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Weekly Chatter:Feedback on the Epson 4000
Monday July 19, 2004

Section 1: Feedback on the Epson 4000






Printers > Fine Art/Photographic Printing > Feedback on the Epson 4000




















AuthorSubject: Feedback on the Epson 4000  
Steve Fisk
Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2004 5:00 PM

I am thinking about getting an Epson 4000 printer but would like to hear from those of you who have actually acquired one. How do you like it? Any cautions?

I do photo restoration work and I get a fair number of request for 5 x 7 prints. It's not obvious from the literature but I understand the minimum paper size for the 4000 is letter (8.5 x 11). That's a bit frustrating as it means I may have to discard half a sheet of relatively expensive paper. I was hoping it would at least accept a half letter sheet. Can anyone confirm this?

Also, what is the area needed for the printer feet to rest on? I know the overall dimensions but that's with everything exteneded. I have a 12-inch deep desk shelf I would like to put the printer on and need to know if the 4000 can live with that.


Paul Kramarchyk
Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2004 5:49 PM

> 12 inch deep shelf
No way! The thing is a monster, 88 lbs out of the crate. You need 33"x33" minimum accounting for the roll gizz hanging off the back and the adjustable output catch tray.

> The manual says min. size is 8x10. But you can manual feed smaller. You can probably auto feed 5x7, never tried it.

> If most of what you do is A3 (11x17) or smaller. You don't need it.

> Oh, if you plan to print while significant other sleeps, forget about it. Makes a fair mechanical racket loading paper, squirting ink, ..plowing the driveway? Beats me. But all reviews mention the clunks and clanks, and they're right.

I have a few IR profiles on order. But output is stunning with Epson profiles, and fast! *REAL FAST* compared to the 2000P it replaced.

I've only had it a week, maybe 30 prints. But so far I'm a happy camper.

paul


Tim Ernst
Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2004 5:55 PM

Steve:

I just checked the rubber feet under my printer and got 14" from the front to rear. Of course, the printer is a LOT deeper than that. Those feet would not fit on a 12" deep desk, unless you put a larger top on it (it is a very heavy printer too, so you would need a very stable desk, otherwise it might just rock itself right on off).

I have seen on the net somewhere a way to load a roll of 4" wide paper (or however wide you want it) - I think they tape a larger sheet to the end of the roll and feed it through, but don't know if this actually works or not. You could always run a pair of prints on a letter-size sheet if you really can't afford the paper. Actually putting a 5/7 print in the middle of a full sheet looks really nice - I always have a lot of white space around my prints - helps to protect the edges of the actual image area too. If you are only concerned with 5 x 7 prints, perhaps you should be looking at a different printer - the Epson R800 perhaps? The 4000 is a marvelous printer though. Mine runs like a top and produces wonderful prints.

Tim Ernst
www.cloudland.net


Steve Fisk
Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2004 6:41 PM

The shelf I had hoped to put it on is slightly over 12-inches deep. I suppose I could put a 14-inch board on top but I can problably put it lower on the main desktop. The desk is fairly sturdy so I think it can handle the weight. I realize the "working depth" is more but if it's like the 2200 I have now most of the depth is the front extensions that catch the paper, which can be retracted when not printing. I also have another stand I could put it on but it is only 22-inches wide. What about the width of the support feet - will they go in that width?

I do not anticipate using roll paper. I pretty much work with cut sheets so I assume they would feed much like the 2200, which is only 5-inches from the wall.

Probably 90+ percent of my printing is letter size or less (8 x 10 and 5 x 7) but I do want to be able to go up to 16 x 20 when needed. The 2200 won't do that. I rarely do more than a few prints at a time so if I can hand-feed half-letter sheets that would be fine. Can you confirm that is possible?

While I would prefer the 4000 to be as quiet as the 2200 I don't think the higher noise level is a problem. Both printers are in a home office and as I mentioned above I do not do a lot of printing on any given day.

