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Messages - dtaylor

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Well, I happened upon a gently used Epson 3800 for a fair price. It was local, so I could check it out.

Had to buy some ink, but I'm still in it for less than a 3880 refurb and way less than a new 3880.

Doesn't seem to be too many real life major differences between the 3800 and 3880 based on a quick search.

Network setup (wired) was a bit of a pain. No PnP there. Had to read the manual.

Tried out some prints onto Canon paper, and as long as I pick the right settings, print output looks very, very good.

Good find. There's very little real difference between the two.

I highly recommend trying out Epson's Hot Press Bright paper. Epson has a paper sample pack that's worth getting. It has two sheets each of all the press variations, exhibition fiber, etc. I was a glossy paper fan until I tried the press papers. Of course there's a ton of papers from 3rd parties as well.

inkjet printing isn't "economical", but small ink cartridges don't match well with bigger prints...

Exactly. I do consider the 3800/3880 economical once you've dealt with the up front cost above the value of the ink included with the printer.

I looked at the 4900, and the net is full of poor reviews. I get it that it is more common to post poor reviews than good ones.

That's surprising to me. But when I did a search after reading your post it looks like they have a failing print head issue with that model. The actual reviews are good, the ratings and complaints trace back to that issue. Disappointing.

I don't think that's happening with the 3880 line, but mine was manufactured a few years ago.

Any particular time to watch for Epson deals, with "Black Friday" and "cyber Monday" distant memories now?

None that I'm aware of.

I have a feeling that the Pro-10 doesn't have "hot swappable" ink tanks.

I have also been wondering if all inks are primed when one tank is replaced. I haven't been able to find any support in the manual yet.

Is there an Epson that shares the strong points outlined in your posting but doesn't require a change of black ink for glossy/matte?

I don't know why Epson does this, but I think even the 4900 and above share a line for matte and glossy black. Keep in mind that you do not physically swap the carts. Both blacks stay in the printer. If there's a paper type switch the printer will flush and prime the line.

According to the Epson 3800 FAQ at swapping to matte costs $0.85 cents and swapping to photo (glossy) costs $2.25. Enough to make you think about your printing and batch prints, but not enough to get upset over if you need to switch back and forth a couple times to meet a deadline.

The positives completely eclipse this one annoyance. I guarantee you other printers waste more ink $$$ with their stupid clogs and cleaning cycles then this model does swapping blacks. The carts last forever even with the swaps.

If you want the advantages of home printing, take a look at Epson's 3880. It's part of their professional line and big enough to overcome the major disadvantages with home photo ink jets, but still small enough to be manageable (space; ink cost and usage) for a home user.

* The carts are big. I can print sheet after sheet, 17x22, and the ink levels barely budge. (Cost per print is about even with labs for 8x10 and cheaper for larger sizes, assuming paper of similar quality.)

* I've literally gone months without printing only to power up, hear the printer run a single auto clean cycle, and print a perfect test sheet. It just doesn't clog.

* It seems to actually track time and sheets printed and auto clean when it needs to, not just because you powered off for a few minutes. I've never kept track to know what the triggers are, but I've also never had the impression it was wasting ink.

* Even when it warns that a cart is low, you keep printing. There's probably a dozen or more 16x20's left in the cart. You can change carts mid-print without affecting the print, so you just keep going until it asks for a new cart.

* Changing a cart does not touch the ink levels in the other carts. Only the changed line is primed. Most ink jets prime every line once a single cart is changed which defeats the whole purpose of individual carts and is a big part of the reason why ink disappears into a void.

* IQ, paper choices, longevity...all top of the line. At the 2nd best resolution setting (1440 instead of 2880) this printer will put lab prints to shame.

I should note that I do not and would not use my 3880 for anything but photos. I have a separate, cheap ink jet for text.

The only drawback is that the glossy and matte blacks share a line, so if you change paper types you lose some ink (a few bucks worth). So you need to batch your prints by type. But the printer performs so well...and the carts last so long...that this is hardly worth complaining about.

EOS Bodies / Re: "Two New FF Bodies in 2014" - if 5DM4, would you jump in?
« on: November 30, 2013, 09:01:45 PM »
1. DR - I could bump my shadows up +1-1.5 in LR and still retain detail. With my 5DMIII I generally try not to bump up shadows because it immediately causes banding/visual garbage which I have to later filter out.

I routinely bump crop files by this much without difficulty. To say nothing of what I can do with a 5D3 file.

Nikon fans typically "test" the two by turning all NR off on the Canon side (but not always on the Nikon side). You do realize that this is not how you actually process a RAW file with pushed shadows, right?

