Photo Printer Suggestions?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Helen, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. Helen

    Helen Guest

    I needed to downsize the contents of my home, so I decided to sell
    things I have no use for. I made a tidy sum of approximately $600.
    I'm looking for a good photo printer. I'll be honest, I know nothing
    about them, so I decided to ask the pros on the groups before I go
    into a photo shop and be at the mercy of some salesperson. Thanks for
    your help.
    Helen, Oct 4, 2008
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  2. Helen

    jimkramer Guest

    Standard questions:
    How good is good? :)
    How big do you want to print?
    How often do you want to print?
    How long to you want the print to last?
    Is this to be a dedicated photoprinter or do you want to print text as well?
    Color and/or B&W?
    jimkramer, Oct 4, 2008
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  3. Helen

    measekite Guest

    There are two great wide format printers that can print most of the sizes
    a hobbyist would need.

    Canon Pro9000
    Epson 2880

    Both will print the same sizes. The Canon prints may be somewhat more
    vivid and look slightly more impressive on glossy paper but it uses dye
    ink that does not have the longevity against fading as a pigment ink
    printer has.

    The Epson 2880 has a somewhat greater tendency to clog if not used on a
    regular basis and uses somewhat more ink than the Canon. You also have to
    manually switch between photo black used for glossy paper and matte black
    used for matte and artistic papers and you do waste some ink in doing that
    so you need to plan or batch your printing to some extent.

    The prints from the Epson will fare much better over time and will look
    better when using artistic and matte papers.

    I have always used Canon printers and preferred the bang of a bright and
    vivid color print. But I think I will go with the Epson 3800 next time
    because I plan on using more matte and artistic papers and I want the
    longevity. The 2880 is the little brother of the 3800. The K3 ink set is
    the same but it uses smaller tanks and is 13"wide instead of 17" wide.
    The 2880 is within the price range you suggested.

    Because the 3800 is 17" wide and gets better ink mileage it is worth the
    additional $450 since you get that much in additional ink with it but the
    choice is yours.
    measekite, Oct 4, 2008
  4. Helen

    measekite Guest

    But if you go there be careful. That group has many many morons and
    idiots that beleive in NOT using appropriate ink recommended by the
    printer mfg and do not like others that do not subscribe to their cultish
    Maybe. If you have need to really get accurate and do not want to deviate
    at all from total reality then yes but if you want to get very close and
    produce a really nice looking print that you and others can enjoy then
    reasonable profiling should get you close enough. It is very difficult to
    look at you monitor and your print and see exactly the same shade.

    under glass and I personally do not like prints mounted under glass.
    First unless you get very expensive museum glass you will see some
    reflections. Notwithstanding the reflections, cost and weight; you just
    cannot appreciate the look and feel of artistic papers when viewing the
    print behind glass. You might as well use a semi gloss paper. I really
    would like to know just how much less a pigmented print will last if
    properly cared for matted and frames but not under glass.
    measekite, Oct 4, 2008
  5. Helen

    DavidM Guest

    Have you considered not buying a photo printer? They are nasty plasticy
    things that dry up, clog, get stuck and then cost a fortune to refill
    with 'official' ink.

    A good alternative is an online printing service, or even your local
    printshop. Just make sure that they use genuine photographic paper and
    the results will always be good.

    I use, obviously you would need a similar firm where you
    live. Photos are easy to upload to their site and prints are dispatched
    the same day. I usually get prints in the next mornings post.
    DavidM, Oct 4, 2008
  6. Helen

    measekite Guest

    I have been printing with a Canon photo printer IP4000 for 5 years. It
    has never clogged up and I never had a problem with it. While it may cost
    a little bit more than an online service my prints are actually better
    and I print what I want when I want on the type of paper that I want.

