Do you use 3rd party inks with Epson 3880?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by sim_jo, Sep 15, 2014.

  1. I'm ditching my epson 4800 after 7 years because no matter what I try it keeps clogging, and I hear the 3880 doesn't have the same clogging problem due to pressurized inks. I just discovered ink and their much cheaper MIS inks. Does anyone have experience with using these inks for color printing on the epson 3880? How do they compare to epson inks?
    Please only respond if you have extensive practical experience with 3rd party inks.
  2. "Please only respond if you have extensive practical experience with 3rd party inks."

    You're, presumably, looking at the 3880 after recommendations on your earlier thread. These would largely be from people who have that printer and quite likely who use the Epson ink in it. Now you're saying you don't want to hear from them which negates the recommendation in the first place as you're now in effect asking for the "best pro 17" + printer that people have used third party inks in and not had clogs". A completely different proposition.
    Why would you, after a self proclaimed period of 7 years fighting clogs with your current printer, want to take the risk of putting non Epson inks into the printer you're hoping to buy in order to cure your clog problems? You've been told the 3880 has few to no problems with clogging isn't that worth the cost of the Epson ink?
    You also need to ask those third party ink users not to reply too, unless they also meet the "I don't print every day and some times I go several weeks without printing" parameter. The more variables you introduce the harder it is to get a straight answer.

    But wait you've got a straight answer - the Epson 3880 printer with its K3 Ultrachrome inks is a splendid printer, not prone to clogs even after extended downtime and very good value for money.
  3. ping user 'jtoolman' over at dpreview if you to talk 3rd party inks.
    Personally, I use OEM on my 3880 but probably Cone inks are the best of the lot. At no point do you talk about your print volume or niche (fine art vs. volume seniors/sports etc)
  4. oh Mac Hordam. You couldn't help yourself could you?
  5. Why would you, after a self proclaimed period of 7 years fighting clogs with your current printer, want to take the risk of putting non Epson inks into the printer you're hoping to buy in order to cure your clog problems?​
    Excellent question. Masochist? ;-)
    Seriously, get the 3880, it's a fantastic printer and doesn't clog like the 4900 (yes I have, had, both, ditched the 4900). Put Epson ink in it and move on. Otherwise you're asking for more trouble.
  6. "You couldn't help yourself could you?"
    I wasn't trying to help myself I was trying to help you. You are asking for opinions, you've had trouble for 7 years (or part thereof) with clogs, you don't want clog troubles with your new printer, you've come to the conclusion that maybe the 3880 is for you. Now you want to use third party inks in it.
    Weeell ....
    What you needed was someone to tell you to buy the 3880 and stick with Epson inks and reap the benefit of the path that is least likely to give trouble. Someone (I) told you that, maybe in a roundabout way but if you don't want to hear it - so be it.
    There can only be so many clogged printers in the world, if you want to flirt with the risk of you having one of them it's less to go round for the rest of us so good luck to you and your third party ink comrades should you find any.
    I said I was trying to help you. I'll try again. Let's suppose you buy the 3880 and run it with the Epson inks in it, chances are (based on user feedback) you will have a clog free or significantly clog free life. Now let's suppose you buy the 3880 and put third party inks in it. Okay you may save a bit of money, you may have a clog free existence but what if you do get clogs? Do you persist with third party inks or return to Epson inks? What about all that third party ink in the feed lines and heads. Why did it clog? Was it Epson's poor printer or the poor inks? If it's the inks how do you purge the very last drop from the printer to start with a pristine printer once more? Your choice you now know my advice but you must and will do as you choose. 7 years of clogs with the 4800 should make you wary. Best bet is to use the Epson inks and maybe break a mirror if you still want to have 7 more years of bad luck.
  7. 2nd Edit
    Sometimes on these forums people ask questions and to a bystander watching from the wings it's obvious that the person is chasing trouble. All it needs is for someone to nip it in the bud by simply saying DON'T BE SILLY.
    If only someone would from time to time :)
  8. I agree, Mac.

    Sim: don't be silly. The difference in cost between third party and OEM inks is pretty meaningless at the per-print level. Epson's ink works very well in the 3880, even with intermittent use. If you can't justify the difference in ink costs (which is far less than the piece of paper you're using), then I'd recommend just skipping the whole thing and having a third party handle your printing for you.

    Otherwise, buy from Epson, and enjoy that printer. I've had a 3880 for years now, and never a single clog. I've also not felt any urge to save what amounts to the cost of a cup of decent coffee in order to tempt fate. Why bother? If you're selling prints, the cost completely disappears inside of any rational price you'll be charging. If you're printing for your own enjoyment, the pennies we're talking about cost less than the electricity you're using to participate in this conversation.
  9. I have the 3380 and use Epson inks. Why?