This was years ago, but I remember photographing surfers from a local pier with a 10D and 70-200 f/4L. The 20D had just come out. While I'm shooting some guy walks up with a brand new 20D and some 3rd party zoom (forget which). Asked what I was shooting, then proceeded to spend 15 minutes telling me how I needed to upgrade because the 20D was so much better, it wasn't even worth shooting a 10D any more.

15 minutes. I kept shooting. He kept talking.

"Yeah, I'll have to think about upgrading" and we parted ways. As he walked away I couldn't help but wonder: what's the point of a better camera if you don't ever press the shutter button?

Lenses / Re: DxO Mark
« on: November 19, 2013, 07:49:31 PM »
For some reason, I think Ken Rockwell and Dxo are the same people  :P

No. Ken Rockwell makes sense more often then DxO.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Appeal of Nikon Df
« on: November 11, 2013, 05:09:06 PM »
The silver Df doesn't look like a classic SLR. It looks like a caricature of a classic SLR. Fuji's stuff has a retro look that works. This just looks silly, almost like a toy camera.

The black one looks a bit better, but still not right.

Lenses / Re: Same ole, same ole' Filters vs no filters...
« on: November 11, 2013, 12:55:36 AM »
Hoya S-HMC and HD filters do not degrade IQ or cause flare. Most other filters do. (B+W has a reputation for not degrading IQ, but I've never used or tested them to know for sure.) How much degradation depends on the filter.

Filters complete weather sealing on some lenses and offer some scratch/impact protection. Any impact strong enough to shatter the filter and shove the glass into the front element, thereby damaging the front element, would have shattered the front element any way without the filter. Unless we're talking about one of the handful of lenses with really deep, recessed front elements (i.e. some macros come to mind).

Some hoods are deep and offer good impact resistance. Others are useless for this.

I leave filters on everything except my EF-M 22mm (cost/benefit is low plus the front element is tiny). I generally use hoods except on my M lenses (they don't seem to offer much protection or shading).

I would be in the camp that says only use filters when necessary if all filters degraded IQ. But I can't make my Hoya S-HMC and HD filters degrade IQ. Every time I've thought one of those filters was contributing to an IQ issue such as flare and removed it, I've realized that I only wasted my time taking it off. It has never made a bit of difference in IQ.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Major IQ advantage of FF?
« on: November 07, 2013, 06:24:51 AM »
* ff has more leverage for postprocessing, this is what matters the most to me. If you try to raise one color channel on a gradient (say lessen or intensify blue on a partly cloudy sky) the crop shot will immediately fall apart while the bigger ff pixels allow for more postprocessing creativity or fixing.

This is true but an exaggeration. Crop images do not 'immediately fall apart.' You have to push to see the difference.

Also the ff has less problems on the red color channel on plain surfaces, a known issue with Canon sensors, try shooting a red mushroom if you don't know what I'm talking about.

This is true at anything other then the lowest ISOs. But it's true for most (all?) crop sensors, and even the FF ones as the ISOs climb. You just have more ISOs where red doesn't suck on FF.

In reality, I find the ff has a 2-3 stop advantage over crop because with crop iso800 is the highest "safe" setting while with the 6d it's iso6400, and truth to be told I'd still prefer the latter if the dr is low.

The crop sensors are fine to about 3200, though I agree that Canon's FF sensors are 2+ stops better at high ISO.

* Viewfinder: Not directly sensor-iq related and last, but not least - the more expensive crop cameras have an somewhat ok vf, but with ff you see more of what you're shooting due to the larger mirror which is a reason for ff on its own as in "iq for your eye".

I don't notice a significant difference vs. the 7D, though what you say is true for the other crop models.

and of course for tele shots with 300mm * 1.6x crop factor which makes a decisive difference for wildlife.

It's hard to beat a "built in" 1.6x teleconverter  :)

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Major IQ advantage of FF?
« on: November 07, 2013, 06:16:43 AM »
3) FF gives less distortion with wide angles while crop gives more pixels on target for distant objects.

First part is false. Distortion is the same for the FoV (assuming equal lens IQ).

4) FF is more forgiving of lens limitations than crop. (Kit lenses on a crop camera give poor sharpness, but a quality lens is good on FF and crop)

FF is more forgiving of lens sharpness, but less forgiving of side and corner performance.

