Epson Stylus Photo R300 or R800 or Ricoh CL3000?

CH
Posted By
Christine_Holzmann
Jun 11, 2004
Views
1024
Replies
48
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Closed
Hi all,
Time for me to get a new printer….my beloved Epson Stylus Photo 780 just died…I really loved it.
First off, I do not need a larger format printer for my home office as I can print the larger jobs at work. I do a lot of work from home with my printers, as well as using it for proofs and personal photos, and my portfolio. The Epson 780, altho’ small and at the lower end, really fit the bill and went far beyond my expectations after getting everything as well calibrated as I did (many thanks to these wonderful forums I might add.:) But…alas….my 780 is now retired, no matter how hard I have tried to get things going again…it is also way out of warranty, so it will be cheaper to get a newer printer than go any further with it. And so, I need your help and advice again and wonder if any of you have experience with these printers I am considering……the Epson Stylus Photo R300 or R800 or Ricoh CL3000? I have done searches on these forums regarding these printers but have not come up with too much. I had actually been looking very closely at the 1280 and the 2200 but decided ultimately that those will just be too large for my home office (severely limited space here…..everything is taken up with all my other equipment) and so a smaller version of one of them would be ideal. When I was considering the larger format, I was actually leaning towards the 1280 after spending the last WEEK (yes….many many hours:) reading and researching as much as I could on both those printers. Well, as I said above, anything larger can be printed on our Xerox Phaser 7700 at work which really does a fantastic job (altho’ not so fantastic on the glossy paper we are presently using…but I will leave that for another thread/post some other time in the future.) Apart from the Epson printers, I have also heard a lot about the Ricoh CL3000 color laser which is quite affordable being under $1000. (I would have to wait a bit longer tho’ if I had to choose that one over the others because of price.) It is not a well known printer and hasn’t been widely publicised, but users who have it PRAISE it to the sky regarding color quality.
I am beginning to turn this short question into a longwinded one…so let me get back to the point…what are your recommendations when it comes to these printers and what you know of them? Basically, I want something as good as the 1280 or 2200 but just in a smaller size. Your help would REALLY be appreciated! Thanking you in advance:)

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L
Larryr544
Jun 11, 2004
I personally use the 1280 but I have looked at all three of your printer choices. They are very different from each other. The R300 is an affordable 6 ink printer. It uses the same 6 colors as the 1280 if not the same exact ink. The prints will be fast and great and you can insert a digital camera card directly into the printer, choose the ones you want and then print them out.

The R800 is the latest in Ink jet technology that only Epson and Canon offer. The R800 has the CMYK inks plus Blue and Red and 1.5 picoliter droplet size. For glossy prints up to 8.5 inches wide this is probably the best print quality of any printer at any price on the planet. The Blue and Red inks give this printer a much wider gamut and the gloss coat avoids bronzing. This is how Epson does things. They release their best technology in a small printer first then it moves up to the larger printers. The prints are also rated at over 100 years.

The Ricoh is by far the fastest and probably the least expensive as far as consumables are concerned. Laser Jets print much better on plain paper than Ink Jets which is only one reason why they are less expensive to operate. The other being the toner is less expensive then Ink for the ink jets.

How much are you printing? What quality are you looking for?

Good luck!!
CH
Christine_Holzmann
Jun 11, 2004
I am more interested in quality than in speed. Of course I don’t want a printer that is going to be sludge-slow, but I am going to be using this printer for quality prints instead of "bulk printing." As I said in my first post, it is to be used for printing proofs (both for work and my own freelance work) of photos/brochures/ads/assorted media, etc. and also for high quality items for my own portfolio. It is also essential that it does a good job printing text…for the brochures, etc. Way back when I had an Epson 740, it did a TERRIBLE job with text altho’ a pretty decent job with graphics. The Epson Photo 780 was great all around….it really was quite a terrific little workhorse. But now that it’s gone, I want to "move up." ๐Ÿ™‚
From what I understand, (I did some more research after I wrote this in last night) the Epson Stylus Photo R800 is the little brother of the 2200…I have heard a lot of good things about the 2200. I am starting to lean towards the R800 now….BUT, if the Ricoh CL3000 can match it in print quality, than I will wait for that rather. It will certainly make more sense in the long run too because of all the savings on consumables, especially because Epsn printers are known for their "thirstiness" for ink:)

