Mark’s Excellent Review of the Epson P900

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    Topic: Mark’s Excellent Review of the Epson P900 Read 6575 Times
  • Elliot Puritz
    Elliot Puritz
    Silver Member
    Posts: 73
    Epson Printers
    on: January 20, 2022 at 11:47 pm

    Thanks so very much Mark.  The review of the new Epson P900 is both encyclopedic and excellent.

    One of the very major problems I see for those considering switching from the Epson P800:

    Over the many past months of using the P800 I, along with likely many others, have collected some excellent bespoke ICC profiles made for various papers and of course constructed precisely for our printing conditions, etc., etc.  Moving to the P900 would entail losing the use of these profiles. At current prices for bespoke ICC profiles, there would be considerable additional charges for having our papers profiled for the new printer, and such charges might be too large to justify the change to the new printer.

    It goes without saying that those who are adept at creating their OWN ICC profiles and have the equipment to do so would have no additional charges for ICC profiles and therefore the switch to the P900 would be less costly and inconvenient.  Moreover, those who use the manufacturers ICC profiles also have no additional costs.

     

    Elliot

    Thanks again.

     

     

    Bud James
    Bud James
    Participant
    Posts: 69
    Re: Mark’s Excellent Review of the Epson P900
    Reply #1 on: January 21, 2022 at 6:40 am

    I upgraded my Epson P800 to the P900 months ago. The improvements in paper transport and image quality was immediately apparent.

    Three weeks ago, I purchased ImagePrint Black. This software, although expensive, is amazing. No more fiddling with printer driver settings in your favorite apps. I simply save my final images as TIFFs and print them using ImagePrint. Now, I can easily print with any papers with easy. The provided ICC profiles are excellent. Highly recommended.

    Regards,
    Bud James

    Please check out my fine art and travel photography at http://www.budjames.photography.

    Elliot Puritz
    Elliot Puritz
    Silver Member
    Posts: 73
    Re: Mark’s Excellent Review of the Epson P900
    Reply #2 on: January 21, 2022 at 10:07 am

    Thanks for the suggestions Bud.

    I investigated the excellent ImagePrint program.  I agree about the profiles and the ease of printing.  However, these are still “generic” profiles and are to the best of my knowledge not specifically for your printer.  Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Perhaps those with additional insights and expertise can respond about the profiles with specific suggestions as to exactly how bespoke profiles specifically for one’s printer compare to “canned profiles”.  My admittedly limited experience suggests that bespoke profiles provide better shadow separation and detail vs. generic profiles.  Perhaps my experience is atypical?

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Silver Member
    Posts: 655
    Re: Mark’s Excellent Review of the Epson P900
    Reply #3 on: January 21, 2022 at 11:54 am

    Hi Elliot

    I’m glad you found my review of the Epson SC-P900 printer helpful.

    If I understand correctly your opening post, you have not yet purchased a P900 printer, a hold-back in your decision being the situation with profiles. I don’t know how many different papers you normally use; general advice is to settle on several and get to know them well. There have been gyrations of availability in the paper market these days causing us to make a switch or two periodically, but apart from this unusual circumstance I think it continues to make sense. The import of this observation is that if you do that, the number of custom profiles you may think you need could be very few.

    But then there is a question of whether you really need custom profiles or any third-party software bundling their own profiles. In the earlier days of inkjet printing, and I’m going back roughly 15 years ago or so, custom profiles provided distinguishable value-added. With the improvements of inkjet printer design, manufacturing and profiling technologies that have occurred over this interval, as well as the fact that the better 3rd-party paper providers have become very conscious of and adept at providing high-quality profiles for their papers, that advantage has been substantially whittled away. When the differences between OEM and custom profiles fall below the ability of human visual perception to tell the difference between them in real world prints – forget statistics for a moment – we know it doesn’t matter which we use. The statistics are useful indicators but not perfect, because translating differences between numbers into differences of what we perceive is a combination of art and science. And perceptions would vary from person to person depending on individual vision and the kind of photographs they print.

