Aye, the photo 820 is not so bad. It would only take a few refills to buy a new printer. But the Photo 820 is also the least expensive Epson Stylus Photo. The new 825 is a 300$ machine, the 925 is 450$! Or what about the 2200? it costs 1100$
I am not saying that refills are all bad, I am just saying that you risk voiding out your warranty. I am glad if you found a good refiller, but bear in mind that most refills/generic brand cartridges are pretty crappy. They are OK, but Epson Brand ink does a much better job than all of the refills I have tried.
Epson Paper for Epson printers, there is no alternative.
I haven't seen any prints done on the more expensive Epson's but I can tell you that the quality of the output from this 820 is astoundingly good.
As I mentioned before, a good buddy of mine who used to be employed full-time by the War Museum in Ottawa to photograph and document their exibits (for high-end brochures and for historical record) was absoloutely blown away by the high quality of my prints from the 820.
I'm using slow transparency film and superb Nikon lenses to make my images and then scanning the image to get the TIFFF file. The results are pretty much as good as anything that I used to be able to accomplish back in my pro darkroom days! Plus I have complete control and can generate a finished print in a fraction of the time without getting my hands wet.
I suppose that the more expensive Epson printers could generate a higher quality print but I'd have to see a side-by-side comparison to be convinced of this. I suspect that the pricier ones have extra features or take larger paper sizes....things I don't need right now.
Meantime, I'm more than happy to pony up 150$ for this quality and will probably just replace it if my "cheap ink" causes any problems. It certainly hasn't so far!
And I'm saving a bundle on the grossly-overpriced factory cartridges!
Consider this...if you buy only TWO new cartridges for the Epson 820-two blacks and two colors- then you will have spent as much as you did to buy the printer originally!
And a color cartridge at max quality settings (premium glossy) will only generate about twenty five letter size photos (8X10-8X11).
Macnutt, I have the same printer as you, and as I said not all refills are all bad. There are some out there that do offer the same quality of ink as Epson factory ones (truth be told I only buy Epson factory ones because i get crazy discounts at work.) I also have the same scanner as you.
Resolution on the 820 is 2880 x 720. the 2880 is good, it is the 720 that could be better. on higher end epson printers the resolution is now going to be 5760 x 1440. You have to see it to believe it. On a 8.5x11 full quality print there is on way to tell that it didn't come from a photo lab. In fact if I hadn;t seen it come out of the printer I probably would have assumed that it had been printed in a lab. The 820 does good prints, but the new 825 and 925 do way better.
As to buying new printers instead of new ink, there is one down side. the first time that you turn on an Epson printer it runs a clean and align process that consumes a bunch of ink, enough that you would only get about 21-22 prints instead of 25 at full resolution, so it does tend to be a little un economical.
Again, for the 820, it can easily be replaced if something goes wrong. I was more warning those people who have dropped a few hundred dollars on their printers about the perils of refill ink.
I'll have to trust your judgement on this one PB (as mentioned before, you haven't steered me wrong yet) but I wonder if the difference is twice as good...because the newer printer is fully twice the price, after all.
I have just come back from the drag races (where I am team photographer for a Top Fuel drag bike crew) and I took along several of my most noteworthy photos for a few of the guys who wanted copies. I had already had a photo lab make up several pro-grade (hands-on, not machine produced) prints and I took the opportunity to print up the same photos on the Epson 820. I offered the guys the choice of which set they wanted. Guess what....three out of five chose the Epsom versions over the (VERY EXPENSIVE) pro darkroom photo prints!
The original transparencies that I made both sets of prints from are VERY crisp and well saturated-they were all shot by my professional Nikon camera and I have had several of them printed in magazines previous to this.
I honestly think that a really good lens and the proper film stock (coupled with the right light and a little luck) will make a much bigger difference than a few more pixel numbers or higher resoloution specs.
Next time I'm out your way I'll bring along one of my better transparencies and the best output I can get from my Photo 820 on premium glossy photo paper. If you can demonstrate that the new printer is really that much better than the one I've got then I'll BUY the darn thing from your store!
But beware....I've been selling my photos for about twenty years now and I'm a pretty harsh judge when it comes to images. It has got to be clearly better
than what I've got right now to justify the added expense.
Deal. Admittedly though, I don't know if you will be able to see a difference. I see the difference because when we are learning about or demonstarting new printers we are talking to amatuers using 2 megapixel digital cameras, cameras that are only good for 4x6 prints, maybe 5x7, as opposed to you using all your top end Nikon gear. Like I say, I was more just trying to warn anyone who has dopped a big wad of cash on their printer.
There is one last major advantage to using a photolab over your printer: Longevity of prints. Put one of those suckers in a frame and hang it on a wall next to the same photo printed in a lab and the lab photo will last a great deal longer, and by great deal I am talking a space of nearly a decade. There are a few printers (such as the upcoming Epson C82) that use archival quality ink that give laser quality black text printing and laser quality longevity to the prints, but there is still much to be desired in this area.
Not that I am trying to steer you away from Epson printing, I am just saying that there are a few things to be desired about printing your own whether they effect you or not.
BTW, what was the name of the place you are using to get refills? The one that you said says that they get their ink from the same place that Epson does?