    Because I'm not penny wise and pound (£) foolish;

    Because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound (lb.) of cure;

    Because I don't want to tempt fate.

    Because the per-print cost of the large 3880 ink tanks is much lower than what I was paying for all earlier ink-jet printers
    that I had.

    Technically speaking, its a question of risk management.

    Risk management is the identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks (defined in ISO 31000 as the effect of
    uncertainty on objectives) followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and
    control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities.

    My analysis is that the uncertainty of using 3rd party inks outweighs the modest cost savings and that Epson's record of
    quality and colour consistency for their inks is stronger than the record of 3rd parties.

    Maybe there is a 3rd party ink that is superior in all respects, but for me the cost savings is not worth the risk of damaging
    my printer or the inconvenience of clogging.

    It's better to be safe than sorry.
  10. if you print 11x17 on a 13x19 paper, then the cost of OEM ink is about $1 and the paper cost is around $3 (Canson Baryta). Using Cone ink as an example of 'better/best' ink, that drops the cost of ink to about $0.50 or so.
    I suppose you could make a better argument if you're doing *a lot* of printing but overall, I'm not seeing it (from a risk management/mitigation POV)
  11. ok guys, I thought I was pretty clear in my original question, but I'll repeat: PLEASE ONLY RESPOND IF YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE PRINTING WITH THIRD PARTY INKS.
  12. ok guys, I thought I was pretty clear in my original question, but I'll repeat: PLEASE ONLY RESPOND IF YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE PRINTING WITH THIRD PARTY INKS.​
    Specifically on the 3880 or will another Epson printer but bad experience with 3rd party inks suffice?
  13. Don't have a 3800, but have had many Epson's and even Roland's, all that I filled with non-Epson ink. I've used both MIS and Cone... I remember when my 9600, with Cone ink, was being taken apart by someone touted as the top Epson tech in the Bay Area. He was sure I was going to find all sorts of grit in the dampers. When he got them off and inspected them they were clean as could be.
    I think that we all know the problem is with heads, possibly humidity. It isn't with the ink. Ink these days is very fine unless you get some cheap garbage meant for office printing. Neither MIS or Cone would fit in that category.
    I use a lot of Cone ink and it does a better job than Epson ink. I also don't like buying anything from Epson. I begrudgingly get printers from them for a variety of reasons but I don't want their paper and I don't want their ink. Their company has a culture that I can't bring myself to support.
    They pushed Roland out of the fine art business and what they did to StudioPrint was over the top. They tried to put Cone out of business for years and they tried to block refillable cartridges entirely. They refuse to work with other suppliers to create interesting matches of products in the industry. I can only vote with my dollars and they aren't getting any.
  14. Thanks Lenny. I'm pretty annoyed with Epson myself. Especially how they've built their printers in such a way that you need to waste every single color in order to clear a single clogged color. It's literally costing me $100s every time I need to clear a clog on my 4800. I doubt using non-epson inks could clog any less than epson inks, being that epson inks clog in less than 24 hours. I'm curious about print quality though, if it's comparable to using epson inks once you have a good printing profile.
    TriggerHappy likes this.
  15. Especially how they've built their printers in such a way that you need to waste every single color in order to clear a single clogged color.​
    That wasn't the case with my 4900...That will be the case with the 3880 as there's no way to clean groups of ink heads individually. Maybe you need to look at Canon printers. But then you will eventually find the need to replace the heads entirely.
  16. We can all complain about Epson, yet, realistically we have only two choices as photographers, Epson and Canon. Each have their proponents and their detractors, and each for good reasons. Unless, like Lenny, you're willing to undergo the considerable hassle of avoiding them and really vote with your dollars, we're all sort of stuck.
    This is an open forum, so even though I have not used third party inks in any of my many Epson printers over the years, I feel free to comment. You may choose not to read my post if you wish.
    You say you print infrequently but want a "pro" printer, whatever that is. I'd listen to Andrew, were I you. He has a lot of experience with Epson and there is an entire thread on the Luminous Landscape printer forum about the x900 series Epson, their clogging, and different people's solutions. Some people are lucky. I have a friend with a 4900 who has had no problems at all, but to go with the majority opinion, the 3880 is the way to go unless you need wider printing REGULARLY, and/or need to use roll paper. It's pretty rare for me to even consider anything larger than 17x22, so my 3880 does essentially all my printing. Were I to want something larger, I'm fortunate to live where there are a number of people who can make 24'' or even 44" wide prints.
