson's.

Re clogging of 3880 - I believe printing even a small image each week keep things ticking on OK without the need to flush - and so minimise amy ink wastage

How much printing do you do? That is, how do you justify spending over 1000USD when you can probably send the files out to your local lab for printing?

Mike,

I'm planning to sell my work in sufficient quantities that a medium-format inkjet printer would pay for itself. The catch is what comes first: the print sale or the printer purchase? FWIW, I know I can produce and sell prints without owning my own printer. I also know that not owning a high-quality print means sacrificing a significant amount of convenience for economy.

Gordon,
Didn't quite understand that last sentence. I hope your figures work and the printer pays its way. I'd like one, too, just 'cause I'm too lazy to get wet in the darkroom (OK, the darkroom has become my wife's pantry and is chockablock with kitchen stuff) and just for general geekiness and wouldn't it be nice to fart around with my photos and see what I can produce at home. Still, bills must be paid and I'm not rolling in money presently.
Cheers!

As usual you cover a lot of ground in a brief post.

I am printing more than ever. The key point for me is, as you note, the detail, texture, tonality etc that is expressed in print.

A few weeks ago I grabbed a quick shot of an antique truck, in very low light, at Toronto's Distillery District. Looked interesting on screen (converted to B&W) but when I printed it to 8 x 10 on my R800 my wife just could not stop going back to it. It really is an entirely different photograph.

At first glance I thought the Epson R3000 looked like a reasonable buy because of the larger cartridges. But I agree - they do not offer the volume advantage of those in the R3880. My sadness is that I missed the rebates on the R3880. Sigh.

FWIW, when I spoke to an Epson rep at Photoshop World last September, he recommended that unless I did enough volume to print a few images every week, the at 2880 was better owing to the flush and clean issues, a la John's comment above. But that was before the R3000.

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