I’ve had my Epson R2400 for a couple of months now. In that time I’ve run off something like 60-70 4X6 prints and 15-20 6X9 prints. This last weekend I had to change the inks for the first time; Light Magenta was the first to go, followed by Light Cyan and then Light Light Black. A few prints later the Photo Black and Magenta inks went out. Although I probably could have guessed it if I had been thinking about it, I was initially surprised to learn how much color ink goes into B&W prints – all these prints save one have been B&W. Also, interesting but not surprising is the degradation of print quality after the low ink warning light goes on. I scraped out a few prints after the inks hit 10%, but then banding started to appear. It’s probably best just to go ahead and change them when the light comes on, although the prints that I ran with a nearly dry Magenta cartridge are an odd and kind of interesting purple tone. Almost like a purple sepia.
I’m pretty pleased with the number of prints I’ve been able to make from a set of inks (and there are still a few inks unchanged). Some quick back of the envelope calculations suggest that a 4X6 printed on 5X7 Ilford Gallerie Smooth Pearl costs about $1.25-$1.50. That sounds outrageous compared to the mini lab, but it’s fine for my volumes. I never worried about costs when I had a chemical darkroom, but with all the waste that went on tossing out bad chemistry and doing test strips and test prints and all manner of calibrations etc . . . well, I’m fairly certain it wasn’t cheap. The Epson is a heck of a lot easier and more consistent to work with, so I’m not going to worry about the costs, yet.