CISS printer choice

photog-art-printer

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I am glad you appreciate all the information you have gained here.. :thumbsup
Yes, I certainly do. It seems I have hit the jackpot with this site. Good cop, bad cop, and knowledgeable (unlike real cops)
and it does not have a cutter for roll paper - it's primarily a printer for sheet paper.

I'm not supporting the use of a CISS with large format printers unless they are equipped to do so by construction - you may find some larger Roland printers directly printing out of your bottles......

Let's forget these thermal transfer printers from the last millenium - some small niche products still exist today - some pocket type printers

Since you have such a hangup with a CISS - you may have a look to the Epson T3100 - this one uses 4 pigment inks - CMYK - in cartridges - the companion Ecotank version T3100x uses an Epson CISS built in - but comes with dye inks but you just can run it with the pigment inks of the orignal T3100 - or pigment inks of your choice as you very much tend to use 3rd party inks - both the T3100 and T3100x run on the same printing engine - and these printers come with a cutter and print 24".
Every pigment ink/paper combination creates its own look when printed - gloss - bronzing - gamut so it's your job to find the best combination for your plans and intentions.

You may try inks from Conecolor or precisioncolors or InkTec or China .................at your choice - and your risk.
(There are quitre some reports on this forum that users tested 3rd party inks - on Canon or Epson printers - with the essence that they turned back to OEM inks - which they tap from larger cartridges, and such inks are as well available at budget prices when you look for expired inks - so do don't need to pay $ 10 000 for OEM ink at all. )
It's all your decision judging print quality vs. pricing, you need to test and decide - you cannot rely on vendor statements like ' this ink is the best in the world - has the highest gamut - the lowest price etc'
Thank you Ink Stained Fingers… for pointing me towards the Epson T3100x.



I’ve had a quick look at the specs, and as you say … the built in CISS alternative is interesting.



It’s only a 4 ink unit. How much different does this make in real life? Is there a noticeable difference between 4 ink and 9 ink printers when used on Matt paper?



  1. Other options?
 

Ink stained Fingers

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Other options?
These are 24" printers at the upper end of the model range

https://www.northlight-images.co.uk/canon-imageprograf-pro-2000-printer-review/

https://www.northlight-images.co.uk/epson-surecolor-p7500-printer-review/

It's your choice

The acheivable gamut with 4 inks or 8 or 10 inks does not just depend on the number of inks but very much on the ink/paper combination - mainly the coating for inkjet use, and the black level is as well influenced by the paper type.
Additional colors like green or red or voilet ... increase the gamut slightly in those areas but not as much as you might expect - it can be a matter of a few % at the end - some people go for the highest possible gamut they can get. And you need an image with colors in this color range in the first place which could make a difference - lots of images just don't come with such colors at all - so there is no difference on prints. And all this implies that you use a correct icc color profile which covers these colors. Standard profiles don't , you may adjust the overall color balance via the driver but that would not let you exploit the printer capabilities. You need a profile specifically for the paper and ink combination you are using.

What is the difference between colors printed with or w/o light colors - the light or photo magenta and cyan inks.

All colors are dithered, and individual drops of darker more saturated colors - magenta and cyan - are slightly more visible than than drops with the light inks - areas with a uniform color have a slightly coarser - grainier look than the same color printed with light inks - that's effects at a close viewing distance which are not typical with larger formats as you are planning them.

So yes - there are differences between prints of the low or high end printers - they can be explained technically - besides other differences like printing speed as a matter of available nozzles per color etc.
But you need to decide at the end whether that's all good (enough) for you or which property you cannot give up.

InkTec inks should be available across Europe, other suppliers like octoink.co.uk or octopus-office.de would ship within Europe or other companies in other countries but these are not specific recommendations. Inks are not alike, and matte papers are not alike either - it's the combination which gives you a good gamut and good black level or not.
Be aware that there are 2 types of pigment black inks - one for use on glossy papers and the other for matte papers, you can print with the glossy black on both paper types but may get a black level not as deep as with the matte black ink on matte papers - the matte black ink is not usable on glossy papers - it does not adhere to the glossy surface. So using a printer with one black ink channel only could be a compromise in some cases. The higher end printers use both black inks which are selected via the driver.

