Best photo printer/slide scanner partnership?

Discussion in 'Scanners' started by Deep Thought, Apr 14, 2004.

  1. Deep Thought

    Deep Thought Guest

    I NEED to sort out my slide scanning/photo printing needs soon... am
    sticking with 35mm slides (Canon T90) for many reasons (some of them
    esoteric quite frankly...) so I am going to ask the question I am sure a
    million have asked before: is there a home printer that will give me lab
    quality prints from slide scans?? I am not expecting Cibachromes or R-Type
    quality (fantasy?)... but I hear that dye-sublimation may be the route but I
    need your guidance. Poss up to A3 printing size also.
    Deep Thought, Apr 14, 2004
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  2. Deep Thought

    Alan Browne Guest

    Once you have a good scanner, then the best result may be to make 16
    bit/channel, 300 lpi (print) TIF files, burn them to CD-ROM and take
    them to a photo finisher for the last stage. Let him worry about
    capital equipment, paper and deposit stock, calibration and so on.

    Let him show you the paper quality and the "ink" longevity numbers for
    his system and materials.

    Otherwise, check out comp.periphs.printers

    Alan Browne, Apr 14, 2004
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  3. Deep Thought

    Bill Hilton Guest

    From: "Deep Thought"
    Yes, the better Canon and Epson models do this quite well.
    Why not? That's what most of us get.
    Here's a good summary of the top three choices, copied from a Newsletter from
    The Stock Solution ...

    Q: What are my choices for 13" wide photo inkjet printers, and which is best?

    A: Not knowing your needs will require a little
    more explanation, since what is "best" for one
    person, may not be for another. There are three
    choices: The Epson Stylus Photo 1280 ($399), The
    Canon i9100 ($499), and the Epson Stylus Photo
    2200 ($699). These first two printers use "dye"
    ink. Image longevity with these dye inks is
    about the same for both printers: about 10-15
    years behind glass before noticeable fading with
    most papers. You can get 25-38 years with
    special swellable polymer papers (Epson ColorLife
    Photo Paper and the Ilford Galerie "Classic"
    papers), but they are only available in gloss or
    semi-gloss finishes. Either, way the dye inks
    are quite suitable for certain "event"
    photography prints or flea market art prints
    where longevity is not an issue. Dye ink is also
    suitable for your portfolio prints, where images
    are changed every few years, or whenever prints
    are displayed in a book (dark storage longevity
    is usually twice as long wall display longevity)
    rather than on the wall Some artists prefer the
    Epson dye inks over the pigment inks for their
    portfolio books because they print slightly more
    saturated than even the best pigmented inks (and
    the blacks from the Epson dye ink on Epson Matte
    paper Heavy Weight is the deepest black we've
    ever seen --slightly richer than the 2200's
    UltraChrome Matte Black ink on Epson Enhanced

    The Epson 1280 is priced about $100 less than the
    Canon, but the Canon is about three times faster
    in print speed (making it a better choice as a
    location "event" printer). The Canon is slightly
    more economical to operate because it uses 6
    individual ink cartridges, whereas the epson uses
    a black and a 5-cell color cartridge. If one
    color cell goes dry, you have to toss the
    cartridge (Epson cartridges are opaque, so you
    can't see how much ink you're throwing away - the
    individual Canon ink "tanks" are clear).
    Throwing out the E1280's color cartridge usually
    wastes about 20% of the ink, UNLESS you are
    printing a bunch of prints from the same image
    file. I these cases it's not uncommon to have
    40% or more of the other colors still left when
    one color cell runs dry, because the light
    magenta or light cyan or yellow inks go quickly
    (depending on your image). As for print quality,
    the Epson 1280 the Canon i9100 are closely
    matched. However, to get that quality on the
    Canon, you'll need to stick with Canon's Photo
    Paper Pro, which is very expensive. The Epson
    1280 seems to print well on a much wider variety
    of papers, even many non-Epson papers. One last
    thing, the Canon i9100 is limited to media that
    is 13" x 19", whereas the Epson 1280 can print
    panoramic images as long as 43" (on up to 13" x
    44" media). The Epson 1280 can also handle 2"
    core roll media. Canon does not offer a roll
    paper option. Both printers can do borderless
    printing in all popular sizes up through 13" x
    19". -- Canon i9100 -- Epson 1280 -- Bulk ink system for 1280

    Your other 13" solution is the Epson 2200. It's
    more expensive, but worth it if you are
    interested in prints that last. It's pigmented
    UltraChrome inks (7 inks -- this inkset adds a
    "Light Black") are the current industry standard
    in fine art "giclee" printing (with display
    longevity on most fine art papers hitting around
    70-100 years, and dark storage over 200 years on
    many papers). Color gamut of these inks is very
    near to that of dye inks, with the exceptions
    I've already noted above. The 2200's individual
    ink carts give fairly decent economy. Expect ink
    costs to be between $2.00 - $3.00 per square foot
    (11 x 14 image), depending on image density (this
    is about 10-20% higher than the two printers that
    use dye inks). There are several continuous bulk
    inking systems available for 2200 and the 1280
    (we haven't discovered a bulk feed system for the
    Canon i9100) that greatly reduce your ink costs
    (1/5 to 1/10 the cartridge operation costs), but
    you'll lose the advantage of having the option of
    choosing between Epson's Photo Black cartridge
    (best for gloss and luster finishes) and the
    Matte Black cartridge (best for matte and fine
    art papers). The bulk ink systems must use a
    "universal" black ink that is a compromise,
    because it has less DMax on gloss/luster papers
    and less DMax on matte/fine art papers than the
    DMax you get when matching the right Epson black
    cartridge with your media. Many third party
    bulk inks do not match ("plug-n-play") the Epson
    inks, so you also must also use the
    manufacturer's custom ICC profiles in order to
    get good color management. A BIG benefit of the
    model 2200 is the straight paper path option in
    the back of the printer. Both the Epson 1280 and
    Canon i9100 choke on thick fine art papers that
    are over 0.012" (12 mil) thick (usually about 250
    gsm in weight). The 2200 can easily take papers
    that are over 500 gsm in weight and over 0.050"
    (50 mil) thick! The Epson 2200 can handle media
    sizes up to 13" x 44". It can also handle 2"
    core roll media, and includes an automatic roll
    paper cutter, which is detachable if you rarely
    print from roll paper.
    Bill Hilton, Apr 14, 2004
  4. Epson's pigmented printers CX6400 and C84 are also excellent choices
    for photography. These two printers are way under-rated in the US
    market, largely due to the low low prices (CX6400 ~$200, C84 ~$80),
    also because it has only 4 inks. Epson puts them in the "General
    purpose" category, but I found them just fantastic for photography.
    Don't be fooled by the spec.

