Which printer do you use?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by robert_digrazia, Dec 25, 2018.

  1. I'm looking at the Epson XP-15000 ($249 on Amazon today).
    It uses dye inks, which don't last as long as pigment, though Epson says "...for superior photos that last more than 200 years", with the expected disclaimers about environment. Maybe the photos last 200 years if they are stored in light-tight containers at -150 Fahrenheit (and what does "last" mean?).

    Has anyone built up experience with this printer?
  2. Prints are subjected to high levels of UV and elevated temperatures in order to estimate their lifetime, based on thermodynamics, until a specified level of fading occurs. Pigment based inks are inherently more stable, as witnessed by cave drawings and Roman murals. Inks based on dyes are subject to oxidation, including accelerated effects of atmospheric ozone when printed on certain substrates.

    Any stability tests are based on consensus standards, not absolute, and there is likely no law which compels a printer company to follow them. The company will cite which national or international standards are followed, if applicable.

    "Normal" conditions are sometimes specified, such as 75 deg F at 50% relative humidity.
  3. Thanks very much, Ed_Ingold.
    Even assuming Epson's 200-year claim is an order of magnitude exaggerated, a 20-year practical lifetime is adequate for the likes of me (I'm 75).

    I suppose tucking dye-based prints into polypropylene sleeves and storing them in archival binders would move them close to Epson's optimistic claim, or at least closer to my pessimistic claim.

    One question occurred to me: Why is the printer on sale? $249 at Amazon $100 off, and $300 at Epson $50 off. (BestBuy claims to match Amazon, but I have never tested this.)
    I asked Epson whether it's on sale because they're discontinuing the model. Within a couple of hours (!) they responded:
    "Please be advised that Epson Technical Support does not have any information as to the discontinuation of the product.
    Epson promotes its brand from time to time to be sure our loyal customers would get the right campaigns and follow-ups especially this holiday season."
  4. AJG


    Check out the price of ink and I think that you will see why the printer is inexpensive--I have never had any trouble finding ink for older printers, nor getting updated software to run them. Even dye based inks are pretty expensive, and my experience with third party inks for Epson printers has been bad so I only buy the real stuff.
    Ed_Ingold likes this.
  5. You will see that a Canon Pixma Pro-100, also dye based, has a pretty good price too. I have the pigment based Pro-10, which I like very much. The key advantage Canon has over Epson is that the print heads are plug-and-play. Should heads become clogged, usually through disuse, no amount of cleaning will restore t hem. Ideally, you should use an inkjet at least once a week. So far I have gone as long as 2 months without using the Pro-10, and it starts up without complaint.

    I have also owned several Epson printers 13" printers, and the print quality is excellent. The last one quit with clogged heads, which are only factory reparable. I wasn't doing much printing at the time, so I let it go for several years before buying the Pro-10. I had no problems with print quality and Epson.

    I get over 100 8x11" prints from a set of ink cartridges, but not all of the (11) cartridges are used at the same rate.

    The Pro-100 and Pro-10 use 13 ml ink cartridges, which is cheaper per print than from smaller, printers. These are fairly heavy duty (and very quiet), weighing 35# and 55# respectively.
  6. I have both the Canon Pro-10 and Pro-100 reason being if you wait for the rebates you can get them for a lot less money. I paid under $150 for each. The Pro-10 was a special, special deal. If you go through a store like B&H they'll usually include free paper. I received 2 free boxes of 13"x19" (50 sheets) with both of my purchases. The ink costs around $120-$140 for a full set, and $17 each. If you buy the ink through Canon they will always include free paper with your purchase. I got over $400 (suggested retail) of free paper with my first order of replacement ink. The Pro-100 is an awesome printer for the money. If you use Canon ink and paper, the prints will last longer than any of us! :)
  7. I've only used Canon printers. I just replaced my Pro-100 (dye) with a Prograf Pro 1000 (pigment).

    How long prints will last before fading varies greatly with use. For example, they will fade much less quickly if not exposed to direct sunlight and if they are protected by UV glass. Most of my dye-based prints meet both of those requirements, and some have been on a wall for 6 or 8 years without visible fading. However, if you buy cheap inks rather than OEM inks, you can expect a much shorter life.

    I can't give you a comparison because I have never used Epson printers for photographs, but the dye-based Canon Pro 100 produces absolutely stunning images. It's great for people who don't need archival printing and who print infrequently because dye inks won't create major clogs even if one leaves the printer unused for months. I have had several Canon dye printers, and I have never had to do any head cleaning other than what the printer decides to do on its own. I just turned them on and printed.