    I wish you the best, but only you can figure out what will work for your printing needs regardless of the evils of the marketplace.
  17. Thanks Andrew, didn't know the 4900 you could clean ink in pairs. that changes things. I only use roll paper as it's the most economical, but was going to trim and flatten for the 3880. and Eric, yes you're free to comment, but I didn't want this tread to get swamped with off-topic information. It's tiring to read preachy criticism on 3rd party inks from users who've never actually tried it for themselves. Let's hear from some folks who actually use 3rd party inks, hear some real life experiences.
  18. I only use roll paper as it's the most economical, but was going to trim and flatten for the 3880.​
    Ouch! I'd think that one through a bit more (too). I suppose it's possible, if you get it flat.
  19. "Ouch! I'd think that one through a bit more (too). I suppose it's possible, if you get it flat.
    It's certainly possible, I do it. But that's because I got an exceedingly good deal on some boxes of roll paper that made it well worth my while to go to the time and trouble of cutting and flattening it.
    Would I recommend it?. No.
    Would I do it again? Doubtful even at the price I paid. But I got the printer first and the roll paper second so it seemed like a good idea at the time.
    And back to the OP's topic.
    The extensive user evaluation and non-recommendation of roll paper with the 38XX series above, begs the question why would you even be considering the 3880 if you "...only use roll paper"? (not to mention why would you go against the perceived wisdom of using a printer with its makers inks, a combination that gets so many thumbs up for a clog free life) And before that gets translated as preachy, it's not saying that third party inks are all bad, just that you're turning your back on a tried and tested clog free result for a degree of uncertainty. (Preachy/Helpful - Helpful/Preachy again it's your decision)
    And as for cutting and flattening roll paper, have you heard of head strikes with the 38XX series (no vacuum). You will if you venture there. Clogs and strikes, the joys of printing. Just another helpful/preachy little tip from a user.
    Am I out of here now?
    Yes, there's no helping some people. But I tried, maybe others will benefit.
  20. Come to think of it, for my intents and purposes I don't need any fancy paper, just one that reproduces color correctly and holds together for at least a year. What is a good cheaper paper than epson luster photo paper? If I found a cheap cut paper I wouldn't need to do the roll paper thing.
  21. preachy here again.....Lord help us!
  22. preachy here again.....Lord help us!
    Cheap inks, cheap paper, correct color. Nope can't see a problem with that....
  23. Oops clicked the wrong buttons I was laughing so much.
  24. Not sure Mac Hordam why you keep feeling inclined to respond to this thread, being that you have no experience neither with cheap paper or ink. You're basing your answers on fear and assumptions. Don't assume that just because you can't relate to a question the questioner doesn't know what he or she is doing, or what his or her needs are. Unable to get much real info on this forum, I was able to find other sites that did help. For those of you who want to cut your printing costs, and only use the epson for sketching and tests like myself, there's cheap popular kirkland photo paper sold at Costco, produced by ilford, and seems to be the go to place for 3rd party inks at 1/6th of the cost of epson inks. Users claim they don't clog more than Epson, and some even claim they have done tests that showed less fading over time or in direct sunlight than Epson Inks. For me, this will provide a saving of $300+ a month so I'm gong to try it out.
  25. The Kirkland paper may have been made by Ilford but they must have a new vendor since Ilford went bankrupt in the spring of 2014. It's actually a pretty nice paper for the dirt cheap price
  26. "Not sure why you keep feeling inclined to respond to this thread"

    I told you I kept clicking the wrong buttons :)

    It seems though that my persistence has at least alerted you to potential pitfalls with cutting roll paper to use with the 3880, you seem to have abandoned that idea following my post.

    No, no don't thank me - you're welcome.

    And the real reason I keep responding - I'm the one trying the hardest to save you from yourself. And it's neither ... nor by the way.
    (And don't start sentences with and, yes I know). Over and out.
  27. I used MIS inks extensively (MISPRO and then their Ultrachrome equivalent.) I would not recommend them. I had some clogging issues with the R1800 but the reason I wouldn't recommend them has to do with longevity. I did my own tests with southfacing window glass, a reference print kept in dark storage and both Epson and MIS ink. The MIS faded quite quickly (less than 1 year). The paper itself (Harmon FB AL and Epson Luster) performed fine with minimal changes (Harmon warmed up a bit). Paper and inks in dark storage didn't appreciably change.

