Am I defecting to Canon ?

Ink stained Fingers

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I recently got a Megatank G1520 printer by a friend of mine, he told me to install and activate the printer and use it for a while, he got the printer as a bargain but actually is looking for some other model with a scanner and more options. This was an opportunity to do some testing with this Megatank printer and its inks GI-51. The G1520 is just a basic printer, at the lowest end of the Canon Megatankt printers, it just prints - with 4 inks - nothing more - no scanner and other options. It uses the GI-51 inkset with 3 colors CMY and a pigment black ink. Epson offers a kind of corresponding Ecotank printer - the ET-1810, as well as printer only and with 4 inks as well. I did some tests of the GI-51 inkset, it is a pretty weak ink, no contrast and a small gamut. I'll post some details later, I just can tell everybody looking to this printer model - don't use the GI-51 inkset but directly start with the GI-53 inks of the G550 printer, it offers more contrast and gamut, and more longevity of the dye inks.

I was using an Epson Pro 7600 for a long time, a 24 inch printer - large and heavy and reliable. But plastic parts started to deteriorate after almost 20 years of its life, so had to dump it to the electrical scrap depot. I felt over time that I couldn't really go without an 24 inch printer and was looking for alternatives.

There are several low end 24" models on the market by Canon and Epson and HP, you may get more information from these German druckerchannel articles - use Google Translate if needed

https://www.druckerchannel.de/artikel.php?ID=4002&t=epson_surecolor_sc_t3100_und_sc_t5100

https://www.druckerchannel.de/artik...20_epson_surecolor_sc_t2100_hp_designjet_t230

The main competitors in Germany are Canon and Epson, both start with the T2100 or TC-20 at the 700 - 800 € range , there is a family of Epson printers in this feature range, and Canon as well offers several models. Most of the models run with ink cartridges with 4 or 5 inks, but there is as well a Canon Megatank model TC-20 and an Epson T3100X running with bottled inks - Canon with pigment inks PFI-050 and Epson with dye inks T49H. Canon is offering this model for about 750 - 800€ in Germany (prices may vary in other countries), and the PFI-050 70ml ink bottles are priced at about 65€ , a pretty high price for bottled inks; Epon is offering a T3100 with pigment inks in (rather)small cartridges for about 1100€, and a model T3100X as a Megank model with dye inks at about 25€ for 140ml bottles which is about a typical Epson price for bottled inks. But Epson raised the price for the Ecotank printer model T3100X to more than 2000€ almost doubling the price of the base model.
So I decided to get a Canon TC-20 in this pricing situation, and I directly initialized the printer with GI-53 Canon dye inks which works fine at this time. I chose dye inks since I still had some paper left from the 7600 - glossy and semiglossy, and I didn't want to go through a new test cycle with the Canon pigment inks for bronzing etc effects. Keith Cooper's positive and very detailed test report of the TC-20 helped me to choose a Canon printer at this time. So I'm suddenly a Canon user with 2 Canon printers at this time - but the G1520 will go shortly which was not a positive experience - with a weak ink and lots of noise from the printer - at startup and during printing - many minutes of the printer motor running and some klonk noises now and then. Epson printers generate much less maintenance noise - the WF-2010W virtually nothing, same for an L805, and some more noise from an ET-8550 but still much shorter than the noise from the G1520.

https://www.northlight-images.co.uk/canon-tc-20m-printer-review/

(The TC-20M is the same as the TC-20, but just with an additional A4 scanner)
 
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The Hat

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I recently got a Megatank G1520 printer by a friend of mine,
I was an Epson user for a long time, but used Lexmark and HP too, but was always troubled by one thing or another, then I got my first Canon (i865) and never looked back..:weee
 
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Ink stained Fingers

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The G1520 megatank printer by Canon is a pretty basic model, it's just a basic printer without any further options, no duplex printing. It uses a 4 color CMY dye and black pigment inkset - the GI-51 series. I was trying to run some profiles with these inks but gave up pretty soon. The media black level of regular office/copy paper comes to a L*= 45 for regular driver settings - no borderless or else. I never have seen such an elevated black level, that's not black, that's a medium dark gray, and this is visible in prints - this gray level does not create a crisp look of text prints. Doing profiles for a glossy paper with these inks is disappointing as well, the mix of CMY to black gets you down to about L*=25 which is pretty weak as well. The overall gamut is rather small, the GI-51 inks are missing saturated colors.
But there is a remedy to these weaknesses - just use the inks of the GI-53 type which run in the G550 printer.
The CMY inks deliver you a sgnificantly better gamut, and a better black level on glossy papers for photos, photo prints with the GI-53 inks look pretty good overall. The glossy photo printing does not use the black ink since the driver thinks it is a pigment ink and thus excluded from prints on glossy paper. The printer supports as well borderless printing for such photo prints.
You just need to handle the GI-53 ink with a syringe and long needles to transfer them from the GI-53 bottles to the GI-51 bottles. since all bottle heads are mecanically coded.

And what can you do for the black ink - there is a simple question for the user - do you need highlighter resistant prints with pigment inks or are prints o.k. with dye inks. There is a GI-53 dye black ink which directly gives you a much better and crispier/contrastier print, the look of text prints is visibly better, and the black level on normal paper drops from L*=45 to about 28 - 32 , variations come with different papers.

If you want to continue to print with a pigment black there are these options - the Canon GX---- office type megatank printers use pigment inks - GI-55 or GI-56, I didn't test them but another black ink - a GT51XL, a black pigment ink of an HP tank printer which was left from previous tests. I mixed this HP black with the GI-51 black with 50% each and got a much better black level around 20 which directly creates a much crispier and sharper looking print.