From the site: In fact, others like phototheology on youtube showed the K-5 IIs dominating the Canon 5D Mark III,

* Go to Imaging Resource comparometer.
* Pull up 5D3 and K52.
* 5D3 shows small advantage at low ISO.
* 5D3 easily beats the K52 at high ISO. (5D3 @ 12800 is better then K52 @ 3200.)

* Pull up 5D3 and K3.
* No advantage at low ISO.
* 5D3 easily beats the K3 at high ISO. (5D3 @ 12800 just edges out K3 @ 3200.)

From the site: Our testing shows that the Pentax K-3 swept the Nikon D600 in almost every image we took. Even at high ISOs the Pentax held its own against the full frame sensor!

* Pull up D600 and K3.
* No advantage at low ISO.
* D600 clearly beats the K3 at high ISO. (D600 @ 12800 is better then K3 @ 6400.)

You'll get the same results looking at DPReview tests.

I will say...again...that the FF advantage lies at high ISO. At low ISO there's little or no real world difference.

As for their D600 vs. K3 tests...the two look about 1 to 1.3 stops apart at high ISO. That's close enough to easily screw up the exposure in the tests such that they look the same.

Again from their site: In our testing, we used various apertures, but did not use the maximum aperture for either lens to account for the variation between the two.

T-stop (i.e. actual light transmission) can vary between lenses at all apertures.

We set each camera to the aperture priority mode and allowed the cameras to choose the most appropriate shutter speed for the situation.

Camera meters most certainly vary.

Each image was taken in a RAW format then converted to JPGs through Lightroom. No adjustments were made to the images before publishing this article.

"No adjustments" does not mean "equal" as ACR applies a profile out of the gate.

In almost every shot, the Pentax K-3 had much better color quality than the Nikon D600.

Color varies with exposure, lenses, and...most importantly...RAW conversion. Again, "no adjustments" != "equal." And even cameras with quirky color given default RAW settings are easily profiled to give whatever you want.

Same with their statements on contrast and sharpness. Tweaking settings is all that's required.

I'll be the first to say that if you don't need large prints at high ISO then get whatever APS-C body you want. But when you push ISO, there's no crop camera on the market that can match current FF cameras. I especially like what I see from Canon's latest FF bodies (even though DxOJoke claims they are worse then the competition). These guys just screwed up their tests.

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Nikon 58/1.4 - $1,700!!!
« on: October 19, 2013, 09:50:54 PM »
Well, about the same price as the 50mm 1.2L, isn't it?

And the Sigma 50 f/1.4 beats them both for $400.

Lenses / Re: 16-35 2.8 vs 70-200 4 on 650D
« on: October 17, 2013, 06:55:04 PM »
Assuming you're on about the 70-200/4 L IS and the 16-35/2.8 L II, here is a comparison of IQ on an 18MP crop camera - showing the 16-35 at its worst ( 28mm, f2.8 ):

I would say there's something obviously wrong with the 16-35 sample he tested on the 60D.

I love TDP and their lens comparison tool is one of the most useful tools on the web. But sometimes bad samples do slip in, and you have to watch for that.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: High-ISO confusion
« on: October 17, 2013, 02:57:09 PM »
I would have sworn that my EOS M was producing better RAW high ISO shots then my 7D, yet comparisons at DPReview and Imaging Resource do not confirm this. So it looks like there really isn't much change among the 18 MP sensors from Canon. (My initial impression was probably due to the exposure being consistently optimal on the M. I shoot manual on the M and it is incredibly fast and simple to ETTR off the screen.)

The 70D is Canon's first truly new APS-C sensor in a while, and to me it does look a bit better in RAW. But not by much, maybe 2/3 stop?

On the flip side, for all the wild claims about Sony and Nikon sensors, they look no better. And they also show no difference as you flip through recent camera model iterations. Yet we constantly hear how Canon is "stuck" with old sensors, and how much better Sony/Nikon sensors are at high ISO. The comparison images expose the myth. A myth which is driven entirely by DxO nonsense.

I think the whole industry is at a point of diminishing returns on high ISO when it comes to crop sensors, though a new fabrication technique or other technology could change that in the future.

To be honest...and this is going to ruffle feathers...there isn't that much difference between the crop sensors and the 5D2 either. It's there, but not huge. The IR samples show it better then the DPReview samples (not sure why). From the times I've shot with a 5D2, the difference is amplified if exposure is less then optimal. And 5D2 RAW files are able to take more NR at high ISO.

The 5D3 and 6D improve on the 5D2, and to me the jump from crop to 5D3/6D is much more substantial in terms of high ISO. For that reason I tell crop shooters who want better high ISO to skip used 5D2's and go straight for the newer models.

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