    The P900 printer was a bit of a complicated animal to analyze because it provides so many options and correspondingly so many combinations of settings each of which produces slightly different outcomes. But if you go through my analytic data carefully on the printing conditions, you may find that for what would matter to you most, the differences between very carefully made custom profiles and Epson’s own profiles are not substantial enough to matter in the real world of normal printed photographs. There are some cases where it MAY, but whether those cases are the most relevant to your needs is of course for you to assess. Behind the scenes I have come across a couple of paper manufacturers’ profiles that were sub-par enough to alert them, and they have responded by replacing their profiles with better ones. Enough to say the industry on the whole is concerned to provide quality experiences to its customers.

    Bottom line, it’s not obvious to me that custom profiling should be a determinative variable in whether you upgrade to this printer, both because OEM profiles may be sufficient, and where they are not, if you were to settle on several papers, the incremental cost of buying custom profiles for those few may not break the bank in the larger scheme of things. Andrew Rodney’s pricing, for example, hasn’t changed all that much over a good many years, with discounts for ordering more than two; you can check it out here: http://www.digitaldog.net/icc-profile-main.html .

    Mark D Segal Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop". Please check the PhotoPXL Store for availability.

    Kevin Raber
    Kevin Raber
    Silver Member
    Posts: 1037
    Re: Mark’s Excellent Review of the Epson P900
    Reply #4 on: January 21, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    Regarding Image print. Profiles are based on the printer models and then paper.  You download the profile based on PK or MK use by printer, and model.  I can’t say enough about these profiles.  They are not generic and a lot of work goes into these as you will see in an upcoming video. In addition, you also select the profile based on the lighting conditions you will be displaying your prints in.  The cost is worth it in first-run prints, page layout and repeat printed files.

     

     

    Kevin Raber
    CEO & Publisher of PhotoPXL.com and Rockhopperworkshops.com

    Andrew Rodney
    Andrew Rodney
    Participant
    Posts: 294
    Re: Mark’s Excellent Review of the Epson P900
    Reply #5 on: January 21, 2022 at 1:59 pm

    Of couse some are generic profiles Kevin. Please be fair to the facts of how profiles are produced for printers no matter what your video may state.

    If a profile is produced from a target from one printer, it is a custom profile. If you send IP a target from your printer and they build you a profile, it is a custom profile for your printer.

    If a profile is made from an average of many (how many? I can tell you based on those Pixel Genius made for Epson EFP), it like those profiles are generic.

    There is nothing wrong per se with generic profiles. Not all profiles are created equally however, custom or generic! Not all perceptual renderings are the same; it varies by profile manufacturer and the settings used to build that profile. Not all profiles provide post optimization of custom profiles.

    Not all ICC profiles are created equally
    In this 23 minute video, I’ll cover:
    The basic anatomy of ICC Profiles
    Why there are differences in profile quality and color rendering
    How to evaluate an ICC output profile
    Examples of good and not so good canned profiles and custom profiles on actual printed output.

    High resolution: http://digitaldog.net/files/Not_All_Profiles_are_created_equally.mp4
    Low resolution (YouTube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNdR_tIFMME&feature=youtu.be

    Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Silver Member
    Posts: 655
    Re: Mark’s Excellent Review of the Epson P900
    Reply #6 on: January 21, 2022 at 2:46 pm

    Andrew and Kevin,

    I’d just drill down for a moment on the distinction between generic and custom profiles. When I think “custom”, I am thinking mine alone, from a target printed on my printer. The day someone else uses my “custom” profile on their printer, for them my custom profile is their generic profile. A profile is “custom” only under two necessary and sufficient conditions:  it’s made from a target printed on my printer and it is used only on that printer. The moment either of these conditions is violated, it is no longer a custom profile. So in this sense, Andrew is correct that ImagePrint profiles are generic unless they are profiles that ImagePrint makes for a customer using a target from that customer’s printer.

