P800 To-or-Not-To P900

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    Topic: P800 To-or-Not-To P900 Read 410 Times
  • Mitchell Freedman
    Mitchell Freedman
    Silver Member
    Posts: 10
    Epson Printers
    on: December 2, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Apologies if you’re seeing this post here and on DP Review but I read both Printer and Printing forums. I started printing 3 or 4 years ago with an Epson P800. I’m all-in on the reward factor of seeing my image on paper, and I’m pretty sure that printing has made me a better photographer.

    With other endeavors, I’ve always been a bit of a media freak, but with printing, the train has really left the tracks. With all the options and associated results from all the papers available, I’ve built up quite an inventory. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about trying to justify not stepping up to the new printer.

    I figured that similar to the Fujifilm camera bodies, I’d upgrade printers as technological improvements were in sync with my needs, wants or interests. When rumors of the P900 emerged, I assumed that for me it would be a matter of when, not if. Recently, I’ve rethought that idea. Reasons include a) learning curve, b) valuable ink both in my P800 and on the shelf behind it, and c) importance of the upgrades, at least to me.

    Learning Curve For those of you who’ve taught yourselves to print, it’s likely you vividly remember the many frustrations you needed to overcome. The learning curve combined with idiosyncratic nature of each particular printer model can really try ones patience.

    A few of my more memorable P800 nightmares were… battling the wireless connectivity, or rather, lack of wireless connectivity. After far too much time on the phone with Epson, the Tech eventually said something like ” Yeah, the wireless thing doesn’t really work. Just go with USB.” Man o man. Then there were the paper feed issues, bent corners, and error codes related to events that simply were not occurring. Errors for the roll feeder which not only wasn’t installed, but I don’t even own. And so on.

    The ever popular topic of Ink cartridges. To avoid coming up short, I’ve developed the habit of buying a replacement for whatever cartridge I’m required to replace. B&H makes this really easy with their free shipping. The downside is that were I to jump to the P900, I’d give away or throw away $600-$900 worth of ink. Uncomfortable thought.

    Switching black inks is for many, annoying. I try to stay with one or the other for weeks at a time though, so it’s not that big of a deal for me.

    Upgrades Next consideration has been the quality of the print itself. This is a hard one. Reminds me of the flatscreen purchase where in a side x side retail setting, it’s possible to see significant and even minor improvements in image quality from set to set (and usually price point to price point) but on your wall at home, all you know is that the flat panel you bought looks great. How hard of a peek do you really need to take in order to see the deeper blacks improvement from this new printer?

    Finally – although I really like the look and size of the P900, that incremental form factor improvement just isn’t meaningful enough to topple me over the edge. At least until I potentially change my mind in a month or two. mhf

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by Kevin Raber.
    Mark D Segal
    Mark D Segal
    Silver Member
    Posts: 655
    Re: P800 To-or-Not-To P900
    Reply #1 on: December 2, 2020 at 11:34 am

    Hi Mitchell,

    My comments in brackets and bold for ease of distinction.

    Apologies if you’re seeing this post here and on DP Review but I read both Printer and Printing forums.  I started printing 3 or 4 years ago with an Epson P800.  I’m all-in on the reward factor of seeing my image on paper, and I’m pretty sure that printing has made me a better photographer.

    With other endeavors, I’ve always been a bit of a media freak, but with printing, the train has really left the tracks.  With all the options and associated results from all the papers available, I’ve built up quite an inventory.  But that’s not what this post is about.  This post is about trying to justify stepping up to the new printer.

    I figured that similar to the Fujifilm camera bodies, I’d upgrade printers as technological improvements were in sync with my needs, wants or interests.  When rumors of the P900 emerged, I assumed that for me it would be a matter of when, not if.  Recently, I’ve rethought that idea.  Reasons include a) learning curve, b) valuable ink both in my P800 and on the shelf behind it, and c) importance of the upgrades, at least to me. (These are subjective, personal decision variables that reviewers cannot answer for you. All the reviewers should be doing is providing as factual a basis they can about what the printer does and how well/badly it works, which would help you make your own decision.)

    Learning Curve:  For those of you who’ve taught yourselves to print, it’s likely you vividly remember the many frustrations you needed to overcome.  The learning curve combined with idiosyncratic nature of each particular printer model can really try ones patience. (I expect soon to have published on this website a comprehensive review of this printer that will fundamentally deal with a large part of the learning curve. Let me say in anticipation that if you are accustomed to using a P800, there are some new features in the Epson driver and the operational features of the P-900 to learn, but between my review material and your own common sense and the Epson manual, an obviously intelligent person such as yourself would be at home with this printer rather quickly. Once you’ve mastered the several basic items that need to be mastered, you will likely find this printer one of the easiest to use that Epson has issued over the past decade.)

    A few of my more memorable P800 nightmares were… battling the wireless connectivity , or rather, lack of wireless connectivity.  After far too much time on the phone with Epson, the Tech eventually said something like ” Yeah, the wireless thing doesn’t really work.  Just go with USB.”  Man o man.  Then there were the paper feed issues, bent corners, and error codes related to events that simply were not occurring.  Errors for the roll feeder which not only wasn’t installed, but I don’t even own.  And so on. (I found the wireless set-up on the P900 to be easy to install and very workable, and I shall be dealing with it in detail in my forthcoming review. The paper feeds on this printer are a real improvement.)

    The ever popular topic of Ink cartridges.  To avoid coming up short, I’ve developed the habit of buying a replacement for whatever cartridge I’m required to replace.  B&H makes this really easy with their free shipping.  The downside is that were I to jump to the P900, I’d give away or throw away $600-$900 worth of ink.  Uncomfortable thought. (The problem with this is that different cartridges expire at different times so one is always in some kind of inventory status with ink, whenever comes the end of the printer’s life in your hands. The more generic question is what you intend to do with your P800 if you upgrade to a P900. You have two options: (1) give it away, (2) sell it. In either case you simply include the ink in the deal and if selling the printer, price accordingly. This is the last reason for not upgrading.)

    Switching black inks is for many, annoying. I try to stay with one or the other for weeks at a time though, so it’s not that big of a deal for me.

    Upgrades: Next consideration has been the quality of the print itself.  This is a hard one.  Reminds me of the flatscreen purchase where in a side x side retail setting, it’s possible to see significant and even minor improvements in image quality from set to set (and usually price point to price point) but on your wall at home, all you know is that the flat panel you bought looks great.  How hard of a peek do you really need to take in order to see the deeper blacks improvement from this new printer? (It partly depends on what paper you are printing on. But as a general proposition, these printers, over at least the past decade, have become so good, that one should only expect visible print quality improvement to inch along in various respects from one model to the next. I deal with dark tonal appearance in great detail in the forthcoming review.)

    Finally – although I really like the look and size of the P900, that incremental form factor improvement just isn’t meaningful enough to topple me over the edge.  At least until I potentially change my mind in a month or two.

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

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by Mark D Segal.
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