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Wednesday, 13 August 2008


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Too bad I already have a B9180.

Something to keep in mind, if my R800 experience, and that of others, is of any use here.

Small cartridges and occassional use means lots of cleaning, therefore lots of ink consumption, but more importantly, lots of risk of a clogged head, which my R800 ultimately succumbed to.

Unless you are using this R1900 every week, you will need discipline and $$ to keep it 'fresh.'

You've described the target audience for this printer well, Mike. The only thing I'd add is the significance of the small ink cartridges. I own an Epson Stylus Photo R800, which is basically the same printer but with an 8.5 x 11-inch maximum print size. On occasions when I decide to make several 6 x 9 prints it's almost a certainty that the "low ink" warning light will start flashing and that at least two of the cartridges will be low. Given that the R1900 uses the same size cartridges but is capable of making much larger prints, it could suck a cartridge dry in no time. Epson brand ink cartridges retail for around $14.00 each and there are eight of them, so do the math. Epson could practically give this thing away and still make a respectable profit on the consumables. On the other hand, this is true for practically any ink jet printer, so if you look at the lower price as a discount on your first few rounds of ink you can appreciate the real value of the Adorama deal.

I assume I don't need to point out the irony of this post appearing immediately after Duane Michals' comments on large prints?

Good. Then I won't.


That describes me. Of course, i already bought one....

The more I think about this the more irritated I get. I need to buy more ink for my B9180. That's probably going to run me $250. For another $100 I get a new printer.

Dear Folks,

First, I'd like it if Mike would elaborate on why he thinks this printer is only suitable for making a few prints a week when a printer like the 2200 or 2400 can clearly handle a much larger volumes than that (I was averaging several dozen 8 x 10 equivalents a week on my 2200). Is the build on the 1900 noticeably worse? Inquiring minds want to know! (Well, this one does.)

As for image quality, I think the black-and-white prints look rather good coming off of my R800; what are you (Mike) unhappy about with the R1900 prints? I'm interested because I have black-and-white-oriented friends who have been contemplating that printer.

I really wish ALL of the Epson printers had the gloss overcoat! I hate differential relief/bronzing/gloss/call it what you will.

Re: ink consumption and cartridge sizes, I've used extensively two R800s, two 2200s, a 2400, and a 9800. They all use about the same number of ml of ink per square meter of image. Which colors get consumed fastest depends on the subject matter and the ink set in the printer, but total consumption per print is annoyingly consistent across the line. Smaller cartridges just mean that you're changing cartridges more frequently, but I thought that the cartridges for the 800, 2200, 2400, and 1900 were all about the same size. (misremembering?) Also, as I recall, the price Epson charges per ml of usable ink is about the same for all three smaller models.

(Interesting tidbit about just how artificial the pricing is: the 2400 uses every bit of ink that's in the cartridge, unlike the 2200 which leaves about one quarter of the ink behind. So the 2400 cartridges last about 30% longer even though they are identical in volume (and almost in construction) to the 2200 cartridges. Epson charges about 30% more for the 2400 cartridges. I'm sure it's chance and coincidence.)

Re: occasional use. DON'T! Not with any of the printers I've mentioned. Run at least one print per week, whether you need to or not. If you do, you will likely never get a head clog, or it will be so minor that it will probably clear itself on the first print you run out (zero wastage if you normally need to make a test print before your final print). If you wait two weeks between rounds you're probably okay, depending upon local temperatures and humidities. 3-4 weeks is problematical. More than a month between uses? You'll possibly need to clean the heads every time you use the machine and that will eat up a hell of a lot of ink.

Let the printer sit six months or longer and you are risking total loss. The two R800's were inherited from Tee Corrine and hadn't been used in half a year. Through the EXTENSIVE application of third-party cleaning solutions, I eventually got both of them working clog-free. It took a lot of time and a lot of effort. On the other hand, while writing my last book, my 2200 also sat idle for substantially more than six months. When I started using it again, I had a slightly plugged black nozzle that created spurious satellite drops in white borders. it was unsalvageable. That was a very costly lesson!