And there is a another limitation with 4 color printers - they are less capable to deliver neutral prints from darker to lighter image areas - printers with additional gray inks deliver better results for B/W printing.
 

photog-art-printer

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Yes, I certainly do. It seems I have hit the jackpot with this site. Good cop, bad cop, and knowledgeable (unlike real cops)

Thank you Ink Stained Fingers… for pointing me towards the Epson T3100x.



I’ve had a quick look at the specs, and as you say … the built in CISS alternative is interesting.



It’s only a 4 ink unit. How much different does this make in real life? Is there a noticeable difference between 4 ink and 9 ink printers when used on Matt paper?



  1. Other options?
Add: Epson T3100x … reading about this printer. Specs indicate ‚line art and drawings‚ (rather than photos).
Is this because it uses only 4 inks?
These are 24" printers at the upper end of the model range

https://www.northlight-images.co.uk/canon-imageprograf-pro-2000-printer-review/

https://www.northlight-images.co.uk/epson-surecolor-p7500-printer-review/

It's your choice

The acheivable gamut with 4 inks or 8 or 10 inks does not just depend on the number of inks but very much on the ink/paper combination - mainly the coating for inkjet use, and the black level is as well influenced by the paper type.
Additional colors like green or red or voilet ... increase the gamut slightly in those areas but not as much as you might expect - it can be a matter of a few % at the end - some people go for the highest possible gamut they can get. And you need an image with colors in this color range in the first place which could make a difference - lots of images just don't come with such colors at all - so there is no difference on prints. And all this implies that you use a correct icc color profile which covers these colors. Standard profiles don't , you may adjust the overall color balance via the driver but that would not let you exploit the printer capabilities. You need a profile specifically for the paper and ink combination you are using.

What is the difference between colors printed with or w/o light colors - the light or photo magenta and cyan inks.

All colors are dithered, and individual drops of darker more saturated colors - magenta and cyan - are slightly more visible than than drops with the light inks - areas with a uniform color have a slightly coarser - grainier look than the same color printed with light inks - that's effects at a close viewing distance which are not typical with larger formats as you are planning them.

So yes - there are differences between prints of the low or high end printers - they can be explained technically - besides other differences like printing speed as a matter of available nozzles per color etc.
But you need to decide at the end whether that's all good (enough) for you or which property you cannot give up.

InkTec inks should be available across Europe, other suppliers like octoink.co.uk or octopus-office.de would ship within Europe or other companies in other countries but these are not specific recommendations. Inks are not alike, and matte papers are not alike either - it's the combination which gives you a good gamut and good black level or not.
Be aware that there are 2 types of pigment black inks - one for use on glossy papers and the other for matte papers, you can print with the glossy black on both paper types but may get a black level not as deep as with the matte black ink on matte papers - the matte black ink is not usable on glossy papers - it does not adhere to the glossy surface. So using a printer with one black ink channel only could be a compromise in some cases. The higher end printers use both black inks which are selected via the driver.

And there is a another limitation with 4 color printers - they are less capable to deliver neutral prints from darker to lighter image areas - printers with additional gray inks deliver better results for B/W printing.
Thank you Ink Stained Fingers,



Initial research indicates:

Epson t3100x is interesting because of the easy refill design. Price 2400 Euro



t3100 (no x): Epson seem to be saying …. “If you don’t buy our cartridges, you pay 1000 more, up front “.

This is understandable.

Is there a way to buy the cheaper printer and add a CISS?

It’s probably not worth the fight of trying to get it to work.



I’ve also seen something called a t2100.

This is also a 4 ink printer and also 24” (cartridges only).



None of the advertising talks about photos.







17” printer?

How about if I reduce my print size to 17”x24”?

Is there a printer that has (what we are calling) a ‘built in CISS’ or bulk ink tank?





Photo prints - 4 ink

If the difference is only a percentage point or two, dealing with 3, instead of 9 inks makes life easier.





RE: ‘you need an image with colors in this color range in the first place which could make a difference - lots of images just don't come with such colors at all - so there is no difference on prints’



Interesting: I’m guessing most of my best shots probably don’t have the gamut required for incredible printing.

