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Equipment Reviews Post a review of your equipment in here

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  #1  
Old 21-12-12, 00:40
gordon g gordon g is offline  
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Default Epson 4900 wide format printer

For me, the end of the image-making process is when I am holding a decent size, good quality print on fine art paper, and yet for the last 4 or 5 months I have been without a properly functioning printer, my venerable epson 2100 having finally broken down after something like 6 or 7 years of dependable service.
Having been out of the market for printers for so long, I wanted to take my time and make a considered choice that would serve me equally well, but be more economic to run. (Epson have a bad habit, it seems, of dramatically increasing the price of ink cartridges once a printer is no longer current). A friend pointed out to me that the wide format printers have large capacity ink cartridges, that make the relative cost of printing considerably cheaper - and with that and the lure of printing at A2, the seed was planted.
A lot of research later saw me ordering an epson 4900 A2 printer. This is really an industrial bit of kit - the smallest of epson's roll feed, trolley mounted printers, though they do describe it as 'desk top'! It takes cut sheet paper up to A2 or roll paper up to 17" width and has five paper paths - roll, cut sheet manual feed, straight-through front and back paths for thick media, and a paper casset for thinner sheets up to A2. The roll and paper casette feeds will interchange automatically once paper is loaded, and there is an auto paper cutter. The ability to use roll paper cuts printing costs - using my favourite hahnemuhle bamboo paper, a 15" by 10" print will be approximately 35p cheaper just for the paper at current prices.
It uses the epson vivid magenta HDR inkset with 4 blacks (photo, matte, light and light light black), and additional green and orange inks, giving 11 cartridges in a set. It is shipped with 80ml cartridges, but the replacements are 200ml, making ink ml for ml far cheaper.
I purchased the printer through a web-based company called Digital Print Solutions who gave excellent trouble-free service and next day delivery.
Instalation, once we got the printer into the right position, was extremely easy, but be warned, the reviews arent kidding when they say this is a big machine. It's footprint closed up is roughly 32" deep by 35" wide, and it weighs 52kg, so you will need two people to move it, a sturdy desk to put it on (unless you buy the stand separately), and a lot of space to work around it - using big sheets of paper take a lot of room.
However, once we got it sat on the A1 size drawers I store paper in (the printer covers the top of these), the set up was very easy. The manual (downloadable) is very easy to follow, the software straightforward to instal. The printer can be set up on a network, though I didnt bother with this - I just contect it via a USB cable to whichever computer I am printing from. Epson profiles come with the instalation disc, and I downloaded profiles for my most used papers from the Hahnemuhle website.
The printer driver interface is very straightforward, though there are a lot of customisable options to explore if you want to. I do the majority of my printing through Lightroom, so once I had set up the new printer preferences as templates, it was simply a case of clicking on the right template and then clicking print.
Results with espon matte papers were very impressive, with good detail, fine graduation of hue and tone. Using Hahnemuhle bamboo and the correct profile from the manufacturer produced even better results, with noticeably better shadow detail than on epson's own matte papers. It took me a few goes to master the set up required for roll paper - getting the orientation right for efficient use of the roll got me a bit muddled at first, but was simple to correct with a little trial and error. Print speeds impressed me, an A3+ print taknig around 4 minutes to produce.
The literature states the inks are light safe for 200yrs in proper display conditions, and the quality of image produced is excellent, whether colour or black and white, which have proved to be very neutral without the need for lots of colour corrections. I will certainly feel confident exhibiting and selling prints produced on it.
This evening it is getting a proper work-out producing phot calendars for my family for Christmas, and it is handling double-sided A4 matte paper via the paper casette without a problem, speeding the process up no end. Having set the job up in lightroom, I can simply leave it to get on and go and do something more interesting than feeding paper into a printer one sheet at a time.
In summary, although it is a costly printer at approx, 1750, running costs are going to quite a lot cheaper than smaller printers. It is capable of producing archival quality fine art prints at sizes up to A2, andf the paper handling is good. If you are someone like me who regularly prints at A3+, and in quite high volumes, then I would give this printer a closer look.

Last edited by gordon g; 21-12-12 at 00:43.
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Old 15-06-18, 11:49
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dordeduca dordeduca is offline  
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i print on the 1500W epson A3+ and p50 A4 , bouth with ciss and i am satisfied.
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