Epson 3800 vs Canon 9500 mkII
Old 08-18-2009   #1
snausages
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Epson 3800 vs Canon 9500 mkII

I have the Canon 9500 mkII. Been getting some great results. But there are issues. Fine lines in out of focus areas, for instance the soft line between trees and sky, are rendered heavily. And black and white does not appear to be truly neutral.

My window for returning the Canon lasts a couple more days. If I were to return it I'd get an Epson 3800 instead.

I know the Epson prints bigger and that its bigger ink cartridges are more economical and that it has a larger community of users, but these issues aren't my concern right now. The question is this: is there a discernible difference in the image quality between these two machines?

Has anyone had a chance to make firsthand comparisons between the output of the 3800 and the 9500?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated...
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Old 08-18-2009   #2
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I've not looked at either, but are your lines a result of output (or earlier) sharpening? I find with the HP 3100 that any excessive sharpening for output shows up as halos by everything - simple enough to turn it down of course.

Mike
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Old 08-18-2009   #3
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Mike, in this shot I tweaked the colors to remove Velvia's blue cast, but I don't believe I sharpened. The line between the trees and the water is rendered by the 9500 as a heavy blue line that draws too much attention to the background. Maybe the color correction caused it, but I was surprised, not pleasantly, by the results since the rendition is so subtle on the slide itself...

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Old 08-18-2009   #4
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That's caused by the blue being out of gamut...that is to say its a color the printer cannot render. What happens is when you convert the photo to the printer's color space, the out of gamut color gets mapped to a color that is in gamut and sometimes you get effects like that. How did you set it up? Did you use the printer driver's built in color management or did you use a profile to print from photoshop or lightroom or whatever editor you used? If you used a profile, what rendering intent method did you use? Relative colorimetric or Perceptual? If you used Relative Colorimetric, try again using Perceptual. If you tried Perceptual, try Relative Colorimetric. The reason is most profiles are built to work best with Perceptual rendering, but some do work best with R-C. If you used the printer's built in color management, try using a profile ad try both rendering intents.
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Old 08-18-2009   #5
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Thanks, Chris, a lot of great info there. I haven't used profiles yet. Just LR corrections, the Canon print software and then trial and error eyeing of prints as they're made.

I know it's a long shot but still hoping someone might be able to offer some firsthand observations of the differences between these two printers image qualities.
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Old 08-18-2009   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snausages2000 View Post
Thanks, Chris, a lot of great info there. I haven't used profiles yet. Just LR corrections, the Canon print software and then trial and error eyeing of prints as they're made.

I know it's a long shot but still hoping someone might be able to offer some firsthand observations of the differences between these two printers image qualities.
The only way you'll do that is by printing your file on both printers, like we did with the black and white pic on my printer and yours. What paper are you using? If it isn't a Canon paper, the driver won't be able to give you perfect results on its own...you'll need profiles, and even with a Canon paper you might get better results with profiles.
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Old 08-18-2009   #7
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Mostly been using Ilford papers. I know you're right about the fine-tuning with profiles, but I only have a couple days left to return the Canon, so just wondering if someone felt there was a decisive difference between the 9500 and 3800 (i'm perfectly happy hearing that the Canon is the equal of the epson!).
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Old 08-18-2009   #8
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For color, probably no substantial difference. Color printing is always something of a compromise on inkjets cause none of them can print all the colors that you can capture on film or with a good digital SLR. There may be some colors the epson does better with than the canon, and there will likewise be some that the canon is better for.

I think the real difference worth worrying about is black and white. Epson's Advanced BW mode really gives Neutral prints. Most other printers can't without costly software like Imageprint to drive them. The print you have of mine isn't truly neutral cause I toned it slightly, but it has consistant color across the whole tone range. You'll find with many printers that the color of a BW print shifts a bit as you go from the light tones to the mid-greys to the dark tones. A good BW print, even if given a tone, should stay the same color across the whole range (unless you intentionally split toned to make the lights a different tone than the darks, an effect that looks cool with some images)
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Old 08-18-2009   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
For color, probably no substantial difference. Color printing is always something of a compromise on inkjets cause none of them can print all the colors that you can capture on film or with a good digital SLR. There may be some colors the epson does better with than the canon, and there will likewise be some that the canon is better for.

