For the unrequited love of Big Brother/Epson/Canon – more inkjet troubles

Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 10.57.05

Okay, more whining about inkjet printers (strictly for the enthusiasts). This time about my Epson Photo RX585.

When I choose “A4” in the page setup menu item, and then go to print, it gives me a list of media to choose from.

Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 10.32.22

But when I choose “A4(Sheet Feeder – borderless) I no longer get the option to print onto plain paper.

Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 10.32.11

Why? It will physically print on plain paper if I choose a different option but load plain paper rather than one of the Epson papers that are listed, so it’s not a mechanical issue, but it will not print with the correct ink balance, hence the muddy prints (see below).

I am not a printer engineer and no doubt there are technological limitations that I am not aware of. However, you can’t tell me that the same transport mechanism and the same inks that can print edge-to-edge to photo paper, comme ci, can’t manage to print an acceptable page edge-to-edge on plain paper, comme ça.

One one hand, it is fair enough for manufacturers to disclaim any quality or reliability issues unless you use their recommended ink and paper, but neither of these printers is remotely economically viable if you do. If you use third party consumables, you haven’t got a leg to stand on when things don’t work properly.

IMG_4468

Left to right: Canon ix6550 (A4 borderless), Epson RX585 (A4 borderless), RX585 (A4)

However, the print shown here (above, right) is printed on 120 gsm plain paper with third party “universal” dye inks and the print quality is fine. The print in the middle is on the same paper with the printer set to one of the Epson photo papers because there is no plain paper option.

And this is the crux of it. I would not recommend either of these printers although they both work excellently in some circumstances, and this is not an issue solely caused by printing large batches. It’s this issue that neither printer can be relied upon, given the current driver software, to print a full range of acceptable results on the range of media that they both claim to support. Given the occasions that they will print satisfactorily, I do not accept that these limitations are anything to do with the mechanical limitations of either printer, but the software / firmware implementations.

I have yet to try absolutely every combination of papers and print settings, and I will let you know if I find a suitable compromise.

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