A3 Photo Printer with CIS




I'm in the market for a top quality A3 photo printer with a CIS.

I'm currently looking at: Epson R2880, R1900 & 1400; Canon PIXMA Pro
9500 MK II & Pro 9000 MK II.

Has anyone got any suggestions for me please?

I have to say I had an Epson R2400 with a Fotospeed Quill CIS and
couldn't get it to work reliably and was disappointed with the

Ideally, it would be good to go somewhere for demo, so I could take my
Mac Book and the papers I use to print some of my material out for
comparison before I commit to buy.

The trouble is, when I look on the Internet, virtually eveyone
(printers & CIS) appear to be mail order... :-(

I live just north of London, UK btw.

Thanks in anticipation of any advice.

Arthur Entlich

I think you need to first decide what you will be doing with your
printer, and then decide of the CIS. I'll leave the issues regarding
the Canon printers to people who know them well, other than to say that
all Canon printers will require head replacement as part of your
consumable costs.

The three Epson printers you mention while all photo quality printers,
use different ink set to create different results.

The R2400/R2880 use Ultrachrome pigment inks and these printers and inks
are designed for fine art prints and photographs (depending upon the
black ink installed). These printers use the typical six color ink set
plus two lighter blacks, CcMmYKklk (cyan, light cyan, magenta light
magenta (in the case of the 2880 a new bright magenta) yellow, and three
levels of black/gray. While each uses its "unique" ink colors, these are
pretty easy for most 3rd party ink suppliers to reproduce, and with the
right profiles can create a quality print. These printers product very
nice black and white prints, but to print both glossy and matte prints,
you need to switch the deep black ink for the appropriate paper surface.

The R1900 uses a completely unique inkset with using both orange and red
inks, as well as magenta and cyan and yellow. It then has installed
both matte and glossy blacks and finally a glossy coating to make the
overall gloss of the print very high. These are also Ultrachrome
pigment inks, but of the glossy variety. This printer does a great job
for high gloss prints, an OK job for matte prints, and a so-so job with
black and white images. The printer tends to clog more than the R2880
due to the gloss resins.

The R1400 uses Claria inks which are a hybrid type using mainly dyes
with some pigments. These inks have better fade resistance and scratch
resistance than most dye inks. They are somewhat brighter than the
pigment inks. The R1400 uses the same basic six color CcMmYK ink set.

Once you figure out which printer is appropriate to your needs, then
look into the appropriate CIS. There are numerous good ones on the
market, just ask around, but be aware all CIS are somewhat tricky to get
set up correctly, and you have to use good quality inks and be very
clean with your filling process. Also, pigment inks need to be agitated
to keep the color in suspension, and they also have a life span. If you
buy more than you can use before they expire, they may clot or clog.
Also, some inks can grow bacteria, or algae and become contaminated and
slimy and not run through the lines and heads.

So, the system requires three decisions to work. The right printer for
your needs, the best CIS for that printer and good quality inks.

If you are interested in issues surrounding e-waste,
I invite you to enter the discussion at my blog:




Thanks so much for your comprehensive reply - lots to think about
there for me.

Do you live in the UK? Any idea of where I can go and see a demo of
these Epson machines?

Just one more thing, the Canon print head change; I was always under
the impression it
was Epson & Canon where you change the tanks and HP & Lexmark where
forced into a head change as well... have things changed now?

Anyway, much obliged once again for you taking the time to reply.



Arthur Entlich

Hi Philip,

No, I live in Canada, and not sure where you'd be able to see the
machines close up and personal there in the UK, but perhaps someone else
on this list might be able to help.

You are correct that most of the Lexmark and HP inkjet printers also use
thermal heads. The distinction you are probably making is that some of
the more consumer oriented models of those two still use an integrated
head on the cartridge which is designed for one time use, although most
people find they can get numerous refilled from them. Canon used to use
a similar system, but eventually scrapped it due to reliability issues
with their design and went to a "semi-permanent" head, which is separate
from the ink cartridge. HP also uses this on some of their higher end

Those heads last 12-18 months on average, or about 15-20 ink cartridges.

Epson heads are designed to last the life of the printer, and with
proper maintenance will do that. That maintenance includes a good
cleaning or flushing with cleaning cartridges every 6-12 months, however.


If you are interested in issues surrounding e-waste,
I invite you to enter the discussion at my blog:


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