So, basically, my need is for HIGH QUALITY prints…both on matte and glossy paper. Thanks for your help Larry :))
L
Larryr544
Jun 11, 2004
The R800 is NOT the little brother of the 2200. The 2200 uses a very different ink set and a very different technology. The R800 will be your best printer for the highest quality prints. To see what I’m talking about see the 2200 ink set compared to the R800. They are a very different technology and different colors. The 2200 has a much lower gamut and does not have the glossy coating.
CH
Christine_Holzmann
Jun 11, 2004
Forgive me then…I was basing my words about the R800 being the 2200’s "little brother" on a review I read from Steve’s Digicams site at < http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/epson_r800_pg3.h tml#conclusion>

_______________________

Here is a quote from his review of the printer:

Steve’s Conclusion
The Epson Stylus Photo R800 at $399 (as of April 2004) is a very versatile and high quality photo printer for the home or business graphics user that needs archival prints. You can consider this printer to be the narrow carriage "little brother" of the larger format Epson Stylus Photo 2200. The R800 uses UltraChrome Hi-Gloss pigment inks for longevity and includes a gloss optimizer to give your glossy prints the kind of punch that is usually only seen on prints from dye-based printers. And it has both a photo black and a matte black cartridge to yield the best possible printing on glossy and matte papers. The printer automatically selects the appropriate black ink depending on the media being used.

_________________________________________

Larry, in your opinion then, do you feel the 1280 is better than the 2200 then in photo quality? Based on what I had read this last week, the 1280 was the winner in image quality whereas the 2200 was the winner in longevity/archival potential of photo prints.

I am glad to hear, at any rate, that the R800 is such an excellent printer. I think perhaps that that is the way I will go then and investigate the color lasers later down the road. From what I understand, laser printers are not as color accurate as Inkjets. So I think I will get this R800 for my critical work and then a color laserjet next year for the rest of my prints that are not so color critical.
One more question…do you have any idea how well the R800 may handle text printing…this is also pretty important for whatever text there may be in my proofs.

Thanks again for your help ๐Ÿ™‚
L
Larryr544
Jun 11, 2004
No I do not think that the 1280 is better than the 2200. With the Ultrachrome Inks the new 4000 is the best and better than the 1280 as is the 2200 better than the 1280. (Even thought the 1280 has a slightly higher gamut than the 2200.)

Steve’s conclusion the "you can consider" is somewhat misguided in that the ink sets are very different.

Fopr text the Laser is probably better on plain paper while they will be identical to the naked eye when comparing Photo Quality Ink Jet Paper on the Ink Jet with a Bright plain paper on the Laser. The only other issue is who might have the blackest black. You could go see the R800 at a Fry’s or call Epson for another store or ask both companies to send you text samples.
CH
Christine_Holzmann
Jun 11, 2004
Larry, thank you SO MUCH for your help:) You were really a great help & source of info in helping me to "solidify" my decision ๐Ÿ™‚
VL
Venicia_L
Jun 11, 2004
Larry & Christine,

I believe the inksets in the 2200 and the 800 are the same. The 800 holds both the gloss and matte black ink cartridges so it has 8 inks. But only one of the two blacks is used at a time.

The 2200 requires that the blacks be physicially swapped as it only holds 7 cartridges.

I agree that the print quality of the 800 is the best, but I simply can’t see it. I doubt that it is actually something that is visible, though it is measureable by other means. So it really becomes academic.

When the 1280 came out, its higher resolution (2880) was touted as superior to the 1270 (1440), but the difference was completely invisible in the print, so no one used 2880 (which just takes longer and uses more ink).

The 2200’s print resolution is visibly better (slightly) than the 1280 (blends and contrast transitions are MUCH better). But the 800 and 4000, while having better ink drop size stats do not show better prints than the 2200/7600/9600 heads.

VL
L
Larryr544
Jun 11, 2004
Verinicia – Go to Epsons site and look it up. The 2200 is CcMmYK while the R800 is CMYKBR this is a huge difference!!!! There are no Blue or Red Inks in the 2200 and there are no pastel cyan or pastel magenta in the R800. So the Blue and Red gamuts are much improved in the R800 over the 2200. This is in plain english on the Epson site.

The two K inks in the 2200 are not as you say. One K is for glossy and the other is for mat. It costs $75 worth of ink to change one to the other. The R800 uses the same K for both papers.

