Recently, I added a second Epson legacy printer to the studio - an Epson Stylus Pro 3880. It is a refurbished unit with a one-year warranty that arrived directly from Epson. The 3880 is an updated version of the 3800. Both the 3800 and the 3880 are longer in production (Epson's current 17-inch printer is the P800). The 3880 and the 3800 look identical from the outside, both are 17-inch printers, but the difference is under the hood - the 3880 has a few technical updates that give it a slight advantage over the 3800. Both are versatile and relatively dependable when used frequently and maintained.
I prefer Epson legacy printers because they do not suffer from the head clogs and failure rate associated with more recent-generation printers. More importantly, they can use the excellent ink developed by Jone Cone and sold through the InkJet Mall. Jon Cone is also the developer of a dedicated black and white printing system called "Piezography." I have found his products and support to be first class. Last year, Jon Cone released "high density" photo and matte black inks that are "exceptionally dark." Having witnessed the difference in output of the 3800 printer when using the HD photo black, I was eager to try out both the HD matte and photo black in the Epson 3880. The 3880 went on line after custom profiles were created for the various papers that I use. Meanwhile, the 3800 has been prepped for the conversion to Piezography at some time in the future.
I remain convinced that printing is the bridge that connects the analog and the digital worlds. There is no replacement for seeing a magnificent or evocative photograph held in your hand, given as a gift, or framed and hung on the wall. While most of the photography industry seems to thrive on a constant diet of hyperbole and hype to entice us to purchase the latest shiny thing with promises that any and all of them will really will make a difference, I have found the printing geeks at the InkJet Mall to represent accurately what can really be accomplished in printing.
Printing makes photography tangible and easy to appreciate because it can not only be seen but felt. You can post all of the images that you want to online and I will certainly participate in that. However, I am most definitely going to continue printing the few that matter, both to me and to the folks that see them.
See ya next week,