Looking for advice for an art printer

Verity

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Hello!

I'm a digital artist and am looking to buy a midrange A3+ printer to print my artwork. I've tried to research this on my own and have come up with a few possible options, but I'd love to get some recommendations as well!

My art is highly detailed with lots of subtle shading. You can see it at veritysvisions . com if you need to have an idea of what it looks like.

Ideally I'd like to print on thick matte cotton paper with pigment inks. I don't plan on doing much glossy printing, but my housemate might want to do a little.

I'd like something that is refillable without too much hacking, or something like an ink tank.

3rd party inks like those at precision colors would be fine if they can perform like I need. Saving some money on ink would be wonderful, lol.

Something that isn't too huge would be nice. I have a small table that's 14 inches deep x 24w x 10h where it could sit with lots of space around it to deploy as needed, and I could put a slightly larger board on top of this table to stabilize it if needed.

I'd like something under $1k US if possible, but am willing to look at other options if they meet all my needs and concerns.

Thank you for your time!
 
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Ink stained Fingers

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The printers typically recommended for such jobs are the Canon Pro 300 or the Epson P700 as A3 printers, but you might consider to upgrade to a larger format which the Canon Pro 1000 or the Epson P900 can support.
You are offering 11 x 17 inch poster prints on thick poster board - this might limit the choice of the printers supporting poster board thickness , you should check the technical specs for the printers in this respect. I think only the Epson P900 can handle rather thick poster board . And you mention 'inexpensive dye inks' , I would not do this since this is almost a gaurantee that such print is fading pretty quickly. Use the best dye inks you can get - Epson 106 or 114 of the ET-7550 or ET-8550 printers or Canon Chromalife 100 GI-53 inks of the G550 photo printer - numbers may vary in other business regions.

You cannot swap dye vs. pigment inks quickly to make a pigment or dye ink print on the same printer.

If you are interested to go to larger sizes of your work or your prints you may hava a look to the Canon TC-20 printer - a 24 inch printer with pigment inks and roll paper - but only to a thickness of .3 mm. It is a tank sysstem printer which let you use other inks than the original PFI-050 inks, I was using in the past other Canon PFI-inks in larger cartridges but at a much lower price for expired cartrdiges. This 24" printer is in the same pricing range as the above mentioned A3 or A2 printers.
 

Verity

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The printers typically recommended for such jobs are the Canon Pro 300 or the Epson P700 as A3 printers, but you might consider to upgrade to a larger format which the Canon Pro 1000 or the Epson P900 can support.
You are offering 11 x 17 inch poster prints on thick poster board - this might limit the choice of the printers supporting poster board thickness , you should check the technical specs for the printers in this respect. I think only the Epson P900 can handle rather thick poster board . And you mention 'inexpensive dye inks' , I would not do this since this is almost a gaurantee that such print is fading pretty quickly. Use the best dye inks you can get - Epson 106 or 114 of the ET-7550 or ET-8550 printers or Canon Chromalife 100 GI-53 inks of the G550 photo printer - numbers may vary in other business regions.

You cannot swap dye vs. pigment inks quickly to make a pigment or dye ink print on the same printer.

If you are interested to go to larger sizes of your work or your prints you may hava a look to the Canon TC-20 printer - a 24 inch printer with pigment inks and roll paper - but only to a thickness of .3 mm. It is a tank sysstem printer which let you use other inks than the original PFI-050 inks, I was using in the past other Canon PFI-inks in larger cartridges but at a much lower price for expired cartrdiges. This 24" printer is in the same pricing range as the above mentioned A3 or A2 printers.
Thank you so much for taking the time to type this out! It's given me a lot to work through and consider, but also narrowed down the overwhelming choices available!

I appreciate your insight into the specific prints and will definitely consider them as I move forward. However as a clarification, those prints are ones I currently have that have been done by a third party printing service, not necessarily ones I'm wanting to reproduce as stated. But your comment also makes me consider how I'm presenting them for sale and I realize that my phrasing needs some modifications.

