Epson Ink Cartridges
Epson ink cartridges provide the best possible results when used in combination with Epson printers. The high resolution (number of dots per inch) available on Epson printers means that the company is renowned for its excellent quality prints. Using Original Equipment Manufacture (OEM) cartridges will enhance your prints and provide archival solutions for important images.
Epson produces a wide range of printers from dot matrix printers to general inkjet printers, photo inkjet printers, large format ink-jet printers and laser printers. Each machine takes different cartridges but newer printers require the 'Intellidge Cartridge' - an Epson ink cartridge that contains an intelligent microchip that keeps track of cartridge use and ink levels. In reality the chip calculates ink usage on the basis of paper usage and the results are less accurate than Canon's ink tank technology. However, newer Epson cartridges also have a valve that prevents air entering the cartridge if it is removed from the machine. This prevents nozzles getting clogged and subsequent problems with printing. As the intellidge cartridge relays information to your PC about your printer and ink levels, Epson print cartridges cannot be refilled unless the chip can be reset.
Newer Epson printers such as the Epson 2200 and Epson R800 offer eight-ink pigment printing on multiple papers and media. Unusually, Epson ink cartridges use pigments rather than dye-based inks, and although pigments generally work less well on glossy media, they have greater permanence. Epson has, however, developed a series of new lightfast inks and printers which produce excellent prints even on glossy media. They also offer an excellent archival solution with tests showing that prints should last for up to 56 years. Epson boasts that the eight-ink Ultrachrome Hi-Gloss pigment ink cartridge set available for the R800 can produce prints that are lightfast for up to 80 years on glossy or matte paper and up to 100 years in dark storage.
Epson is also unique among the major printer manufacturers in using the Micro Piezo system in their printers. Where the bubble system heats the ink to create pressure and burst bubbles onto the page, the Piezo system uses electricity to cause physical distortions in the elements of the printer heads to fire the ink. As the ink is not heated it can be better controlled to produce vivid pictures with subtle tonal gradations.
Epson ink cartridges differ from their competitors however, in that the print heads are built into the printer itself rather than being on the ink cartridge. In the event of a print head failure this can translate into costly repair or replacement of your printer.
Epson cartridges cost between $4 and $30 depending on which printer you have. The new generation light-fast inks in individual cartridges cost about $15 each and you can expect about 60 8"x10" prints from each set.
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