There is no Gloss coat in the 2200 either. These are two very different printers!
CC
Chris_Cox
Jun 11, 2004
Actually, the R800 doesn’t have any improved gamut – just slightly improved density in reds and blues (I don’t know why Epson made such a silly choice, but they did).
CH
Christine_Holzmann
Jun 12, 2004
Here is a quote from yet another review at ZDNET.com:

"Epson claims that the R800 expands on the 2200’s color gamut, the range of hues it can print. Epson’s latest version of its UltraChrome pigmented ink set, which debuts in this model, supplements the traditional cyan, magenta, yellow, and Photo Black or Matte Black selection with red and blue inks. That, plus a gloss optimizer, which keeps blacks looking shiny on glossy paper, brings the total to eight cartridges."
VL
Venicia_L
Jun 12, 2004
Sorry,

My bad. I’ve seen prints from the 800 which didn’t show any improved detail next to those from a 2200. Still, the evolution of the Epson printers has seen improvement steadily take place. The jump in quality from the 1280 to the 2200 was real. Maybe the 800 is the first wave of a technology that will show visible print improvement, but I don’t think the 800 shows it yet.

I’ve never printed with any ink other than matte black in the 2200. I have no use for glossy prints. I didn’t know that it cost $75 in materials to change the blacks.

VL
CC
Chris_Cox
Jun 12, 2004
Yes, the 800 has some potential – but their choice of inks was, well, less than optimal.
L
Larryr544
Jun 12, 2004
So what do you think of Canon’s choice of ink in the 9100? Green and Red. They quote 70% and a 30% gamut increase respectively.
CC
Chris_Cox
Jun 12, 2004
It’s the 9900 that has the extra colors, and I haven’t gotten my hands on one of them yet.
L
Larryr544
Jun 12, 2004
Yes it is the 9900. The test photos on the web look good but not as good as the R800.
BG
barry_gray
Jun 12, 2004
" It costs $75 worth of ink to change one to the other" ??? Not on my 2200, one head clean cycle perhaps, but not $75.
CH
Christine_Holzmann
Jun 12, 2004
Well….now a new printer has been brought into the equation…..the Canon i9900. I had not heard about it before this thread…to tell the truth, I had never paid too much attention to anything "Canon" printerwise, as the Epson brand was always the "De Facto" for me:)
I have been reading a bunch of reviews in the last hour on the i9900 and started doing some research on that and, from what I see, (professional) users are LAUDING this printer…I am still trying to find some negative reviews but have not come across even one. On some photography forums I have come across, several users are even preferring the i9900 over the Epson 2200…..I definitely need to look into this further….now I am totally undecided again…..;)
RL
Ronald_Lanham
Jun 12, 2004
No mention of the longevity of prints for the Canon i9900. (i.e. How archival are they?) At least the product page < http://www.usa.canon.com/html/conCprProductDetail.jsp?modeli d=9870&item=10027&section=10214> didn’t indicate it.
L
Larryr544
Jun 12, 2004
Barry – that $75 quote was from here:

< http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/printers/epson-400 0.shtml> Good to hear that it isn’t that much? I was thinking that it was excessive.
CH
Christine_Holzmann
Jun 12, 2004
Ronald,
One of the editorials I read previously described the Canon’s inks as being archival…but since your post I cannot find any further mention of it, so it must have been a mistake:( It certainly does not mention anything about printed images from the i9900 being archival on Canon’s website.
At this stage I think I am going to stick with the R800…I truly think I will be happiest all around with that…it truly sounds like a remarkable printer that will fulfill all of my needs:)
R
Ram
Jun 12, 2004
Larry,

You may have misread that article. In the first place, the review pertains to an Epson 4000 printer, not the 2200. Secondly, the specific sentence refers to unnamed "larger" printers, specifically larger than the 2200. Here’s the pertinent part (emphasis mine):

One of the reasons for its seemingly excessive girth is the fact that it can take eight 220 ml ink cartridges simultaneously. No, it’s not an 8 ink printer, but it does take both the Photo Black and Matte Black cartridges simultaneouslyย— a first on an Epson printer. Whereas changing black cartridges when switching between glossy and matte papers is a minor inconvenience with the 2100 and 2200 printers, with the larger printers it is very expensive because all of the lines are flushed. The cost in wasted ink is about $75.00 each time the blacks are swapped. On the 4000 both black inks live inside the printer at all times, and which ink is used is selected automatically in software based on your paper setting.

Clearly, the $75 figure does not apply to the Epson 2200. My experience confirms that. One charging cycle is all it takes. You would have to throw away eight new, full cartridges for the 2200 to reach that figure.
R
Ram
Jun 12, 2004
Christine,

Print longevity depends both on the inks and on the paper. I cannot speak to the newer Canon inks, but in my experience prints on Canon paper in general, though they in fact look very impressive right off the printer, fade faster than just about any other quality paper known to me.
L
Larryr544
Jun 12, 2004
Here’s the authority on Ink permance:

<http://www.wilhelm-research.com/>
GB
g_ballard
Jun 12, 2004
Canon’s inks

I don’t know about their ink, but I gave up one afternoon on trying to get a clean SourceSpace-to-PrintSpace conversion under a simple no color adjustment workflow in the Canon driver.