I hoped for reduced ink cost with the larger cartridges but I note that the savings is not all that great according to one review I read. The little 12 ml cartridges on the 2200 are fairly expensive and have to be changed fairly often. I wish Epson supported bulk ink supply systems that could use the Epson archival inks.

Oh, while I think of it, is there any problem letting the printer sit idle for three weeks or so if we go away on vacation? I worry about the 2200 head plugging up but it survived a recent trip that ran three weeks just fine. Sometimes I go several days without printing.


Paul Kramarchyk
Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2004 7:20 PM

> The shelf I had hoped to put it on is slightly over 12-inches deep.

Steve, the Epson 4000 will not work on a shelf. That's a promise. I'm using an old kitchen table and I'm going to angle brace the legs to snub the print-head jerk. Trust me, before spending that kind of money you should find one locally and go pay a visit. You can get some idea of its relative size from a picture at this link: (see pic of person next to 4000 on table)
http://www.photo-i.co.uk/Reviews/interactive/Epson%204000/page_6.htm

It is a wonderful printer if you have the room, the want, and the cash.


Gervaise Davis
Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2004 10:39 PM

Steve, I have owned the 4000 almost since the first one was delivered and love the results and the profiles. However, you will NOT be happy with this printer based on what you are expecting it to do and where and how you plan to use it.

There is no way in H--- it will work satisfactorily on a shelf. It is not only heavy, it moves a large print head and ink lines back and forth, and given the laws of physics it shakes even a heavy table while printing. It also needs room in back for the roll paper or to push thru large cut sheets. It is also 18.5 inches high and you have to have access to the top to feed single sheets or to set up the roll mechanism.

Second, the printer is specifically designed for not less than letter size paper, and while it can be tricked into printing narrower paper, this may eventually become a real problem because the ink catch mechanism, according to Epson Tech Support, cannot catch the excess edge ink on smaller papers and will eventually guk-up and start to stain or mark prints. It also has a laser light inside it that checks for paper alignment and it is very sensitive and often rejects single sheets that are not perfectly loaded. Loading smaller sheets will be a disaster in terms of time and frustration.

Yes, you can leave the printer unused for weeks on end. Epson recommends if you do that you NOT turn it off, since it goes into a sleep mode and protects the heads but does not use much power. I left mine for three weeks without use and other than a couple minutes of cleaning, it works fine, since the heads are covered by the machine when either turned off correctly or left on and in a sleep mode.

For what you are doing and want to do, buy the R800 which uses the same Ultrachrome ink and works quite well if you set up the profiles correctly and even better if you create your own profiles. It costs only $399 and is specifically designed to do the kind of work you do, and it is small and does not shake the table and it is about 1/3 the height of the 4000. Yes, the ink will cost you more, but unless you make a lot of prints over 13 inches, it is far more cost effective to send the big prints out to some commercial operation, than to spend all the time and money on the 4000.

In short, for heavens sake, do not even consider this printer for what you want it to do, it is wonderful but like using a RollsROyce to drive to and from the grocery store.

-Gerry


Gervaise Davis
Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2004 10:50 PM

BTW, if you don't believe me on the R800, read this discussion on
http://www.outbackphoto.com/printinginsights/pi029/Epson_R800.html which is quite interesting and helpful.

-Gerry


Steve Fisk
Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2004 11:09 PM

SKF: Thanks for your comments, Gerry, I need solid feedback in making a decision.

> There is no way in H--- it will work satisfactorily on a shelf. It is not only heavy, it moves a large print head and ink lines back and forth, and given the laws of physics it shakes even a heavy table while printing. It also needs room in back for the roll paper or to push thru large cut sheets. It is also 18.5 inches high and you have to have access to the top to feed single sheets or to set up the roll mechanism.

SKF: When I said shelf I meant a raised shelf at the back of a very sturdy office table. It currently holds my 2200 printer and works great. Based on feedback from Tim Ernst I would put it on a different and much sturdier stand that should be fine.

