I'm stuck deciding between these two. Looking to spend about $100 to $120, and I imagine I can find both of these for that price range. So, the difference comes down to: 4 ink (C80) vs. 6 180 nozzle monochrome head vs. 48 DuraBrite ink (pigment) vs. LightFast photo ink 8.26x10.76" printing vs. borderless
The main use, however, will be for printing papers, websites, etc. Thus I am leaning towards the C80, as it appears to have advantages for photos to offset every one of the 820's advantages. The 180 nozzle monochrome head is particularly appealing, as are the pigment based inks. However, borderless printing would be nice, as would 6 ink printing.
Has anyone compared the two directly? I've heard people say that the 6-ink process makes all the difference; but then again, others say they can't tell the difference. Help!
Thanks for posting this, Ari. I have begun to look at these two printers as well just a week ago, and I'm looking forward to replies to your post. I've heard from my local salesman the 820 is being replaced by 890 (or something similar)?
A friend of mine bought a C80 about six months ago and was disappointed to find that when printing photos at 720 x 720 there was very noticeable banding. Was fine at 1440. She bought it at Staples so was able to return it without difficulty. Thinking that it might have been just that printer she bought another one and had the same problem.
Further investigation on the net indicated that this is a known problem.
The six-color printers will give you smoother prints at the cost of print longevity of the four-color pigment-based C80. With only three colors and black, you will notice more obvious color dithering in the C80 prints, especially in lighter parts of the image where the ink dots are more apparent. Six-color printers can lay down larger dots of lighter color in these areas which blends together a little better. You might want to inspect actual prints to see if this bothers you. At 720 dpi any inkjet printer will have visble banding or dithering upon very close inspection. But at 1440 dpi the Epson printers are for all practical purposes smooth to the naked eye. I've owned both 4- and 6-color Epson printers, and will not settle for 4-color printers for making photographic enlargements. There will be soon a 6-color pigment-based Epson, but unfortunately not in the bargain-basement price range...yet.
I recently acquired an Epson C80 when I bought my new computer from Dell. This printer is apparently optimized for matte and plain paper, not glossy, which is fine with me as I hate glossy. You'll probably have a wider color gamut with the 6-color printers but I think the C80 is a good all-around printer. The black cartridge is evidently disabled when you choose glossy paper type, resulting in rather flat prints on that paper. There's a kind of workaround however. Check out <http://www.tssphoto.com/sp/dg//c80/better_blacks.html>.
C80 Fast! Lousy text sharpness. optimized for regular papers not photopapers. Ink cartriges are smart cartridges and cannot be easily refilled and are pricey but great quality.
820 Much better suited to photographers. Much slower on printing everything. Prints on a wide variety of papers. Text sharpness is decent. Borderless printing. Expensive replacement smart ink cartridges.
For non professional output the C80 wins. For better quality the 820 is the best.
I've pretty much decided on the C80...the high duty cycle and spectacular colors on cheap paper pretty much made the difference. Besides, printing on glossy papers can't be that much worse than my current 777, especially not if I print on matte and use glossy spray like the above link recommends.