New Epson WorkForce_very poor Draft print quality

Started Mar 28, 2013 | Questions
printwoeman
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New Epson WorkForce_very poor Draft print quality
Mar 28, 2013

HI everyone,

Just bought an Epson WorkForce WF-3540 AIO to replace a dying HP C6280 Photosmart AIO.  Concerned & surprised about very poor text quality when printing on Fast mode (Draft)- grayscale.

Did a printer alignment on the Epson (fairly tedious).  Got it done.  Print in Standard mode looks fine.  The draft mode kind of reminds me of dot matrix or when use keybd characters to make pictures.

The HP on its "Fast Draft" mode AND w/ the "ink volume" amount it used, set at LOWEST possible level, had far better quality than this Epson's Draft mode.  From my research, this Epson was suppose to be a pretty good printer.

In draft mode, slanted characters have a "stair step" appearance.  At reading distance, it's blocky, ragged.  Curved letters also ragged.

When you look closely at both printers' draft mode prints, it's obvious why Epson's looks ragged.  Curved letters are missing spots - w/ no ink, not just slightly "fuzzy" edges.  As said, slanted parts have definite stair step look.

In draft mode, the HP (& another HP C5180 Photosmart) show VERY little of that ragged look.  Its letters are fully filled in; no stair step look.  Curved parts are smooth.  Only difference in HP Draft & Standard (Normal) modes is draft has some fuzziness on character edges (not much) & it's lighter - but still quite readable.

Epson full manual mentioned, "if printouts are "grainy, select a higher print quality setting AND turn off any high speed settings in your product software."  That's all it says.
Don't know if that means you can adjust print speed - of Fast mode (not found anything on that), or just means, "don't use draft (faster) mode?"  If the latter, equates to, "use more ink."

Any suggestions, comments, experiences?

Maybe there's another setting I'm missing?

Maybe I got the one bad unit of 100 - it happens?

Epson's draft print quality REALLY sucks compared to HP?

With HPs, 80 - 90% of printing we did was Fast draft & looked just fine.

If you want to see the difference in HP & Epson images, after clicking them, click "100%."  Enlarged, can see how much more ragged Epson is, that translates to poorer, harder to read text.

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Hugowolf
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Re: New Epson WorkForce_very poor Draft print quality
In reply to printwoeman, Mar 28, 2013

So the Epson draft mode is actually a draft mode, and the HP draft mode was quite usable for other purposes? So they have different definitions of draft. Medium, large, and extra large fries, no small fries.

Brian A

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Hugowolf
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Re: New Epson WorkForce_very poor Draft print quality
In reply to printwoeman, Mar 28, 2013

Sorry, on rereading my response, it sounds very dismissive. What I meant to imply was that maybe there is a printing mode on the Epson that corresponds to the draft mode on the HP, and that they may have different names, doesn’t necessarily mean they use different amounts of ink.

Brian A

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printwoeman
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Re: New Epson WorkForce_very poor Draft print quality
In reply to Hugowolf, Mar 28, 2013

Thanks.  I thought about that, but the next preset level up from Draft in Epson is Standard.  You can make custom print settings "presets," by choosing options, even changing print quality, then save as custom preset.

In this Epson, print quality levels (under Quality > more settings) has 5 levels.  draft = 1; Standard = 3; High Quality = 5.

I tried level 2 - grayscale.  It's much darker than any of the Draft options, but still has nearly the same print issues I described.

HP had a Fast Draft (lowest), a Fast Normal (that looked as good as many resumes I've seen); a Standard (or Everyday Printing), a Best (from memory) & a Presentation mode.

It's lowest possible quality level beats the 2nd level on Epson.  If I hadn't always used the lowest ink volume setting on HP's Fast Draft, it probably would be as dark & far smoother than Epson's 2nd from lowest level.

To recap - the only way I can get it to print w/o jagged letters is use Standard (level 3 of 5).  It's very dark, smooth & obviously uses a good deal of ink.  It's good enough for most office printing.  A waste of ink for printing emails or KB articles.  One step down - level 2 - is still jagged as hell.

If I didn't know better, I'd think they made the draft quality so poor, no one would use it - thus selling more ink... Nah.  Maybe new HPs do the same.  Haven't printed draft mode on new HPs.

