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Epson 3800 or 4800?

Discussion in 'Printers, Monitors, and Color Management' started by Micah, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. Micah


    May 8, 2005
    I'm looking at both of these printers and have done so much research, that now I don't know which one to get. I like the roll paper advantage of the 4800 but like the smaller size of the 3800.

    Right now, I print mostly color and very little BW.

    Any input/preferences?


    EDIT...I don't print every day and sometimes don't print every week. Right now I have a 2200, which I thought I would set up as BW and just use the other for color. Probably will end up with a 3800...but who knows!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2008
  2. grepmat


    May 5, 2008
    You really don't provide enough information for us to help, such as how often you print and if you change between matte and coated papers often.

    However, as an owner of a 3800, I say go for it. The 3800 is a much better printer, over-all, for a typical advanced amateur. It's size fits very, very well in a home office environment, it wastes vastly (!) less ink during switches, and it's faster and more economical than its smaller versions. Even the size of the ink cartridges are darned near optimum for a typical advanced amateur, being big enough to be relatively economical yet not so big that the ink would go stale waiting for it to be used up. About the only thing you give up is roll paper, but there are a lot of options for that nice curl-free flat cut paper out there now.

    Personally, I wouldn't touch a 4800 (4880) style printer until it had no ink switching concerns, and at that point I'd probably stretch to a 24" printer. The 3800 is just too good of an over-all compromise for a 17" home printer.
  3. I have a 4800 and did not want to waster the money on switches so I bought ImagePrint and use Phatte Black ink so I do not have to switch. However, Imageprint isn't cheap.

    The 3800 wasn't around when I bought my printer so it wasn't an option. It was either the 4800 or a 13 inch printer.
  4. billg71


    May 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    If you're just going to use the printer for occasional use, I'd recommend the 3800. The roll feeder is nice to have, but unless you print a lot of picture packages or odd-length prints in 17x whatever, the cost savings are minimal and then you have to deal with flattening the prints. I suggest you consider what papers and sizes you most often use and then do a careful comparison of the paper costs on roll vs. cut sheets. I found that in less than 17"x100' rolls, cut sheets are cheaper in most cases and, if not, only a couple of cents/sft. more. I did a paper cost spreadsheet a while back, PM me if you want a copy.

    If you plan on changing from matte to photo black occasionally, the 3800 wins hands down. While the the 3800 ink is more expensive than the 4880, you waste a lot more ink switching blacks in the 4800/4880 than the smaller printer. If you want to print borderless, the 4800 will only do it on roll paper.

    Both printers(3800/4880) have the Advanced B&W mode which works really well. I thought I would set my 2200 up for B&W but when I got the 3800 I tried a few prints and was very happy with the results so I never bothered.

    The 4800/4880 is really a production printer. If you're going to run a printer all day, every day and need a 17" carriage, that's the one to go with. It's also large, heavy, expensive and noisy.

    The 3800 is a lot more home-office friendly, doesn't take up nearly as much space and is a lot easier on the wallet, especially if you plan on printing matte paper one day and gloss the next.

    I have both, I keep the 4800 set up for matte and the 3800 set up for gloss. I have one roll of 13" paper for the occasional panorama print but use cut sheets probably 98% of the time. Both do an excellent job, I can't see any difference in print quality.

    If I could only have one, I'd keep the 3800.

  5. Micah,

    I had to make this decision a year and a half ago. I bought the 3800. I have never been sorry. I routinely check the nozzles at least once every two weeks if I have not been printing. I have yet to clog a nozzle. I do keep the printer clean and as dust free as is possible. I love my 3800 and I also love the 4800. I do not do enough printing larger than 17" X 22" to justify the 4800. The cost of roll paper is often not very economical, particularly when you figure your time and the cost of trimming prints to regular sizes. I do most of my printing on one paper, namely Epson Premium Luster. I carefully evaluated this paper against Ilford Gallerie Smooth Pearl and I find that more images look better om the Epson paper than on the Ilford paper and both are readily available in sheet format.

    The bottom line is that you cannot go wrong with either printer. These are great, well built and well technically supported units. Please remember that the 4800 is a whole lot bigger, heavier and will not be usable on most standard desks. The 3800 is easy to use on a desk and easy to move.

    Good luck and enjoy whichever you buy,
  6. Micah


    May 8, 2005
    Thank you for all the feedback. It looks like the 3800 is going to best suit my needs.

  7. moffo


    Oct 20, 2005
    Central TX
    I note that there are currently $200 rebates on both the 'Professional' and 'Portrait' packages (which makes them the same list price as the base printer.) Either seems to be just a software package -- is there any real value in either?
  8. I started to reply to post 2 but see I already did. :) 
    I haven't printed as much as I thought I would when I bought the 4800 so I think I would rather have a 3800 now.
  9. general


    Apr 30, 2005

    I have been very happy with my 3800. One factor to consider is the shelf life of the ink. I find that occasional printing on it is economical and they ink doesn't go bad. If I were to buy one of the larger printers, I wouldn't use it enough to stay within the shelf life of the ink.
  10. I print a nozzle check each day - otherwise the nozzles get clogged a bit.
  11. general


    Apr 30, 2005
    Nozzle check

    I have had to clean the nozzles ONE time in two years of owning the 3800 and I sometimes go 7-10 days without printing (printer on) and over 15 days when I am on a trip and the printer is off. Can't say the 2200 is that good but the 3800 is super.
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