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   Partners - Report on Epson R800 Conversion

by Ray Meyer
Digital FotoFX
Coffs Harbour, Australia

After conversing with Ink Republic, and checking with several buyers, I decided to purchase a CIS kit for my Epson R800.


Opening the kit revealed a Professionally packaged kit, fully sealed, with a 'getting started' Vcd and written instructions.
After watching some movies, I found that the installation process, although time consuming, was easily achieved by following the movie. I referred to the written instructions as a backup.

While all went well, I did discover some problems. Firstly, the ink bottle has spot colours on the bottle tops. The set I received uses violet, red and matte black inks, as well as the cmyk inks. I found the red and magenta bottles had the spots swapped, as did the cyan and violet.

Also, the spots on the tubing didn't follow the Epson ink layout.

Having sorted this out, I proceeded to place what I discoverd to be the correct tube into the appropriate ink bottle by following their R800/R1800 color code sheet. Had I made a miscalculation, it would have showed in the printing.

Due to the casing of the R800, I had to add one of the spare 'U' shaped plastic guides as a support to hold down the ink tubes, inside the damper housing. Doing this allowed me to place the bottles on the right hand side of the printer, allowing the heads to easily move under the casing without bumping into anything. A couple of velcro dots on the outer casing stopped the tubing from banging onto the casing as it moved with the heads.


It took 5 head cleans to get all the ink into the heads. A test print on Ilford Pearl paper showed the ink to be heavier than Epsons, with a greenish cast. I profiled the ink and Ilford Pearl paper to produce a usable profile (attached).


I didn't purchase the bulk ink kit to produce photos to the same calibre as Epsons inks can. I mainly print onto CDs and DVDs, and use the printer for passports due to the fine dpi. I found the clear ink to be slighty yellow (as opposed to Epsons clear ink being quite clear), and the ink takes a lot longer to dry. Prints made with the bulk ink also are more prone to scratching and marking within the first few hours.

Did I expect better? Not really. When you compare the results against prints from a few years ago, this system produces near stunning photographic quality. Longevity? We'll see, but pigment inks win any archival competition hands down (I pity Canon printer owners who get great prints, but will pay the price over the next few years as their precious prints fade).

Overall, I was very impressed. The trade off in quality versus the overwhelming saving in consumable ink begs the question - why don't Epson, Canon, HP etc make printers that use bulk inks? Answer - they wouldn't make a large enough profit to pay for research etc.

Thanks Ink Republic, I endorse your product. Perhaps if you hear of new generation inks in the future, you can post information on the net for us techies out here.

Ray Meyer
Digital Fotofx
Coffs Harbour NSW Australia

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