I agree that laser copies will far outlast a standard computer photo print. I leased a Canon Laser copier during the mid nineties for T-shirt transfer production and photo printing. It was the only one on Salt Spring at the time and one of only a handful in the Victoria area. The prints I made at that time are still bright and show no signs of fade at all.
Photo-prints, on the other hand...like bubble-jet computer prints, are very prone to fast fade when subjected to direct sunlight. I did a test with my very first prints from the 820 and made two copies of several images. I put one in a drawer and hung one on a wall in my house that gets a lot of direct sunlight. As you already know, we got a LOT of intense cloud-free sunlight this summer!
The Epson prints faded about as much as I would expect from a photo (actually, slightly less) so I am convinced that I am on the right track by using the less-costly non Epson ink. The fact that you admit to getting "...insanely cheap discounts on factory Epson cartridges" just reinforces my belief that the stock ones are grossly overpriced.
To my way of thinking, this is not at all like using pirated software. Heck....if I buy a Chevy, I'm not expected to buy all of my oil and gas from GM as well! The owners manual of a new Chevy does clearly state that "use of non-GM approved lubricants, fluids and fuels will affect performance and could void your warranty"
Want to bet that GM does NOT list "Payless" or "Tempo" gas as "an approved fuel". They only list two or three top brands of oil as "approved" as well.
Wonder how many people even give this a passing thought when gassing up their expensive new car or having the oil changed?
I don't. And so far I haven't had any trouble whatsoever with the non-factory ink in my 820 Photo. Neither have any of the dozen or so people I talked to before trying it.
Sorry but when I'm told that the tiny ink cartridge that fits into the palm of my hand (and is only good for about twenty prints) is worth forty bucks then my spider sense starts tingling and my bullsh*t detector starts ringing.
That's when I start looking for viable alternatives. Apparently I'm not the only one because there is a whole industry springing up to meet the demands of others who also think that they are being ripped off on cartridge prices.
Epson, and every other printer manufacturer makes their money from cartridges, not from printers. How do you think that a printer with the quality of the 820 has come down to be only 150$ when the Stylus 740 I bought back in 1999 (half the resolution) cost me 350$!!!!!
The worst part is that most printers use the tricolour cartridges, so when you run out of one colour you have to replace all three!
I only ever meant to give a word of warning, especially to those who have bought expensive printers.
yes, I get good discounts at work, yes they are more expensive than they have to be. But on the other hand there are some other items that are even worse.
I, too have an Epson printer (a 740) and it's been completely reliable. I don't have a refiller anywhere close, but I've been using Ko-Rec-Type cartridges for a couple of years now, with no problem. [img]smile.gif[/img]
Now, I'm no professional photographer (just holiday snaps), but for the type of printing I do the print quality is excellent. I think the main point to take from all this is to deal with a reputable company. Obviously the refiller you are dealing with knows his stuff. That would give a certain level of comfort to the transaction.
Do what works for you, but make sure you check the details out first!
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I realise that Epson and other printer manufacturers are making their money on ink cartridges and selling the printers for an insanely low price in order to get more ink customers. As I stated before, I would have gladly paid 400-500$ for this quality of printing....especially if I could have gotten factory ink cartridges for a more reasonable 10 or fifteen bucks.
It would make more economic sense in the long run to pay somewhat more for the device and a lot less for the consumeables. I think that the big printer companies are shooting themselves in the foot by offering top quality printers for dirt cheap prices in the vain hope that we consumers will buy lots of overpriced ink cartridges and let them make their profit that way. Judging by what I've seen and heard, most people are onto this particular situation and are NOT buying the overpriced factory ink.
Sounds like a losing proposition for Epson and Co. eh? Please express this to their sales rep the next time you see him.
BTW- I am seeing more and more of this particular sales strategy these days when it comes to electronics. The devices have to be insanely cheap to attract the buyer and then there ends up being a "catch" in the deal that dramatically increases the cost of ownership. Recently I bought a DVD player for a very reasonable 140$ and was then told that "in order to fully experience the full DVD effect" I would need to discard the RCA cables that came with the player and purchase a set of component video cables.....for EIGHTY DOLLARS!!
Bulls*t detector ringing loudly, I then asked the salesman to demonstrate to me how much better they were by setting up two identical TVs and DVD players side by side, one with the EIGHTY DOLLAR cables and one with the stockers. He could easily have done this as there were numerous similar TVs and DVD players running in their demostration area. He declined, saying "...well the difference is probably not all that visible and...er...um...."
You get the picture. So did I. But I didn't buy the EIGHTY DOLLAR cables to get that picture.
And when I got home I tried the new DVD player with both the stock cables and a set of high quality component DV cables that I use in my video editing. No visible difference on my 27" Panasonic monitor.
No extra artifacts, no ghosting, no zigzag lines, nada from the plain RCA jack cables that came with the DVD.
The lesson here is that, when you see a very low price on a new piece of cool gear you'd better watch very closely for the high-priced "extras" that will quickly drain your wallet....and frequently won't add a darn thing to the quality of the output from that device. They exist solely to boost the profit margin....something that should have been factored into the original sales price in the first place.