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  #16  
Old 16-12-06
lumix
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Re: Manual Focus: Why ink-jet printer ink isn't a rip-off

Hi Patrick, This whole discussion started out re the high price of OEM ink, so I thought why not bring the OEM high priced paper in to the same discussion. I strongly believe there are many paper manufacturers making equally good, if not better, paper for far less. I also believe that the choice of paper ink combination is very important to get the best from both. What that equates to is a matter of personal preference. How one person likes their image to look may not be the same for another. I worked for 17 years in the printing trade and do know the importance of good paper. But having said that, each type has its place or suitability for a particular job. A good example of that is news print. With out it we would be carrying our fish & chips home in a plastic container. No seriously I agree as paper gets better so will the finished print. I think paper plays a bigger part to that end than ink. Still don't like paying through the nose for it.
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  #17  
Old 16-12-06
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Re: Manual Focus: Why ink-jet printer ink isn't a rip-off

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Originally Posted by lumix View Post
Hi Patrick, This whole discussion started out re the high price of OEM ink, so I thought why not bring the OEM high priced paper in to the same discussion. I strongly believe there are many paper manufacturers making equally good, if not better, paper for far less. I also believe that the choice of paper ink combination is very important to get the best from both. What that equates to is a matter of personal preference. How one person likes their image to look may not be the same for another. I worked for 17 years in the printing trade and do know the importance of good paper. But having said that, each type has its place or suitability for a particular job. A good example of that is news print. With out it we would be carrying our fish & chips home in a plastic container. No seriously I agree as paper gets better so will the finished print. I think paper plays a bigger part to that end than ink. Still don't like paying through the nose for it.
Hi Ron - I'm glad we sorted one thing out; wasn't sure if you realised it was me behind the article. I also initially thought you were referring to consumer papers rather than fine art. Epson doesn't pretend to be a big player in the fine art paper business, but I guess it feels it needs some presence and that there is a market. Also, list prices may not translate 100% into end-user prices. The one disappointing paper in the bunch I tested was the Somerset. It wasn't awful by any means, but it was't capable of deep dark coverage like the others. It's an old formulation and so it's showing its age.

What exactly is a 'cheap' fine art paper? PermaJet, da Vinci and FotoSpeed all aim to undercut the Hahnemuhles and Cuthbert Mills established lines, but I wouldn't call them cheap in terms of quality.

There is a great deal more variability in consumer papers - although interestingly enough, I noticed that the truly dreadful Tesco Premium Glossy was absent from the shelves this evening when I did the weekly shop . DSG (Dixons/Currys/PC World) own brand PC Line photo paper used to be terrible too, but my information is that it has resourced its paper and it's now much-improved.

Ian
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  #18  
Old 16-12-06
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Re: Manual Focus: Why ink-jet printer ink isn't a rip-off

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One or two of my favourite papers incidentally are Fuji Hunt satin, Permajet Fibre Base (same or very very similar paper to Da Vinci fibre) I was mail shot today from a company selling yet another version of this paper "Innova" and they mention in the bumf, Danny Chau who is responsible for Da Vinci paper.
Do they have permission or are they out of line I ask myself? Comment Ian, as he is a friend.

Patrick
Interesting - I will pass on your observation to Danny. He's now back in Hong Kong, his birthplace. He has spent more than half his life in the UK but he's now permanently based in HK, though his brother, Ted, is running things in the UK.

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  #19  
Old 17-12-06
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Re: Manual Focus: Why ink-jet printer ink isn't a rip-off

DSG (Dixons/Currys/PC World) own brand PC Line photo paper used to be terrible too, but my information is that it has resourced its paper and it's now much-improved.


Now there you go, if I'd been asked what PC worlds paper was like I would have said save your money buy something else. Having tried it I would never have thought it worth trying again. First impressions are the ones that last the longest.
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  #20  
Old 17-12-06
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Re: Manual Focus: Why ink-jet printer ink isn't a rip-off

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How was PC Pro HP-biased?
I noticed it first when they did a printer review a few months back and got entirely different results for the Epson R1800 than they'd had on the review published a year earlier. Stated cost-per-print and nozzle clogging problems were bizarrely astronomical in the extreme.