    I have many more choices.
    measekite, Oct 5, 2008
  7. Helen

    Bob Williams Guest

    Since your printing will be at an entry level, I'd suggest you START
    with an entry level printer. All inkjet printers are so good nowadays,
    that you will be delighted with your results from a good, simple, entry
    level Canon. The new, Canon Pixma iP 3500, for instance, costs $79 (or
    less) and the replacement ink cartridges are reasonably priced.
    If you ever outgrow the 3500 (unlikely in 2-3 years), you will then have
    enough experience to know what specifications you want to upgrade to.

    Photo printing from online sources or at WalMart/Costco type stores is
    so competitive, that you can get excellent quality prints, usually for
    less than it would cost you to print the pictures yourself.....AND....
    the colors are more stable than those from consumer inkjet printers.

    Bob Williams
    Bob Williams, Oct 5, 2008
  8. Helen

    Alien Jones Guest

    Forget the printing photos at home thing unless it's B&W you fancy and then
    be prepared for serious print costs... Like about 28¢ for a 6"x4" print.
    More if you want to use decent paper.

    Instead of this absurd notion people have that owning a desktop printer is
    somehow going to give you whatever it is you think it will (and it won't) an account with "" (owned by HP).

    Instead of a printer, invest in a spyder to calibrate your screen and the
    long lasting prints you get back from HP will always look amazing. Sharper
    than an inkjet and no colour bleaching issues. No messy inks and best of
    all, no regular cost for new ink tanks.

    Snapfish are absolutely guaranteed to supply you prints at less than half
    the cost of the cheapest inkjet printer and deliver them to your door
    inside a week.

    Like Alan Browne just told you, $500 worth of ink to replensih a desktop
    pigment printer... Any size pigment printer actually.

    Anything else is not worth having. Figure it out. 10¢ per print from
    Snapfish = 5000 prints for the cost of one set of ink tanks.

    Even getting 8"x12" prints done will still get you nearly 200 for the cost
    of a set of ink tanks. And don't forget the mess of spray coating your
    inkjet prints to even look like getting them to last as long as a real

    Factor all your test prints into the desktop inkjet and you'd need a pretty
    good reason to be able to justify owning one, wouldn't you?
    Alien Jones, Oct 5, 2008
  9. Helen

    Jeff R. Guest

    Having read and absorbed all that, let me simply state that I adore my Epson
    R800 pigment-based printer. I can replace all 8 tanks for a lot less than
    $500 (genuine dye - much less for clone).

    There is no doubt that a home inkjet printer makes little or no sense

    -but- is priceless for producing extremely high quality prints *instantly*.
    (Well five minutes actually, but that feels like "instantly" when compared
    to "less than a week.")

    If I have a bunch of prints to produce (some event or other) I'll use a
    lab -but- if I just want ot produce a one-off, or if I particularly want to
    produce a very specifically tailored print - or if I want the print *NOW*
    (not next week) then I'll use the Epson. The results are spectacular,
    instant but quite expensive.

    If one of my kids wants a quick print-out, I'll use the cheap dye-sub
    postcard printer. They love it - instant, on-demand and OK quality.

    If I were living on a fixed income I probably would elect for the cheap
    alternative, and farm it all out to the lab, but I can afford better than

    If you are very patient, the lab is satisfactory.
    Likewise, if you don't mind complaining about poor printing and then
    demanding reprints.
    Likewise if you don't mind sharing your private copyrighted masterpieces
    with some junior lab operator with an (who knows what) agenda.

    If you appreciate the luxury of producing your own custom output in the
    comfort of your own home, and you can afford the premium, then a home inkjet
    makes sense.

    I can't speak for brands other than Epson (such as the
    buy-for-the-price-of-the-ink Lexmarks), 'cause I've never owned one. They
    have to be better than interminable waits IF you can afford it.

    I use my colour laser for proofs, but its nowhere near photo quality.
    Cartoonish, but OK for proofs and layouts.
    Jeff R., Oct 5, 2008
  10. Helen

    Keith nuttle Guest

    I have voted for Jeff R. solution. I would say that 95% of the time I
    view my photos on the computer. When I want a print it is wanted now to
    give to a relative who does not have a computer or for a special event
    (party, etc). Or it is needed by my wife who may be using it for a
    reference for a painting she is doing.

