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anyone of you have a large format printer at home? say the canon pro9500 or epson 3800/3880 series?
wondering if its an overkill? Smile
I recently graduated from Epson R1900 to Epson 3880. The color on R1900 is great I think and is an overkill for my skill level (you can check me out on Flickr - google photophile2008). However, I have been increasingly printing BW and I was not happy with the tonal quality of my BW prints. I also was not happy with the printer's ability to produce neutral black. A judge in a competition also raked me over coals for the quality of my BW prints. Admittedly, some of it has to do with my skill level, but some of it is also hardware. My only reservation about 3880 is the limited range of ICC profiles. This is however only temporary- it is a new printer and most major manufacturers are planning to issue the profiles. Right now, the choice is Epson, Moab and Red River. I have no experience with Red River. I had to temporarily stop using Ilford Gold Fiber Silk, which looks plastic, but which has great Dmax and large gamut. I like the look and feal of Moab papers, but the ones I used to dot match the gamut of the Ilford and so I used Ilford for demanding prints. I am quite happy with Epson Ultra Premium Luster on 3880, although the paper is thin and it has this poster-like feel. However, Dmax and gamut are good.

Overall, I am quite happy with 3880. The output is strikingly better when it comes to BW and I think that color may also be a bit smoother, although I may be just imagining things and I did not make fair same photo, same paper comparison. Gamut is supposedly wider on 3880 than 1900, but I think that paper selection is a big factor there.

I own the printer for too short a time to talk about reliability. The ability to print 17"x22" on 3880 may be good for some, but 13"x19" is costly enough, especially when you think of mats (and frames, if you do frame). My recomendation: If you print only color, R1900 is a great, reliable printer that can satisfy the needs of a fairly advanced photographer. If you need BW, consider seriously 3880. Remember, you get a lot of ink (80ml/cartridge x 9 cartridges) included. That partially offsets the higher cost of the print

Contact me if you have more questions. I am easier to reach on Flickr

I've been using a Canon i9900 for 5 years now and it is still printing like a champ.... Some members of my camera club have the canon pro9500 and there prints look even better.

I have some prints that are a full 5 years old and they still look great, I reprinted one to compare and other than a slight dulling of the gloss, tjhey are still very close in appearance.
hi Pavel.. thanks for dropping your advice.. i doubt i will be printing BW as much... the reason for considering a Epson 3880 (as compared to a Canon 9500mk2) is the ability to print A2.
So one question i like to ask is how often does one print up to A2? I know thats a very subjective question as it differs for everyone...

A canon 9500mk2 costs AUD1200 while a epson 3880 costs AUD2000.
So does the difference of AUD800 justify the need to print A2? Smile
Printing is very subjective and obviously different people have different and legitimate preferences for printers. That said, all the pros I TALKED TO here in Canada seem to prefer Epson. I never used Canon and I am not sure that I am sufficiently refined a printer to a) be able to get the most from the two printers and b) to see the difference in side by side comparison. I personally do not intend to print A2 size (17"x22"). I think that 13x19 is big enough for me and it reflects my upper limit on spending.

Personally, I would not buy a printer that vastly exceeds my skill set. I would not have gone for the 3880, if I did not feel that I can make better BW prints with 3880 than I can with 1900. I would recommend a less expensive printer like Epson 1900, which is a steal given its color capability unless you really, really need the BW. 1900 also accept rolls, so you can print big panoramas, if you must. 3880 can print taller (17") as opposed to 1900 (13"), but 1900 can print wide with roll paper, while 3880 is limited to 22".
Hi Bernard,

I have the 9500 2 and a 24 inch iPF 6100 which is wonderful. As for printing up to A2 I do a lot of it - but that is because I have wedding work requiring that. I think the 9500 2 will be more then adequate for home use.



have you used epson printers before? epson 1900 or 2880?
where's a place to get a gd deal on the 9500mk2? pra is retailing for $1295
I bought mine from PRA - I will have to check the price, but I think I got it for around $1200. I also bought the big printer from them when Canon had the rebates on.

I refuse to use Epson printers because of the heads clogging up on them.