I'm definitely not wanting to swap dye and pigment ink at all. What I am wanting is a printer that can make prints similar to a 'giclee' printing service, but at a lower cost and quicker timeline as the one I used in the past took over 2 weeks for me to get my order. I thought the prints were fantastic and didn't object to their pricing, but that is a long time to make a client wait for a finished custom painting or an order of one of my personal pieces. I accept that I'm not likely to match their quality entirely in a printer that I can currently afford, but I would like something that will do a decent job while not being a hole I pour money into to keep functioning and producing!

After reading a lot over the last few days, I am wondering about the quality and longevity of modern dye inks. When I started researching fine art printing, everything seemed to point to pigment inks being the only way to go if I wanted to offer proper archival prints. Is this still true? Or would the dye ink that the ET 8550 uses be suitable in both visual quality and longevity?

I'd also love your opinion on the Epson 8550 and its general print quality. I see you have one, and I've become very intrigued with it as the info I've seen on it makes me think it would serve all of my current needs if the print quality is good enough. I have sooo many questions about it!

Do you think it could manage the subtle shading and vibrant colors in my art?
Do you use the OEM dye inks in yours? If so, what is your opinion of them?
Do you have opinions or insights on using pigment ink in it?

I'd also be happy to interact about that specific printer in the other thread I made about it (apparently still waiting moderation), if that's more convenient.

Thank you!
 
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Ink stained Fingers

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The ET-8550 is a pretty good printer indeed but I would not focus on 'General print quality' since there is no clear definition of it at all. You should get some understanding of parameters and definitions like gamut you can acheive with a particular ink/paper combination, and this within a particular color space like sRGB or AdobeRGB and the scale which is typically used to define colors - the L* - Lstar value. Since you are most likely not only using - or planning to use - genuine OEM papers you need to understand the purpose of a icc-color profile and how to get them. But since you are doing that much reading already you are most likely familiar with all these expressions and definitions.

Since you adressing longevity I may refer you to a test I just did - only with some dye inks - I'm currently not using pigment inks - the test shows clearly that fading performance is not just a matter of the ink but depends on the ink/paper combination - with wast differences. The table I measured just shows color shifts over 4 weeks of sun/ozone exposure, and the DeltaE values are measured within the Lab color space how inks drift away over time after heavy exposure. Just take the numbers as relative to each other - I'm not calcuating any total display hours or usage times in this or that envirnment. The table shows that the types of papers make a big difference - with the same ink - and the ink plays a big role as well. Be aware that I didn't test any specialty papers - FineArt papers - textile fabric /cotton like papers which will widen the variations. I didn't test any pigment inks but pigment inks are tested in great detail by Wilhelm Rerearch or Aardenburg imaging

https://www.printerknowledge.com/th...t-106-114-t54c-gi-53.16479/page-2#post-142308

http://www.wilhelm-research.com/

https://www.aardenburg-imaging.com/research/


You'll find similar wast performance differences between pigment ink and paper combinations, and promises by the manufacturers like 100 year stability only apply to the listed inks and papers , and as soon as you choose another (unlisted) paper you may get pretty different results. Yes - technically seen - pigment inks will likely last longer than dye inks - but this does not cover yet the type of (museum - archival) paper, the effect of optical brighteners, storage conditions and more. And with all this stated I would recommend a pigment ink printer over a dye ink printer in your case. Yes, you may convert dye ink printers like the ET-8550 or the ET-18100 to run with pigment inks but keep in mind that you ar loosing warranty and may not get any good support in case of trouble.

I think you first should settle down on the paper format of the printer - 12 inches of 17 inches or ..... to start with, and then define the must have's for you - e.g. a cardboard capability or the max. poster length you can set up as a custom format and more....................

You are raising more specific questions like this one

Do you think it could manage the subtle shading and vibrant colors in my art?
That's again a question for which there is no general answer possible - it depends - like always - on the paper/ink combination, some paper may give you a smaller gamut than another paper and this just in the color range you need for your artwork. If you are looking for the largest gamut a printer like the Epson SC-P53000 may be the right choice.

