Epson Printer : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I heard there is an Epson printer which gives output very similar to the 2000P, but is much cheaper and quicker. The only dif. is that the life of the ink is about 20 years as opposed to 200 odd. I would appreciate comments from someone who used this printer. Also what's it called, and is the visual quality as good as the 2000p?

-- Yaakov Asher Sinclair (, July 30, 2001


You are probably talking about the 1280. Yes it is an awesome printer. One major drawback though you have to use epson inks because of a little computer chip in the cartrige. A printer you might want to check out is the discontinued 1200 availabl refurbished through epson with a one year warranty. They do accept third party inks. Currently I have two of these one for color and one for quadtone black and white with blended pigment/dye inks that last 75 years and an old 8X10 epson Photo 700 with regular epson inks for text or non archival prints. All the printers that I mentioned rival the prints of any of the new printers.

-- john (, July 30, 2001. makes a continuous inking system that allows you to use whatever inks you want, including pigments in the Epson 1280. The two most popular color third party pigmented inksets right now appear to be Generations 4 microbright pigmented inks and Jon Cone's ( color piezography inks.

-- Howard Slavitt (, July 30, 2001.

I've used both the already mentioned 1200 and the 1270. If you were going to go with a refurbished printer, the 1270 is only about $20 more and it has a newer print head that gives slightly better results. If you don't have a good photo editing software package yet, the other advantage is that the 1270 comes with Photoshop LE and the ability to upgrade to the full 6.0 version of Photoshop for $299.00. (this upgrade offer is limited though. I don't remember if it's through the end of August or September, so check before buying if this is one of your reasons for purchasing).

The downside to the 1270 is that it also uses the "chipped" cartridges. This will be less and less of a problem though as workarounds are already available, and are getting better as we speak.

P.S. - If you're only interested in 8x10 or smaller, the 870 is a smaller version of the 1270 (but without Photoshop). It's currently only $115.00 at !

-- Tim Klein (, July 30, 2001.

A couple of additional points: The newest Epson models (the 1280/890/780) are able to print at 2880 dpi on certain papers compared to the 1440 max for the 1270 and 2000. I've seen differing opinions on whether there is any significant difference in normal viewing between 1440 and 2880 dpi.

The Epson 2000 achieves its longevity characteristics by using pigment-based rather than dye-based inks. The downside is apparently that pigment-based inks tend to have a noticeable color shift when viewed under varying lighting conditions. This may require that color balance be set for the particular lighting under which the print will be viewed. I've heard that this can make B&W printing (with color pigment-based dyes) particularly difficult.

Michael Reichman's site ( has a lot on these printers.

-- Chris Patti (, July 30, 2001.


I have been using the 2000P and because of the 'metamerism' problems or colour shift with the pigment inks, I am purchasing the 1280 (or 1290 as it's known here in Australia) as an additional printer. The output from the 1280 is stunning and colour consistancy is very good. There is no noticable colour shift in different light sources. There is not too much difference between 1440 & 2880 dpi at this size, A3+ (13"x19"), but it is slightly better, a little smoother, although the print time and ink consumption increases with the higher resolution.

For B&W the 1280 does an impressive job but I believe the quad system by MIS or Jon Cone would probably be better. I have always found the Epson inks to be good and I don't have any personal experience with the third party inks.

I will be using both printers depending on the final result I require. The 2000P with the pigment inks produces wonderful, sharp, archival prints (100 years +), when everything is profiled well, but it does suffer with the colour shift to some degree. This is not a problem with sepia or quadtone prints, but remember this IS NOT a B&W printer!

The 1280, on the other hand, although producing less archival prints does a superb job with colour and B&W. I can imagine I will use this printer more for photo prints and the 2000P will be used for my girlfriend's art prints & when I print sepia/quadtones on the Archival Matte paper or third party watercolour paper. I also use my old Photo EX for proof prints which, by the way, I have found will last for more than two years if put behind glass and longer if put in a portfolio.

