Marrutt Printer Inks

The inks and equipment from Marrutt in the handy box they supply

It’s now been a year (and what a year) since my post dated 19 December 2019 where I said I would come back and post my results on using the Marrutt bulk ink system for my Epson SC-P600 printer. I think that the experience of using the Marrutt system has been overwhelmingly positive.

The cartridges. The bung can be seen on the VM cartridge and the priming hole on the left most one.

I found the filling of the replacement cartridges very easy. There is a small coloured bung on the top of each which you take out to facilitate the filling using one of the syringes in the pack supplied for each colour ink. Don’t lose the bung, it needs to go back in the filling hole afterwards and the syringe rinsed out with clean water.  I actually labelled the syringes after I used them with the letters of the colours I used them for. If it is the first time that you have used the refillable cartridge, then you have to prime the cartridge by extracting a small portion of ink (Marrutt recommend about 4-5ml) with a syringe that has a nozzle that fits the hole underneath the cartridge which attaches to the ink feed in the printer. This is used for all the colours and is washed out after use. It does not have to be used once you have filled the cartridge once.

Here are the 9 inks together with the syringes. The primer syringe is at the front of the picture.

The first time I changed from an Epson to a Marrutt cartridge, I waited for the printer to tell me the colour needed replacing. I then refilled the cartridge with the correct colour inserted it into the printer and it recognized the cartridge as full.

However, changing the printing paper from gloss or pearl etc to Matte paper means that the printer needs to switch the main black ink from Photo Black to Matte Black and vice versa. If there is not enough ink in either one of the cartridges (under 10%) it will not let you switch. Inserting the relevant Marrutt cartridge to replace the one that has nearly run out will not help because the printer has registered the original cartridge as empty and so will treat the new one as being at the same level, which means it will not start the ink switch. It was because of this that I purchased an SC-P600 chip resetter. The cartridge chip of the refilled cartridge is placed against the pins on the resetter and when a green light shows on it then the cartridge chip has been reset so that the printer will read it as full. Replacing the cartridge will then mean the ink switch will then go ahead. 

The cartridge resetter showing the pins and confirmation diode at the bottom.

Overall, I am more than happy with the Marrutt inks and system and the cost saving is fantastic. A 60ml bottle of ink from Marrutt at the moment is £13.55, an Epson cartridge is 25.9ml costing £29.00. That means 60ml of ink using the Epson price would cost £67.28 that’s 5 times the price. The little bit of hassle filling the cartridges is well worth it for such a price saving with no loss in print quality.

Printing your own

Many years ago I used to print my own photographs in a little wet darkroom I had in a walk-in wardrobe at home. With the advent of digital, I was happy with processing the images and placing them on Flickr etc. I did get some images printed for galleries, my Royal Photographic Society submissions and for commissions. I used The Printspace for all these and provided you prepare the image correctly, e.g. calibrated monitor, correct ICC profile and soft proofing, the results were excellent.
I have now decided to print my own and have purchased an Epson SC-P600 printer. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been testing the printer with different papers, profiles and photographs, and I have to say I am really pleased with the results.

 

I soft proof and print directly from Lightroom using the dialogue in the Print module to output to the Epson. I take mainly monochrome images and so I use the Epson ABW (Advanced Black and White) driver for producing these, which means the printer is managing the printing rather than the software.

For colour, I use Lightroom and the relevant paper profile to produce the prints. I did have a slight hiccup when I forgot to stop the printer interfering with the colour print process and my images were coming out with a magenta cast as a result of the conflicting profiles, but once sorted everything was fine.

The output of the printer is excellent. I print to a 6 x 4 size as a test print before I do a full-sized version. I find this test photograph helps me to see any alterations I may have to do to the image to get it exactly how I want it to look.

I was a little worried before I bought the printer that it would take too much of my time away from actually taking and processing photographs, but once the printer was set up and I got the hang of how everything worked, it became a part of my standard workflow.

Printers that can give professional (whatever that means) results at home are not cheap, but the act of printing your images and actually holding them to view and handing them around is really the last stage in the creative process and should be embraced. If you ever get the chance to print your own, please do so – I’m sure you won’t regret it.