Third Party Epson R2000/P400 ink recommendations

borez

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And so.. an earlier WTS post provided impetus to dust off my Epson R2000 printer. Fortunately even after 1+ year of inactivity the nozzles are clear!

I used to run this printer on cheap OEM carts but that's no longer available. With my OEM supplies dwindling I would need to shift to third party inks. Would appreciate any recommendations/thoughts.

Searched through the forums and see that some options are OCBestJet/Aomya (from Aliexpress) and PrecisionColor (USA). Hongsam inks are also available in my region, and am following the other thread on Evernew dye inks.

Many thanks!
 

Ink stained Fingers

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You are already listing some possible suppliers; be aware that the print quality does not just depends on the ink but as well on the paper(s) you are using so it is difficult to make a recommendation beyond these listed suppliers. Switching to dye inks is an option, but should have some justification, and you most likely would need other icc-profiles for your papers. I had as well quite good results with Canon PFI-105 inks drained from larger cartridges and which were expired.
 
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borez

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You are already listing some possible suppliers; be aware that the print quality does not just depends on the ink but as well on the paper(s) you are using so it is difficult to make a recommendation beyond these listed suppliers. Switching to dye inks is an option, but should have some justification, and you most likely would need other icc-profiles for your papers. I had as well quite good results with Canon PFI-105 inks drained from larger cartridges and which were expired.
Thanks for the reply! Know that there are multiple variables but wanted to find the best inkset keeping paper options constant. To keep things simple, inclined to stick to pigment inks unless there is a compelling option.

I see that PC offers icc profiles using RedRiverPaper. Comparing the profiles from PC and RedRiverPaper (against OEM ink) does show some gamut differences, particularly near the red/magenta channels. Wonder if this is a realistic trade-off for third party inks?

Gamut plot (greyed - RedRiverPaper w/ OEM inks) vs PC inkset. Against San Gabriel Baryta 2.0 paper
icc.png

On extracting larger OEM cartridges - believe this is limited as the HG2 inkset isn't used in larger format printers. However, was thinking of creating a "frankenstein" inkset by using extracted Ultrachrome K3 inks + designated R/OR/GLOP inks. Will profile these papers myself but not sure if this works and if it's worth it?

One final solution is to get starter OEM P408 carts and extract the ink myself...
 

Ink stained Fingers

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I wouldn't be concerned very much about these gamut variations - you won't see them in most cases of actual prints - you would need an image file with enough differentiating colors just in this region to compare prints in the first place - colors out of gamut for the smaller gamut and just inside for the gamut of the other ink, you might see small differences in the printout when you know where to look in the print in the first place. My only concern with the above gamuts is the pretty weak black level, that's something directly visible, a good black level in a print is an anchor proint for the overall contrast perception of such print - more important than the overall width/volume of the gamut.

Similar thoughts could apply to the non-standard colors of your inkset like red or orange - or green or blue with some other printers. You have printers like the P5000 which claim to meet 99% of a Pantone color set, but as long that's not your business the thoughts above apply to these colors as well, I mixed up those colors from CMY inks - red = 1x magenta + 1x yellow, and orange 2x yellow and 1x magenta. You create a profile with such inks, and I saw only small variances vs. 'real' red and orange inks. It's your judgement at the end. Don't look for K3 inks anymore, they are old, you rather may look for the newer HDR/HDX inks if you plan to go that route. Nothing is wrong with those, they should superceed all previous inks incl. the HG - HiGloss inks. It's again your choice and jugdement, you would need to do some testing since - I state it again - every ink/paper combination looks quite different in regards to gloss, bronzing etc. And this applies even to the gloss optimizer, those from different 3rd party suppliers create a different look - the Inktec GO is practically ineffective.
 

borez

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I wouldn't be concerned very much about these gamut variations - you won't see them in most cases of actual prints - you would need an image file with enough differentiating colors just in this region to compare prints in the first place - colors out of gamut for the smaller gamut and just inside for the gamut of the other ink, you might see small differences in the printout when you know where to look in the print in the first place. My only concern with the above gamuts is the pretty weak black level, that's something directly visible, a good black level in a print is an anchor proint for the overall contrast perception of such print - more important than the overall width/volume of the gamut.