Canon’s tech support, including their web site, never heard of an ICC profile…I came to the conclusion the the Canon printers are not for professional use (if you are ICC savvy workflow and want an accurate proof).

I left my client in an sRGB-SameAsSource-type workflow and wished him luck (I told him EPSON and he got Canon).

PS: Maybe someone else has made custom profiles for the Canon and figured how to work around the Canon driver, but I ran out of time (and patience with their clueless tech support, and website)…
CH
Christine_Holzmann
Jun 12, 2004
Larry,
WOW! What an excellent website that is! Thank you so much for sharing that with is:)

GB, thanks also for letting me know that additional tidbit about the Canon driver…I am feeling better and better about my decision to go with the R800 every minute….:)

Crissi
_________________
L
Larryr544
Jun 12, 2004
Ramon – Thanks…I did miss-read it. It did seem excessive, like who would ever do it!

This has been a great thread so far. If it isn’t obvious I’ve been thinking of getting a new printer and have been looking at many reviews.

I have found many sources by typing into google "Epson 4000 review" or Epson R800 review" or the like.
R
Ram
Jun 12, 2004
Larry,

Given the horrible design of the pages on that site, it was amazing that you even read that far down the page. In order to find the passage you had mentioned, I did a Command F search of the page on "75". No way was I going to read that whole abomination of a page until I found it. ๐Ÿ™‚
RL
Ronald_Lanham
Jun 12, 2004
After checking out the link that Larry provided in post #23 it looks as if Epson’s "PictureMate" paper (using Epson’s inks of course) is the clear winner by a huge margin. (104 years vs. the second place of only 40 years with a precipitous falling off after that)
R
Ram
Jun 12, 2004
Alas, the PictureMate printer <http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/index.jsp>, for which the PictureMate paper is optimized, only prints 4"x6". ๐Ÿ™
R
Ram
Jun 12, 2004
Ronald,

The entire table you’re quoting from refers exclusively to 4"x6" printers.
R
Ram
Jun 12, 2004
Other Epson Printer/Epson Paper combinations are rated >200 years by Wilhelm Research, e.g., the Epson 2200 printer with Epson Enhanced Matte (Archival) paper.
VL
Venicia_L
Jun 12, 2004
Christine,

I have been using Epson printers since they introduced the 1200, legitimizing their version of piezo technology and literally sounding the death knell for IRIS.

While Epson has been inscruitable to the nth degree, their products have always worked beautifully with Macs, they embraced ICC color management from the beginning and they have set the bar for image quality, machine quality, and ink technology. Their machines can be used at any level, from mindless plug and play to a fully controlled, color-managed PostScript work flow (with the right RIP). I wouldn’t dream of getting a printer from ANY other manufacturer. The pain is just not worth it.

VL
L
Larryr544
Jun 12, 2004
I agree with Venicia… and I have used HP’s and Canons also.
CH
Christine_Holzmann
Jun 13, 2004
Thanks everyone for all of your help:) Reading thru everyone’s comments here…and all of the other individual points that were brought up…has truly been very enlightening.
Also, I will add, I was standing at the magazine aisle in the grocery store earlier tonight reading through some digital photography magazines (photography has always been a much loved hobby of mine:) and I came across an article that stated that the Epson printers swept the floor in receiving all the best printer awards in all categories at a digital photographer’s conference….I cannot remember the name of the conference OR the magazine unfortunately as I was browsing thru quite a few photography magazines at the time. The Epson R800 was the winner in the small format printer category by the way, and the Epson 4000 was the winner in the larger format category.
So, you are all quite right backing Epson all the way it seems:)

And do you want to know something really funny? I decided to give my Epson 780 one last LAST LAST try getting it to work today before I dumped it….and, lo and behold, it WORKED. (I am not going to go into detail what was wrong with it…or my long saga trying to get it to work…I will be writing for days) Murphy’s Law takes the cake yet again!! Well, the thing is…I am still going to buy the R800 this week as now I have set my heart on it with everything I have come to know about it. So basically, if it was not for this thread…I would not be buying it this week now that the 780 is working again. But this is even better now…I can use the 780 for all the "junk" that I may wish to print, and use the R800 for the more important stuff, thus reducing the wear and tear on it….so, all is well that ends well:)
L
Larryr544
Jun 13, 2004
Christine – Thanks for letting us know what you decided. When you get the R800 post here again and let us know what you think! Get some premium glossy photo paper also and you’ll get some great prints! Enjoy larry
AW
Allen_Wicks
Jun 13, 2004
As you have apparently decided, stick with Epson for best reliable photo quality. And I don’t know why the i9900 was considered anyway, because you stated that you specifically did not want 13×19 format. I look forward to hearing about your experiences with the R800, since I may soon be buying an 8.5×11 Epson SP to complement the (excellent) SP2200 and (much less good) SP1280.

