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Monday, 24 October 2016

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Coffee for guests is easy.

You just get a big Thermos, fill it with double strength instant coffee, and make sure there's plenty of alcohol beforehand. ;)

I hear you about coffeemakers. I have a small 4 cup drip machine that I learned to use properly to make one cup, 2 cups and 3 cups. Trouble is if we have more guests than that and I have to drag out the 10 cup dripper, I never get it right. Either too much coffee or too little. I forget which measuring spoon to use, I have a couple that are, of course, not the same size. Lately I've been using a stovetop espresso maker, makes me feel like a character in a 1960s Italian movie. I know how to make coffee for two with it but can't make one cup for me, so I have to make two and throw the rest away when my wife is not around.

I know, I know, first-world problem.

Your series of articles re printers is timely. I don't do much printing at home, never get good enough, but my old Canon i6700 seems to be dying so I expect to be buying another in the next few months. I know pigment is the way to go, but is that still risky for someone who may go weeks, if not months, between prints? I remember articles about pigments clogging heads when not used regularly, which is why I stayed with a dye printer the last time.

re earlier comment:

That should have read, "I hear you about coffeemakers..."

Nice to have these choices and at a price point about what you used to pay for a good enlarger. I do have a question. How is the Canon with 3rd party papers compared to the Epson?

Inkjet printers are a mess for the user, but very profitable for the companies. Expensive (ink) and too complex (calibration). The result of the development and promotion of that technology is the very low rate of prints for most aficionados.

I would like (love) to see real photographic printers (Instax) and alternative technologies (ZeroInk) escalated to larger formats and better quality. This would stimulate prints and photography.

Inkjet printers? Never.

R.

Out of curiosity, do the models you link to would also be satisfying for printing B&W?

I love my P800. Prints are amazing. My only complaint in the horrible touch screen (more like a poke screen) that seems to predate my 2008 Garmin Nuvi. You have to press rather hard and the buttons on the screen don't match where you have to touch to make them work. What makes it worse, is that it that the screen can articulate out so there isn't a hard backing to press against when making selections. Since I do most of my selections from the computer, I can deal with it but I would advise setting up your wireless connection via the computer and not the touch screen (or use a USB cable). The keyboard on the touch screen is near impossible to use.

One thing to be aware of is the maximum print length if you want to print panoramas. On the Canon the max print length is 25.5"; whereas on the Epson it is long (can't remember exactly right now). I went from an old Canon ipf5000 (which I replaced when I didn't want to replace the printheads) to a Epson P800. I've jury rigged the Canon's roll feeder to use when I need to print panoramas.

P800 will scratch almost every printing itch you ever had or will have.
As to monitors, if you are doing serious color work and MUST be able to calibrate it, La Cie or Ezio (might be mispelled). Don't worry about the others.
Wasn't that easy?

Better late than never; the P800 was the way to go, and now you can get IP10 for another well spent $895. Don't think twice.

I bought a Canon Pro9000 MK-II when it was on closeout. I've been quite happy with it, never had a clogged print head. It does seem to have ink just sometimes evaporate when not in use. The user-replaceable print head is a big plus.

It replaced an Epson 870 that constantly had print head clogs, using most of it's ink cleaning the damn head. It finally committed suicide, shutting down permanently because it decided it had purged so much ink cleaning the heads that the "sump" (a diaper in the bottom of the printer) would be full. (I did find out how to reset that, but something else failed promptly.)

I'm a very occasional user of these printers, using them maybe once a month. This is not really "optimal" for an ink jet printer.

Epson certainly has the psychological, software, and documentation mind share in this business. But the print head problems are their Achilles heel.

I'm definitely in the 24" camp as the printer "sweet spot" and realize that adds two big iffy factors: size and weight (as Geoff pointed out). My ipF6400 completely fills up a sturdy 30" x 48" table, so it is a baby gorilla for sure! But I was happy I didn't need to use the metal printer stand that came with it. I have all that space under the table for storage! Also nice that my model now allows for 2 ink size choices, either 130 or 300ml. For me personally Canon has proved very reliable. I had my ipF8000 more than a decade functioning without one ink clog. And, as I mentioned in an earlier post, Canon's Export Photoshop Print Plugin is really, really special and very sophisticated, especially considering it's a FREE download for ipF printers. It alone would win me over from Epson to Canon.

