|Digital Dunes Photography
photographer, fine art printer and pro lab / studio business owner. I have over 25 years experience in the photo industry. Since
switching to digital years ago, I have demanded the highest level of quality in my photography and printing. This review is intended to
give the reader some insight on real world and business use of the Epson 9800 Printer. I do not own stock in Epson, and I am not
comparing this unit to any other printer. I solely want to convey my thoughts about this product from a business point of view.
Epson has world class service and support. I have used the support hot line and have had my questions answered by friendly
knowledgeable people. Fortunately I have never had to call for service. This is a testament to their quality as I use some of their
products every day. Epson has an extensive array of award winning image output products. Epson America was founded in 1975 and
is the U.S. Affiliate of Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation. They are headquartered in Long Beach, California.
When I received my Epson 9800 printer about a year ago, it was shipped in a huge crate / box. Some other companies need to go to
"Japanese Packing School" as there was virtually no way to damage the product the way it was packed and shipped. I do wish that
Epson would Drop Ship their products as I noticed it went from Epson Long Beach, CA to B & H Photo in NY where it sat in their
warehouse and then shipped NY to Oregon when I ordered it. B & H Photo and Video is my favorite and most reliable source for buying
all my equipment, but I'll leave that for another review! After reading the easy instructions and unpacking the unit, I quickly got it all
together and on its stand. I did need a second person to help lift this massive printer into place, but once together it glided easily
across the floor on its wheels.
On that same day, I received my extra Epson Ink Cartridges, my Epson Premium Papers, and my new Canon 5D with various "L" Series
Lens's. I promptly ran down the street to the Florence bridge and shot a tripoded bracket with my new 17-40 lens. At 17mm with a
polarizing filter in place I composed and took my shots. I ran back and loaded it to my MAC and opened it in Camera RAW through CS2.
I then picked the best exposure and ran it through some quick teaks in Camera Raw and opened it into CS2. Here I sampled up to a
40x60 at a 180 resolution and ran Pixel Genius Photo Kit Capture Sharpener. Then the Inkjet Output sharpener. Using a new roll of
44" Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper and the canned Epson Paper Profile, with color management by the printer turned off, I
proceeded to print my image. I was absolutely stunned at what came out of my new machine. The shadow detail was amazing. Not
even a hint of bronzing. This first print was so good, it's still on my wall at the store as a demo to the size and quality that I can
produce. Imagine my excitement and the instant gratification. All this right out of the box! That was a great day! I have since made my
are good and the non critical eye will love what they see. However custom profiling will simply "wow" even the most critical eye.
The new Epson UltraChrome K3 Ink Technology = stunning B & W and Color Prints. Epson definitely took it to the next level here. The
three blacks, two cyans, two magentas, and yellow seem to be the perfect combination for extraordinary prints. Not to mention that they
are also archival when coupled with certain Epson Papers. Another great feature is the fact that the cartridges come in 110 ml and 220
ml sizes. Always a "beef" for me has been the cheap printers and expensive ink combinations. With the 9800 it seems to be just the
opposite. Expensive printer cheaper ink! An example of this would be the $600 dollar 2200 printer with its small 12 ml cartridges. Per
ml the ink cost at Epson store prices for the 2200 is about $0.95 cents per ml. The per ml cost on the 220 ml cartridge for the 9800 is
$0.51 cents per ml. This is still a sore spot for me. This technology is equal to and in some cases better than traditional silver halide,
yet costs so much more. If we ever want to see the day that chemicals go away two things will have to happen. First we will need faster
print speeds and second cheaper consumables. Like paper and ink. I hope Epson has the foresight to see that they could gain even
more of a market share in the photo lab business. For now I have to market my prints as Fine Art Gallery Prints and price them
accordingly. However, if I could produce them for a little less, I could draw on a bigger customer base and convert your typical Costco
Customer into an Earth friendly ink jet print buyer. Drawing on this bigger customer base is why some faster speeds would be needed.
I Hope that Epson creates a high speed printer that is affordable to the mom & pop stores. I know we could win back a share of the
Walmart and Costco customers with our superior customer service, knowledge and similar pricing.
I use my Epson 9800 everyday. Its my main printer and workhorse. I'm mostly printing 8x10's to 16x20's on it, but weekly I will get an
order for a larger size print or a big panoramic print and the 9800 tackles all with consistence and predictable results. The inks are
stable and the papers are good. My customers are impressed. For the Pro Labs everywhere, I highly recommend this machine. I have
not seen anything come close to the 9800. If I had to complain, it would be for things like automatic firmware updates and automatic
driver updates and less expensive consumables......500 ml cartridges at 8 to 10 cents a ml would be something! (I would not care if they
stuck out and the doors had to be left open to accommodate the new larger / cheaper cartridge.) All in all a lot of bang for the buck. I
can't find a reason why you might be disappointed with Epson or their 9800 Wide Format Printer.