R1800 Mediastreet Niagara IV CIS Review (part 1)

Started Aug 12, 2006 | Discussions thread
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JohnJ80
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R1800 Mediastreet Niagara IV CIS Review (part 1)
Aug 12, 2006

About a month ago, I got tired of paying the Epson piper for the cost of R1800 cartridges. I looked into a CIS from Mediastreet and have installed it and now evaluated it. Here is what I found:

Print Quality:

I evaluated the Mediastreet inks and compared them to the OEM ink. I bought a test set of cartridges from Mediastreet loaded with their inks to test this with. One of the reasons I wanted to test theirs is that they have many profiles for their inks on other papers that I use. In addition, they will do a profile for free if you print the test sheet and send it to them.

What I have found so far is that the two inks (OEM and Mediastreet) are very close in gamut with Mediastreet being somewhat wider gamut in the greens and reds. You can verify this by uploading an OEM profile and one that was made for the same paper with the Epson inks. This link will then put together a 3D gamut comparison. Very cool and very instructive:
ICCView - ICC-profile as 3D-model, Colormanagement

Using the MS supplied profiles for Epson Premium Glossy and Ilford Galeria Smooth Pearl, I find that the MS has a better rendering of greens and reds, that Epson seems to favor the cyans and yellows a bit more. Contrast seems to be a touch lower on MS prints over OEM ink but neither are in perfect agreement with my calibrated monitor and seem to be off about the same amount but in opposite directions. However, the MS ink seemed to render more true to life colors than did the Epson inks which seemed to favor punchier prints. From my calibrated monitor, I would estimate that both the OEM and MS inks are off from the monitor by equal amounts (small) but in different directions.

This may be, and probably is, a result of a profiling. Doing a profile for this will probably rectify this situation - and I confirmed this later in my test.

This difference is probably a function of the profiles and what Epson believes most consumers find more pleasing to the eye as opposed to the MS profiles that are done using the same profiling one would do with a profiling instrument. This might change if one were to profile the OEM inks on the OEM papers for your printer - they might then agree more closely (although they are pretty close right now).

I do think that what I am learning from this is that one can expect to get very close agreement with the OEM inks and exceed their performance in some areas as well.

Longevity testing:
1. Prints put in window with west facing exposure 7/28/06

2. Prints tested are two that are full OEM ink and profle and one that is Mediastreet Ink G7 with Mediastreet supplied profile for Ilford Galeria Smooth Pearl. One OEM was Ilford and one OEM was Epson Prem Glossy.

As of this date (8/12/06): So far there is no fading from covered to uncovered sides of print on either print and there is no fading relative ink to ink between the two prints after about 2 weeks. This is a good sign, but by no means conclusive. I'm going to keep this up for about the next 3 months or so.

Installation of Niagara IV CIS system:

Took about 45 minutes - mostly filling the system. Put in the carts, did 2 cleaning cycles and printed 5 prints. Fiddled for about 5 minutes with getting the tubing positioned properly. Same results as with the cartridges. No problems, no issues. Done.

I purchased Colorvision's Printfix Pro and profiled most of my papers.

The Niagara IV CIS from Mediastreet is a very trim package that fits very nicely alongside the printer. The cartridges also seem well made and include poppet valves.

Routing of the ink ribbon needs to be done with care to avoid any sharp bends or compressions. I removed the sticky tape pad from the two clips on the outside and kept it on the inside when I determined that these were causing compression on the ink lines and starving it of ink.

see following part 2 with photos

J.
--
'Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.' -
Mark Twain

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