~ pax \ Ctein
[ please excuse any word salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital restorations http://photo-repair.com

I just think if you're going to print extensively or heavily, it would make more sense to get a model with larger cartridges. Even if the ink use and ink cost is the same, it's likely to be an annoyance to have to swap carts all the time, and more problematic to keep a ready supply of extra carts on hand. I suppose this is different for people who are more organized and have more foresight than I have, but even using 27 ml carts in my HP and despite my best intentions I tend to get caught short more often than I'd care to admit. That problem would be aggravated by 11 ml. ink carts, is my guess.

I do think it's worthwhile to run a print or two every 3-4 days, or at least once a week, with most printers, especially Epsons, to avoid clogging and cleaning issues.

I grant that good craftspersons working carefully and cannily can achieve results that essentially outstrip the basic limitations of specific printers (or any sort of equipment), but frankly if a prospective buyer has more money I would recommend the HP B9180 over the Epson R1900. I have yet to see an Epson B&W print that stands up to the B9180's B&W. And if a photographer is generally more serious about printing a lot and printing B&W but wants to stay in the Epson family, I would in both cases suspect they'd be happier with the 3800, with its 80ml carts and 4 K and "light K" ink combos and more advanced B&W driver. Even a cheap R1900 is a fool's economy if it soon frustrates and tempts its user to replace it.

I'm not intending to be absolutist about this at all; individuals' preferences may indeed vary. But I think when recommending a particular bargain printer it's simply responsible to give people some sort of rough or basic idea of what kind of pig is in that poke, is all.

Mike J.

Dear Mike,

Thanks for elaborating on your recommendation. The HP *is* sweet. Depends on your wallet and your pain threshold, I guess. $1300 for the 3800 vs $800 for 2400/2880 vs $600 for the B9180 vs $350 for the 1900. Unless I needed bigger than SuperB, I'd save the money (and buy a coupla nice profiles at $40/pop from Cathy's Profiles).

But sez the man who's got a behemoth in his garage, so how credible is that? [g]

pax / Ctein

Mike, the other nice thing about the HP B-9180 is that it is, at least in my experience, remarkably resistant to clogging. We have one in the office that has twice gone months without use, only to fire up and print fine out of the gate. Did it use up some ink cleaning the heads? I'm sure it must have, but it was a small enough amount that I can't tell for certain that it did.

If you like the sound of the 9180, but want something cheaper, there's also the 8850, which lacks the front-panel display, ethernet, and 16-bit printing support of the 9180, but saves a couple hundred bucks.

If you're an Epson fan, the 2880 is the replacement to the 2400, and a big step up from the 1900. K3 inks in bigger tanks. It's about $800, though.

The $150.00 rebate on Adorama's site is misleading. I called the rebate center and they said that there are two rebates on the r1900. One for $50.00 and one for $100.00 and that according to Epson you can only use one of them. So according to the rebate center the max. rebate is $100.00.


I think an even better deal might just be the Epson 1400 at $199. The inks are not pigment, but you can get some great B&W piezography inks from Jon Cone, who makes special B&W inks just for this printer (in a CIS package) and the results are fantastic. I just did this myself, except I unfortunately bought mine right before it went on sale. Another bummer is that Jon just offered a $50 rebate on his special Epson 1400 CIS inking system, dangit. C'est la vie.

Thanks for all your work Mike,

I would really like someone to tell me what A3 printer i can buy if i need to print occasionally (means 3-4 weeks or each month, or maybe even every 2 month) ?

Some times ago i had an Epson like this but i was putting my money on cleaning the heads. So i decided not to replace it and i print in a shop. But now i realise that i need sometimes to print in a hurry (like let's say in the night) and get some A3 prints.

Do HP is any better for that kind of prints ? I don't need the top of printing, just 'very good' is ok.

help me ! i hate ink jets ! :)

I would recommend the HP B8850.

Review here:


Mike J.

i just get a B8850 and to my surprise with i'm very unhappy with it. the colors are just inacurates !

No they're not, you're just not using it correctly yet. It's VERY common to get double color management before you work out all your settings. Keep trying--the colors can be as accurate as you want them to be.

Mike J.

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