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One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is which printers I use. The truth is I own both a Canon 8100 and Epson 3880 printers, and enjoy them both for different reasons. One aspect of the Canon that I’ve mentioned here before, and continue to be impressed by is the customer support.

I use my iPF8100 a lot, and it’s truly a workhorse printer for me. Just last week I made over 60 large prints for the Scenic Hudson exhibition, and didn’t experience one problem or issue. Yesterday however, as I was getting prepared to start another printing project, I got the dreaded “ Clean R Print Head and If Error Continues, Replace R Print Head” error. I’ve seen this before, and it cost me a replacement head, not an inexpensive proposition.

One of the differences between Epson and Canon is that Epson uses Piezo heads which are not replaceable, but last much longer. When the head goes, so does the printer. Canon on the other hand uses Thermal heads, which can be replaced, giving your printer a potentially longer life. Another advantage (at least to me) is that because the heads can be replaced, there are redundant nozzles so that when one clogs, the printer can switch to another. The downside is that when you run out of clean nozzles, then the head has to be replaced. But because the Canon almost never clogs, it does not have to be cleaned nearly as often which saves that precious resource more valuable than gold it seems – ink.

I had already replaced the R (right) printhead a year ago, so I was quite surprised when I got the error. Although it was late in the evening, I called Canon service and fairly quickly had a pleasant and helpful technician on the line who had me try a few tests and diagnostic routines. He verified that indeed the printhead was at fault, and offered to send me a replacement free of charge. And best of all, it’s being sent overnight so I can get back to printing asap.

When you earn a living with the equipment you invest in, it’s great to know that a company values that trust. I try to align myself with companies and organizations that treat their customers the same way I treat my customers – with respect, in all its varieties.

No one is perfect, but once again I know why I’ll probably choose a Canon printer again when it’s time to upgrade for large format printing. I have a 60″ wide printer in the works for 2013!

BTW – Just in case you’re curious, the reason I have Canon and Epson is because the Epson prints borderless on cut sheets, which the Canon does not. I often need this feature for notecards and other small marketing materials. I keep the Canon loaded with rolls which speeds up printing and spreads the workload over the two printers. Just another example of choosing gear based on actual needs versus features you may never use.

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