    In my opinion while quality and resolution are highly important;
    stability in paper photos is no longer a concern for the average
    photographer. If I print a paper photo and it is used such that it
    deteriorates after a year or two I will print another and replace the
    picture. The original image being dependent on pixels not chemicals
    will live for ever, if it is maintained on the current technology.

    For my paper photos, I use an old HP932c (one of the first truly photo
    quality printers), use the 8X11 photo paper, and them cut the photos
    apart. When providing photos to friends and relatives they never
    request one photo. The 8X11 is cheaper than the 4 X 6 photo paper.

    One last thing, I print my pictures in the aspect ratio of the digital
    image maximized to the 8 X 11 sheet not the standard chemical camera
    ratios 4X6, 3X5 etc.
    Keith nuttle, Oct 5, 2008
  11. Helen

    tony cooper Guest

    There's also a time and labor factor involved. I have relatives who
    live in another country and do not own a computer. If I want to send
    them - say - 30 family 4x6 snapshots, I'll order them online from
    Walgreens. I can pick up the prints in an hour.

    I could print those 30 snapshots on my Epson printer and the results
    would be about the same as the prints from Walgreens. The cost of the
    ink and the paper would be somewhat less, but I prefer the time and
    effort savings of ordering prints.

    I've never really compared the cost. Walgreens is currently at 19
    cents for a 4x6, but they do run specials as low as 9 cents each. I
    buy Epson ink in the bundle that includes a package of 4x6 print paper
    at very little extra cost. I've never bothered to count how many
    prints I get out of the Epson ink cartridges.
    tony cooper, Oct 5, 2008
  12. Helen

    Alien Jones Guest

    Jeff Ralph's idea of proofing... Cartoonish photos! Gotta love these
    self styled "experts".

    The sad fact about desktop inkjets is that they were until quite
    recently, a golden cash cow for the printer makers. HP started to move
    to more ink in the tank and Epson had to follow.

    Desktop printer's in general are 6 to 7 times more expensive for ink
    tanks than wide format or Professional inkjets. Play with non-genuine
    ink at your own peril. If you have a $600 profiling system, you might
    keep the colours within acceptable limits but that's spending not saving
    more money again, isn't it?

    One of my (Dye) HP Designjets has monsterous tanks compared to a desktop
    but puts out long lasting prints on canvas or paper that cost less than
    a lab print. Whether or not the cost of the printer is justifable for
    home use is another thing altogether.

    HP make a small, desktop Designjet which does 6 colour output very
    economically in 13"x19" size but that is not your consumer grade $400,
    r800 Epson with miniscule tank capacity. Pay for what you get is never
    more applicable than with photo printers.

    Incidentally... Xerox lasers (even the $400 entry level ones) will put
    out magazine quality prints on the right paper. sRGB simulation output
    means you print screen colours on them out of the box.

    Gotta make you wonder when proofing with cartoon colours - why bother?
    Alien Jones, Oct 5, 2008
  13. Helen

    Helen Guest

    Thank you kindly to everyone for all your great info. I'm sorry it
    took this long for me to see your posts........Google was down. Some
    excellent suggestions.
    Most of my work is b&w, if that opens any further suggestions. Silly
    question but I have to ask: do any of these printers give the same
    archival quality as a b&w lab would?
    Again, thanks so much for you help guys!
    Helen, Oct 5, 2008
  14. Helen

    Helen Guest

    The reason I was asking about printers at home is that someone asked
    to see a portfolio of my work. I have a lot of old prints from my
    film days, but I find I'm shooting digital almost always, so I thought
    I was in need of a printer. I didn't know I could have a
    professional printing shop do it for me. I will have to contemplate
    all these great suggestions. Thanks so much.
    Helen, Oct 5, 2008
  15. Helen

    Helen Guest

    Wow! Thanks Alan!
    Helen, Oct 5, 2008
  16. Helen

    Ray Fischer Guest

    That all depends upon the inks and the maker of the inks. And it's
    still nothing close to what B&W paper can do.
    Ray Fischer, Oct 5, 2008
  17. Helen