    I was prepared to accept C84 as the genreal purpose printer for
    printing documents, in case it didn't meet my expectation, but in the
    end I am very happy about it.

    If you end up with one of these printers, you need to do the following
    before printing, in order to get what you see:
    1. Do all your adjustments in Photoshop in "Adobe RGB 98" color
    (set to "the US prepress default" for color setting). After you
    satisfied with it, go to step 2.
    2. adjust the "level" by moving the RGB midtone ruler to 2.10.
    note: now it will looks too light, but don't worry. goto step 3.
    3. covert the color space to "Epson cx6300/cx6400"
    note, don't use the other color space called simply "epson
    4. print.
    Einton Newstein, Apr 15, 2004
  5. Deep Thought

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Dye sub printing is a nice way to get quality durable prints, though these are
    not very common devices. Initial cost of acquiring a printer can often be
    higher than for an inkjet system, though the operating costs, and price per
    page, can be much lower. In the long run, you can save money on supplies using
    a dye sub system. Just the ability to use quality laser paper for everything
    can be a savings in paper costs.

    There are a few nice choices, and some lower cost surprises. The Xerox
    Tektronix Phaser system offers a couple options, which are similar in price to
    the Kodak dye sub printers. Olympus and Canon have small size dye sub printers
    for postcard sized printing. Oki and Seiko sell some high end systems with very
    nice quality, comparable to the Kodak choices, but lower operating costs. One
    of the Oki systems is actually made by Alps, and there is the low cost
    alternative. If you can find an Alps MD-5000 or MD-1300, you can get great
    results at a low operating cost.

    Here is a short article and many links from a University research organization:

    lots of information about scanning, printing, and other imaging issues. Some of
    this is old information, though much of it is regularly updated.

    Anyway, I have an Alps MD-5000, with the somewhat rare PostScript RIP option.
    It has been a great system that I have used mostly for proofing images, though
    I have used some prints for my portfolios. There are also gloss coating,
    metallic colours, and metallic foils available, which works nicely together in
    a system that allows seven different cartridges at a time. In the US, it has
    become tough to get printer supplies, since Alps now has a deal with Oki and
    Powis Parker <>, both of whom have an exclusive deal to
    sell new printers and supplies, though now at three to four times what I paid
    originally. Anyway, nice system if you can find one.

    Having stated all that, I really prefer the results from a Fuji Pictography
    system. When I get images printed for gallery exhibit, I have them done either
    on the Fuji, or on a LightJet system. The cost is reasonable, though obviously
    more than a dye sub print. I find I like the colour quality more, so for me it
    is worth the extra cost. If you go this route, just find a good lab, and stick
    with them.

    Scanning is another issue, and often you can get really good results at low
    cost. One option it to save up many slides and get them all put onto Kodak Pro
    Photo CD (not PictureCD). The quality is good, and the price point is okay,
    though turnaround time can be slow. If you plan on doing more than 300 scans,
    then it would be worth looking into a lower end film scanner, with several 2700
    dpi models at nice price points. Obviously, spending more for a 4000+ dpi
    scanner would get you better quality scans, though you might find the
    difference is very slight.

    If you plan on doing larger film scans, there are a few nice flatbed systems
    that do okay. Obviously, they are not as good as film scanners, though they are
    much cheaper than larger than 35 mm dedicated film scanners. The latest Epson,
    a Canon 9900, the Microtek DuoScan (actually an older AGFA), or a used Leaf,
    used Linotype Hell, or used AGFA offer several nice choices.

    Happy hunting, and I hope I pointed out some alternative directions. By the
    way, the prints from the Kodak dye sub printers are really nice.
    Gordon Moat, Apr 15, 2004
  6. Deep Thought

    Deep Thought Guest

    Thanks all of you - gives me something to concentrate my research at...
    Deep Thought, Apr 15, 2004
  7. Deep Thought wrote:ptho220
    Minolta DSE5400
    Epson Stylus Photo 2200

    I recommend that you run the Minolta with Vuescan. As my systems are *nix
    operated, I can't advise you about software if you use Microsoft products.
    I understand, however, that Adobe products work well for those who prefer
    to lease rather than own their software. YMMV.

    For the record, I run the Epson with Cinepaint-0.18 and gimp-print
    5.0.0alpha, with a 16bit/CMYK-RGB patch for gimp-print. The results are

    Bill Tallman
    William D. Tallman, Apr 16, 2004
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