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Thread: "Best" printer for b&w

  1. #1

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    "Best" printer for b&w

    I'm about to buy my first printer! I currently scan my black and white negs - 5x4 and 6x17 on an Epson V700 with BetterScanning film holders and think I've got the hang of the basics! In researching a printer I can get an Epson R2400 for £399 GBP or the newer Epson R2880 for £422. I appreciate both use the K3 inks but is it worth getting the newer model? I understand that ink is expensive for these but the small number of prints I would produce does not justify the 3800 Any ideas? Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Re: "Best" printer for b&w

    "Penny wise -pound foolish" .For many of us casual users the initial printer price is best ignored in favor of two "other" factors. Which printers best allow trouble free occasional use without clogging and which printers allow larger volume "ink" containers? The actual cost in "flushing to unclog" is the true hidden cost that the manufacturers hide and we pay for. Another hidden cost would be the draining frustration of not being able to count on ever-readiness to print. Apparently one must expect to operate a maintenance-run to keep the printer at-the-ready. Humidity and the covering of the printer must be attended to keep heads from drying (clogging). Finally, buying a printer that will truly handle the optional paper thicknesses and sizes becomes actually important as the facts of use often differ from the advertising. Just my opinions based mostly on reading forums.

  3. #3
    Octogenarian
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    Re: "Best" printer for b&w

    The Hewlett Packard Photosmart Pro B9180 is excellent for 13X19 prints.
    A great printer for B&W, as well as color.

  4. #4
    Joanna Carter's Avatar
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    Re: "Best" printer for b&w

    Quote Originally Posted by pablo batt View Post
    buy a enlarger and chems and do the job correctly from the start, dont waste your time with inferior results
    I take it you've never actually handled a high quality digital B&W print

  5. #5

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    Re: "Best" printer for b&w

    I use a R2400 and I am very happy with the prints. I do not have clogging problems and my printer may sit as long as a month in between prints. The only odd thing I do is I never turn mine off.
    I do not cover my printer I just close the front and the top cover when it is not in use.
    If you wanted to do lots of color I would say the 2880 but for B&W I think the 2400 will do you just fine.

    Michael

  6. #6

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    Re: "Best" printer for b&w

    Quote Originally Posted by Joanna Carter View Post
    I take it you've never actually handled a high quality digital B&W print
    I'll add that while I prefer the wet process from a craft standpoint, I have had several people look at a few of my digitally printed (HP 8750) prints and ask me what paper and toner I used to get the incredibly rich blacks. It can be done well, but costwise, it is still cheaper to print in a wet darkroom.

  7. #7
    windpointphoto's Avatar
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    Re: "Best" printer for b&w

    Quote Originally Posted by erie patsellis View Post
    I'll add that while I prefer the wet process from a craft standpoint, I have had several people look at a few of my digitally printed (HP 8750) prints and ask me what paper and toner I used to get the incredibly rich blacks. It can be done well, but costwise, it is still cheaper to print in a wet darkroom.
    If you're just doing one? Or if you have the print the way you want it but wish to make it larger or smaller? I agree that the good digital paper is not inexpensive, but when you consider the less amount of test prints it pays for itself.

  8. #8

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    Re: "Best" printer for b&w

    I don't think there would be much difference in the B&W print performance between the 2400 and 2880 models. The vivid magenta ink in the 2880 expanded the color gammut, but the magenta and cyan are not used for advanced B&W printing. But if you can expand your budget just slightly, you'll find that the 3800 offers the same inks at a much lower price point over the long term. The 2400/2880 use a 15mL or smaller cartridge at roughly $1/mL while the 3800 uses an 80mL cartridge at roughly $0.60/mL. The 3800 is only about 2 or 3 inches wider than my old R1800, though it is somewhat deeper and taller.

    After 4 years with an R1800, I bought the 3800 primarily because of the reduced ink costs, but the ability to print one size larger doesn't hurt either.

    Mel-

  9. #9
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: "Best" printer for b&w

    I have an R2400 that I use with MIS K4 color inks with an InkRepublic CIS. This system works well, and with very low ink costs, but it does involve some fiddling, and a way to make your own print profiles is very useful. (I use a printfix pro.)

    At work I print with and maintain an Epson 4000, 4880 and older 60" model, and a 2200 with Cone K7 inkset. My experience with Epson is that the K3 and later printers do an excellent job with color and black and white, the K7 inks are slightly superior to the K3 inks with certain matte papers, although they can't print color of course, and you don't want to print bw with a printer that has only two monochrome inks. Once you get to three monochrome inks or more, there's very little difference between the printers for bw.

    One very important thing is that Epson printers like to be used, i.e. they don't like to sit unused. At home, I use MIS's autoprint program to print out a 1" square of ink everyday. For the most part, this has prevented clogs. If not, a cleaning cycle or two does the job. At work, we have more problems, especially with the 4000 and 2200, which aren't used regularly.

    I've heard that Canon's printers don't clog as easily as Epson printers, but I don't know this first hand.

  10. #10

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    Re: "Best" printer for b&w

    Best printer isn't the question. True, there are some printers that are better than others. The larger ones have better parts, but are out of the price range for many... The better question, however, IMO, is "which is the best inkset"? My vote would be for Jon Cone's offerings. I've used MIS, had some issues, don't give much thought to the rest. I use a RIP, but the $50 QTR program has a lot of people very happy. Cone has even added custom profiling recently - in some scenarios. Check out inkjetmall.com.

    Just to be up-front about this. I consider Jon a friend of mine, he does pick up the phone when I call. I have also taught "Fine Printing" workshops at his studio, but I have no financial interest. I do use his ink, which I reformulate to my own specs...

    All that said, I think it's best ink out there... and Jon's done a lot to further the b&w offerings.

    Lenny
    EigerStudios
    Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing

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