I hope this helps you to make a decision. In my opinion, if you can afford it, you need more than one printer to use for different output. If I could only have one printer I would get the 1280 - after all, 20-30+ years archival is not too bad and the output is excellent.


Peter Brown

-- Peter L Brown (, July 30, 2001.

Not all color pigments show metamerism. Epson's pigments are reputed to be one of the most metameric ink sets ever produced. Generations (at makes very nice pigmented inks that I've been using for about 6 months in an Epson 1200 with CIS; while they show some (light to medium, reputedly MUCH less than Epson's pigments though I personally haven't compared them side by side) metamerism, it is not noticeable for prints that don't have a lot of neutral colors in them (i.e. grays). Jon Cone's color pigments reputedly have almost NO metamerism; the downside is that Cone's pigments don't have a black that is as deep as the Generations black. Cone's black is supposed to be only about as black as the Epson pigmented black, which isn't all that deep, itself. This is a long way of saying that there are a lot of ink choices out there, and a lot of printers that you can choose to go with and get truly incredible prints from an Epson desktop printer up to 13" x 19" for not that much money. . . . And I haven't even told you about all the different paper choices which also can make a big difference. Check out the piezography user groups and the epson printer user group, all on yahoo groups, and start reading and learning, and experimenting.

-- Howard Slavitt (, July 31, 2001.

Thanks a lot to everyone. I don't seem to be able to get the e-mails of your replies. Maybe I hit the wrong toggle when I sent the message. One other point. What's the 'best' paper to use? Thanks again

-- Yaakov Asher Sinclair (, July 31, 2001.

Yaakov, the server has been disabled for automatic mail forwarding from some time. Howard, I just aquired a 2000P and I am so far unhappy with the inks. The prints look great under artificial lighting, but the same prints watched under day light, look awful to me. Are you suggesting that I could replace the original Epson ink cartridges by some from other manufacturers (J.Cone, Generations) ? Where could I get them?

-- Paul Schilliger (, July 31, 2001.

"one for quadtone black and white with blended pigment/dye inks that last 75 years"

You might want to change this to "expected to last 75 years" rather than taking the claims as fact.

RC paper is supposed to last longer than fibre paper and we all know too many who have gotten bit on that one.

Some of the Epson inks surprised us with a fading problem that started within days of printing. Seems no one even thought of Ozone having an effect, but then who would have suspected? So there may well be something lurking out there to shorten the expected print life that may not crop up for a year or two. Right not the accelerated aging testing is more than a WAG but is not the same as waiting to see what happens.

-- Dan Smith (, July 31, 2001.

Paul - There are a number of other choices, though they are complicated by the "chipped" cartridges used in the 2000P.

The only really feasable option today is to use a continuous ink supply. has one available for the 2000 that contains a chip that always reads 100%. MIS and Jon Cone don't make a CIS kit yet, but I'm sure they will very soon. With a CIS, you can use any archival inkset that won't clog your printheads. and both have archival inks that would work, as do others.

MIS sells a cheap flushing manifold that will allow you to clean out a cartridge so that you could fill it with bulk inks. Unfortunately, I don't think a chip reset procedure has been developed for the 2000 yet (one is available for the 1270 and early 1280 models. Epson caught on though and upgraded the firmware in newer 1280's so that the reset procedure doesn't work!) There is also a software program that allows you to reset the chip on several models, but the 2000 isn't one of those models yet. Soon, there should be empty cartridges available so that you can fill your own without flushing first, and then someone will start selling other archival inks already filled into these empties. None of those are options yet for the 2000 though.

The CIS is a good option though. The one I use for black & white has worked very well, and you save a lot of money using bulk inks over cartridges. The next time the cartridges on my color printer are out I intend to upgrade it to a CIS as well.

-- Tim Klein (, July 31, 2001.

Tim, thanks for the infos. Has someone heard of an upgrade in inks and firmware promised by Epson for the 2000P?

