Epson ET 8550 Performance as a Photo Printer

glasseye

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I've had an L805 running Epson inks for about five years and I'm delighted with it in nearly all respects other than the BW colour shifting issue and its maximum print size. For those reasons, I'm considering an ET 8550.

I'm a good photographer and I've used a variety of printers over the years from Epson 1160s with CIS and Epson 9800 and HP Z3200 LF printers. I print mostly colour, but I do have a substantial BW archive that I'd love to print.

My questions are these:

Will the ET 8550 perform similarly to the L805 for colour images?
Are there any workarounds for the BW colour changing issue that will work with the ET 8550?

I'll print glossy media for colour and matte for BW.

Thanks for any advice before I hit the "BUY NOW" button. :)
 

Ink stained Fingers

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Thanks for relocating your inquiry;

you are addressing a pretty complex question - the B/W performance of a dye color photo printer - there are limits which you already have identified.

The ET8550 comes with a gray ink and some software to support B/W printing via the driver - with a special B/W mode - actually a mode to print in a monochrome mode - not just neutral grays/blacks but it supports toning your prints between a cool blue and a warmer tone - but this directly implies that colored inks are still used to a degree, and the gray is a dye ink, not a light pigment ink as you have it on your large format printers. This all leads to some residual visible color tones or tints - all very much depending on the paper you actually use.

And there is a 2nd problem - the 673 inks of the L805 are not very stable in the longer term, they tend to fade typically with a trend to brownish tones, this 673 ink set is not the best choice in this respect. This would apply equally to the inks of the L1800 - another A3 printer - very similar to the L805. Better in this respect are the dye inks of the ET8550 - Claria inks 114 in Epson terminology, these inks definitely perform better than the 673 inks but cannot compensate the previously mentioned limitations. So yes - prints with the ET8550 will last longer, and the better driver support may give you better looking monochrome prints - but it is at the end your judgement if that all is good enough for you. You have capability to compare against prints with your pigment ink loaded P9800.
The ET-8550 can deliver you very good prints on almost any media and tries to deliver monochrome prints as best as it can but cannot overcome principal limitations with monochrome dye prints. Again - prints with the ET8550 are pretty good but it's your judgement if that's good enough for you .
The 114 inks of the ET-8550 are among the best in regards to longevity-ozone/UV stability , but this must be viewed together with the paper(s) you are using - papers have a significant impact on this performance.
 
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glasseye

Getting Fingers Dirty
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Thanks for relocating your inquiry;

you are addressing a pretty complex question - the B/W performance of a dye color photo printer - there are limits which you already have identified.

The ET8550 comes with a gray ink and some software to support B/W printing via the driver - with a special B/W mode - actually a mode to print in a monochrome mode - not just neutral grays/blacks but it supports toning your prints between a cool blue and a warmer tone - but this directly implies that colored inks are still used to a degree, and the gray is a dye ink, not a light pigment ink as you have it on your large format printers. This all leads to some residual visible color tones or tints - all very much depending on the paper you actually use.

And there is a 2nd problem - the 673 inks of the L805 are not very stable in the longer term, they tend to fade typically with a trend to brownish tones, this 673 ink set is not the best choice in this respect. This would apply equally to the inks of the L1800 - another A3 printer - very similar to the L805. Better in this respect are the dye inks of the ET8550 - Claria inks 114 in Epson terminology, these inks definitely perform better than the 673 inks but cannot compensate the previously mentioned limitations. So yes - prints with the ET8550 will last longer, and the better driver support may give you better looking monochrome prints - but it is at the end your judgement if that all is good enough for you. You have capability to compare against prints with your pigment ink loaded P9800.
The ET-8550 can deliver you very good prints on almost any media and tries to deliver monochrome prints as best as it can but cannot overcome principal limitations with monochrome dye prints. Again - prints with the ET8550 are pretty good but it's your judgement if that's good enough for you .
The 114 inks of the ET-8550 are among the best in regards to longevity-ozone/UV stability , but this must be viewed together with the paper(s) you are using - papers have a significant impact on this performance.
Excellent. Thanks for your detailed report. The 673 dye inks in my L805 have performed satisfactorily with regard to colour stability, even under adverse display conditions. Top notch B/W performance is secondary and I'm willing to experiment with media and adjustments to obtain good monochrome performance.

My Epson 9800 is long dead and my Z3200 presents so many operational difficulties that I'm abandoning it, too. Others seem to agree with me as, even though near-new, it has little resale value. My main interest in the ET 8550 is convenience, provided the prints look good. It's heresy, I know, but I'm tired of faffing around with clogging, failed heads and failed carts. The L805 has been the easiest-to-use, overall most satisfying printer I've owned. I just want bigger prints. :)

Thanks again for your encouraging and knowledgeable reply. I'll probably be back soon with questions.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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You should have experience with the look of pigment inks from your Pro9800, the Epson P700 would be an A3 printer with pigment inks , or the P900 as an A2 printer, I hear from serious B/W printing friends that they very much prefer pigment inks over dye inks specifically on matte papers. I cannot comment in this respect, it's all a matter of your preferences and your judgement.
 
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