    AJG explained why basic printers are cheap. Economists call it the Gillette model: sell razors cheap and make your money on the blades. Canon often bundles printers with cameras--most often the Pixma pro 100. So in addition to being able to get them cheap periodically when Canon has a special, you can often find "used" ones that are still in unopened boxes.
  8. Re: (paddler4): "...you can often find "used" ones that are still in unopened boxes."
    Yup. I just saw two PRO100's on craigslist NH, in Deering $200 and Salisbury $150.
  9. We're almost neighbors! I'm in Danvers.
  10. I just got me a Sinfonia Color Stream CS2 Dye-sub could not be happier.;)
  11. If you are still considering options:

    I just reprinted on my prograf pro 1000 an image I had printed a few months ago on my Pixma Pro 100. I printed both on Red River Blanco Matte Canvas. The results were very similar. The only visible difference I noticed was that the darkest tones were a bit darker with the prograf, but given that I soft proofed separately for the two prints, that difference may have been my doing, not the printer's. I can't tell at this point, as I don't have the Pro 100 any more and can't try replicating the Prograf print.

    The bottom line is that if you don't mind the shorter longevity of dye-based inks, you can get results from a printer that will cost you $150-200 that are very close to the results I got from a $1300 printer.
  12. For large prints I use Costco. 20x30 inch prints with outstanding quality for $9.99. 16x20s are $6.99.

    One day turn around off an Epson professional wide format printer.
    Uhooru and bgelfand like this.
  13. I still use and love my Canon Pro 9000 for serious prints and a Pixma 3000 for general photo printing (eg family handouts etc). After all these years, both work perfectly - of course now that I’ve posted this, one will probably break :)

    If & when either fails, I’ll immediately replace it with the current Canon equivalent.
  14. Like Brad (see above), I use Costco to print my color images. Costco profiles their printers and publishes the profiles. I convert to the printer profile, upload, and set the order to "Do Not Autocorrect". 8x10 prints are about $1.75.

    For documents I have a Brother monochrome laser printer. No inks to dry out, no print heads to clog, and the price of toner cartridges is "reasonable".
  15. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    The nice attribute about some Costco's is, as bgelfand states, you can use custom profiles and a fully color managed path. See:
    Digital photo lab profiles
    Now I can do the same with my desktop Epson's, but not to the size offered by Costco (I've only got a 3880 and P800).
    The ability to use any RGB working space and a custom profile while selecting a rendering intent per image, and output specific edits is a 'feature' too few labs provide but Costco does.
  16. Canon i9900, now ? 15 years old? I had to replace one printer head but it chugs along. A metallic drag noise that I though was a death knell has stopped. When it leaves this world, I will probably replace it (after proper burial) with a Canon equivalent but am lured by the siren of larger prints......
    Dave Luttmann likes this.
  17. B&H has the Canon Pro-100 at $129.99 after mail-in rebate of $250, ending 28 Feb.
    B&H return policy is 30 days, customer pays shipping. This annoys me. Customers get stiffed for return shipping defective products. Then again, the $250 rebate absorbs the gamble.
    (Aside: I bought an Epson XP-15000 at BestBuy. I gave up trying to install the printer's software a month after I bought.; The store gave me a store credit for the printer's price, but I lost the $30 I gambled on the 2-year service contract. Now I have to spend the stupid $249 store credit at BestBuy. This REALLY annoys me. Lesson: run acceptance tests on whatever you buy as soon as you can.)
  18. Further on the Canon rebate via Canon dealers...
    These mail-in rebates are a bother.
    From the Canon rebate instructions at https://static.bhphotovideo.com/FrameWork/Rebates_Promos/022819_CANO67_PRINTERAPR.pdf
    Claim Checklist:
    Original Proof of Purchase 12-Digit Barcode cut from the box(es) of the eligible printer(s) and, if applicable, camera(s), leaving a hole in the box(es).
    At the risk of reciting the obvious, be sure to test the product before cutting a hole in the box and sending in the rebate paperwork, in case you need to return the product.
  19. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Bought the same printer from B&H - excellent, and nothing about the process was arduous. When I returned items (due to my order error) there was no issue. When I ordered again, several months later, they reminded me that I had a credit, which I had forgotten, and applied it to the new purchase. I have never had a negative experience with B&H down all the years, and they have a stellar reputation! I find the Canon to be an exceptional printer.
  20. I still have one of those along with Epson printers. I have 11x14 prints made with that printer on HM Photorag 308, sprayed with Moab Varnish and mounted behind UV glass. One print I have in our sunroom has been exposed to bright light, day in day out, for about 15 years...with no visible signs of fading.

    I mainly do b&w printing now, Piezography K7 Carbon pigment, that will probably outlast Selenium toned silver gel prints.

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