    A separate question is that of how many printers of the same model are used to make a profile for that model. Let us say that printer manufacturer “X” uses ten of their printers (same model) to print and measure targets and then average the patch values for making the profile. Then they bundle that profile into their driver for customers to use on whatever unit of this printer model the customer buys. The advantage of such a procedure would be that it could even-out the minor variances of output one could expect from unit to unit of the same model, making the profile more generally representative of the model’s performance, but the fact is that it still remains a generic profile based on how it is made and how it is used; the unit I buy may perform slightly differently from the average used for building that profile.

    So I agree with Andrew that unless ImagePrint makes me a custom profile for my printer, their profiles are generic. But this in no way makes a statement about their quality. They can be – and based on reputation most likely are – excellent generic profiles.

    Getting back to Elliot’s concern, if he were to buy this printer he could easily satisfy himself about what he needs by experimenting, if ImagePrint provides a trial allowing him to make this determination; their website says to “contact them” for a trial – no other details about the terms and conditions of the trial are mentioned, but they do say “Your purchase of ImagePrint is covered by an unconditional 30-day money back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied, we’ll refund the purchase price less shipping and handling.”.

    This software costs about 900 dollars, so were it me, before going down this path my “decision tree” would look like this:

    (1) Are there compelling reasons based on all other consideration apart from profiles why I want this printer model? If no, stop. If yes:

    (2) Buy the printer and use it for my normal kind of photos on my normal kind of papers using OEM profiles.

    (3) Inspect the results; am I satisfied? If yes, stop; if no consider custom profiles.

    (4) How many custom profiles might I need and would the cost of them come close to the price of a good RIP? (And remember, RIPs have other benefits than just the profiles). Decide accordingly. Maybe order a few profiles from a quality provider such as Andrew, or maybe buy a RIP, depending.

     

    Mark D Segal Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop". Please check the PhotoPXL Store for availability.

    Andrew Rodney
    Andrew Rodney
    Participant
    Posts: 294
    Re: Mark’s Excellent Review of the Epson P900
    Reply #7 on: January 21, 2022 at 2:51 pm

    When I think “custom”, I am thinking mine alone, from a target printed on my printer.

    Exactly. I doubt Elliot thinks otherwise but he can state this if desired. Again, suggesting a profile you download from the IP site is custom is simply a misunderstanding. A profile IP may create for you, from your printer and their target is a custom profile. This has nothing to do with profile quality, profile accuracy (which takes a number of hardware and software tools to produce), is a totally different matter. As is a subjective rendering from a perceptual table in any profile.

    Edit: profiles have nothing to do with the comment: “repeat printed files”. A printer, display or other device is either colorimetrically consistent or it isn’t. What Kevin reports has nothingto do with IP and everything to do with Epson hardware. You don’t want to profile a moving target but you can. Epson printers that I’ve trended colorimetrically, even dating back to those that I profiled for the group of Epson EFP were very, very consistent among a group and over time. This is due to Epson’s hardware and inks, NOT profiles, not a print driver.

    Let’s give credit where credit is done and not associate credit where it isn’t due.

    Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

    Andrew Rodney
    Andrew Rodney
    Participant
    Posts: 294
    Re: Mark’s Excellent Review of the Epson P900
    Reply #8 on: January 21, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    When I think “custom”, I am thinking mine alone, from a target printed on my printer.

    Exactly. I doubt Elliot thinks otherwise but he can state this if desired. Again, suggesting a profile you download from the IP site is custom is simply a misunderstanding. A profile IP may create for you, from your printer and their target is a custom profile. This has nothing to do with profile quality, profile accuracy (which takes a number of hardware and software tools to produce), is a totally different matter. As is a subjective rendering from a perceptual table in any profile.

    Edit: profiles have nothing to do with the comment: “repeat printed files”. A printer, display or other device is either colorimetrically consistent or it isn’t. What Kevin reports has nothingto do with IP and everything to do with Epson hardware. You don’t want to profile a moving target but you can. Epson printers that I’ve trended colorimetrically, even dating back to those that I profiled for the group of Epson EFP were very, very consistent among a group and over time. This is due to Epson’s hardware and inks, NOT profiles, not a print driver.

