Wednesday 26 May 2010

PermaJet Continuous Flow System

I run an Epson Stylus Photo R2400 printer and up until recently I was using Epson K3 inks in it with both Epson paper and Permajet papers.  I had custom profiles made up for the PermaJet papers but used Epson's own generic profiles for the Epson papers.  I recently purchased and installed PermaJet's continuous flow system called Eco-Flo after months, if not years of deliberation.  I did it because I was fed up with being fleeced by the price of Epson inks especially as you end up throwing away so much of it.  The PermaJet inks are a 5th of the price of the Epson ones and you never have to waste any of it.  They are still oil based, glychee inks and still have the same longevity.
I've had it installed a while now so feel ready to write a review. 

First thing to note - It takes far longer than the 15 minutes suggested to replace the cartridges.   It took me over an hour.  Still, I was kind of expecting that.

Second, changing between the matt black ink and the photo black ink is not a simple operation.  It's quite fiddly and you MUST make sure you close off all the ink feeds with the clips before you start or you could damage the system.  You then have to remember to release all the clips again afterwards before printing.

    The best thing about the system is you no longer feel you are wasting money when you run off proofs or test strips.  In fact, printing on the Epson R2400 is now cheaper than on my old HP deskjet that I used to use for every day web page and letter type printing.  hense I have now sold my HP and use the Epson for everything.

The cost of the system is a non event.  If you add up the cost of buying all 9 PermaJet inks you discover you are not actually paying anything for the system.  It's a bit of a no brainer in that respect.  Added to that, once installed, should you decide you don't like the results you can revert back to the Epson inks as PermaJet include full instructions not just on how to install their system but on how to remove it.  They even recommend keeping your old ink cartridges for this purpose.

Downside is that you have to install it all in one go even if that means most of your original Epson cartridges are still viable.

Printing quality is a bit of a mixed bag.  The system comes with a complete set of generic profiles for PermaJet papers but I did not find these to be particularly good.  I use either PermaJet paper or Epson.  PermaJet offer a free profiling service for their paper and a paid service for other manufacturers papers.  The paid service cost £20 for one or £30 for two profiles however there is a bulk offer where you can buy vouchers (one per profile)and 5 will cost you £35 plus £5 postage.  I think the postage here is outrageous as the vouchers are only embossed business cards and all five on require the cost of a second class stamp to post.  Further more, they could easily be sent out electronically for nothing.  PermaJet defend the need to charge £5 postage defiantly although they don't really have an argument.  So, in a nut shell, a block booking for 5 profiles will cost you £40.

    I sent off for 8 custom profiles, 4 Epson papers and 4 PermaJet.  They come back pretty quick and the results are much better than the generic profiles.  The colour is very good however, the contrast and clarity is better when using Epson ink on Epson paper with the generic Epson profiles.  If I had had custom profiles for the Epson papers when I was using Epson inks not doubt the images printed on that system would have beaten the PermaJet system on colour as well.  Having said that, unless you have the two versions to compare side-by-side you probably would not notice the slight drop in quality with the PermaJet inks.  Having said that, there is more detail in the shadows of prints printed with the PermaJet inks using the custom profiles but this was reversed if the generic profiles were used.

Verdict - If you do a lot of bulk printing or proofing then the PermaJet Eco-Flo system is certainly for you.  If, on the other hand, you mainly print for galleries and competition then you migh be better off sticking with the Epson inks and just getting custom profiles made up.  In an ideal world I would have two Epson R2400 printers, one with Epson inks and one with PermaJet. 

Will I be switching back to the Epson Inks? - Unlikely unless I have problems.  I'm very happy saving money and ink and the very slight loss of quality, for me, is not worth worrying about as it is more noticeable with fine detail photography than the portraits I do.

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Anonymous HP C8061X Toner Cartridge said...

any brands will definitely have their weaknesses too, it's up to us on how to deal with it

31 March 2011 at 09:06  
Blogger Unknown said...

A year on - could you tell is how the system is performing?

12 March 2012 at 10:47  
Blogger Sally T said...

Good question. Over-all it is performing very well however I do have a couple of niggles.
1. I have my printer set up for 'Economy mode' when changing from Photo black to Matt black ink. This means it is not supposed to flush the ink tubes but it still won't let me change the inks over if either one is low. So you still end up wasting ink unnecessarily.

2. I changed the light cyan ink and continued printing which was fine but after a week it suddenly decided that this ink cartridge was not recognised. I.e. it assumed it was a 3rd party in cartridge. Clearly there was a problem with the chip but it could not be cleared. I contacted Epson support who said the only thing to do would be to change the ink and send the cartridge back to them. If it was found to be a fault with the chip they would refund the money but only if I could provide proof of purchase that was less than 6 months old. This cartridge was 7 months old and with only a small amount used I had to bin it. Not impressed. The replacement works fine but I'm wondering if or when this will happen again.

On the plus side. You can print with the inks about to run out without worry. As soon as the ink runs out the printer stops printing until you replace the empty cartridge and then it resumes where it left off. You cannot see any interruption in the printed image.

12 March 2012 at 10:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your answer seems to indicate that you have changed back to Epson Cartridges. Was there a problem with the Permajet system? if so can you elaborate.

7 April 2012 at 09:54  
Blogger Sally T said...

No, not in the least but my printer died so I got the new Epson R3000 and as yet there isn't a Pernajet constant flow system available for it. In any case, while it's still under guarantee I need to keep it on Epson inks.

7 April 2012 at 22:14  

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