Similar thoughts could apply to the non-standard colors of your inkset like red or orange - or green or blue with some other printers. You have printers like the P5000 which claim to meet 99% of a Pantone color set, but as long that's not your business the thoughts above apply to these colors as well, I mixed up those colors from CMY inks - red = 1x magenta + 1x yellow, and orange 2x yellow and 1x magenta. You create a profile with such inks, and I saw only small variances vs. 'real' red and orange inks. It's your judgement at the end. Don't look for K3 inks anymore, they are old, you rather may look for the newer HDR/HDX inks if you plan to go that route. Nothing is wrong with those, they should superceed all previous inks incl. the HG - HiGloss inks. It's again your choice and jugdement, you would need to do some testing since - I state it again - every ink/paper combination looks quite different in regards to gloss, bronzing etc. And this applies even to the gloss optimizer, those from different 3rd party suppliers create a different look - the Inktec GO is practically ineffective.

Thanks for the tips. It's gonna be a rabbit hole down and have started off with a set of inks from Aliexpress.

Lastly, how would you deal with ink changes, using the same carts? Is there a need for complete flushing? Saw some tutorials on ink cart flushes and either pharmacist's solution (more catered for Canon sponge carts) or water would suffice.
 
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Ink stained Fingers

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I haven't seen incompatibilities between pigment inks and didn't see a need to flush and rinse the cartridges; it depends on their internal construction how much ink you can pull out with a syringe; I was pulling the ink out via the ink outlet with a syringe - w/o needle, filling up with ink and pulling a little of ink again via the outlet to remove air bubbles. The outlet is typically closed with a spring loaded valve you have to open with the syringe, just push a little bit.
 

AndrewB

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FYI I was using ink from Marrutt in my P400 and was never happy with it, it was very far from the OEM colour requiring custom printer profiles to get a good image, and even then I had really bad bronzing when using glossy papers, basically forcing me to only ever print matte paper.

A while ago I ordered the Precision Colour ink set, which was a huge pain to get to my country (New Zealand) because the freight forwarding service I used insisted on sending it sea freight which took months. I just started using the PC ink and the difference is night and day, at least on glossy paper. Printing a printer calibration sheet on Ilford gold fibre silk paper right now and immediately it looks like an OEM ink print, no bronzing, great colour etc.

So my advice is that the PC inks really are as good as people say, and that other inks might be able to give you good colour if you try hard enough but might have other issues (like bronzing) that are impossible to 'fix'.
 

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The bronzing etc effects vary with the type of paper you are using, I have seen big differences between glossy papers, and you cannot go just by brand names that Epson papers are better than Fotospeed or Tecco or Canon, you would need to test every alternative.

I hve tested in great detail and posted here the effects if I do a complete overprint with the gloss optimizer, effectively printing a white image with the GO setting of complete coverage in the driver, the results are very interesting - all effects of bronzing and gloss differences very much go away with almost every ink inkl. the weak inkTec pigment inks, you get a visible and measurable increase of the gamut and better blacks. The GO consumption is rather high this way, so only refill can keep the cost at an acceptable level. But be aware - not all gloss optimizers perform alike - one type is not effective at all, or another adds a yellow hue to the unprinted areas, and another one adds pronzing effects to overwise unprinted areas.
 

AndrewB

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I'm comparing apples to apples as I've printed the same test patterns on Ilford gold fibre silk paper with the Marrutt ink and the Precision Colour ink (gloss optimiser on in both cases), the Marrutt stuff clearly shows bronzing in dark colours while Precision Colours doesn't. I didn't see that issue with the Marrutt ink when printing on matte paper and with gloss optimiser off, so if I had to guess I'd say that's where their issue is.

But in addition to that I found that the Marrutt colour was way off (extremely cyan) using standard printer profiles, I'm not talking slightly off, I'm talking the whole colour range was extremely blue. I was able to get the colours right with custom profiles, but the PC inks seem to give a much more 'correct' colour immediately with no profile.

Now the only issue I have to tackle is the printer dropping splotches of ink on the paper (which also happened with the previous ink and cartridge set I was using), just gave the wiper and waste areas a bit of a clean which I hope will help.
 

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You need to create a specific icc-profile for every ink/paper combination separately - yes - inks can be way off - but different papers can cause similar effects. But the gamut size is separate from gloss/bronzing effects which predominantly occur on glossy or silk or semiglossy or satin type papers.

The Epson gloss optimizer does not overprint printed areas if you activate it via the driver, it covers unprinted and just lightly colored areas to reduce gloss differences caused by different ink densities, this does not fix the bronzing at all as you observe.

I did a separate and 2nd print pass, after some drying time - a print pass which covers the print with a uniform layer of GO when I print a white image , this very much changes the look of the print, increases the gamut, eliminates bronzing
 
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