Piezography hardware considerations

Having the flu has given me too much time to ponder… Thank goodness I’m just about back to normal!

I’ve been working with other piezographers to find out if I’d see any great personal benefit to printing piezography. That is still in the works.

At the same time I also have to consider costs. Of course I’ll need a printer, inks, and carts. This will run me above $500 easily (Thanks to the US and your strong dollar, I’m from Canada eh?). If I don’t want to profile papers, I’ll probably have to stick with the profiles papers that IJM uses. Not a biggie, but considering a box of 25 13x19 Epson, Hahnemuhle, Canson etc gets pretty pricey. If I go with cheaper papers such as Red River, I’ll need to profile them. Now I have a choice of using Spyderprint, Colormunki, or i1. I’d rule out i1 for myself. Spyderprint would save me a couple hundred dollars over Colormunki.

I’ve read all over the Internet about SpyderPrint vs Colormunki, so I’m aware that Colormunki Photo is better. The trouble is that will I, as an amature, likely to regret not getting the Colormunki? I’ve already played the game of why the colours in real life are not what I’m getting on my computer screen, which don’t necessarily get on my printer. I had to let go of some of that, and I’m more concerned about shadow details and highlights. If I cannot see the texture of someone’s flowing hair, I’m definitely concernred about that.

I know I should go with the more expensive route, but I still have to consider costs. I’m still dithering about an Epson refurbished 1430 vs refurbished R2880. The 1430 would limit me to matte only. I could get used to that, but would my family and friends rather have glossy? Would spraying the odd matte print be enough? [deleted]

If I choose to get into piezography, it won’t be until summer or fall at the very earliest. But if I see a really good deal on something in the meantime (like Epson offers a rebate on a refurbished 1430, or something like that), I want to know what kind of direction I’d like to go.


Hi Larry,
First things first. Let’s face it, photography is a money pit, surpassed only by boating and sports cars :slight_smile:

The expensive part is sneaking up on what you REALLY need. I’d recommend the 2880. I started with an R3000 but found I didn’t print enough to keep the machine in tiptop condition. The 2880 is MUCH more convenient to both maintain and to switch inks with. I have my eye on a 1430, but it will be utilized solely for digital negatives. Still waiting for Jon’s official 1430/digital negatives to pull the trigger. On the small printers the carts are pretty low cost and ink is ink. You are going to pay for carts and ink one way or the other, so I would eliminate that as a variable.

I started with a Colormunki and upgraded to an i1 within a year. Thought I would only be calibrating a monitor, but then along came re-linearizing files…

Next, get comfortable with this website:
I know it is US, but there is probably a Canadian equivalent. You are looking for a “PA” class monitor
Unfortunately you just missed NEC’s practically give away on refurbished monitors. They upgraded to a 4k photo monitor and had prices of less than $500 (if my memory is correct) on the older models in 27" versions. BUT, I believe the NEC monitors combined with a good calibration tool is the single best investment I’ve made in my Lightroom. It saves lots of time/$$ with the ability to softproof images. This is one area, I would encourage you to shell out the bucks. This was also a GREAT help in scanning negatives. The NEC monitor is so far superior to the monitor on the laptop I was using to scan negatives. I had to go back and re-scan some LF negatives once I got the new monitor calibrated and could actually SEE what the scans looked like.

You will need to also purchase a $200 software item, Spectraview to allow the monitor to be calibrated :frowning:

I know you have lots to think about, but thought I would share my 2 cents…

Best wishes,

Thanks John,

It’s true that, if I wanted to make money doing this, I should invest in a better display. The display I have is much better than the typical laptop displays, but is still a far cry from the NEC’s you mention. Still I have to strain to see any significant difference between my prints and proofs on my Samsung. The only colour in question are the pinks/reds. They don’t reproduce well on screen or print, but probably it’s the screen and camera calibration. I had had more trouble with shadow detail, and that turned out to be a colour profile. Even though I’ve read in the past that you can use Epson profiles for Cone’s K3V inks, I was losing deep shadow detail. As soon as I used Jon’s profile for Epson glossy, all was good again.

Were you using Colormunki Display before? I’m the same, when I started I thought I’d only be calibrating my monitor. Now I do have the desire to calibrate papers. I just don’t have the money for an i1. If I ever do switch to making money off of prints, I’d probably upgrade, but I don’t forsee doing that. I’m a highschool teacher, I don’t even have the time to print off our family pictures, let alone someone elses!


[deleted post]]

What John is saying is spelt out in more detail in Mike Johnston’s famous “Letter to George”. [Note that this was originally written and posted many years ago, when the D700 was top of the Nikon tree. The equivalent now would probably be the D810.]

The advantages of the R2880 are Shade 7 and gloss printing. Readers of this forum will know that I’m not convinced of the benefits of Shade 7, and consider that P2/K6 is a better all-round solution, including in the R2880. So that leaves gloss printing as the swing factor in deciding between the R1430 and R2880. If you’re unlikely to print Piezo on gloss, then I’d recommend a new R1430. New is better. (I’ve been told that Epson in north America stand behind refurbs, but I’ve had the best experiences starting from a new printer, and the R1430 is not that expensive.)

Purchasing an i1 requires a very deep breath. But if you’re in this printing game for the long haul, you’ll get your money’s worth, and the sooner you buy one, the sooner you start getting the benefit. But not everyone is in a position to make that outlay.


That is so very true. I haven’t had the time to read the entire article, but I got the gist of it.

What wasn’t mentioned (unless I missed it because of skim reading!) was that there is always something even better beyond. I could get a refurbished 1430 right now, but I think that I would always be wondering about what I could have done with the R2880. Honestly, I’m probably going to wait for a Refurbished 2880. Of course, then there’s the R3880 for 24" prints, but I’d really have to be dedicated to piezo to make that work.