    Let’s give credit where credit is done and not associate credit where it isn’t due.

    Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

    Andrew Rodney
    Andrew Rodney
    Participant
    Posts: 294
    Re: Mark’s Excellent Review of the Epson P900
    Reply #9 on: January 21, 2022 at 3:17 pm

    When I think “custom”, I am thinking mine alone, from a target printed on my printer.

    Exactly. I doubt Elliot thinks otherwise but he can state this if desired. Again, suggesting a profile you download from the IP site is custom is simply a misunderstanding. A profile IP may create for you, from your printer and their target is a custom profile. This has nothing to do with profile quality, profile accuracy (which takes a number of hardware and software tools to produce), is a totally different matter. As is a subjective rendering from a perceptual table in any profile.

    Edit: profiles have nothing to do with the comment: “repeat printed files”. A printer, display or other device is either colorimetrically consistent or it isn’t. What Kevin reports has nothingto do with IP and everything to do with Epson hardware. You don’t want to profile a moving target but you can. Epson printers that I’ve trended colorimetrically, even dating back to those that I profiled for the group of Epson EFP were very, very consistent among a group and over time. This is due to Epson’s hardware and inks, NOT profiles, not a print driver.

    Let’s give credit where credit is done and not associate credit where it isn’t due.

    Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

    Elliot Puritz
    Elliot Puritz
    Silver Member
    Posts: 73
    Re: Mark’s Excellent Review of the Epson P900
    Reply #10 on: January 21, 2022 at 3:55 pm

    Valid thoughts Mark, and certainly a way to proceed with another printer purchase.

    However, consider the following scenario:

    One can read as many printer reviews as desired.  However, I think we would likely agree that there is likely no way to REALLY know about the superiority of a given printer unless one has the printer on hand and actually TRIES the printer with a selection of images using bespoke profiles and perhaps generic profiles. Inferred is that one evaluates the images using whatever criteria one normally uses in such matters.

    One purchases the P900 and in the trial noted above sees no perceptible advantage of the P900 vs. the P800.

    The new printer cannot be returned.

    I agree with Mark: Goes without saying that if a given photographers sees no difference in the prints on his printer rendered by generic vs. bespoke ICC profiles then there is of course no further reason to consider anything other than generic profiles.

    You are entirely correct about the extremely generous policy of Image Print regarding trials and returns.  However, as I recall, prints made during the trial period have an identifying logo across the print.  Such makes evaluation of the prints rendered difficult.

    Finally:  Mark, many of us are simply not as well versed in printing as are you and other: What other advantages does a RIP convey?

    Elliot

    Andrew Rodney
    Andrew Rodney
    Participant
    Posts: 294
    Re: Mark’s Excellent Review of the Epson P900
    Reply #11 on: January 21, 2022 at 3:57 pm

    One purchases the P900 and in the trial noted above sees no perceptible advantage of the P900 vs. the P800.

    Indeed, enough said (if you own a P800 as I do).

    When I think “custom”, I am thinking mine alone, from a target printed on my printer.

    Exactly. I doubt Elliot thinks otherwise but he can state this if desired. Again, suggesting a profile you download from the IP site is custom is simply a misunderstanding. A profile IP may create for you, from your printer and their target is a custom profile. This has nothing to do with profile quality, profile accuracy (which takes a number of hardware and software tools to produce), is a totally different matter. As is a subjective rendering from a perceptual table in any profile.

    Edit: profiles have nothing to do with the comment: “repeat printed files”. A printer, display or other device is either colorimetrically consistent or it isn’t. What Kevin reports has nothingto do with IP and everything to do with Epson hardware. You don’t want to profile a moving target but you can. Epson printers that I’ve trended colorimetrically, even dating back to those that I profiled for the group of Epson EFP were very, very consistent among a group and over time. This is due to Epson’s hardware and inks, NOT profiles, not a print driver.

    Let’s give credit where credit is done and not associate credit where it isn’t due.

    Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management" (pluralsight.com)

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