-- Paul Schilliger (, July 31, 2001.

"Not all color pigments show metamerism." - Howard Slavitt

Howard, this is news to me, I was under the impression that ALL pigment inks were effected to some degree or other. This is just the nature of the pigment ink particle. What makes some not exhibit colour shifting?

I was also under the impression (passed on to me from others who have used them - I haven't) that the Jon Cone inks did show metamerism but the Cone profiles were what lessened the 'metamerism', as he profiles for daylight and viewing the prints under artifical light shows a distinct move towards magenta. Is this not the case in your experience?

Paul, I don't htink there is any upgrade yet available from Epson and after speaking to the Epson tech in Sydney, it looks unlikely to happen in the near future. Unless of course they are keeping it very quiet. ;-)


Peter Brown

-- Peter L Brown (, July 31, 2001.

Personally, I have not used the Cone pigments, but I just requested samples sent to me to see for myself whether or not there's any metamerism. I've been following users' posts (from about 5 different user groups) of their experience with the Cone color pigments for approximately 3 months, and every review I've read (probably around 50) states that the Cone color pigments show virtually no metamerism. From what I've read (not having expertise myself) there appears to be at least two factors that affects metamerism in pigments: 1) some companies (i.e. mediastreet) mix dyes with their pigments to get deeper blacks (and perhaps with other colors, who knows?). A side effect of this is that it produces some metamerism. 2) Epson's pigments apparently have tremendous metamerism (i.e. witness the previous post saying prints looked great under one light source and awful under another). This may have something to do with the Epson encapsulating technology -- who knows? Apparently the Epson 5500 has much less metamerism than the Epson 2000p or 7500, although it uses the same inks. This indicates that the Epson provided driver/RIP may play a significant role in the amount of metamerism. ALL processes, including lightjet prints, cibachrome, etc, show SOME metamerism. We're just talking about differences of degree, which can be huge.

As to putting different inks in a 2000P, yes, apparently you can. sells continuous inking systems that work great (at least the one on my Epson 1200 does). You can put in whatever pigments you want -- i.e. Generations (from mediastreet) or Cone's color pigments. One issue, however, is that you will need profiles to go with the difference inks because they do not match the Epson inks. You can get close to, or as good as, or perhaps better colors than with the Epson pigments, but you need profiles. Cone makes profiles that are averaged among 3 samples of each type of printer and provides them for free with his inks. He's apparently way behind right now in creating profiles (he very recently, about two weeks ago, appears to have settled on his "final production" inkset; he's been shipping color inks for awhile but has been tweaking the yellow) but one would expect he'll be caught up within a month or two. With my generaitons 4 inkset I had a guy named CD Tobie (he's on a lot of the online user groups) create custom profiles for each of my two most often used papers. They cost about $80-100 each from Tobie or you can also have them made from several other sources, like (Cone's website). I tried making them myself using my scaner with RGB Profiler and, although I got ok results, it's really a waste of time once you've worked with a professionally made profile. If you get into doing your own color pigmented prints with third party inksets, you should understand that you will need to spend quite a bit of time learning about it all, and that you will have some hassles, setbacks, and problems along the way. The huge benefits, IMHO, are that a) you can reduce your printing costs essentially to the cost of the paper (because with a continuous inking system and buying bottles of inks your ink costs become de minimus), and b) you have a phenomenal amount of control of color from your desktop and can print professional quality archival prints from an under $500 Epson printer of up to 13" x 19" (of course when you add in the cost of the computer, scanner, etc., and your time, the cost is much higher).

-- Howard Slavitt (, August 01, 2001.

Tim, Howard, Peter, I looked at the two CIS providers . This was all new to me and very interesting. Seems a very economic alternative to standard Epson cartridges + a workaround to the metamerism problem at the same time. It looks like the solutions for the 2000P are recent additions. One has not them yet on sale. Now, I just bought a 2000P at a price it shouldn't be hard to sell. Would I be well advised to get rid of it and get a 1280 instead, since the pigmented inks are available for the 1280 too, or has the 2000P any advantage over the other?