Aside:  to get email notifications, (once change settings in your acct), do you still have to check "subscribe to updates" at bottom of post screen - on every new post, or is that something else?

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Serhat Abaci
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Re: New Epson WorkForce_very poor Draft print quality
In reply to printwoeman, Mar 28, 2013

I dont quite understand your point of view, since draft mode its obviously a mode for "bad printing" at all...
Since I use in all my Printers refilling options and even the Printers of my customers are using either cheap 3rd party cartriges supplied by me or I am offering a full service incl. time-to-time visit and refilling the cartriges.
My customers using following printer: HP Officejet 8000 refillable cartriges, HP Officejet 8500 refillable cartriges, Epson Business Inkjet B-510DN high yield 500ml refillable cartriges, serveral Epson Workforce Pro with high yield refillable cartriges, Hp officejet 6000 with CISS.
I service and maintain the printers it self and also provide IT support regarding printer drivers, fax options and Workgroup-share.
I always save an all workstation the printers settings to "high quality" since due to the refilling options ink is at least 80% cheaper then its OEM godfather. Yes, i am aware of the fact that high quality drasticaly reduces the printing output... but all those printers above aren't a single printing solution. Most of them are heavly used for flyers, business documents and for printing trainingsfolders


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Canon EOS 100D Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Epson Artisan 50 Epson Artisan 835 Epson PictureMate Charm +4 more
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Zone8
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Draft Mode has always been Daft Mode for Epsons
In reply to printwoeman, Mar 28, 2013

Always has been poor and only fit for quick checking for smelling arrers or mistycakes or suchlike - never for anything worth keeping.

Although no longer available - and does not work with Win 7 onwards - I have InkSaver - a little utility I purchased many years ago that enables saving of ink by setting to always kick in when printing - I can, as one specific example, print newsletters for our Zone 8 Photo Society using 50% - thus saving a lorra lorra ink.  No good with original Epson cartridges - as they only (the chips that is) measure print numbers, so using with those would simply mean chucking away a half full cartridge.  Works fine of course with refillables and CIS units and a chiup resetter.  I have my computer set so I can boot into Win 7 or XP-Pro by choice - and all programmes and files are accessible from either (same files and programmes in same installed folders for each OS) so I can compose in Win 7 and then switch to print from XP when I have a lot to do and obviously, save dosh.

Draft Mode, as mentioned, has never been any good whatsoever - I have always wondered why Epson ever offered it - something could be used far more useful along lines of InkSaver.  However, if you were to print loads using Draft Mode (even if it was any good) it would again simply mean your cartridge chips would show as being empty working on numbers and throughput - not on actual ink usage!  So, use normal settings - get decent printouts as you would save nothing even if the Draft Mode actually produced decent printouts. 

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Zone8: Although I am a handsome genius, when I stand in front of a mirror, I vaguely recognise the ugly idjit standing on the other side!
LINK: For B+W with Epson 1400 (and other models) using black ink only PLUS other useful tips:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/epson1400-B&W.htm
Cleaning DSLR Sensors, including Kodak DSLR Factory Cleaning method:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/KodakDCS-sensorcleaning.htm
Solving back/front focus problems on Sigma and most other DSLRs
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1027&message=35565277
PDF format list of lenses you can print or download - covers Italian Flag YES/NO for DCS 14n but applies to others. http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/ItiFlagLensList.pdf

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printwoeman
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Re: Draft Mode has always been Daft Mode for Epsons
In reply to Zone8, Mar 28, 2013

Thanks for all comments & info.  BTW, I'm disabled & little income.  Wife's a teacher.  You get the idea.  We have to pinch pennies.

Serhat - in Epsons, draft mode may have always meant "bad printing," but not in HPs (several I've owned).  In HPs I've used, Draft means not suitable for business letters or resumes, etc.  But it's QUITE readable & completely suitable for "how to" computer articles, stuff you want to save for personal use; even teacher papers to be copied off.  Don't know how much more clear it could be - from the images.

HP's fastest draft mode WITH lowest ink vol. setting - all letters appear filled in & not jagged (at normal reading distance).  It's just lighter & a bit fuzzier letter edges.  But, it doesn't look anything like Epson's draft.

