Back in 2010, when I retired my HP9180, I asked myself and others whether or not a printer was really necessary any more — and here it is 2012, and I have a definitive answer for that question.
For me, at least, the answer is a definite yes. I’d been considering buying one for a while, when Mark’s new Epson 3880 convinced me it was time to get serious about this. The 3880 was beyond what I wanted to spend, but I’d been arguing with myself about it’s slightly littler brother, the Epson 2880. Much to my surprise, Adorama had a few as manufacturer refurbished for about $90 off the new price, and that was enough to convince me to grab one (that deal is no longer available, however).
Personally, I wouldn’t buy a used printer (your mileage may vary), given the usage and wear printers go through, and if this was a revenue generating printer I wouldn’t buy refurb, either, but as a low-volume, primarily hobby device, I’m comfortable with this choice. It comes with a warranty, so if I run into issues, I have options.
Why the 2880? I wanted something from a good manufacturer (which, for photo printers, IMHO, means Epson, Canon or HP); I ruled out HP because I find their inks brutally expensive (I don’t work there any more, I can say that now) and their low and medium end devices don’t tickle my toes (and I’m unwilling to pay $3500 or more for a printer yet). Â I wanted a wide format printer, this one will do up to 13×19, which is great, as my favorite print sizes are 11×14 and 11×17. And it supports roll paper, which allows for panorama prints, something I really want to explore, and which can be cheaper than pre-cut paper. And the print costs seem reasonable. I really like the Epson UltraChrom Inks, too, and as I explore black and white printing, the Epson inks seemed to be a better choice.
Having said all of that, it Â was primarily lack of roll paper support at this price point that made the difference between Epson and Canon, FWIW. Canon has some nice models, too.
The printer is on a truck, trundling this way. I’ll probably be unpacking this weekend and starting to explore.
What do I plan on doing with this? Make prints. Put them up on my wall. Give them away. Expect to see some opportunities on this site for prints once I get settled in.
Why do this? Why not lab prints?
Well, it’s complicated. Maybe for some people lab prints are an option, but one thing I fell in love with using the 8190 were art papers. Big, thick, textured hunks of paper that bring a different look and life to an image. I miss that, and using a lab to print on Hahnemuele German Etching or Photo Rag Pearl is between impossible and unaffordable.
Besides, I enjoy geeking the printer and working to make my prints better.
And that’s the other, bigger aspect of this — I lost an aspect of the quality of my images when I stopped printing. I got comfortable with a “good enough for Flickr”. Over the last few months, I’ve bent taking a close look at what I’m doing and why, and why I haven’t been as happy with the results as I want to be — and I came to realize that when I stopped printing, I stopped getting better, and in fact, my photography regressed. When you only look at your images online — you can get satisfied with the quality a lot sooner in the production process. Putting it on paper, especially at larger sizes, means you can’t tolerate the flaws.
So I came to the decision that to drive my imagery forward again, I had to start putting it on paper again, and I needed to do it myself and not depend on a lab to do it.
Besides, I like giving prints awayâ€¦ (and maybe selling the occasional one).
And the first image I’m going to print on this puppy is this one: