[alt-photo] Re: Recommendations for Replacement Printer? Input Needed!

dhbloomfield dhbloomfield at bellsouth.net
Mon Sep 26 04:09:04 GMT 2011

Hi Francesco,

I think you'll probably get a myriad of responses here-- but here's a short 
version of what I went through recently.  I had a 3800 which I'd had for years. 
and it never gave me a problem-- until a few months ago (clogged magenta and one 
of the black inks).  I took the printer to a nearby place that works on Epson. 
Though they promised me a repair  within 2 days, that didn't happen.  Seem like 
they worked on it forever.  Meanwhile, I bought a 3880-- brand new, from B&H. 
 It arrived, and didn't work at all-- I mean, no lights-- no nothing.  I called 
Epson support. He asked me to do a bunch of stuff with it, while he stayed on 
the phone-- and, in the end, he suggested it was "probably DOA" (which I told 
him from the get-go).  He suggested I simply return it, and order a new one.  So 
I returned it, but I didn't order another.

Both the guy at Epson (and at the local repair shop) suggested that if I liked 
the 3800 (which I do), that I should buy a refurbished one.  They each, 
independently, said that that's all they ever buy, simply because they know that 
the refurbished ones are carefully looked over and rebuilt.  So at a reduced 
price, you get what is, essentially, a new printer-- not a current version of 
whatever they're now making, of course, but the 3800 does everything I need.

So . . . I bought a refurbished 3800 straight from Epson.  The cost was not bad 
at all, considering you also get a full set of inks. A week later, the local 
repair shop basically rebuilt the 3800 for me, for about $475.  So I now have 2 
working 3800's.  I think they're great printers, especially for digital 
negatives. I don't mind having  one as a back-up--  though I am happy to sell 
you one of them. :)

So that's my story.  I'd go with a refurbished Epson 3800.  I question Epson's 
current quality control if one of their new printers/versions arrives in a 
pristine box, completely dead. I have seen Canon printers in action, and I'm 
very impressed with them.  The reason I don't go that route is - still, at this 
point- Epson seems to be at the center of everything.  At this point, to buy 
another brand, seems like inviting trouble-- too much swimming against the 
tide-- and that's just tiring after a while. That's my 2 cents.

From: Francesco Fragomeni <fdfragomeni at gmail.com>
To: The alternative photographic processes mailing list 
<alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org>
Sent: Sun, September 25, 2011 2:56:01 PM
Subject: [alt-photo] Recommendations for Replacement Printer? Input Needed!

Hi all,

I need your help here. I have an Epson 4800 that I've had for about a year
and a half. I HATE the thing. It gets persistent nozzle clogs no matter what
I do which cause such a waste of ink in getting rid of them. I've read
everything on the net about preventing such clogs and I've found no
solution. I bought it used and part of me thinks something has been wrong
with it all along even though there's never been any problem with prints it
produces. At this point, the thing has a moist sponge inside the paper tray
to raise the humidity. This is supposed to help keep the nozzles from
clogging in dry climates (I live in Phoenix). In addition to the sponge, the
whole printer is kept wrapped in plastic to prevent the escape of moisture
from the sponge. This has made a slight improvement to the frequency of the
clogs. What seemed to work for a while along with the sponge and plastic was
to simply print off a  full color pallet maintenance print each morning which
I do like clockwork. The maintenance print allows the printer to go through
every color and doesn't waste anywhere near as much ink as running a nozzle
check every day which is what the Epson rep I spoke to said to do. This
appeared to be working for about a month. No clogs! You can imagine how
happy I've been. Well yesterday, for seemingly no reason (no drop in
humidity and no skipping of the maintenance prints) the thing clogged as if
it hadn't been used in a year. I'm talking a serious clog. I'm currently
still trying to get it unclogged and I've already wasted probably half of my
newly bought ink. I have the print heads sitting on a Windex soaked towel at
the moment (the ammonia is supposed to release clogs) and its been there for
12 hours and still clogged. Anyway, I'll keep plugging away at it.

Anyway, I've had it with this thing. I'm going to replace it  but need some
help figuring out what I should go with. I've realized that I don't really
need the size of the 4800 and I think I would be more then happy with the
3880 or similar size printer. I thought about the 4900 but the price is high
and like I said, I don't think I need the size. I've found conflicting
reports all over the internet regarding the 3880's predisposition to clogs
and other problems. I've also heard reports that some Epson printers are
more prone then others to the problem of "venetian blinds". I asked the
Epson rep about this and the guy had the gall to acknowledge that one of the
printer models is especially prone to this but refused to tell me which one.

I need some guidance here. I'm trying to figure out if I should get another
Epson or change brands. Epson is pretty undeniably the standard but I'm
hesitant to get another because of this year and a half long bad experience
and waste of  thousands in ink. If i could confirm that the output and
rendering of a Canon or some other system would match or surpass the Epson
systems without the incessant clogging I would have no problem looking at
another brand. My needs vary but over all 17x20 is probably all I need but
it would be nice to have the option to go larger (which is why I got the
4800). I vary rarely ever print anything in color so its rendering of B&W/
greyscale is much more important to me. I use the printer to print paper
inter-negatives which I then print in the darkroom. Also I use the printer
to print inter-positives on high quality paper like Museo which I then use
in the darkroom as part of a copy print process. My primary concern is the
highest quality print rendering, everything else comes second. Hope that
clarifies things.

I'm basically stuck between the Epson 3880 and the Canon Pro9500 Mark II.
The Canon has a smaller max  paper size but it uses smaller ink cartridges
which purportedly keeps the ink from settling and clogging. I've not heard
any reports of clogs with the Canon. I've seen a report that the blacks are
not as rich on the Canon. Both printers hold photo and matte black inks at
the same time but the Epson purges more ink when switching between the two.
The Epson uses larger $80 ink cartridges but it has a larger max paper size.
I've head conflicting reviews about the Epson's propensity to clog. I don't
print everyday but I have no problem running a maintenance print through the
printer every day to keep things flowing as long as it actually does keep
things clog free unlike with my 4800.

If anyone could offer insight it would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

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