Zone8 - thanks for insight.  Apparently, Epson handles things differently.  Maybe new HP's do, also.  In a 4 yr old HP C6280 (using compatible, pre filled carts), printing on Draft AND using lowest ink vol setting (HP allowed setting ink vol.), didn't cause 1/2 full carts to show empty, based on # of pages printed vs ink remaining.

* Did you mean only OEM Epson carts' chips would "count pages" & show empty - when wasn't, if you printed mostly on Draft, or compatibles, also?   If an HP compatible cart stopped printing before empty, seller replaced it free of chg - no shipping.

Can't speak to HP OEM.  Using settings I described on several HPs (but not 2012 models), made carts last WAY longer (maybe 2x) than using "normal" or Standard mode.  As said, Fast Draft was quite readable for avg stuff.

I'm may try taking flash drive to the store - see if can print from diff brands/ models in Draft, Standard - to see how NEW printers compare.  Now, I'm comparing 4 yr old HP w/ new Epson.  Mfgs are always trying to increase profits.

If ONLY Epson has so poor Draft quality, no one uses it, I'll probably look elsewhere.  I was (still am) willing to give Epson a shot.  Maybe there's good reason Epson has many times < mkt share than HP?

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Michael McCarthy
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Same experience with new Epson 3540 printer
In reply to printwoeman, Apr 17, 2013

I just purchased n Epson Workforce 3540 printer to replace a HP 5510 all in one. The draft mode on all 3 of my older HP's and 2 Canons was nearly as good as normal or best quality, just with lighter black (less ink used). HP draft and Canon draft was good enough to send as finished letters, not the Epson.

Epson 3540 draft quality is jagged/stair stepped as you said. It did remind me of an impact printer output. Very disappointing for an otherwise great printer. Wish there was some work around but I guess I'll be investigating 3rd party inks. Really is a great printer other than the poor draft mode.

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Zone8
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Check this out!
In reply to printwoeman, Apr 17, 2013

printwoeman wrote:  * Did you mean only OEM Epson carts' chips would "count pages" & show empty - when wasn't, if you printed mostly on Draft, or compatibles, also?   If an HP compatible cart stopped printing before empty, seller replaced it free of chg - no shipping.

Unfortunately no - applies to all cartridges due way Epsons relate to their chipped cartridges.  In addition, as many have found to get their frustration levels going up, Epsons stop printing if one cartridge shows as empty even if that colour is not being used.  Always has been a PITA.  However, their saving grace has always been the superb photo quality possible.

As mentioned, answer is to use refillables - far cheaper - and use the routine I cover in my (signature linked) article in sense with refillables, when one shows as requiring replacement, refill ALL and use an inexpensive chip resetter (plent on ebay) to reset all to full - then only one cleaning cycle required - instead of one each time a cartridge is replaced.

As for the Draft mode - I have always wondered why Epson ever had that as an option - it has never been any good whatsoever as you unfortunately have found.  I am not sure but would not be surprised if anything at draft mode did not also show as though full ink flow was used in terms of how the chips record things.  If you were to use refillables, then you could in fact save ink by changing - in the Advanced properties area - the saturation, contrast and brightness settings to get a decent print but using less ink - but again refillables only can achieve that with a chip resetter as described.  Hope that helps and gives you something to think about as a procedure to use..

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Zone8: Although I am a handsome genius, when I stand in front of a mirror, I vaguely recognise the ugly idjit standing on the other side!
LINK: For B+W with Epson 1400 (and other models) using black ink only PLUS other useful tips:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/epson1400-B&W.htm
Cleaning DSLR Sensors, including Kodak DSLR Factory Cleaning method:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/KodakDCS-sensorcleaning.htm
Solving back/front focus problems on Sigma and most other DSLRs
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1027&message=35565277
PDF format list of lenses you can print or download - covers Italian Flag YES/NO for DCS 14n but applies to others. http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/ItiFlagLensList.pdf

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Michael McCarthy
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Re: Found Solution to New Epson WorkForce_very poor Draft print quality
In reply to printwoeman, Apr 17, 2013

Choose standard print mode for better print quality.

Choose 2-sided printing and auto for 2-sided printing

Then choose print density

Choose a pre-defined setting or choose user defined to suit your taste (up to -50%) to lower your ink usage.

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