    For real tests, check out Aardenburg Imaging. I believe my results were generally consistent with theirs.

    I also used dedicated printers with MIS B&W ink. I think the prints looked great but beware that except for the all-carbon formulations they are using MIS's somewhat inferior pigments to cool the ink tone. You're probably better off with Epson's multi-greys instead.

    Personally, as a workaround I got refillable carts for my printer, bought high capacity (220ML) Ultrachrome carts and used that cheaper ink to refill my cartridges. Just make sure the bigger printer is using the same inkset as what your printer expects. I think that yields the best of both worlds.
  28. Another consideration on using third-party inks is resale of the printer. I've seen ones like that sit around on the auction sites forever, since folks don't want to take a chance on them. I had a fellow nearly offer a 7600 like that, if I'd offer ANYTHING. But it wasn't even worth having to flush and start with a whole new load of ink, if he gave it to me for FREE.
  29. Buying a used printer is a bad idea no matter what considering their short life span and clogging problems whatever ink you use. Also The 3880 is only $928.99 and comes with $452.79 worth of ink and free shipping. My 4800 will be free for anyone dumb enough to pick it up.
  30. In my opinion, buying a professional (Epson) inkjet printer can be a great deal. I'm not talking the little 11" or 13" things. I wouldn't touch anything without K3 inks, either. If you have room for a 24" printer, GO for it. I got my 7800 for $800, and it came with $500 worth of ink! A large printer isn't something you'll be expected to pick up in a parking lot. You can go to the seller's location and TRY it. Print a nozzle check. Run a test print. Even if you never print 24" or 44" wide, the cost savings in using 220+ ml cartridges adds up quickly. I ran the numbers when a friend of mine got his 3800, and the cross-over point in his case was going to be just about two years with buying a NEW 4xxx vs. the 3xxx that he was considering. With a good used roll printer, that cross-over comes in a month or two.
    If you need help deciding whether to use 3rd-party inks, then considering everything that's involved, buying someone else's printer is probably a bad idea for you. And if $1000 is no big deal, then get TWO new printers. That way you have a backup.
  31. I have always advocated for at least the 24 inch size. Cartridges are larger and ink is cheaper, its converted to refillable just by getting an empty cartridge. The parts are made of metal vs plastic and the reliability and accuracy is enhanced.
    You don't have to buy the rolling stand, the thing fits on a table if you want to go that way. The fabric at the bottom is just a bunch of foolishness... useless, IMO. That can make it fit into a smaller space if that is a concern.
    Not sure I would buy used. Epson engineers these things to break. Yes, deliberately. All you have to do is look inside. A new one comes with a warranty and a life of about 3 years with few hassles, usually. Forget about the free paper, get some better paper, and fill it with the ink you want to put in it...
  32. A number of years back, when Epson did not claim archival permanence with their inks, I used some Lyson inks and had bad clogging troubles, also metamerisation (bronzing). I think my printer was an Epson 1290 (I now have a 3880). That was enough to put me off - moreover, I sold the printer working fine and with a set of Epson cartridges in it to an acquaintance who used 3rd-party inks and was very disappointed. I think even if you get a presentable looking result with 3rd-party inks, you will not get optimum drying characteristics, i.e prints may well take a long time to become smudge-resistant. In short - I strongly recommend ONLY OEM inks.
  33. so.. theoretically 3rd party inks have 3 possible shortfalls.. shorter print-life(fading). inacurate colors, clogging nozzles.
    for pigment inks the shorter print life is actually not there or negligable as long as the 3rd party ink is made from pigments.
    almost all 3rd party inks I've bought have accurate colors and work almost identical to the oem inks.. I wouldn't expect to see a difference from any reputable ink vendor.
    as far as clogging nozzles more often or shortening the printers life... I see it like this.. I have a 9890 that I use with genuine inks due to the cost of the nozzle, and a canon pixma pro 100(a dye printer). the pro100 I use with 3rd party inks because the head-replacement only costs 20 bucks... for the risk of damaging a $20 head I've printed thousands of dollars worth of ink cartridges for $70 using a bulk ink system and buying ink by the gallon. At this point even if I do have to replace that print-head my savings on ink would far outweigh the cost and inconvenience of home repair.
    For my 9890/9900 the print-head is more expensive but the entire printer can be had used from ebay in working condition for under a grand, so if a bulk ink system can save me more on ink that the cost of buying a printer I'm happy. 3rd party ink will dry faster when the printer is in non-use and expire quicker, so 3rd party ink is only cost effective for bulk printing.

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