-- Paul Schilliger (, August 01, 2001.

That's a good question Paul, and I'm not sure I really know the answer.

If I were starting from scratch, it would seem to me that the 1280 would be a better choice since it offers 2880dpi (over the 2000P's 1440), full bleed printing, and much quicker output.

In practice though, these things are very minor considerations. Most people say there is very little difference between 2880 and 1440dpi, the full bleed prints suffer from variable quality at the extreme edges of the paper, and every new printer will be faster than the older one.

Unless someone else knows of another reason the 2000P would excel (print head differences?), I'd say it's probably a simple financial decision: can you sell the 2000P for enough to buy a 1280 and the required CIS? If not, I'd probably stick with the 2000P.

I'd also seriously consider the possibility that these new archival inks might not be all they're touted to be. With the 2000P, you can always use a cleaning cartridge to flush the print heads and switch back to Espon's archival inks. If you choose the 1280 and don't like the aftermarket inks, you flush and return to Epson's non-archival inks (though, since you've been dissatisfied with the archival ink so far, you might like the dye based ink color gamut better).

Whatever way you go, report back on your experiences with the after market inks. As I mentioned, I'm planning to upgrade my color setup after my next ink cartridge and I'd love to hear your experiences.

-- Tim Klein (, August 01, 2001.

One other thing Paul - Before you go to all this trouble, you might want to do a little more color tweaking to see if you can come up with a color profile that satisfies you. Metamerism isn't really a problem unless you frequently change the light source you use to view a print. All photographic processes exhibit some amount of metamerism.

Take a look at:

You can see a comparison of color shift in a 2000P, an Epson 1200, and a Lightjet Print. While the 2000P definitely displays the worst shifting, there is a substantial change in the in the reds and blues of the lightjet too. (interestingly, the dye based Epson inks shift the least). Pictures on the web aren't really very good for judging color, but I think you can get a good idea of the problem by looking at this example.

This same page offers a couple of simple curve adjustments that might provide a starting point to help you develop a daylight and fluorescent profile that meet your needs.

-- Tim Klein (, August 01, 2001.

Thanks for the info on the Cone and CIS inks Howard, it certainly sounds like these people are sorting the problem out for us - these systems may be the answer until something better comes along, as it invariably does.

Paul, as you know I've been battleing with the same question about whether to exchange the 2000P for the 1280 (1290 in Aust.). After much discussion with others, including printing technical people who know much more than I about these things, and also by looking at 1280 & 2000P prints made with a variety of inks and papers in B&W, duotone and colour, I have come to the conclusion that I will need both. They each have their good points and when the 2000P works well, it produces excellent prints.

The 1280 is probably a better 'all-round' printer and the newer technology including Epson's claim of increased colour gamut gives it the edge, IMHO. The prints printed at 2880 dpi on the 1280 show a smoother, slightly sharper image but I doubt buyers would notice the difference, just as many don't see the cyan/green colour shifts with the 2000P. I think it's often us, the photographers, who create our own problems. I've seen buyers who don't notice anything wrong with a print which I think has a bad colour shift & that I would reject. Perhaps we become too critical of our own work.

If you got the 2000P at a good price and can afford to, I would buy a 1280 and keep the 2000P. This has been my decision. The 2000P does excel with 'art' papers and I have had beautiful results with sepia and duotone 'art' prints. I also get some lovely reproductions with Lucy's drawings and it certainly has better archival qualities, whether it's 50 years or 150, the pigment inks currently provide better archival properties. If you can be sure of where the prints will be displyed then the 'metamerism' on the 2000P will not be a problem, as you can print with the profile fora specific end use. The 2000P is NOT a B&W printer and you won't get good results with it for that purpose.