The good ones were all scanned on a (another $10,000) Kodak scanner producing 18 megapixels maximum.

This is full frame and uncropped.

The cropped size is often 4 megs, enlarged with software, so lacking in everything) except content … the most important bit.



Therefore, it seems, the junk 4 ink printer is suitable for my purpose.

  • But I’m interested to read your additional comments (if there are any).
As far as I understand things, based on your expertise, it seems all the bells and whistles only work if the original photograph has full gamut, and is basically technically perfect.

Mine are not.

The best pictures are all about unique content.

Therefore, it seems to me, most printers will produce similar results.



To summarize:

The Epson t3100x is the best choice for me (if I wish to make 23 inch prints).



Question:

If I downgrade to 17” prints, is there a lower priced printer with the easy refill option (same system as Epson t3100x)?



I’m happy to keep you busy today, and hope you are enjoying answering ;-)
 

Ink stained Fingers

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Line art - drawings - the printer driver does not know if the pixels it is processing belong to the drawing or a photo - the precision of the dot placement should be at least equivalent - that's a markerting attempt to separate printers into different functional - and pricing classes. But there is a difference between photos and drawings - the ink consumption. There is as well a comparable low cost HP 24" printer - ( I don't know the model number) running with dye inks, that one is advertised for use to print sales posters - the dye inks don't last very long - but a sales action would be over after a week or month anyway. So what - it's the weak ink limiting the use , and not the capability of the printer hardware. Marketing statements are fine but more interesting are those details which are ommitted....

But again - I strongly recommend that you try to get test prints - via a dealer or Epson - we can discuss and explain a lot - but the look at the end makes the difference and should help you to decide - do not just go by the datasheets.

17" wide printers are the Epson SC-P900 or Canon Prograph 1000, but these are not recommended for a CISS installation , even refill may create some obstacles - cartridge chips vs. firmware. There is a tricky hardware work around for the P900 - a cheat board for the cartridge chips.

I'm not aware of 17" Ecotank printers

The image gamut does not relate to the size of the image file - there are some image types with highly saturated colors - flowers - cosmetics/fashion - some birds - but such images need to be processed in a wider color space like AdobeRGB from the beginning - starting at the RAW file.

The Epson t3100x is the best choice for me
I don't know - we are discussing options - you decide


P.S. It's the HP Designjet T230

but this runs with slightly larger droplets - 5pl - which would increase the granular look
 
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The Hat

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I’ll add a few inputs.. your head does seem to be screwed on properly even if I didn’t reckon so originally, my apology’s.. :hide
How about if I reduce my print size to 17”x24”?

Is there a printer that has (what we are calling) a ‘built in CISS’ or bulk ink tank?
As mentioned by @Ink stained Fingers the Canon 1000 is a great all-rounder when it comes to 17” width, but it only does sheets not rolls, and can be easily refilled with 3rd party inks, it has its own built-in CISS and the carts are quite big, so no need to be refilling all the time.. Is worth a look at..
As far as I understand things, based on your expertise, it seems all the bells and whistles only work if the original photograph has full gamut, and is basically technically perfect. Therefore, it seems, the junk 4 ink printer is suitable for my purpose.
I reckon the 4 colour printers work just as well as the multi cartridge printer, while standing back at 3 feet, so the bells and whistles are a litttle bit pointless..
Is there a way to buy the cheaper printer and add a CISS?
It’s probably not worth the fight of trying to get it to work.
Adding a CISS to any printer is not an easy task, (Thankless more like it) then you have the added problem of maintaining it, you’ll spend as much time fiddling with the installation than you will printing, that are high maintenance no matter which way you look at it, the factory built-in ones are quite a lot better..
 

Ink stained Fingers

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All these printers have stationary cartridges and a tubing system to feed the inks to the printhead - like a kind of internal CISS ; it creates problems to add a second external CISS, the inks are fed with very small pressure differences which are affected by additional tubing, different height of the ink level etc. You may get ink flow problems - e.g. that the nozzle check is o.k. - no ink passage is blocked but not wide enough to feed enough ink if you print solid colors, so it is a tricky situation. It is somewhat easier with smaller desktop printers but that's not our subject here.