In my humble opinion, based on a lifetime of drinking
coffee, this is the best way to make it. Buy whole
beans within a week of roasting, use a burr grinder,
"brew" grounds in a French press, sit back and enjoy.

Sounds like trying to find the perfect coffeemaker (or displays?) is like trying to find the perfect camera strap or camera bag. I'm getting really close on most of these.

1) NEC PA-series displays. As good as EIZO's and usually significantly less money.

2) Think Tank Retrospectives for camera bags. Better and more flexible than the classic Domke, and nicer-looking, too.

3) Straps, straps, straps. Well, I'm still closing in on this one. I've finally settled on either an Optech or an old LowePro Street and Field PJ straps terminated with Peak Design anchors and links. I just installed the Peak Design anchors (the little red and black buttons) and links and the anchors are really nice for adding a minimal "clip" to the camera eyelet, but allows attachment of a range of straps (including sling-style straps). My favorite strap is an original LowePro Street & Field PJ strap. It's a soft woven material and very flexible so it folds up easily in the Retro 5 and the under side is completely covered with much more of the same rubber gripper material on a Domke Gripper, so it will absolutely not fall off your shoulder, even carrying a big Canon 1D and L glass. My problems is I have only one, and they have been discontinued. I much prefer this strap to the UpStrap which I did not like...at all. The Optech is decent, almost as grippy, but the shoulder pad is thicker and doesn't fold as easily.

Speaking of 'sweet spots' regarding monitors, get a 24" NEC with SpectraView included (don't skimp on that part). Eizos are the best, and there are tons of lower priced options, but this is the best bang for the buck. Just like the P800 and IP.

Although I'm colorblind and have no interest in printing—todays post was very important. Thankx for introducing me to the Clever Dripper.

I love my French Press, but I drink waay to much coffee. It looks like the answer I've been looking for. I use a mixture of French Roast and Green Tea, which should continue to work.

As far as your monitor conundrum, just look at two or three of the best. No need to research all of the El Cheapo brands.

@ Chris: "...what are you going to do with the prints you make?" ... "You can keep them in archival boxes, but who will be looking at them?"

Questions that transcend the practical logistics of storage. Why do you exert the effort and expense to make photographs at all?

As a pro, I don't really want to make prints at home, for the same reason I never made color professional prints at home when I was shooting film: costs too much, and it takes too much time, and it's time spent I can't charge decent money for, vs. shooting time, which I can. I'd rather use a professional color service.

Having said that, I needed something to at least make some sort of prints on, for tests or "place-holders" or what-ever, so one day after my 2 Epsons broke, I saw a 'bottom line' Canon for sale at B&H for nothing. I bought it, and have been very happy with it, and when that was burned out, I bought another, for nothing.

Can't tell you how many times I've been thanked by others in the industry I suggest this to, who weren't really getting the full advantage out of their Epsons either, and just wanted a "test" type printer...when they find out how little they have to pay, and how the dye doesn't dry up like the pigment, they are plum happy!

I keep lusting after the Epson P800 which would just fit into a sliding drawer in my office but it is occupied by my 7-8 year old HP B9180 that keeps chugging along. Fortunately, I have slim drawers below that can take 17" prints below it, so whenever the HP gives up the ghost, I'll be ready to justify it to my wife.;)

Mike: Coffee - don't overthink it. Just get a consumer product that you save for company. I have one in the basement that I bring out when we have guests, rather than subject them to my coffee pickiness. A bit fancier is the Melitta insulated pourover style. I ask whether anyone would like espresso, and usually the answer is no.

My espresso maker is basically an electric version of the classic Italian Moka pot. Every apartment we rented throughout Italy had one of these in it's kitchen. It's not fancy. I'm not trying to compete with Starbucks or a precious coffee shop. It just makes good couple cups of espresso.