I discussed this on another forum and someone noticed that PC Pro had "compared notes" with Spencer Labs, and that the tests done were purposefully biased against Epson. Their testing involved the frequent removal, weighing, and replacement of cartridges. Anyone knows that this isn't a real world test and that, for example, each replacement of a cartridge will see Epson printers purge all ink lines and frequent replacement over a short period is likely to cause air in the lines and nozzle blocking. These are things that the normal real world user would not experience to this degree.

It turns out, when you check out the Spencer Lab website, that they are practically HP shills. Almost every test they've done is "HP vs the world" and almost every one has HP out on top of the pile. Some "tests" are so ridiculous that they're laughable - a test comparing an HP business inkjet with the Epson C84 (the cheapest of the cheap), for example. That's not even a real test because of course HP are going to win on that test. And you have HP vs Dell - with Dell being Lexmark in all but name, anything would work out cheaper to run so, again, of course HP will be cheaper. It's not a test worth doing.

If PC Pro really got the same results as such obvious shills, then the tests were certainly biased against non-HP printers. I would hope that PC Pro were just naive, but such a respected magazine should not be duped so easily.

Real world running costs, and experiences of printing, when using the R1800 is more akin to their original review published some months earlier - not the new biased comparison review that only served to give the awards to HP.

A similar review recently on colour laser printers looked equally suspicious, although I have no real world experience upon which to base those suspicions - just statistics.

PC Pro were once a very respected magazine and I had a regular subscription with them. Not any more. I don't buy any regular computer magazine now, because I don't know if any of them can be trusted to be impartial any more.
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  #21  
Old 17-12-06
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Re: Manual Focus: Why ink-jet printer ink isn't a rip-off

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Originally Posted by Ian
Just in case it isn't really obvious, I wrote that article

None of these papers were 'poor' - and in any case they were 'fine art' papers and not your usual consumer papers.

The month before I reviewed consumer papers and Tesco's own brand 'premium quality' glosst paper was singled out for some very serious criticism. I didn't review Epson Premium Glossy paper as the brief was to review third party papers only, but it would have been rated very high. It's a superb paper, though it's not particularly cheap (though not the most expensive, either).

Ian
I haven't read the article, nor seen the magazine.

My only foray into third-party papers so far has been a couple of rolls of Olmec 260gsm glossy paper. It might have taken 5 months to arrive but it was 16.99 compared to Epson's usual 40+. If you hunt around you can get Epson Premium in 6x4 and A4 in cheaper bundles (I have quite a few supplies on the shelf thanks to this), but that's not usually the case with the bigger stuff and certainly not the case for roll paper. Given how much I waste when experimenting, Olmec proved a good price point.

However, saying that, if I was still using my dye-based Epson 1290 I would not even be experimenting due to questions over fade-resistance when using untested papers. At least with a pigment printer you can be reasonably sure of a certain degree of fade resistance due to the inherent pigment element of the inks; but with dye-based inks, the nature of the paper is far more important for fade resistant properties.

When it comes to cheaper consumer papers for larger-than-6x4 snapshots and things, I'd rather print a photo out of my laser printer - then the question of paper cost doesn't come into it.
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  #22  
Old 17-12-06
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Re: Manual Focus: Why ink-jet printer ink isn't a rip-off

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I haven't read the article, nor seen the magazine.

My only foray into third-party papers so far has been a couple of rolls of Olmec 260gsm glossy paper. It might have taken 5 months to arrive but it was 16.99 compared to Epson's usual 40+. If you hunt around you can get Epson Premium in 6x4 and A4 in cheaper bundles (I have quite a few supplies on the shelf thanks to this), but that's not usually the case with the bigger stuff and certainly not the case for roll paper. Given how much I waste when experimenting, Olmec proved a good price point.

However, saying that, if I was still using my dye-based Epson 1290 I would not even be experimenting due to questions over fade-resistance when using untested papers. At least with a pigment printer you can be reasonably sure of a certain degree of fade resistance due to the inherent pigment element of the inks; but with dye-based inks, the nature of the paper is far more important for fade resistant properties.

When it comes to cheaper consumer papers for larger-than-6x4 snapshots and things, I'd rather print a photo out of my laser printer - then the question of paper cost doesn't come into it.
One of the biggest problems with the better third party photo papers is inadequate advice on printer driver set-up. Kodak is probably the best as they have an online database of most printers on the market and they have recommended settings for most of these.