The Epson P900 has a roll paper option but no paper cutter, the Epson high end 17" printer is the P5000 but most likely beyond your interest at around 4000€

We haven't discussed printing speed - it is obvious that an entry level printer does not work as fast as a high end printer with many more nozzles - but don't compare Epson and Canon - Canon runs additional nozzle rows for each different droplet size - Epson controls this via the piezo actuators.
 

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I’ll add a few inputs.. your head does seem to be screwed on properly even if I didn’t reckon so originally, my apology’s.. :hide

As mentioned by @Ink stained Fingers the Canon 1000 is a great all-rounder when it comes to 17” width, but it only does sheets not rolls, and can be easily refilled with 3rd party inks, it has its own built-in CISS and the carts are quite big, so no need to be refilling all the time.. Is worth a look at..

I reckon the 4 colour printers work just as well as the multi cartridge printer, while standing back at 3 feet, so the bells and whistles are a litttle bit pointless..

Adding a CISS to any printer is not an easy task, (Thankless more like it) then you have the added problem of maintaining it, you’ll spend as much time fiddling with the installation than you will printing, that are high maintenance no matter which way you look at it, the factory built-in ones are quite a lot better..
Mr Hat:
RE: “your head does seem to be screwed on properly even if I didn’t reckon so originally”



Now you are making me blush. It’s the first nice comment I have received since … ?

(Maybe the only one).







Here’s some math to dazzle you - (and don’t ask me how I arrived at the result as I have no idea).



Basically …. It seems the cost of printing 10,000 photos, and buying original ink Epson ink cartridges is $100,000



Can it be true?

Maybe I’ve made a mistake (probably).



—-

Method of calculation:

60ml of ink covers 1.6 meters of paper (according to rough internet search).



Therefore… 1 m2 requires about 40ml of ink (very roughly).



4 of my prints equal about 1m2 of printed paper.



That means 10,000 prints = 2500m2 of printed surface. (It’s important to buy a new printer ….. as the warranty will be used and abused $.



Epson sell the ink (for the t3100) for at least $50 (50 Euro) per 50ml



Shock.

Ink required to cover 2500m2 (10,000 prints roughly 60x40cm) = 100,000ml

(That’s 100 liters).



100,000ml @ $1 per ml = $100,000



Did I make a mistake?





Your tip about the Canon 1000 is interesting. If refilling the printer is easy (12 inks), that looks ideal.



Because I will be using rolls of paper, I’ll need to cut this to size manually (10,000!).

The printer costs only 1000 Euro.



I’ll research the bulk ink filling situation soon.



Good solution. Thank you.



—-



Regarding 4 colour versus 9 or 12 colours:



Informative, thank you.

Makes sense that the printer just processes the data.

Until today, I had presumed a photo printer is somehow different.

Armed with your knowledge, I’m in a better position to choose.



—-



Also, I would like to point out my misunderstanding of the term ‘Dye Sublimination’. Apparently it means something different.

In 1990 when I was busy with such things, ‘Dye Sub’ meant buying rolls of RGB plastic that was basically melted onto a sheet of paper



—-



RE: “processed in a wider color space like AdobeRGB from the beginning - starting at the RAW file. “



Yes, understand. Current material all shot in RAW and saved as AdobeRGB. Unfortunately, long ago, when the good shots were taken, I’m sure RAW didn’t exist.

In fact, for historical purposes …. I believe the Kodak scanner used to take about 20 minutes to scan a 6mp file.



Note: Computer speed (Mac Quadra) was 25mhz (Yes, really).

The largest hard drive at that time (1990) was 400mb (Megabytes not Gigabytes).



This translates to roughly 16 RAW files per hard drive (had they existed).
 

Ink stained Fingers

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The cropped size is often 4 megs, enlarged with software, so lacking in everything) except content … the most important bit.
It is pretty important to prepare image files for print - this could be some noise suppression - sharpness enhancement - color adjustments etc

You may study Keith's guidelines here

https://www.northlight-images.co.uk/printing-low-megapixel-images/

with links to Youtube videos.