I say go old school and keep it simple and buy a large French press or two. Perfectly satisfactory for occasional use and largely hands-off and fuss free. (I thought about Chemex, too, but decided that that was too fussy for entertaining.)

As for printers, I went 13" pigment (years ago). My space is quite small, and I print only occasionally, in bursts. Printing large also means framing large, which takes considerable space to do or considerable expense to have done.

I own two printers: a large Epson 7900 that is now unusable because of a head clog, and a Canon Pro-1000. I rarely made really large prints on the Epson - in fact, I now make very small prints exclusively (8.5x11, to save money, which is in shorter supply since I retired). I'll admit the 24" wide prints it can make are eye popping, but I don't have enough real estate on my walls nor enough money in the bank to warrant making many of them.

The Epson really isn't well suited for making the smaller prints, the Canon is, and the prints the Canon makes are nothing to sneeze at. I can place a stack of 25 sheets of Canson Baryta in the Canon rear autofeeder and print away happily without a paper skew whereas the Epson was a lot fussier: I found myself bending individual sheets carefully before feeding them to the monster.

But the thing that really encouraged me to purchase the Canon was the fact that the print head is user replaceable at a reasonable cost. The cost of replacing the head on the Epson is so prohibitive that you might as well buy another one altogether ... if you can figure out what to do with the old one.

I've been printing with the same Canon ipF5100 (a 17" printer) since 2008 and, knock on wood, the beast just keeps on cranking out great prints. I think I have changed the 130 ml ink carts maybe 3 times in that time period and have had to replace the very pricey heads once, but the beast keeps on rolling, and rolling reliably. One of the real pluses of the Canon design is that photo black and matt black have dedicated ink lines so there is no ink loss when switching from gloss to matte papers. I am considering the Epson P800, however, as a supplemental printer for B+W, for the ImagePrint software, and for digital negative production.

I saw an interview with Lee Friedlander about his work. He said that quite often, over a period of years, he found that he had taken a lot of pictures of certain subjects. He hadn't been actively shooting them, he sort of fell into it. One of his books was just flower stems in glass vases and another was shots from within his car of the moment, with the interior of the car as a sort of frame. This made me look at my boxes of prints and realize that I had my own categories with many prints over many years. So, I went to Costco and bought 16 one inch three ring binders. Whenever I "discovered" a new category I would label a binder and fill it with Print-File archival 8 1/2 x 11 print sleeves and start a new album. It's much neater and more accessible than boxes. Also, it let me discard work prints and bas examples of said category.

What to do with the prints is the tip of a very large and awkwardly-shaped iceberg! I think the much bigger question here is: why are we making photographs that we think are worth printing on sheets of paper 17" wide? Are you an artist who shows your work? Do you sell your prints online, or through a gallery? If you're one of those people, then the question answers itself. But what if you're someone who is deeply interested in photography but has no audience for the work you make (beyond family and some friends)?

Leaving aside the point Chris makes (a good one) about filling your own walls with your own prints, after a while you run out of wall space. And then the expensive archival boxes are full, and there's no more room for more of those.

If anyone has any great ideas, chime in please because I only have room for a few more archival storage boxes in my house...

FYI, the Epson P800 on sale at B&H comes with 64ml "starter" ink cartridges not the normal 80ml size.

Mike, I have the 13x19 Canon Pro-10. Great color prints and pretty good B&W. I make quite a few prints but not enough to justify the huge increase in ink prices typical of the larger format printers. I have only an occasional need for a 16x20 print, which my local camera store can print quite reasonably for me, so the increased cost of a larger format printer is not justified. Once you appropriately mat a 16x20 print you occupy a large part of your wallspace. Often too, not all prints look best big - I just finished a project with 40-some B&W prints at 6x6 to 7x9 inch for an exhibition and book. That said, if I won the lottery you would find a 16x20 Moonrise over Hernandez on my wall!

I have one of those high-rated, expensive, made-in-Finland coffeemakers, the Technivorm Mochamaster. Still not perfect. It's prone to the occasional overflow, has no auto-off, and drips like crazy if you pull the pot early. But the taste has been pretty consistent, as in pretty good. Coffee makers always seem best for the first few pots and then for some reason go downhill, even with proper cleaning. They are like toasters! This one was best at first too, but it didn't change nearly so much as cheaper ones over time.

