Need info on Epson 8550 as a midlevel art printer using 3rd party pigment ink please!


Newbie to Printing
Apr 11, 2024
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HP Color Laser Jet MPF M283cdw
(I realized I posted this in the wrong forum, sorry! Also updated the questions!)


I'm a digital artist looking at buying an A3+ art printer for my art. My art is highly detailed with lots of subtle shading. You can see it at veritysvisions . com if you need. Do you think it could manage the subtle shading and vibrant colors in my art?

I want to print on thick matte cotton paper with pigment inks.
My housemate might want to print photographs occasionally on glossy photo paper that has already been purchased.

I'd like a printer that has a good quality build and will last me for a while with reasonable production costs.

During my research, I came across the Epson ET 8550 and the pigment inks for it at Precision Colors and am highly intrigued. But I have quite a few questions I'd love to have answered before I spend the money on this thing.

The page for the ink on Precision Colors says they've been using their pigment ink in it for over 2 years and it's been working great.

Some concerns I've come across that I'd like answers for are:

Can this printer perform well enough to replicate my art to a reasonable degree?

I've looked at the Red River paper Precision Colors recommends and those look nice, but I'm not an expert on this stuff. Can you offer opinions on these? Or recommend other third party papers that are reasonably priced?

What kind of maintenance will it need and can it be performed at home? I've seen references to 'waste ink tanks/pads' being full and meaning end of life for printers and page counters that need reset. Does this printer have issues like this?

Specific questions for the pigment ink:

I've read some stuff that says pigment ink needs agitated to stay mixed and not settle or precipitate. Is this true of Precision Colors ink? What would be the best way of accomplishing this in the ET 8550? The recommended process for agitation in the ink tank was to disconnect the tubes somewhere along the line to the print head and use a syringe to suck ink in and out of the tank. Does this seem like a reasonable process?

What is the shelf life of the ink? Storage requirements?

How often to print to keep clogs from happening?

How can I clean it if it does clog?

Can I do borderless printing with pigments? Does it need cleaning afterwards and how do I perform that?

How often should I be printing to keep the print head from clogging?

What is the real issue with printing pigment on glossy surfaces? Is it just gloss differential or is smearing an issue or something else?

Are there other questions I should be asking?

What are your general opinions for this printer?

Thanks for your time!

Ink stained Fingers

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Platinum Printer Member
Dec 27, 2014
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L805, WF2010, ET8550
Let me just make a comment to one of your questions

What is the real issue with printing pigment on glossy surfaces? Is it just gloss differential or is smearing an issue or something else?
Smearing happens if the platen gap is to small , or the paper too thick or curls or the nozzle plate is contaminated from the cleaning unit not wiping off the nozzle plate anymore correctly, that would require to clean the cleaning unit - to wipe off some pigment blob there and the area of the rubber blade which wipes off the nozzle plate from underneath. Smearing is not related to bronzing etc.

The visibility of bronzing and gloss differntials vary wtih the lighting conditions - e.g. strong spotlights in the background mirroring on glossy papers, gloss differentials between different colors/inks or sections between higher or lower ink density are visible as well in reflecting light. The effects very much vary wtih different inks and papers - general rules don't apply that this ink or that paper reduces such effects best - I just hear from users that Epson inks on Epson papers look better than a mix of OEM and 3rd party materials but I haven't tested that. Canon is very much controlling and reducing these effects wtih the use of a Chroma optimizer which is applied via a separate ink cartridge and some driver settings. This Chroma optimizer acts like a kind of lacquer and is applied during the print process.


Getting Fingers Dirty
Jan 7, 2021
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Epson Stylus Photo 1500W
To fulfill your requirements, ONLY original long-lasting EPSON inks, which come with the printer, are suitable. And they will last for a long time. If you are not a technical specialist with good hands, then replacing ink will cause A LOT OF PROBLEMS. You can forget about the accuracy of shade transfer. Printing on glossy paper with pigments is also problematic. In general, it’s definitely only the original Epson claria.