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Thread: Experience with Epson 9800 vs 7800?

  1. #1

    Experience with Epson 9800 vs 7800?

    The fact that I am going to pose this question makes me shudder. Actually it makes my credit card shudder. When I start asking questions like this on a forum, it usaully means I am going to be buying something soon. Here goes....

    I need some advice on the advantages of buying an epson 9800 over a 7800. Or should I wait until the next round of epson printers is released?

    Most of my work is printed in the 24xX inch size. This has mainly been a result of having to pay shops to print it (and some file size issues). I misss my darkroom and I am tired of paying shops 100.00 for a single print. I occasionally sell images (typically in the multiple 100's of dollar ranges). I would probably sell more if I could print at home. Likewise, I have a backlog of things I want to print, that would probably get done if I had in house printing services. Having to mail things back and forth is not a sensible workflow.

    I will be printing b&w and color images.

    So, I am pretty set on buying either the Epson 7800 or 9800. Besides getting an additional 20 inches in width out of the 9800, what are the real world differences in cost, operation, quality, convenience. Should I get the 9800 now, pay an additional 1800-2000, or just get the 7800 now (*save* that money and put it towards a larger printer in the future - if I need it.

    Or should I wait until the end of the year and see what epson is going to do with their wide format printer line?

    Please let me know your thoughts and experience using both or either printer.

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Experience with Epson 9800 vs 7800?

    "Besides getting an additional 20 inches in width out of the 9800, what are the real world differences in cost, operation, quality, convenience."

    7800 operates exactly the same as the 9800, uses the same ink cartridges, etc. So the cost difference is in the purchase price of the printer only. The operation, quality, and convenience between the two printers are exactly the same. The real difference is in the amount of floorspace required.

    If you think you'll never print wider than 24-inches then the 7800 is the best answer.

  3. #3

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    Experience with Epson 9800 vs 7800?

    One slight addition. There is usually a cost difference in raster image processor (RIP) software for a 7800 compared to a 9800. Most RIP manufacturers price the RIP by printer width. The RIPS for a 7800 are usually less money than the same RIP for a 9800.

  4. #4
    Resident Heretic
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    Experience with Epson 9800 vs 7800?

    Basically, what Steve said. They are the same printer with one longer than the other.

    You might want to watch for the new Canons. Their new 12 channel printers are supposed to be three times faster with better print quality (I haven't seen them, but people I trust have seen them in action), and they have extended gamut due to the increased number of inks. IOW, some colors that the Epsons are weak on will be better with the new Canons.

    Rumor has it that Canon is pricing its new inks considerably lower than Epson also.

    They have released the iPF5000 (Epson 4800 equivalent IIRC). I saw today that InkJetArt has some in stock. Canon has announced a 60" model. They haven't yet anounced a 24" or 48" (I hope it's not a 44" model like Epson) model. All of these or their equivalents should be on the market in the last half of the year.

    All that said, I'm quite happy with my Epson 7600, running Cone's PiezoTone inks for B&W printing. The printer goes and goes. If you pick an Epson, I doubt you'll be unhappy with it.

    I was getting ready to upgrade to a 9800 myself. Now, I'm just sitting and watching. This is going to be an interesting year in ink jet printing, no question about it.

    Bruce Watson

  5. #5

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    Experience with Epson 9800 vs 7800?

    I have absolutely no inside information or what would be even better if I had it, no internet rumors to pass along. But the 2400/4800/7800/9800 line has been on the market for about two years now, which is a long time for digital stuff. It seems to me that Epson is due to upgrade it within a year or so. I'd suggest waiting to see what Epson does in the way of a new line and then either buy something in the new line or pick up a used 7800/9800 then.

    I'm no doubt prejudiced by years of basically good products and respectable service from Epson but I have no interest in helping HP or Canon rectify the mistake they made in not competing with Epson for the serious photographer market years ago.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  6. #6

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    Experience with Epson 9800 vs 7800?

    " But the 2400/4800/7800/9800 line has been on the market for about two years now, which is a long time for digital stuff."

    Not exactly true. The 7800 became available in August of 2005. The 9800 became available in limited quantities in late November 2005 IF you were already on a waiting list. Neither printer has been out for a year at this point. If the 7600 / 9600 are any indication of the product cycle, Epson will not have anything new available in a large format printer for another 3-4 years.

    The professional wide format printer market does not have the typical 18 month cycle of the amateur printer market.

  7. #7

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    Experience with Epson 9800 vs 7800?

    I was faced with the same decision and ended up choosing the 7800, and I am very happy with it. The only reason for the 9800 would be the extra width. I would reccomend buying the 7800 and with the money you save buy colorbyte's image print rip. It has an option called phatte black that will allow you to install matte and photo black cartridges at the same time. This will allow you to switch back and forth from gloss to matte without an expensive or lengthy ink swap. This is the set-up I went with and have no regrets.

  8. #8
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
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    Experience with Epson 9800 vs 7800?

    Paper costs are about 30% less on the 44" printer

    On which price list do you base this observation ? I noticed this was true a couple of years ago, but last I checked
    prices appeared to be proportional to roll width.

  9. #9

    Experience with Epson 9800 vs 7800?

    with the money you save buy colorbyte's image print rip

    This is probably fodder for about 10 different threads, but does imageprint really save time, money, and produce better quality prints. I have never used wide-format printers, so I don't really know what to expect. 1400.00 for software is painful. Some people blast imageprint, while others swear by it.

    Rumor has it that Canon is pricing its new inks considerably lower than Epson also.

    Any word if these inks are going to be as stable/archival as the K3's. It seems like epson has a huge head start and that the canon product would be playing catch up. I'd like to be convinced to wait until the end of the year, and see what happens, but there still is that "unknown" varible in whatever canon releases.

  10. #10
    Jack Flesher's Avatar
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    Experience with Epson 9800 vs 7800?

    What QT said -- It used to be true that the wider paper was cheaper, but no more.
    Jack Flesher

    www.getdpi.com

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