These are modifications to the G1520 inkset which are not really expensive for a much better printout, but these inks do not fix the other problem of this printer - the long lasting noise - it may start for minutes when you start a print job or in the middle of a print job or at the end . It get's boring and aggrevating when you wait for a printout - even a small one , and there are no driver/parameter settings to overcome that situation.

Taking all this together the G1520 would be a no-buy for me.

And yes - you could use other 3rd party inks - either in Canon compatible bottles or in larger bottles for refill, but I haven't tested any of them specifically for a Canon printer. The GI-53 inks above as Canon Chromalife inks give you the best longevity yo can get bottled and at pretty good prices. The longevity of the GI-51 inks is significantly lower than of the GI-53 inks, there is a large improvement for a rather small price increase. 3rd party inks typically perform lower than OEM inks. The Chromalife 100+ inks are only available in cartridges for the Pro200 photo printer and more expensive, and not bottled at all.
 
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The Hat

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The CMY inks deliver you a sgnificantly better gamut, and a better black level on glossy papers for photos, photo prints with the GI-53 inks look pretty good overall. The glossy photo printing does not use the black ink since the driver thinks it is a pigment ink and thus excluded from prints on glossy paper.
AS this printer like many CMY printers ain’t supposed to use pigment black on photos, I was wondering does it actually use pigment black as a highlighter, because the Pro 1 and Pro 9500 did use the MBK on photos, despite having PK and two greys..

The older Canon ip4000 that I had never used the pigment black on photos, and it was always a challenge to get it to print photos like my other CMYK + black printers.. Have times changed with these tri colour printer drivers.. ?
 

Ink stained Fingers

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I'm not familiar with Canon's current approach to control the use of black inks - pigment and dye - as a function of the drdiver and driver settings like duplex and borderless , and this for 4 color and 5 color printers. I remember that a table in the resp. maintenance manuals was listing all such options and combinations.
I only can report how the G1520 is handling that - the black ink is used when normal paper or matte paper is selected unless borderless printing is selected as well, this to prevent any pigment leftover from overspray , there are no waste pads in the printing path to absorb the overspray. The G1520 mixes CMY to print black on glossy papers, that does not generate the best black but is o.k. (with the GI-53 inks - the GI-51 inks create a weaker black which reduces the image contrast).

I got a Canon TC-20 as a successor for my old Epson Pro 7600 as a 24" printer, this is a pretty large and heavy unit, and you get by far the most printer for the money when you compare with other A3 or A2 printers like the Epson P700 or P900 or the Canon P300 or even the P1000. This printer runs with 4 colors PFI-050 which includes one black ink. I initialized the printer with dye inks instead - with the Canon GI-53 Chromalife inks of the G550. I did the first prints and profiled various roll and sheet papers; it's the glossy roll papers I want to use up with the dye inks, and not to go through test cycles which inksets would give me the least bronzing and gloss differentials.
I can compare the profile for the ET-8550 with the Epson 106 inks and the GI-53 inks on the TC-20, it is interesting to see that both printers and inks deliver almost the same gamut - within a few % of margin, there is only one difference to mention - the Epson 106 black ink has a slightly darker black level than the GI-53 black - it is something like L*=5 vs. 7.5 . And I can observe similar behaviour for a few other sheet papers profiled for both printers, all glossy papers. This just shows that the TC-20 firmware uses the black ink as well for prints on glossy paper - opposite to the G1520. The TC-20 does not print borderless so there is no risk of overspray anywhere in the print path. And the targeted users of the TC-20 - for posters and drawings - may make a difference as well to use a universal black pigmented ink suitable for both - matte and glossy papers.
And there is another question for such a printer - print quality. The printer prints with up to a 600 dpi pixel density, and I remember that I saw somewhere a droplet size of 5pl listed. I did several test prints - yes - when you look very closely you can see some low granularity in monochrome color areas - this in nose distance for short-sighted people or with a magnifier. You don't see it in normal viewing distance and normal light conditions. This noise is low and not catching attention even in a direct side by side comparison of prints with the ET-8550 - with a 1.5 pl droplet size.

The overall handling of the TC-20 is o.k., but some parameters need to be entered or confirmed via the frontpanel which can be a nuisance if the printer is not located in direct reach to the computer. This specifically is a nuisance when you swap roll papers frequently. The TC-20 creates some noise from internal activities but much less than the G1520.
The TC-20 can print as well on sheet paper up to A3 and the upper sheet feeder can hold quite a lot of sheets - in the range of 50 for normal paper. It can directly be addressed via the driver, and the roll paper can remain in place.
The ink bottles for the TC-20 inks PFI-050 come in 70 ml bottles, at a pretty steep price, so alternatives like the inks for the Canon GX-.....(small) office type printers may be considered or other 3rd party suppliers. It comes down to the question how those inks perform on glossy papers at the end. It would make the choice much easier if the user does not plan to print on glossy paper in the first place. But this is a question for about every pigment ink printer and not specific to the TC-20,
The ink containers in the TC-20 are larger than one bottle load, and there are no windows in the case to check for the ink levels. There must be some ink level sensors which display the ink status in a status window but only in 25% steps.

I overall think that the TC-20 is quite an appealing piece of printer hardware and should be included into considerations when a user plans to upgrade the paper width he is using .
 
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Ink stained Fingers

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It’s a bit unusual to use dye inks instead of the pigment ink
Yes, it is , but Epson is doing the same , the T3100 comes with pigment ink in cartridges and the T3100X as the Ecotank version of it comes with dye inks. When I look back to the prints with pigment inks on the old pro 7600 rarely any were exposed that much that pigment inks were really needed. The Pro 7600 actually could be initialized with pigment or dye inks (in cartridges). I'll see if the need for pigment inks will develop for me, I can convert to pigment inks w/o much problem if needed.
 
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