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Thread: Availability of ink in the long run...

  1. #1

    Availability of ink in the long run...

    Hi Forum,

    Returning to (largeformat)photography after 2, 3 years of not taking up the camera. Due to change in life(style) I decided not to rebuild the darkroom but to go digital for postprocessing. So will be buying a scanner and printer soon.

    I'm looking at a wideformat printer (17 or 24") and as these don't come cheap I hope that I can use such printer for several years.

    A concern I have is: longer term availability of ink. As these printers are for the professional market, most will replace such a printer in 2 to 3 years and demand for ink would decline. So no need for a manufacturer to keep making ink for a certain model for years to come.

    As I wrote I hope that I can stick to the printer for several years (at least 5 to 7 years) and it would be nice to have some kind of assurance that the printer will not become obsolete because of the fact that ink-cartridges are no longer beeing made 4 years from now.

    Anyone ever have seen/heard/read/talked to what Epson/Canon/HP have to say on this subject?

    Huib
    Netherlands

  2. #2
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Availability of ink in the long run...

    Epson is still supplying inks for printers that old and older. Inks are a cash cow. Plus there are aftermarket inks available.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

    KIRK GITTINGS
    WEBSITE

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  3. #3

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    Re: Availability of ink in the long run...

    Yeah you can still get ink for Epson 1180s and stuff from the late 1990s no problem. Decoding all the ever-changing labels and part numbers is the challenge.

    Shouldn't these printers be almost a mature product by now? I can't imagine the printers getting much better -- I mean having 7-8-9-12 inks and all is nice technology but at a certain point it becomes overkill.

  4. #4

    Re: Availability of ink in the long run...

    Hi,

    Good to hear..euh...read :-)

    Is that only Epson doing well here or Canon/HP also? (probably going myself for a Canon ipf6100)

    Huib

  5. #5
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Availability of ink in the long run...

    Sorry,

    I have no experience with anything but Epson's.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

    KIRK GITTINGS
    WEBSITE

    LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)

  6. #6

    Join Date
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    Re: Availability of ink in the long run...

    Stock up on octopusses? Octopi?
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.

  7. #7

    Re: Availability of ink in the long run...

    Support seems to be around 10 years for HP DesignJet and their other large printers. The type of printers you can get at Office Depot or Best Buy are not so well supported. Another item that may be of some interest is that HP is buying MacDermid, who make the very high quality ColorSpan line of very large (wide) printers.

    You can expect a change at some point towards other types of ink on smaller printers at some point in the future. UV cured inks are becoming much more common at the high end, replacing Solvent ink as the ink of choice. It would not take too many changes to get a trickle down of UV cured inks onto much smaller (desktop) printers.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat Photography

  8. #8

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    Re: Availability of ink in the long run...

    I have 36" wide HP DesignJet 350C that was used to print maps. I believe I purchased this unit in 93 or 94 and still I can buy all cartridges. The last set I bought on the beginning of 2007, few months later rubber band that moves head disintegrated, it is possible to repair (HP still provides parts) however I decided it is enough. This printer made so much work during these years that it deserves final rest (in addition other problems started to appear). In early 90's it was quite a chunk of money, time has shown they were spent well.

  9. #9

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    Re: Availability of ink in the long run...

    Quote Originally Posted by Huib View Post
    Hi Forum,

    most will replace such a printer in 2 to 3 years and demand for ink would decline. So no need for a manufacturer to keep making ink for a certain model for years to come.

    As I wrote I hope that I can stick to the printer for several years (at least 5 to 7 years) and it would be nice to have some kind of assurance that the printer will not become obsolete because of the fact that ink-cartridges are no longer beeing made 4 years from now.

    Anyone ever have seen/heard/read/talked to what Epson/Canon/HP have to say on this subject?

    Huib
    Netherlands
    Huib,

    I think you need to ask yourself why the pros replace a printer every 2 to 3 years. I am a pro myself and unfortunately can answer this. The answer is that the printers you reference all break in that amount of time. In fact, they are designed to do so. They are designed to break at the earliest possible moment. I have never seen such poor design in my life, not even in a bad toaster oven. They print fairly well...

    Since I am in business to print, I have moved over to Roland's. They are built quite a bit differently - and the prices are quite a bit higher. They are made like tanks, with parts that are easy to replace, maintenance routines that are easy to accomplish, etc. Everything is easy to get to. They don't waste paper and ink. There are no places where metal parts and plastic parts interact in a way that will break them. I imagine Mimaki's and Mutoh's are also very good in this respect altho' I am not sure they have the higher resolutions (I don't know). I would recommend you try and find a used FJ500 or FJ540. They will last and last and last. I just picked one up for half the cost of a new Epson. I can now hang a sign above my door that says "Epson-Free Shop".

    Lenny
    EigerStudios

  10. #10

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    Re: Availability of ink in the long run...

    I've owned four Epson printers, an 1160, 1280, 2200, and now a 3800. I've gotten rid of printers in order to upgrade, not because they've worn out or because ink has become unavailable. I do still have the 1280, it's about 7 years old and my wife still uses it. I sold the 1160 to buy the 1280 and sold the 2200 to buy the 3800. The 2200 was going strong at about 4 years of age without ever having a problem. I think you're much more likely to get rid of a printer in order to upgrade than because ink becomes unavailable for it or because it wears out. But obviously the life of a printer is heavily dependent on your printing volume.
    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.

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