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Thread: Ctein's article on Printer Variability (Epson 3880)

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    Member NotXorc's Avatar
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    Ctein's article on Printer Variability (Epson 3880)

    I am looking forward to reading about his experience in testing the variation in performance among the sample of Epson 3880s that he evaluated.

    He teased that his findings would be forthcoming one week ago at TOP.
    The Online Photographer: Product Variability, Part I

    I did participate in his call for samples. He included very specific instructions and provided a test image in order to standardize his procedure for analysis. For the moment this post is a placeholder. I will link the article that shares his findings as soon as it is published (probably today).

    Overall, I am pleased with the prints that I have gotten using the Epson driver. I have not sprung for ImagePrint, although that may be my next purchase.

    Do you have any troubles that have been persistent with your 3880?
    Papers that just won't give a good print, despite good settings and due diligence on the computer?

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    Re: Ctein's article on Printer Variability (Epson 3880)

    I'm sure there is variability just like in lenses from sample to sample. The epson has no calibration routine other than alignment type things. HP Z series printers have a calibration routine that supposedly accounts for variability in heads (which are replaceable) to give consistent output, but then it is designed for a shop environment where you might have several units working and getting matched output across several machines would be useful.

    The 3800 series is not a shop workhorse so unless you have two side by side working together in a production environment the variability is not important- you get what you get within whatever epson decides is their delta, and its is good enough- besides, you have to like the print, not like the data. As long as it makes the same print over and over is the key.
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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Ctein's article on Printer Variability (Epson 3880)


    Part II is up, and it's an interesting read.

    For at least seven years now I have had reasons to firmly believe in unit-to-unit variability not only in lenses but also in digital camera bodies.
    So I am not at all surprised that it goes for printers as well.

    The Online Photographer: Epson Printers Investigated (Product Variability Part II)

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    Member NotXorc's Avatar
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    Re: Ctein's article on Printer Variability (Epson 3880)

    Thanks for sharing the follow up article, Steen.
    I read it and, like you, found it an interesting read. Epson's printer engineers probably high-fived and a breathed a sigh of relief. Of course, if they were good engineers, they wouldn't have been sweating it anyway.

    Of course some product variability exists, and as Robert indicates, the 3800-series printers are not self-calibrating as are some professional units. Ctein's test was of dot pattern 'grain' rather than traceable color reproduction between units. Not that anyone knew the testing parameters until part II was published…

    My 3880 was purchased in May of 2011, making it nearly the same or better than Ctein's replacement 3880. It was fun to participate in an activity to verify the QC measures of the companies to whom we trust our precious images. This is the type of endeavor (like those at Wilhelm research) that benefits the content producer with high standards for quality. Kudos to TOP for supporting the analysis.

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