I think the real difference worth worrying about is black and white. Epson's Advanced BW mode really gives Neutral prints. Most other printers can't without costly software like Imageprint to drive them.
I agree that B&W is where the bigger differences lie. I have the Canon Pro9500 (the mkI not mkII version) and compared it to the Epson 3800 when I was shopping to buy a printer. I believe the Epson edges the Canon in B&W prints, I suspect because it uses 3 inks rather than two for neutral monochrome (the Canon prints quite neutrally, though, and is very close in quality to the Epson, to my eye).

For colour work, I couldn't really distinguish between the Epson and the Canon overall. I had the luxury of being able to run some of my own files through both printers (but could only use the manufacturers canned ICC profiles, and so had to print on different papers). The result, to my eye, was "too close to call". I went with the Canon simply because it was less than half the cost (here in rip-off-Australia; but that's another subject) and physically smaller and so easier to fit in the space I had available.

I've been very happy with the results.

However to get consistently acceptable results in colour I've found I have to use a proper colour-managed workflow, with custom profiles for different papers, soft-proofing (on a calibrated monitor) to manage final corrections and figure out what to do with out-of-gamut colours (via rendering intent and/or further colour correction) etc.

Any other approach is very inconsistent and relies more on good luck than good management to get a decent final print. It takes a bit of work and expense to set up and maintain, and there's a bunch of things I had to learn (mostly the hard way) to get the results I was after. But I think it was worth the effort.

...Mike
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Old 08-18-2009   #10
amateriat
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I can't speak with authority about the Canon, but I've heard a good deal of positive feedback about the Epson 3800.

One thing to keep in mind, regarding profiles, is that the more-popular printers will have the most canned profiles available from third-party paper manufacturers (including Ilford...are you using their profiles for the Canon?)

Also, watch the type of paper you're using with a given ink; not all black inks work with all papers. A pigment-based black ink formulated for glossy/semi-gloss papers won't work well with matte papers, and vice-versa. This is particularly important if you're using third-party papers (and the reason why it's important to get the correct profile from the paper manufacturer; you can usually download it from the company's website). The artifact you're noticing in that print could partially be the result of bronzing.

As Chris alludes to, even having the "right" profile won't necessarily nail the print for you, but it's a decent start.


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Old 08-18-2009   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amateriat View Post
One thing to keep in mind, regarding profiles, is that the more-popular printers will have the most canned profiles available from third-party paper manufacturers (including Ilford...are you using their profiles for the Canon?)
Note with this that, while having canned profiles from manufacturers is a Thing of Goodness and can produce decent results, a custom profile (built from test sheets made with your individual printer) provides, in my experience, substantially better results. (Note also that Ilford is exemplary about providing canned profiles for their papers for a wide range of printers.)

Comparing a print made with a custom profile side-by-side against one from the manufacturer's canned profile is an eye-opening experience.

(To do that you have to soft-proof and do final corrections against each profile then print using that profile. It isn't a valid comparison to use a file corrected with one profile to print with a different one.)

At some point I'll get the kit I need to build my own profiles, but at present I'm using profiles I've had done on a fee-for-service basis for papers I use frequently. (That costs about AU$25/profile.)

...Mike
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Old 08-18-2009   #12
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Mike: good point on custom profiles. I've pretty much stuck to HP's Premium/Premium Plus papers for my 8750, and the stock profiles have luckily been bang-on), but if I went for a third-party paper I'd certainly be paying for a custom profile. I'm just happy that the HP papers have pretty much met my needs.


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Old 08-19-2009   #13
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Thank you so much for the insights, guys. And, Mike, it's really helpful to hear your first-hand observations.
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Old 08-19-2009   #14
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Good thread here.

I have the Epson 3800 but have never tried (but did consider) the Canon 9500 (the MK II was not out yet). Personally, I love the Epson now that I figured out how to print properly that is .

Chris has a wealth of knowledge and I would agree with his statements on being able to print properly and I doubt there would be a huge amount of difference b/w the Canon and Epson in colour mode.

In B&W, yep, I love Epson's B&W but even then, I usually warm tone my B&W's in PS and do not allow Epson's toning to do it for me - so, I turn off print colour control completely in the Epson driver before printing.

I would also echo Mike's statement regarding having a good workflow with properly profiled printer and properly calibrated monitor(s).

If you do end up going with the Epson, I found Eric Chan's site ( http://people.csail.mit.edu/ericchan...800/index.html ) incredibly useful and clear to understand - it helps that he is a developer on Photoshop too

Cheers,
Dave
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