The 1280 on the other hand produces very acceptable B&W prints as well as consistent colour. The prints appear marginally sharper than the 2000P and the blacks are richer.

However it really comes down to what you want and can afford, for my own uses I have decided I need both.

Kind regards


-- Peter L Brown (, August 01, 2001.

Great inputs, thanks! As a matter of fact, it is important to know what one wants from a printer. I think my demands are too broad for a single printer and as Peter suggests, maybe getting the 1290 in addition to the 2000P would be a good idea. I need to print for a number of purposes. The main reason I purchased the 2000P was for the permanence of display prints. But I wasn't aware of the metamerism then. After I reprinted 4 or 5 versions of an image that someone bought to me recently, I finally decided it wasn't worth trying to do any better. So I picked the best one and framed it. When the client came, he wanted to walk to the window to watch it but I had to draw him to a tungsten light and let him watch the print there. He was very happy and I was just worried of what he would feel when he sees the picture on his wall in daylight. Most display situations have varying light throughout the day. Another use for the printer was print testing for both Lambda (LightJet) and offset prints. Here, I believe, the 2000P is not a good choice. The colors are very different than on my Photo 720 and I am not sure any profile will do to correct that. I must be able to show the outputs for control under whatever lighting is available. I'll try to tweak the green curve as a start to see if it gives better display prints. Thanks again!

-- Paul Schilliger (, August 02, 2001.

One answer is to print for a specific display condition and put this information with the print. The difference in a display life of 20 to 200 years is more than significant and would influence a purchase dicision if I were considering your prints. One is for display as art and the other a wall covering I will soon throw away just like the junk bought from the cheap poster stores in a mall. From Cone to Epson to others, all are working on the inks to get better products on the market. The problems will be solved before too long & then we can go back to wondering if the claims made are true as we watch & fear the prints will start fading off the walls as another unexpected 'gotcha' shows up. And it happens to RC papers as well so I am not anti-dital. (not completely anyway)

-- Dan Smith (, August 02, 2001.

I have recently purchased an EPSON 1290 for retail production in my photo store. From being a newbie it took me around three weeks to be producing prints that are highly satisfactory to my customers. I must say that I went through a hell of a lot of ink and various papers to find a combination that yielded the results that I wanted. I finally settled on Konica QP high gloss and genuine Epson ink carts. Since then the cost of the genuine Epson carts has scared the hell out of me and after much soul searching I have purchased an MIS cis which is in transit as I write. Hopefully the MIS system will work as promised and I can cut costs dramatically. I agree with a previous comment that the expectations of the public in regards to print quality are indeed considerably lower than our own and while we should continue to produce high quality work I don't believe that we should become paranoid about it.

-- Mike Spurr (, October 04, 2001.

Mike, keep on the good fight! Please let us know how the CIS for your 1290 will work. I am interested in this solution too.

-- Paul Schilliger (, October 04, 2001.

I have just come across this Epson /CIS thread and am really pleased at the information coming out for this group. I have a Photo Ex and am looking for a CIS / archival solution so this info has been incandescantly saturated;]... One place I came acroos that sells CIS for the EX is but i cant at this tage ascertain the value or quality of this system. Does anyone know? I look forward to more reports. Incidentally, on the answers page, it all seems to have stopped on the 4th Oct. It ids now the 15th November and no more replies...whats happeneing?

regards Geoffrey

-- Geoffrey McKell (, November 14, 2001.

I use the Epson 1280 and I only have great things to say about it. The color reproduction, I feel, is excellent and the images are razor sharp. I shoot on film using Nikon equipment and have been extremely pleased with the results from the 1280. It's a relatively cheap printer for what it can do. Some of my clients can't believe that the images are digital and produced on a computer printer.

It obvioulsy takes some work to learn what must be done to the image on you computer screen in order to get an output that matches. This just takes practice and a bit of investment but it's absolutely necessary.

I think the 1280 is an outstanding piece of equipment.

-- Mike Huncharek (, January 05, 2002.

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