Better dye inks for Epson L1800

prezzz

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Hello everyone,

I'm planning to buy a couple of L1800's so I can print some custom A3 posters for clients of my small online stores. Those will be rather inexpensive products so lowering the costs matters to me.

At the same time I'd like to get the most from the printer. I read a lot about the stock inks - that their color reproduction is not fantastic and most of all that they tend to fade quicker than many other dye inks.

I wonder if it's possible to use some slightly better and more expensive inks for better results? Like inks made for printers like Epson D700 that seen to be more professional grade and conveniently come in 6 colors. Would they work fine with the L1800? Had anyone tried such combination with good results?

If not, are there any other inks worth considering? Preferably available in Europe.

Thanks,
Prez
 

Ubuki

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their color reproduction is not fantastic
I wonder who says that, they were maybe using the very simplistic OEM driver. I disagree.

I'm using the Gutenprint driver and my own color profiles. I've been able to tweak my workflow to great results with T673 ink using the ink density and gray component transition settings. I can also access more resolutions than with the standard driver to get the best balance of resolution and speed.

I don't think you can get much better dye inks, you'll probably void your warranty to little gain. For durability you should consider pigment inks. I'll leave any suggestions to more experienced forum members.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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I read a lot about the stock inks - that their color reproduction is not fantastic and most of all that they tend to fade quicker than many other dye inks.
I'm not very clear about your requirements so let me respond to a few items to refer to.

The color reproduction depends much more on the type of paper you are using than on the ink, if you use non-Epson 3rd party papers to need to get you own icm color profiles for the best color reproduction for your particular ink/paper combination . I have tested lots of inks inlcuding the inks of the L1800 and the D700/800 and others like those for the Fujifilm DX100 printers etc, there is not much of a difference in gamut of all these inks as long as you use the same paper, but there are wide variations on different papers.

You read a lot about stock inks - I cannot comment on those anonymous sources, I'm not aware of many reliable sources in this respect.

I have actually tested the fading of dye inks over several years in comparative tests, Epson inks, D700 inks, Fuijilm inks and lots of 3rd party inks from China, Korea or local dealers.
There are the geniune Epson Claria inks or Canon Chromalife inks which are by far the best in regards to fading but these inks are not available as bottled inks for refill into your printer of choice, those companies want you to pay a premium price for these inks.
A test in a computer magazine about 2 years ago revealed that the inks of the Epson ET7700 perform as good as the Claria inks running in that same test - the first and only Epson Claria like ink available in bottles. I have done several tests comparing these Epson 106 inks against the Ultrachrome D6 inks (for the D700) or the Fujifilm inks, this is a small group of inks which performs somewhat similar in regards to fading - UV/ozone. The original inks of the L1800 (673) are visibly weaker in this respect, and other Epson inks for the ET printer series - 664- 102 - are even worse in this respect and should not be used if long term stability is of concern. And there are lots of 3rd party inks which are even worse, you can watch some inks fading from one day to another.
So the Epson 106 inks are the best in the group of dye inks, I'm using them in a L805 and L1800 - with a dilutant for the LM and LC colors.

You don't mention the type of paper(s) you are planning to use for these prints , you may consider to use pigment inks instead for an even better long term stabilitiy in another printer like the Epson P600 or P400, or you may run pigment inks in the L1800 if you stick with one type of paper and black ink - matte or glossy.

So I would advise strongly in your case to get icm color profiles made for your ink/paper combination(s) regardless of the ink type, and I would recommend to include pigment inks as well into your considerations to select a suitable printer model or more.
 

prezzz

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Thank you so much for your thorough answers. Honestly I did not expect this kind of detailed replies!

Since a lot of those images will be sold framed or clip framed, I am thinking of using semi-gloss photo papers like Ilford Studio Pearl or of similar quality and price range. Once I decide on a specific combination of paper and ink, I won't have any need to switch them. All in all, I would be thrilled if I could go just under $2 per A3 print for paper and ink altogether, that would fit the price point of the things I'll be selling.