I just recently visited a new office building which has several large format - 2 x 3 meters - prints in the ailses - printed on fabric - framed with LED rails, I'm told that the prints run at 7000€ - each - with a print quality very poor - a pretty noisy image to start with - no good contrast balance across the print - a pretty pixelated print - the printshop apparently wanted to get the prints done as quickly as possible - and some more preprint processing issues. But the supplier of those prints just gets away with that poor quality since nobody is complaining. But if you would do all that to the best you can get great prints from old image files.
 
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Ink stained Fingers

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I measured an ink consumption of about 0.8 ml to 1.2 ml for an A4 borderless photo print - that makes 12.8 to 19.2 ml per m2, but that depends very much on the overall ink coverage of your photos. That makes half or less of your assumptions.

Printing all that volume with a Canon printer will require a few additional spare printheads and waste ink containers in your calculations regardless of the inks you are going to use.

You can use the Epson 113 pigment inks - Ecotank ink at 15€ or less per bottle - 60-70ml, that's Durabrite like Epson ink as used in the T3100 cartridges - or even at a lower price as you are planning to use 3rd party inks.
 
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photog-art-printer

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I measured an ink consumption of about 0.8 ml to 1.2 ml for an A4 borderless photo print - that makes 12.8 to 19.2 ml per m2, but that depends very much on the overall ink coverage of your photos. That makes half or less of your assumptions.

Printing all that volume with a Canon printer will require a few additional spare printheads and waste ink containers in your calculations regardless of the inks you are going to use.

You can use the Epson 113 pigment inks - Ecotank ink at 15€ or less per bottle - 60-70ml, that's Durabrite like Epson ink as used in the T3100 cartridges - or even at a lower price as you are planning to use 3rd party inks.
Ink stained Fingers,

There used to be a girl at my school called Fishy Fingers.



RE: “prepare image files for print - this could be some noise suppression - sharpness enhancement - color adjustments”



Yes, I’m familiar with the basics. In fact, I believe my copy of Photoshop may have been the first to be sold in America. $1500 cash …

I’ve used it so much, I’m bored with it. The only thing that keeps me using it is automating tasks.

Most of the 4mp files have been enlarged to about 30mp. A bit soft, but still published daily.

But …. I will visit the page about ‘printing low res images’.

My take on this problem is generally to make them bigger and see what happens … rather than letting the printer try and do it.



RE: “7000€ - each - with a print quality very poor - a pretty noisy image to start with - no good contrast balance across the print - a pretty pixelated print”



Well, yesterday I was inside. Bookstore and it seemed to me, one of the walls was covered with a terrible photo of a church outside the shop… that could have easily be taken properly. The image on the wall was probably shot on a 3mp camera …. and nobody cares. Each pixel measured about 3 inches.



At one time, my opinion was … the blurry photos are more desirable (to Photo Editors).



RE: “supplier of those prints just gets away with that poor quality since nobody is complaining.”



Yes. The main point is nobody seems to complain about image quality these days.

I’ve tried it a few times … the answer is generally … “Nobody else has complained “ … and therefore … I know nothing.



This is probably the main reason people need to buy their own printer.



RE: “you can get great prints from old image files.”



Let’s say …. Interesting prints. They will never be great from a technical point of view, but as I’ve said, it’s generally either content or technical. Bit tricky to get both, but not impossible.



RE: “nk consumption of about 0.8 ml to 1.2 ml for an A4 borderless photo print - that makes 12.8 to 19.2 ml per m2, but that depends very much on the overall ink coverage of your photos. That makes half or less of your assumptions.”



Thanks for taking the time to do that. Good to hear the ink bill will be only $50,000 if I purchase cartridges.

The milliliter measurement wasn’t my own.

It was taken from a couple of web sites discussing that subject … ink per square foot … or whatever.

As with most things on the internet, inaccurate.



RE: “Printing all that volume with a Canon printer will require a few additional spare printheads”



Yes, but a better plan may be to keep replacing it for a new unit each time it breaks. It’s time for the manufacturers to stop making disposable products.



RE: “You can use the Epson 113 pigment inks - Ecotank ink at 15€ or less per bottle - 60-70ml, that's Durabrite like Epson ink as used in the T3100 cartridges@



Great. I’ll look closely at the options when I’m ready to start. The fact that the Epson 113 is genuine removes the possibility of ink that doesn’t live up to its expectations.
 

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