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PGI-280BK ink is text black pigment used solely when printing on plain or copy paper. The PG at the start of the cartridge model number is shortform for PiGment. Text black pigment ink is preferred for sharper text printing, has less bleed on papers, is waterproof and will not fade. Text black pigment ink is slightly slightly costlier than dye ink.

All other CLI-281 colors used in this printer are dye inks.  The photoblack black  ink is used when printing photos on glossy paper.

If the printer has a duplex mode or two sided printing feature, photoblack dye is used on one side and text black pigment on the other.

Because of the way an inkjet printer works, a small quantity of color ink is still used during maintenance functions even if you print mainly text. So colored ink is required even if printing all black text on plain paper.

On the 281 series there is no resetter nor are there ARC chips available. There are clear sided one time use aftermarket XXL sized tanks available. The setup tanks, standard, Xl sized and XXL sized Canon OEM tanks are still the best performing, still refillable and can be used for refilling as long as the user disables ink monitoring.

Signature Edition
There are a few options in refilling the cartridges used in these machines. Each one has positive as well as a negative and each option has different costs involved.

The least expensive is to reuse the SETUP tanks that was included with the printer. The tanks will need to be modified by adding a refill hole and using the proper plugs included with the refill kit. This modification will also allow the setup tanks to hold more ink than what was included with the kit. For many users, this is the route they will take. My testing has shown that a refilled set of setup tanks will allow over 300 pages of combined text and graphics printing. When the setup tanks are new they hold the same amount of ink as the standard sized tank, when refilled they hold about the same amount of ink as the XL sized tanks. The XXL tanks hold less than two times what the XL sized ( 30-40% more)  tanks have but it is estimated that they allow about twice as much to be printed in refill situations.

So the second option and best is to acquire a second set of  Canon OEM XXL sized tanks and refill those. Acquring a second set of XXL sized tanks is a considerable amount relative to what the printer cost. If you decide that you will be printing lots of photos, then the convenience of not having to refill twice as often might play a part in your decision.

In both the above cases, acquring a digital scale accurate to within 1 gram is highly recommended. This will allow one to determine how empty a tank is and how much ink is required to refill it without overfilling and spilling ink.

The third option is one of convenience and larger printing capacity  than reusing the setup tanks. Here a set of aftermarket tanks is used. These tanks have an aftermarket chip which will allow estimated ink levels for ONE cycle and after which will behave identically to the OEM tanks and this when refilled the ability to have estimated ink levels are removed. However it requires that the user knows that third party tanks are not as good as OEM tanks in long term use and should be either replaced periodically when they no longer function proper or need to be cleaned out. Since the aftermarket tanks are transparent, a digital scale is not necessary and the use of the Squezy bottles thus eliminating syringes is an option.

For those who wish to advance their printing skills and print extremely high quality images I also include a comprehensive set of ICC Profiles to use with printers using the PhotoBlue Ink. The Signature Edition inkset produces well balanced tones with hardly if any color casts with photos. The profiles are to provide better saturation and near perfect neutrality when used with the papers the ICCs are made for.