If you tell Brendan at PRA that you shoot for me sometimes and I said that he would look after you he might give you a better price.


wondering what kind of papers do you guys print 4R (6"x4") if you own a large printer like the canon 9500mk2 or epson 2880/3880?

or you print using A4 sheets and cut it?

I print on 6x4, generic stuff from Office Depot, works fine. I pay more and use better quality for larger papers. I prefer ilford Paper.
EnglishBob Wrote:I print on 6x4, generic stuff from Office Depot, works fine. I pay more and use better quality for larger papers. I prefer ilford Paper.
noted! thanks...
do u guys calibrate your printers then?what do you use?

*bought myself a 9500mk2 (thanks to chris' recommendation)
I use the Spyder2 Pro to Calibrate teh monitor, it also comes with software to create printer profiles, usually paper specific.
I just download the ICC profiles which all or most paper manufacturers have for most or all printers. The profiles assume the use of the original printer's ink (Epson printer - Epson ink). Creating a good ICC profile is not that easy apparently, even if you have the right hardware and software. The ICC profiles from major paper manufacturers are quite good in my view and if you have well calibrated monitor (I follow the guru Eric Chan, who works for Adobe) you should get prints which are very, very close to what you see on the monitor, provided that you view the prints in a bright, daylight calibrated light (Recommend Solux brand). The "daylight" bulbs from your local deparment store do not have the same spectral profile as daylight. They only "average" daylight.
Good buy Bernard - buy extra of the Grey ink cartridge. It uses two to three times more of that then any other cartridge.
Just wondering if any large format users have worked out the approximate costs per print? Just wondering how the value proposition is holding up...
Calculated cost of printing for Epson R1900, Epson 3880 and compared to Walmart note Canadian dollars ( 1$ Can =about .96 US $)

Cost of ink and paper
Cost of ink for Epson R1900
1) Epson cartridge assumed $ 17 (better prices can be had in Vistek in store – these are web prices )
2) According to the Red River website, Epson R 1900 uses on average 0.000625 cartridge/inch2
Calculated Cost/in2 = $ 17 x 0.000625 = $ 0.011/inch2
Cost of ink for 2 paper sizes
13x19 = 247 inch2
8.5 x 11 = 94 inch2
Cost of ink/paper = Cost/in2 x inch2
13 x 19 - $ 2.72
8.5 x 11 - $ 1.03
Cost of Paper
Ilford Gold Fiber Silk:
13x19 ($150/50 in Vistek) = $3/sheet
8.5x11 ($ 50/50) = $ 1/sheet
Moab Entrada Bright 190:
13x 19 $ 80/25 = $ 3.20/sheet
8.5 x 11 $34/25 = $ 1.40/sheet
Cost per print (ink + paper)
Assume cost per print: $6/13x19
Assume cost per print: $2.50/8x10
Cost per print - Walmart
$3/ 8x12 or 8x10

Remember - take into account the cost of the printer

Addition !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Costs on Epson 3800.
According to ark D. Segal www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/printers/3800-costs.shtml, Epson 3800 uses 0.012 ml of pigment/sq.in while printing on Ilford Gold Fibre Silk, and the rest on Epson Premium Luster Photo Paper (luster papers). In addition, about 20% is "wasted", so the actual use is about 0.0145 ml of pigment/sq.in. current price of the 80 ml cartridge is $ 67. This translates into cost of $ 0.0121/ sq. in or $ 3/ 13x19 in print.
Excellent thread this. Pavel, you're a genius.
I now have some experience with Epson 3880. I have nothing but praise for it. Instantly, I became a better photographer (Big GrinBig GrinBig GrinBig GrinBig Grin). No truly, the BW remind me of my darkroom days. They come out deep, rich, neutral (if you wish) and with fine shadow detail. Tonal transitions can be very smooth, if you wish. Color may be a bit better too. My sense is a bit more smoothness, but I may be kidding myself. Setting the printer up was uneventful and it has been working fine ever since. I now use Epson paper. I find them a relatively good value, especially on sale (thanks Dennis) and I like the deep colors and wide gamut. I am even beginning to appreciate Luster surface and the thinness no longer bothers me. Overall, if you print a fair bit and if you produce reasonably good quality images on the monitor and wish to achieve decent (but of course less bright) prints, 3880 may be for you. (and of course you can afford the $1500 you need to shell out in Canada in C$)