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Thread: Epson R2880 versus 3800

  1. #1

    Epson R2880 versus 3800

    I posted a question earlier today over in the On Photography section entitled "What is a photographer?" http://www.largeformatphotography.in...257#post440257 I'm 99% sure I'm ready to take the leap and get a decent printer that will allow me to do color and black and white prints but I'd appreciate any new input. I have been doing a lot of research on these two printers and read quite a bit here and elsewhere but I'm wondering if anyone has anything else they would like to say.

    This is in response to a point that Brian Ellis raised:
    "Archival" is one of those buzzwords that can get one into a lot of trouble. I'm definitely interested in pigment based prints not dye based prints due to their stability even if they don't have the 'punch' that a dye based print can have. The other thing that is really important to me is the ability to do black and white without a color cast.

    If I stick with an Epson printer this narrows it down to three printers for me to think about. The R2400 and R2880 are less expensive than the 3800 but there are two issues with those printers: First is the necessity to switch out the black inks depending on the paper type, matt vs glossy; Second is the size of the ink cartridges and associated costs. Since the R2880 is the same price as the R2400-that seems like a no brainer-get the R2880. As far as the 3800 goes by the time I buy a total of 80mls of each ink for the R2880 I could have bought the 3800 with ink. I don't plan on printing a lot but it sure would be nice not to worry about buying ink all the time to feed the R2880, but then again ~$50 a pop for a 3800 cartridge is nothing to take lightly. The larger maximum print size of the 3800 is nice as well. The question is this: is the newer technology in the R2880, lower start up cost and smaller print size worth it compared to the economy and larger print size capabilities of the 3800?


    Scott

  2. #2
    aphexafx's Avatar
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    Re: Epson R2880 versus 3800

    I think you've effectively answered your own question! The answer depends completely on the individual. Everyone here who owns an Epson printer has gone through this or some version of it, so expect plenty of opinions.

    The 2880 has the newer pigments with a wider gamut, but costs more to operate per square-foot in the end.

    Both the 2880 and the 3800 will provide you with high quality exhibition / fine-art level printing and maximum longevity (depending on your paper/media).

    I for one went with the 2880 because I do mostly 12xX prints, it works as a fantastic proofing device for larger off-site Epson prints, and the slightly higher cost of the ink is not an issue for me as I do not do large runs, etc. And it fits rather nicely in my smallish studio. Also, I will find it easier to part with when the next generation 13" Epson appears, if ever, and so on.

    If you are very interested in BW output you may be interested in the 2880's advancements in anti-metameric failure. The K3/VM printers do absolutely gorgeous BW out of the box, probably the best until you head into custom pigment set territory.

    If you expect to do larger prints than the 2880 can handle often, then the width of the 3800 instantly outweighs any benefits of the K3/VM pigments. If you plan on producing a large number of prints, then the pigment cost savings and industrial build quality of the 3800 will probably be the winner.

    Btw, the 3800 may mount both K inks, but it still has to purge the K line and the K head in order to switch, and this is more of a commitment than with the 2880 due to the larger size of the printer. Although the 2880 does not selectively purge, it takes ink from each cartridge even though you are only interested in purging the K channel. I do not know whether the 3800 can selectively purge the K channel.

    The K channel purge issue does not affect me because I only do matte output on fine-art papers, on the rare occasion that I want a glossy, I go outside and get a LightJet, etc. My 2880 has never even seen a PK cartridge.

    Lots of variable, for sure. Good luck!
    ---
    Matt

  3. #3

    Re: Epson R2880 versus 3800

    Quote Originally Posted by aphexafx View Post
    Although the 2880 does not selectively purge, it takes ink from each cartridge even though you are only interested in purging the K channel. I do not know whether the 3800 can selectively purge the K channel.
    Thanks Matt,

    I am under the impression that the 3800 only purges the K channel but I could be wrong. Anybody out there know for sure?

    I probably won't make a ton of prints either so I definitely understand your choice of the smaller printer, in fact earlier this week I was leaning toward the R2880. But I think the K cartridge switchover ink loss is important to me.

    Scott

  4. #4
    Wayne venchka's Avatar
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    Re: Epson R2880 versus 3800

    Did you even pay a passing glance at HP or Canon printers? I ask because I'm probably going to buy a printer in 2009 and I would be curious to know how Canon and HP measure up against Epson.
    Wayne
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    Re: Epson R2880 versus 3800

    The 3800 comes with $450 in ink. All cartridges were still over 80% full after charging the printhead.

    If you can afford the extra for the 3800, considering the free ink it really is not much more than the 2880 and in the long run the ink costs will be much less if you do significant print volume.

  6. #6

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    Re: Epson R2880 versus 3800

    The 3800 only wastes a few mls of ink when switching blacks, so that shouldn't be a factor. If you have any interest in selling your work, larger prints sell *much* better--my 3800 has easily paid for itself in print sales. The gamut increase with the X880 series is minor by most accounts. I pulled up a few profiles for the new inkset and compared them with my profiles and the difference seemed minor. The 3800 is also fairly compact for a 17" carriage printer. There's also the pleasure of making large prints for yourself. Once you pull a few 16x20 prints, your doubts will evaporate.

  7. #7
    Wayne venchka's Avatar
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    Cool Re: Epson R2880 versus 3800

    Quote Originally Posted by aphexafx View Post
    ...The K channel purge issue does not affect me because I only do matte output on fine-art papers, on the rare occasion that I want a glossy, I go outside and get a LightJet, etc. My 2880 has never even seen a PK cartridge.

    Lots of variable, for sure. Good luck!
    Matt,

    Can you decode this for the non-Epson photo/matte black users? Or those of us who may buy a new Epson printer someday.

    Thanks!
    Wayne
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  8. #8
    chuckcars
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    Re: Epson R2880 versus 3800

    The Epson Store on line has a 3800 refurbished for 895.00.
    Charles Carstensen
    Montrose, Colorado USA

    http://www.blackcanyonphoto.com

  9. #9

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    Re: Epson R2880 versus 3800

    Quote Originally Posted by venchka View Post
    Matt,

    Can you decode this for the non-Epson photo/matte black users? Or those of us who may buy a new Epson printer someday.

    Thanks!
    He never has to waste ink switching from matt black to photo black since he only prints on matt papers and thus only uses the matt black ink.

  10. #10

    Re: Epson R2880 versus 3800

    Quote Originally Posted by venchka View Post
    Matt,

    Can you decode this for the non-Epson photo/matte black users? Or those of us who may buy a new Epson printer someday.

    Thanks!
    Wayne,

    I'll give it a shot. CMYK printers-use cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks. There are three black (K) cartridges used in the K3 printer at one time, black, light black and light light black. There are two types of black cartridges, one for glossy paper called photo black and one for matt papers called matte black. With the R2400 and R2880 the operator has to manually switch the black cartridges if changing paper types and when you change a cartridge the printer pushes ink through all the lines to charge up the cartridge you just installed and this wastes ink. The 3800 holds both photo and matte cartridges at the same time in different slots and when you change paper types it only pushes the ink through the black line. So with the 3800 you don't need to physically swap the cartridges and there is less ink lost when you do.

    Hope I got that right

    Scott

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