I've printed with Epson printers for about 20 years. I currently have an Epson 3800 which has a 17 inch carriage. I bought it new 9 years ago. It works great except with matt 17x22 inch papers which results in head strikes along the edges of the paper unless the paper has absolutely no curl. This has caused me to pre roll all matt 17x22 paper to try to avoid these head strikes (time-consuming). I can also depend on it clogging from time to time and wasting a lot of ink on the cleaning cycles.(I use genuine Epson cartridges)
I was at PhotoPlus Expo last week and I looked at the Canon Pro-1000. What appealed to me was the fact that it has a platen vacuum which keeps the paper flat as it travels under the print head. In theory, this would prevent head strikes, and paper skew. Also the Canon rep said it has practically no head clogs because it has back up nozzles which automatically take over if a nozzle does clog. Also there is zero wasted ink in switching from matt black to photo black inks (and zero wasted time switching). And finally it has 10 colors of ink plus a cartridge with Chroma Optimizer, so it's using 11 "colors" at any given time. The Epson P800 uses 8 ink colors at any given time.
All these features make the Canon a more attractive printer to me. I will definitely consider the Canon when I need a new printer. It sounds like a significant upgrade to the Epson.

I have an unusual printer requirement. Any suggestions would be most welcome. I print lots of 6x4 photos as part of our business, often over 50 a day. I need my printer to be mobile. The Epson T50 with 5 colours meets the needs perfectly in terms of portability, speed and photo quality. Except for the cartridge size. I run through them at a rapid rate and they sure are pricey. The new ecotank models would be perfect but they just don't have the photo quality I need. I am being forced to use third party inks in the Epson.
I sell a small number of A1 sized prints as well but these I get done to order by a quality photo lab.

I bought a P-800 a few months ago and I have been surprised at how perfect my prints have been! I'm not trying to advertise for Epson, but I have been working on a long term project, and I think that out of 150 prints I have made, at least 145 have been flawless! When a print is not perfect it is a surprise, and all my fears about having to waste tons of paper and ink were unfounded...

You might be able to apply for an additional $50 rebate (on top of the $300 rebate) based on upgrading your P600 to a P800. See current Epson rebate offers.

Also, Edward Richards wrote: "You definitely want the service contract that extends the warranty by two years. This is cheaper for the Canon, bringing them to about the same price."

Note that this can be purchased at any time until the end of the first year warranty period. I'm holding off on any extension depending on first year experience. I didn't buy any for my 3800, and the printer needed no repair during 6 years of ownership.

Mike,

I'm sure you've seen the Sweethome's coffeemaker guide. http://thesweethome.com/reviews/best-coffee-maker/ For things I don't care that much about, I go with their choice, but they gather so much data that for things I care about most, they give me more analysis to paralyze me.

Here is my suggestion, though. Why not get two more Clevers? With three, you can easily make enough for plenty of guests. One time, I was the trainer at a coffeeshop and I convinced the owners to drop batch-brew in favor of handmaking Clevers.

And doing that, I learned that Clevers aren't all that consistent between baristas, even given the same water, water temperature, water quanity (measured on a gram scale, natch) coffee, coffee grind setting, coffee quantity (measured on a gram scale, say it with me everybody).

Today I print on Epson 3880.With that and with the P800 I can print long - up to 92cm. The Canon 1000 can print just up to 42cm.
Image quality is basically the same. The short longest print is, to me, a show-stopper.

[Note that Epson says "Maximum printable length may be limited by software application, OS, available media and RIP" in the P800 specs. Your maximum length for the Pro-1000 seems way too short—LuLa pegs maximum print size for the Pro-1000 at 17×23.4 inches, which is 43x59.5 cm. —Mike.]

Those stove top mocha coffee makers come in sizes from 2 cups to 12 on eBay. The example I own from that source is perfectly nicely built and not a shoddy, ill-machined knock off.

It's worth buying a medium and a large size if you have the storage space. Otherwise, just use the medium sized pot twice in a row.

