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About Andy


I am an avid adventurer, conservationist, teacher, and outdoor photographer whose photography celebrates the African landscape and its rich wildlife, people, and culture. My photographic safaris allow my travelers to not only enhance their understanding of photography, lighting, and wildlife, but to develop a life-long admiration for Africa ‘s beauty and culture.

Banana Republic recently used my photographs as the cornerstone of their Urban Safari campaign, and my images were seen in all 750 stores around the globe, as well as in their billboards, catalogs and annual report. I was also the winner of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year in the ‘Wild Places’ category in 2008 and a highly commended in the ‘Creative Visions of Nature’ category in 2007.

I launched Gura Gear in 2008, in an attempt to deliver lightweight camera bags to the market. I was looking for a lightweight camera bag to hold all of my photographic gear, and there was nothing desirable on the market that suited my needs. After spending 2 years with many prototypes, the Gura Gear Kiboko bag was born. More products are now available on the Gura Gear web site.




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Epson 3800 initial thoughts

My Epson 3800 arrived last week, and I have a few dozen prints off of the printer that look fantastic. The Epson 3800 arrived in a very small box, delivered by UPS. The box isn't much larger than most 13" wide printers, which will be great for sales for Epson. Being able to deliver via UPS/FedEx/USPS over a freight company is a major benefit for Epson, as they will definitely sell more units this way.

I set up the printer in about 15 minutes, and it took a number of minutes to charge the lines with the ink. The ink carts are 80ml, which is respectable, and after a few dozen prints I have not seen any significant decrease in ink volumes. You can hook up the 3800 via USB or ethernet, and I chose USB as to get that first print out much quicker. I will switch over to ethernet at some point in the future.

You have three choices for paper paths on the 3800: The upper paper 'tray', the rear paper path, and the front paper path. This is where my enthusiasm for the 3800 starts to waver. Coming from the Pro 4000, I am used to much better paper handling, as the Pro 4000 uses a front paper cassette that can accommodate not only a ton of sheets, but these sheets can be thick art papers. On the 3800 you are relegated to using the rear paper path, which can only be fed one sheet at a time. What a pain. Additionally, the prints from the top paper tray have had ink blotches on the edges of the print. I need to spend some time looking into the source of the problem, but it has been discussed in online forums. Some attribute these ink blotches to the lack of having a vacuum system to keep the paper flat. I just don't know, but it is frustrating.

Out of the box the 3800 makes absolutely gorgeous color and black and white prints. Yes, out of the box the 3800 makes wonderful black and white prints. The supplied profiles are the best I have ever seen from any printer, and my desire to create custom profiles for Epson papers is non existent. I primarily use Moab Entrada as my paper of choice, and I have already created custom profiles for all of the Moab Paper line. The profiles have been posted here.

The 3800 has both photo black and matte black inks installed the same time, but the print head can only use one of those inks at a time. This means that if you switch from photo black to matte black the print head needs to purge the photo black out of the print head to make room for the matte black. It has been reported that you lose about 1.5ml in the process, and the process takes less than a minute. Why not develop a print head that accommodates 9 inks and not 8? This is why I have not upgraded my Pro 4000 to the Pro 4800, as I am not interested in losing ink when I switch back and forth. The 3800 is much much better in this regard, but it still is not optimal.

Overall I feel that Epson has a printer that they will sell a ton of. I love the output, but am not impressed with the paper handling. I suspect the paper handling components came straight out of their 2400 model. I have been a huge Epson fan in the past, but I am starting to feel that they are getting lazy. Yes, the 3800 is $700 less expensive than the Pro 4800, and you have to remove features to get the cost down. Will I keep the 3800? Perhaps. Perhaps not. What is my perfect printer? I know that my perfect printer is not out there yet, but I would like to have a 24" carriage, pigment inks, excellent paper handling for roll paper and cut sheets, including a front loading cassette (you read that right, a cassette feeder on a 24" printer), gloss optimizer, and no switching of black inks.

For a 17" printer the Canon IPF5000 might be the best solution at the moment. I would expect HP to have a solution before too long. For a 24" printer I would take a hard look at the HP Z3100 series of printers.

Am I needy? You bet. At least I know what I want. I am here at the PPA Imaging USA show in San Antonio right now, so maybe I should go pitch my ideas to HP, Canon and Epson. I am sure they would make a product just for me! ha ha.

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Reader Comments (3)

IP: mark.e.taylor@mac.comURL: http://I am just about to buy a 3800 myself. However have you any idea how to calculate the cost per page of the ink used?
January 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterUKMark
IP: andybiggs@gmail.comURL: http://www.andybiggs.comI have no idea, as there are many factors, like wasted prints, size of image, unclogging processing, etc. Less expensive than any 13 inch printer on the market, but less than other 17inch printers.
January 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAndy
IP: christian@christianLachance.comURL: http://www.christianLachance.comgood day, i did buy the 3800 mid-january. works real nice but i do agree with the paper handling. i managed to get a sheet of paper jammed real good in the printer... while a client watched as i tried to keep my cool. anyways, yes you can get an accurate account of your print jobs... amount of ink used/cartridge, duration etc... it's also quite easy to calculate the $/ml of ink + with the print job file you can average out the amount used for 8x10 or 17x22 and figure out the ink cost/sheet.have you tried the hahnemuhle paper? the pearl is realy nice...and i hate gloss paper. the satin is o.k. and the photo rag is nice too. they all have a good weight to them and appear more natural (white) then the epson papers which look blue.anyways, thant's my storycheers
February 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterchristianLachance

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