    Paul Furman Guest

    Factory inks are a given if you want 100 years life, 3rd party may be
    fine but it's unknown. I've sent out for Lightjet color prints ('real'
    photo paper) for larger sizes than 13x19 on my Epson R1800* but I'm not
    aware of a B&W paper for that, though I know a guy that does B&W on
    lightjet for selling as fine art prints with their color paper and no
    complaints. To do B&W on an inkjet, you'd want to dedicate a printer to
    B&W with a B&W ink set, continuous flow system with bottles & tubes and
    that's untested 3rd party ink.

    Epson R1800*
    My way of measuring ink use is to keep all my spent cartridges. Over a
    couple/few? years I've used:
    3 red
    4 blue
    4 matte black
    5 gloss optimizer
    6 photo black
    8 magenta
    10 cyan
    10 yellow

    That's a mix of gloss & matte paper, not much document printing (stinks
    at that anyways) and a lot of green landscapes & plant shots. 50 carts
    at $13 each I think from Calumet (would be $11 I think online but easier
    to go 10 blocks away & buy), so $650 which is about what the printer
    cost and a bunch of expensive paper. I like being able to test and
    experiment though.

    Paul Furman

    all google groups messages filtered due to spam
    Paul Furman, Oct 5, 2008
  18. Helen

    jimkramer Guest

    Looking at that list of dead soldiers makes me happy I went with the 4800;
    220ml cartridges. :)

    You don't have light black and light light black inks to use on that machine
    and that is what you need to do decent B&W prints on an ink jet. I've
    already forgotten the sister machine to the R1800 that was for B&W too.

    jimkramer, Oct 5, 2008
  19. Helen

    Paul Furman Guest

    Nice. The R1800 and R2400 take 100ml carts (per a cursory google
    search), Alan mentions the 3800 has 80ml carts, and the R800 15ml.

    A couple years old is ancient technology :-(

    Not sure, an associate just got a 1400 for about $350, I think the 1800
    was more like $800 when it was the latest model.

    Paul Furman

    all google groups messages filtered due to spam
    Paul Furman, Oct 6, 2008
  20. Helen

    Jeff R. Guest

    No there isn't.
    "Misunderstanding" doesn't equal "distortion".
    I'm sorry.
    Did I imply that I replace all my carts in the R800 every time? Not sure
    where you got that from.
    Of course I only replace them when they're empty.
    Yes, that's an issue but in my defence it wasn't mentioned by the poster I
    replied to.

    Besides which (did you *read* my post?) I was specifically *not* referring
    to a professional workflow with hundreds of prints being churned through
    in-house every day. I can't remember the last time I bought a set of carts
    for my Epson, yet I used it perfectly just yesterday. We're talking
    intermittent, casual use here. (Did you *read* my post?)
    In your world, maybe.
    In my world a proof is used to:

    * show other folk what is available
    * enable a simple means for indicating "who wants what"
    (we're talking non-PC users here)
    * determine whether Aunt Mabel is squinting, or Uncle Fred is smiling
    * see what/who is *in* the photos.

    You see, I don't have to prove to my "clients" that my photos are
    technically satisfactory - that's a given. Otherwise I wouldn't be offering
    them for distribution. The focus is fine, the colour is good, the
    composition is appropriate (etc. etc.)

    For my purposes, my colour laser is fine for proofing. It fulfils all the
    requirements. HINT: it is not for producing final prints. My proofs are
    thrown away after they have served their purpose. There is no implication
    that they represent "best" quality. My family and friends (my "clients")
    know and understand what the proofs represent - an indication of what is
    available. I'm not going to waste perfectly good (and expensive) media on
    photos that no-one wants.

    Please don't seek to impose your requirements on my situation.

    Your dogmatic statement above should read: "When *I* produce a proof it
    requires colour verification."

    Me? I perform "colour verification" on the PC. The final inkjet output
    confirms it, without the need for a "colour" proof.
    Jeff R., Oct 6, 2008
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