Coffee time for many is usually chatting time, too; no one will grudge you the extra time needed to make a second batch as you converse with your guests, standing by the stove-top.

I don't give prints to my friends as you will never know if they really like them, and you will probably never find out. If you go and visit them and do not see your photo displayed, do you then feel bad? Family is a special case and these are (all JPEGs) of my kids and the family. Not exactly photos requiring the resources of a 17 inch printer. Similarly my brother and I used to give each other vinyl albums we liked back in the day, but rarely found these gifts satisfying as our tastes were just too different. I have given the odd print to people who asked for one, because that was an request by a person who clearly actually liked it. An unsolicited gift cannot be rejected in polite society. As to Kenneth's comment on my initial one. He is indeed correct, I wonder why we bother to take photos at all. In the past I used to say I did it to document my life, which was indeed true, but as one gets older this seems rather less interesting as the number of events worth documenting decline, or one gets melancholia from looking at them. So now I fall back on saying I take photos because I enjoy it, which remains true, but I do not really know why I do. Despite these ruminations I am not tortured by all this, and undoubtedly some of my thinking is stimulated by the terrible image glut of the internet age.

Oh Noooo - I just bought an Epson P600 based on your experience. I thought about the P800, but, but... :-)

[I think you'll be happy. The smaller ink carts do make more sense for lower-volume printing, and the image quality is...well, I think you're going to be *extremely* happy with that. Lovely. --Mike]

When I was in Canada this summer I had coffee from an Espro Press, which is a French press-style coffee maker with a micro-filter. The coffee was excellent. I would look into this if I were looking for a way to make coffee for four to six people.

OK Mike, we are in this together. I just unboxed and set up my new P800. It is replacing a 3800. The first few prints, especially the black and white are quite an improvement, and I loved the 3800 prints. I am in the progress of migrating my ImagePrint RIP from the 3800 to P800. Using Ctein's printer manages colors setup I am very happy. Can't wait to see what IP does with it.

Multiple Clever drippers. They're cheap. We have three or four (well, one leaks a little). So easy, and good brew is still up to you.

The Epson P800 has produced excellent prints the first few weeks. It does have little nuisances. 1) High Speed (bidirectional printing) under Print Quality defaults to On, with no way found to have it default to Off. 2) Fine art paper fed into the front encounters a problem. The edge of a part in the path at the rear tends to block or bend and crease the paper. There is a workaround for long papers, and a very clumsy workaround for 11-inch paper. The first problem could be fixed with a firmware release; the second is there forever in this machine, although Epson could redesign the simple plastic part for new production runs.

Ever since I followed the popcorn trail to Teasource.com that CTEIN laid out, I have bought and consumed very little coffee. The dripper is sulking in a cupboard. Somewhere.

Just a piece of friendly advice. I clicked on the link of your coffeemaker...it comes with brown filter paper.
Please do not use brown, unbleached coffee filters. Bleaching is a cleaning process. You are essentially soaking your coffee powder in leftover pulp cooking chemicals.
I do not believe it improves the taste.
(I happen to have Master's degree in pulping technology)

After reading through the comments I see no mention of the AeroPress coffee maker (https://www.aerobie.com/product/aeropress/). This is similar to a French press but takes a disposable micro filter that you press the coffee through after it has steeped. It takes extra finely ground coffee. Tastes great.

Thanks for the article. I've been printing for about a decade on an Epson 3880 and a 9600 (44"). The 3880 has been a workhorse even given the abuse it's taken. Including being left in a steam room for an afternoon then carted off to storage for 10 months, due to a hot water flood. I hope Epson has kept that durability in the new P800.

Once I started printing large, I (well the wife actually) just want to print larger still. She calls the 12x18 prints, the new 4x6. Anyway, I periodically rotate images on the walls. Am not so concerned about keeping them in archival storage as I can always reprint if needed.

I don't sell or exhibit my work in galleries, but I did take over a wall in the office at work. Every 3 months I'll swap out the 10 prints there and put up another set. It's good to work on a project all the way through to selecting and printing then hanging the images. The rest of the office likes it as well, which is nice.

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