Do you have opinions or insights on using pigment ink in it?
I'm not planning to convert my ET-8550 to pigment inks , I used pigment inks on a P400 or an age old P7600 and converted some smaller desktop printers to run wtih pigment inks.
.
 

Verity

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Joined
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HP Color Laser Jet MPF M283cdw
The ET-8550 is a pretty good printer indeed but I would not focus on 'General print quality' since there is no clear definition of it at all. You should get some understanding of parameters and definitions like gamut you can acheive with a particular ink/paper combination, and this within a particular color space like sRGB or AdobeRGB and the scale which is typically used to define colors - the L* - Lstar value. Since you are most likely not only using - or planning to use - genuine OEM papers you need to understand the purpose of a icc-color profile and how to get them. But since you are doing that much reading already you are most likely familiar with all these expressions and definitions.

Since you adressing longevity I may refer you to a test I just did - only with some dye inks - I'm currently not using pigment inks - the test shows clearly that fading performance is not just a matter of the ink but depends on the ink/paper combination - with wast differences. The table I measured just shows color shifts over 4 weeks of sun/ozone exposure, and the DeltaE values are measured within the Lab color space how inks drift away over time after heavy exposure. Just take the numbers as relative to each other - I'm not calcuating any total display hours or usage times in this or that envirnment. The table shows that the types of papers make a big difference - with the same ink - and the ink plays a big role as well. Be aware that I didn't test any specialty papers - FineArt papers - textile fabric /cotton like papers which will widen the variations. I didn't test any pigment inks but pigment inks are tested in great detail by Wilhelm Rerearch or Aardenburg imaging

https://www.printerknowledge.com/th...t-106-114-t54c-gi-53.16479/page-2#post-142308

http://www.wilhelm-research.com/

https://www.aardenburg-imaging.com/research/


You'll find similar wast performance differences between pigment ink and paper combinations, and promises by the manufacturers like 100 year stability only apply to the listed inks and papers , and as soon as you choose another (unlisted) paper you may get pretty different results. Yes - technically seen - pigment inks will likely last longer than dye inks - but this does not cover yet the type of (museum - archival) paper, the effect of optical brighteners, storage conditions and more. And with all this stated I would recommend a pigment ink printer over a dye ink printer in your case. Yes, you may convert dye ink printers like the ET-8550 or the ET-18100 to run with pigment inks but keep in mind that you ar loosing warranty and may not get any good support in case of trouble.

I think you first should settle down on the paper format of the printer - 12 inches of 17 inches or ..... to start with, and then define the must have's for you - e.g. a cardboard capability or the max. poster length you can set up as a custom format and more....................

You are raising more specific questions like this one


That's again a question for which there is no general answer possible - it depends - like always - on the paper/ink combination, some paper may give you a smaller gamut than another paper and this just in the color range you need for your artwork. If you are looking for the largest gamut a printer like the Epson SC-P53000 may be the right choice.


I'm not planning to convert my ET-8550 to pigment inks , I used pigment inks on a P400 or an age old P7600 and converted some smaller desktop printers to run wtih pigment inks.
.
Thank you again, very much, for this wealth of knowledge you have taken the time to share! There's a lot to unpack here and I'll be working on doing that for quite a while! I also see that I'm asking the wrong questions, so I'll be learning better questions to ask and then learn the answers to. There's so much to learn about all of this, I feel like I need a degree in another career field, lol!

I saw that the ET 8550 is on sale this week, so I decided to just go ahead and get it. I've also been doing a lot more reading and learning about it, and I think it will serve my needs very well for now.

In the interest of making life a little easier while I learn, I've also decided to just run the OEM ink it comes with while I work to establish my business and build my client base. If I have a project that needs a higher longevity print, I'll just get it from a printing service until I know I can afford and properly maintain and utilize a better printer.

You've been a blessing in my life, and I deeply appreciate it!
 
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