It's no good having a good quality paper if the customer can't configure the printer to get the right quality out of it. Consumers aren't going to profile their printers and most won't have the patience to install an off the shelf customer profile, even if they could. At least with manufacturer brand paper, you can rely on decent support in the printer driver.

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  #23  
Old 17-12-06
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Re: Manual Focus: Why ink-jet printer ink isn't a rip-off

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One of the biggest problems with the better third party photo papers is inadequate advice on printer driver settings. Kodak is probably the best as they have an online database of most printers on the market and they have recommended settings for most of these.

It's no good having a good quality paper if the customer can't configure the printer to get the right quality out of it. Consumers aren't going to profile their printers and most won't have the patience to install an off the shelf customer profile, even if they could. At least with manufacturer brand paper, you can rely on decent support in the printer driver.

Ian
That's certainly true. I was a bit naive with my first test print on Olmec paper and just "printed something". It was okay, but it wasn't anything to write home about. Then the braincell woke up and directed me to Olmec's website. They have loads of profiles for their papers. I installed that and the results are, naturally, noticeably better. The prints are a little over-saturated compared to Epson Premium, but they are certainly more than acceptable given that I'm using the rolls for panorama printing.

Using the R1800 with different profiles (either handled by Qimage or through a DTP with the profile selected in the printer driver) is far easier than trying to figure out what to do with the 1290S. Any instructions you find tend to assume you're using Photoshop - which I find rather hysterical. I mean, if you're the kind of person to quibble over a couple of quid on a roll of paper, you're hardly going to be the same person who's spent 1000 on CS2!
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  #24  
Old 16-02-07
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Here's the bit I took issue with.

"While many think ink cartridge prices are a rip-off, in the case of many a printer, unless you use a certain minimum number of cartridges during the life of that printer, the printer manufacturer will, in effect, lose money on that printer. "
I don't believe it! I don't believe a printer can sell for less than their costs of producing, transporting and all everything else that has gone into it to get it to your doorstep [lets leave R&D out of this for now as all models benefit from common research & development].

The only printers that I think coe close to being under the 'Gillette' buisness model are those that sell for 30-40! I think canon has one for 29 [IP1300] and having had an i350 in the past, I know that's a printhead that runs along a pressed steel strip with a few plastic cogs turning the spindles... a length of toothed plastic to run the head back and forth, a motor and a curcuit board or two. Oo.. plus a tranformermplus the on/off switch. That's in a plastic casing that gets clipped together. If canon don't make a profit on them, they certainly don't loose anything!

Why? Because I'd say no company would make non-profitless things nowadays. Not with the.. what? 70%? 80%? 90% of the printing buying public using 3rd party inks.

When I bought that i350, the lowest canon [i250]was about 49 iirc so they've got cheaper to buy.

I think this is why they've introduced 'chipped' carts. Before now a printer would earn them profit and any sales after that were gravy (for canon) The 450 s9000/9100 didn't cost 450 to get it to my door... you're not gonna convince me the mabuchi motor in that is anything but a $1 item and again, a press clipped case. They throw them together!

So now canon have gone 'chipped', they are more certain that punters will be using THEIR inks so they can see the what was 49 prnter for 29! And in that sense you are right.

But no-one will ever convince me that ink isn't over priced and a good profit maker for the makers. You only have to invent ink once with your team in their lab. You them resource their experiemnts ad infinitum. Total up the amount of from ink sales they've made on the back of that ink and I'd bet you could run a dozen such research teams/establishments.

There's no rare animal phermones that go into ink! It's all man made chemical made by the gallon by Dupont or ICI!

In fact, if I had any money I'd put it into Epson shares the robbing bxxxxxxs!

Talking of busness models: the Colemans mustard guy is renowned to have said 'we got rich by what people threw away in the jar'... well anyone with a 6/8/9 colour canon or epson knows exactly the same thing when they have to replace a cart and every other one in that head also gets charged at the same time. You're litterally pumping yor money into the sump just using the thing!

I'll be a lot more respectful to the printer makers when they introduce single colour priming where you only prime/charge the colour just changed! [rant mode off!] :-)
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