I'm definitely going to either order a custom ICM profile once I have everything in place. Since I already use L series printer for another purpose (dye sublimation), I might actually invest in Colormunki Photo just to be able to re-generate the profile with every new batch of ink that comes in.

I didn't think much of pigment inks solely for the reason I was worried about the longevity of the printhead itself. But if that's not a real issue compared to dye inks, I'll definitely consider those. Are there any particular pigment inks that are considered to have the best cost-to-quality ratio?

And lastly, about the Epson 106 inks, if I decide to go this way. What would you recommend to use as a dilutant for those inks and what would be the recommended ink-to-dilutant ratio in such case?

Once again, huge thanks for your help. As I found out, a lot of what I learned about L1800 in particular was just hearsay. There's not that much solid information floating around - or maybe I was just unable to find it.

Thanks,
Prez
 

Ink stained Fingers

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It's not clear where you are located, I'm using this rinse solution as a dilutant for C and M - 1part ink + 2 parts dil.
www.octopus-office.de/shop/en/printer-ink/nozzle-cleaner-cartridge-cleaner/4250/cleaner-rsl-rinse-solution-for-the-inside-of-printer-cartridges
There are other companies offering something like a 'Clear ink' or similar which would do the same job.

You refer to an Ilford Studio Pearl, I'm not familiar with this particular paper, I did tests of various types of similar papers in combination with 3rd party pigment inks. There are wide variations between papers which all are called 'Pearl' or semiglossy or silk or satin, I don't like all of them , some too glossy for me, some look great but that's just personal preference. I would recommend you to test such papers of various suppliers like Hahnemühle, Tecco, Fotospeed and many more, and you'll find papers which match your price/performance expectations. And please be aware that not all of such papers give you a good look with pigment inks, there are effects like bronzing or gloss differentials barely visible with some ink/paper combinations and rather bad with others.
I would tend to recommend you to print your posters with pigment inks for better durability, and if A3 is the format of choice you have just a few printer models to choose from - the Canon Pro10s or the Epson P400 both with a chroma/gloss optimizer as a clear ink. There is an Epson P600 as well, without that gloss optimizer. If you go for 3rd party supplies I rather would choose a printer with GO, the Epson P600 delivers you great prints w/o GO as long as you are using genuine Epson inks and papers.
Pigment inks don't do any harm to the printhead , there are a range of other reasons and effects which can affect print output - print frequency, refill handling and many more.
I don't think you would need to re-profile any new batch, and the ColorMunki may not deliver enough accuracy for such process. It's different if you do contract printing and would need to use a print cerfification process like FOGRA.
http://precisioncolors.com/ could be a supplier for pigment inks both for Epson or Canon, but other forum members would be able to name more ink suppliers to you.
 

prezzz

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I'm located in Wroclaw (Breslau), Poland so getting that cleaner solution wouldn't be a problem. It might even be a nice extended weekend trip to Dresden if the seller has an actual brick and mortar store!

All in all though, you may be right about going with pigment inks being a better way. And it seems there might be even a way to lower the running costs by using self-resetting refillable cartridges along with P400, as long as I could find a supplier of bottled pigment inks (including those specific orange and red ones). That should be doable I guess?

Thank you so much for being so helpful!

Thanks,
Prez
 

Ink stained Fingers

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You may check at farbenwerk.com for P400 inks, Farbenwerk is a supplier of premium inks and papers, or you may
check with Falter in your country //www.falter.eu/en/ for inks and papers as well. I think there are plenty other sources.
I did as well some tests with the P400 with other pigment inks like those for the Epson P800 or emptied cartridges from the P5000 and mixed red and orange from yellow and magenta - red=1 part yellow and 2 parts magenta and orange as 1 part magenta and 2 parts yellow. I'm doing my own profiles with the i1Profiler package so slight deviations of the mix ratios get compensated. You see - there are plenty of options - inks and papers and combinations to be tested .
 

prezzz

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You made my day, you made my weekend, you saved me a lot of hassle trying to research a lot of this stuff on my own. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much!

Best,
Prez
 

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