Note: with all the Epsons always download and install (even if you already have the latest version) the most current driver from the Epson website any time you have problems or install new printer hardware.
AH
Andrew_Hayton
Jun 16, 2004
Looking through most of the posts it seems that visually you will find it hard to compare the differences between the printers.
Have you thought that it might be cheaper to get proper photographic prints done from any photo’s that you have. I looked into printing my own photo’s using an inkjet printer and found that labs can produce proper photographic prints for less than I could print them. Just a thought.
L
Larryr544
Jun 16, 2004
Proper isn’t proper anymore. Injets are better and last longer!
AH
Andrew_Hayton
Jun 16, 2004
Who says!

Put an inkjet in sunlight and also a wet processed photographic print and see which fades and discolours first. How can companies say that inkjets will last 200 years when they haven’t been tested for that long. All the ‘so called’ longeveity tests aren’t nowhere near reality.
R
Ram
Jun 16, 2004
Andrew,

That only holds true if all you’re printing are 4×6" prints of snapshots. No way a lab can give you the control that printing your own images does, from cropping to color correction. You’d need a very good pro lab to do that kind of custom work, and it’s not going to be cheap. Think about 8"x10" and larger prints.
AH
Andrew_Hayton
Jun 16, 2004
I can get 8×10 prints done for under ยฃ2 and have all the control I need as I have set up a profile of their machine so that I know what I see on screen is what I will get on the print.
R
Ram
Jun 16, 2004
Then, by all means stick with your lab.
AW
Allen_Wicks
Jun 17, 2004
Deleted; new thread.
LS
Larry_Settle
Jun 17, 2004
I bought the R800 right after it came out, and can only say… I love mine. I went to the Epson Print Academy when it was in town and talked to Vincet Versase about the printer before I bought it and he seemed to like it too. Everything I read before I bought it was positive. Here is a site with an interactive review: <http://www.photo-i.co.uk/index.html>
CH
Christine_Holzmann
Jun 18, 2004
Larry…what a GREAT link that was!! Thank you:))
I enjoyed reading about the test the one gentleman did to see whether the R800 inks were REALLy waterproof….by placing one of the prints in the BATH! (I had a good laugh here:) And the print came out tops after having been in the bath….no streaks at all…can you believe it! ๐Ÿ™‚
CH
Christine_Holzmann
Jul 14, 2004
Okay….now for some feedback on the R800…I just received it yesterday. I couldn’t purchase it as soon as I wanted because some other things popped up which I had to attend to and so couldn’t quite afford to get the R800 at the same time:( Well….my ol’ faithful Epson 780 died…again…this time for good. I think the chip inside is messed up or something to that effect. So, since I so badly need a printer because I do so much work from home, my boss got this for me:)) Kudos to my wonderful boss!! He really does spoil us:))
Now for my feedback….quite simply, I am BLOWN AWAY! This must be the first time EVER for me that the first print that came out of a brand new printer looked absolutely exquisite without me having to muck around for hours before getting it right. The prints are STUNNING!! The addition of the gloss optimizer also makes all the difference in the world for me when printing photos on glossy paper. Absolutely INCREDIBLE! The color is accurate, the image quality is exceptional….the printer is so quiet you wouldn’t know it was printing anything if you weren’t the one who just hit the print button:)
Just one little drawback…I cannot get it to print borderless:( I have tried out 2 of the 3 4×6 sample sheets included in the package and I don’t just yet want to waste the third one until I know exactly what I am doing wrong. If anyone can offer assistance here I would really appreciate it:) I have selected 4×6 borderless in the page setup but to no avail. At this stage I am so happy with the printer, that is a minor quibble…but I would really like to know how to overcome this little obstacle.
Overall, if anyone is hesitating to buy this printer…DON’T!! I am yet another ecstatic user of this terrific printer! (And this is Ms Fusspot of all Ms Fusspots speaking:)
Thank you all SO MUCH for convincing me to get this printer:))))))
L
Larryr544
Jul 14, 2004
And I’m really glad that you like it. Thanks for reporting back!

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