> Second, the printer is specifically designed for not less than letter size paper, and while it can be tricked into printing narrower paper, this may eventually become a real problem because the ink catch mechanism, according to Epson Tech Support, cannot catch the excess edge ink on smaller papers and will eventually guk-up and start to stain or mark prints. It also has a laser light inside it that checks for paper alignment and it is very sensitive and often rejects single sheets that are not perfectly loaded. Loading smaller sheets will be a disaster in terms of time and frustration.

SKF: Ah, that helps. I don't think I would have any problem sticking with letter size and above.

> Yes, you can leave the printer unused for weeks on end. Epson recommends if you do that you NOT turn it off, since it goes into a sleep mode and protects the heads but does not use much power. I left mine for three weeks without use and other than a couple minutes of cleaning, it works fine, since the heads are covered by the machine when either turned off correctly or left on and in a sleep mode.

SKF: Great - that's certainly better than my 2200 and I assume the R800 would be similar.

> For what you are doing and want to do, buy the R800 which uses the same Ultrachrome ink and works quite well if you set up the profiles correctly and even better if you create your own profiles. It costs only $399 and is specifically designed to do the kind of work you do, and it is small and does not shake the table and it is about 1/3 the height of the 4000. Yes, the ink will cost you more, but unless you make a lot of prints over 13 inches, it is far more cost effective to send the big prints out to some commercial operation, than to spend all the time and money on the 4000.

SKF: Unfortunately I am a long way (over 30 miles) from the nearest commercial operation. That would not work well for clients in a hurry and would complicate running a second print if the first one did not look just right.

> In short, for heavens sake, do not even consider this printer for what you want it to do, it is wonderful but like using a RollsROyce to drive to and from the grocery store.

SKF: Point well taken. I do need a backup for my 2200, in case it fails at a critical moment. I note that the R800 generates smaller droplets than the 2200 (1.5-picoliter vs. 4 picoliter), which is even better than the 4000 (3.5 picoliter). Is that a major advantage? Since this is a business (restoration) I want solid, reliable equipment and high-quality output. Would the R800 meet that expectation? Would my clients be satisfied with the result? I don't mind spending the bucks if that will serve my clients better. I do expect the business to build over time (still a one-man operation) so I may get increasing requests for larger pictures.


Steve Fisk
Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2004 11:54 PM

> BTW, if you don't believe me on the R800, read this discussion on
> http://www.outbackphoto.com/printinginsights/pi029/Epson_R800.html which is quite interesting and helpful.
>
> -Gerry

SKF: Thanks for the link, Gerry, very interesting. I especially found Alain Briot's full review worthwhile. His comment about the problems with the R800 tending to clog (all jets) makes me nervous. The 4000 definitely has the edge on that point.

It sounds like the new ink set and features of the R800 have promise but need some refining. He also predicts that technology will soon find its way into larger format printers. I may just hang in there with my 2200 for a bit and see what happens.

Also, I am not a fan of glossy prints and that seems to be the focus of the R800.


Gervaise Davis
Posted on Mon Jul 19, 2004 12:10 PM

Steve, I have not had the clogging problems some others have had. (knock on wood!) I gather from reading dozens of posts on this subject at various places, this is worse in desert country where it is dry. I live in Monterey, CA on the ocean with a high humidity which may make a difference. Thus far the only detriment I see to the R800 is that it uses ink fast because the carts are smaller than the 2200 and much smaller than the 4000, however since I use it for letter size and smaller prints I can live with it because of the quality. I really recommend you look at this printer for your operation since it is not that expensive and you can likely sell it to some hobbyist if you dont find it fits in your operation.

As to sending stuff out, I understand that places like Mpix ship the next day after you send an image and there are literally thousands of pros who use companies like them for larger images for clients. I am not running a commercial operation so I don't use them, but I think you should try them as a resource for the big prints.

I really like my 4000 but unless you really need large prints it is not cost effective for what you are doing and the 2200 is a good printer for that. I am sure there will be a multi-black version of it one of these days, but probably not for another year as the 2200 is still selling very well everywhere.

If you still need more input, you can email me at 4000 (at) primepixels.com but I think you get the picture.

-Gerry





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