Am I in this for the long haul, probably. But at the moment just for my personal interest and fun. You’re right and i1 requires a very deep breath, especially with our Canadian dollar. And I’m not completely convinced I 'd need paper profiling capability right away.

I hope I don’t sound like I’m explaining away why I’m too cheap to buy better. OK, I probably do. John is so right, photography is a money pit. That happened the day I bought my D3300. Then London Drugs had a sale on the R3000 plus Epson had a $200 rebate. I pretty much got an R3000 for half price. When this one dies, I’m going to hope they’ve cracked the cart chips for the new P series printers. And I hope that is a few years away. I do want to get my money’s worth out of this printer.

Sorry IJM, I’m turning this into a blog in your forum! I’m actually trying to send feelers out as to what I should invest into next. Your comments have helped me to decide to not pull the trigger on the 1430 and wait for an R2880 (or a 2000, but I’d have to get carts elsewhere, and I’m not sure what IJM has for curves). I know everyone thinks I should invest in an i1. Honestly, I think I’d be happy with the Munki for a few years, and by then if I feel the need to upgrade, xrite will have something better than i1 in the prosumer realm. Maybe.


Gloss. That’s it. No better print quality. You could also add shade 7, but you know my views on that!

Well, there appears to be a CIS for the P600, but so far no refillable carts, which is odd:


[QUOTE=Brian_S;10458]Gloss. That’s it. No better print quality. You could also add shade 7, but you know my views on that!

Well, there appears to be a CIS for the P600, but so far no refillable carts, which is odd:


If I knew I would never want gloss, or anyone I know would want it, I’d go with the 1430. The R2880 keeps that possibility open, plus I think it’s a better printer.

That CISS is interesting. Is that the future? Possible solution for thu P800 in the works?

The build quality is better, but not in a way that affects print quality.

I was wondering that myself. Walker?

If it is the future, then it would be an IJM decision, as a quick search suggests that some other retailers are selling refillable carts, and the fact that there are chips available implies that there’s no practical impediment. I suspect that the cartridge body is the same as the R3000.

It’s already been said here that the problems the chip fabricators are encountering with the P800 don’t apply to the P600. So no, this tells you nothing about refillable cart options for the P800.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a refurbished 2880 on Epson’s site. I do see they sell a refurbished P600 for $639 here in the US. Also interesting to note you can purchase a NEW P600 thru B&H for $599 after a $200 mail in rebate…

Thanks Brian for the P600 info on IJM.

Good to point that out. Especially with regards to paper feeding I gather.

I recall reading from IJM that issues with the P800 and above involved “prohibited write back” or something like that that would cause inaccurate ink levels or not being able to detect when a cart is empty.

Perhaps going CISS is a way to circumvent the whole writer back issue and make ink level monitoring irrelevant? That would be clever if it worked!


Same chips in a CIS as in refillable carts.

From the P600 IJM page:
“The Epson SureColor P-600 chip write back system has been made by Epson to work erratically when non-Epson cartridges are installed. While refillable cartridges can prematurely empty in a P-600 printer, a CISS is a perfect solution.”
It appears IJM is doing precisely as I thought. 0nly, I thought it wasn’t an issue on the P600. I guess it is.

From the P800 IJM page:
“What we are finding in our testing with chips is that the ink synchronization is not permitted with non-OEM carts, and several write-backs are blocked.”

ok, synchronization of what?

Nonetheless, even a refurbished P600 is very pricey. I did see an R2880 a couple of months ago, and ar R2000.

Synchronisation of ink levels. When the printer fires a the print head x times to consume y amount of ink from a given channel, it has to write to the chip. I guess it reads what the chip said before the printing, deduct the amount used, and writes the new amount. Perhaps not exactly like this, but you get the idea. So it’s synchronising the chip with the latest usage.

I missed that comment re the P600 CIS. I guess a CIS isolates you from the risk of a cart running dry because of the erratic synchronisation. You can see the levels in the bottles yourself. If you Google on P600 refillable cartridges, you’ll find at least one well-known firm selling them, so you wonder what their chip fabricator knows that IJM’s doesn’t, or perhaps they just elected to ignore the problem. This can’t be easy to reverse engineer, as the printer is sending this information to the chip by sending electrical currents to the chip contacts. The fabricators have to work out which currents mean what and how to store them in a chip.

I suspect it may have to do with loyalty to the chip fabricator IJM uses, and that’s fair enough. Some manufactures may have better spies than others! :wink:

Or, the other chip manufacturers made chips that work, but they may be somewhat unreliable. They’re just not telling people that. That’s another good possibility.

But, if the only problem with the P800 and above is synchronization of ink levels with amount of ink used is the only problem, I’d say the CISS should work for the P800+ printers. There must be something even more.


We went with a custom spec P600 CISS. We believe it will be better for our customers and better for us.

The P600 cartridge chips are not functioning like a normal Epson cart chip - not from any chip producer. The big P600 refill cart vendor is cautioning you not to rely on the amount of ink remaining on the LCD panel or the Epson Status and that the only sure way is to lift out the carts regularly. Running the printer out of ink by accident and not having a utility to init fill it like you do with the R3000 is really not good. And there are other issues as well with the chip carts that will be too much of a support headache for us.

With the P800 chips it’s just not happening at all…Epson P800 will not communicate to nor initialize a non-oem cartridge for use. And the printer definitely knows it’s there. Making matters worse is that the usual way of soldering on an alternative decoder board to circumvent the chip readers does not work either. The “force” is strong in the P800… :frowning: Time will tell. Lots of cart vendors making announcements that its forthcoming. Just not the chip makers. :frowning: