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Thread: Printers - Help choosing one

  1. #1
    eribeiro's Avatar
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    Printers - Help choosing one

    The photographic Neanderthal strikes again
    After great help in choosing a camera and build my own package as very well advised by Donald, Jiro and others, here comes another one.

    Buy a printer or go to the lab?

    I will print at least 10 to 15 pictures per month, plus all the usual needs of a printer/fax/scanner machine at home. This means that an all in one is a must?

    The pictures will be quite often 4x6 and 13x19 inches.

    The suggestions I had are concentraded in 3 brands: Canon, Epson and HP, more specifically:

    Canon pixma mp 620
    Canon pixma mp 990
    Canon pixma mx 870

    Epson Stylus Photo r2880
    Epson Artisan 810

    HP Photosmart b8850 (not all in one?)
    HP Photosmart cd55A

    Now, prices are quite different. The three are serviceable in Brazil, BUT I have no experience whatoever with any of them. Canon a bit harder to service.

    Who has what? Other options? Am I (certainly) totally lost here?

    Thank you in advance.
    Eduardo

  2. #2
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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    Quote Originally Posted by eribeiro View Post
    The photographic Neanderthal strikes again
    After great help in choosing a camera and build my own package as very well advised by Donald, Jiro and others, here comes another one.

    Buy a printer or go to the lab?

    I will print at least 10 to 15 pictures per month, plus all the usual needs of a printer/fax/scanner machine at home. This means that an all in one is a must?

    The pictures will be quite often 4x6 and 13x19 inches.

    The suggestions I had are concentraded in 3 brands: Canon, Epson and HP, more specifically:

    Canon pixma mp 620
    Canon pixma mp 990
    Canon pixma mx 870

    Epson Stylus Photo r2880
    Epson Artisan 810

    HP Photosmart b8850 (not all in one?)
    HP Photosmart cd55A

    Now, prices are quite different. The three are serviceable in Brazil, BUT I have no experience whatoever with any of them. Canon a bit harder to service.

    Who has what? Other options? Am I (certainly) totally lost here?

    Thank you in advance.
    Eduardo
    Eduardo,

    You need to do a cost analysis of using a professional printer or doing it yourself. Until you see the numbers you won't see the benefit of either, and then you can weigh the pros and cons.

  3. #3
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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    Hi Eduardo -- I have had the Canon Pixma 610 for a couple of years, which I think is a forerunner of the 620. Look carefully before you buy this one as a photo printer -- although it has been great as a document printer, scanner, and so on, I was very disappointed with the quality of photo printing, and I have read a little of similar complaints about the 620. I stopped expecting it to print photos and ultimately bought the Pixma Pro 9500 Mark II, which I am extremely happy with. But I would not print documents with the 9500, and the inks are extremely expensive -- pay attention to what John is saying about the cost. I am not expecting that I am saving any money using the 9500; I am, however, gaining control over the process, which is what I wanted.

    I could be wrong and I hope others will correct me if I am, but I think that if you are serious about printing photographs, an all-in-one is not what you want; if you just want to make a couple of prints and don't have high expectations, it might be okay.

  4. #4
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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    Eduardo,

    I have to agree with Shadowman, it really depends on what your lab will charge you for the same prints and what the cost of ink and paper will cost you with your own printer.

    I have an Epson R1800 and have had it for over two years now. While I love the prints and the fact I can play with different paper types, it isn't cheap. One thing I would point out is if you go the printer route, you may want to look into a color management system. I know, another cost, but it would be well worth it. I have purchased the Spyder3 Suite from Datacolor. Actually, I would consider the monitor calibrator either way. It does help match the colors/tones between your monitor and the lab's monitor which is a good thing.
    I use my printer mainly for proofing. Even with calibrating, there are times when the images "print" darker or lighter than the image on the monitor and I want to catch those before I send an image out for printing.

    I don't know if I have helped or muddied the water for you. If you had asked me if I could get along without a printer, seriously, I think I would have to say no....but then again, I am a newbie and have a lot to learn....

    Mike

    PS: From my own experience, I would agree with Elise with regard to an all in one printer.

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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    A wise man once said "if you want a job done properly, do it yourself" ... I think that man was a photographer trying to get good prints from the lab!

    Seriously, if you do it yourself, you embark on a journey of discovery and learning - and of heartbreak and expense - but with persistence, ultimate victory! (I reckon Hollywood could almost make a movie out of it!).

    Be aware though that if you're serious about quality, you'll also have to invest in colour management equipment, and a few books - the rewards are immense though.

    In terms of specific brands, I probably can't help much - I use an Epson 7800, but that's a floor-standing 24" wide large-format printer. Probably comes down to your budget - some printers are very cheap, but cost a lot to run due to tiny ink cartridges. Also, I could be wrong, but I wouldn't normally associate an "all in one" printer / fax / copier with quality & long-lasting photographic reproduction.

    Hope this helps!

  6. #6
    eribeiro's Avatar
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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    tks to all. i'll make some trips to above the average labs here and start doing some math.
    eduardo

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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    Epson 2880 makes marvelous prints in a 9-color setup. Prints up to 13x19 borderless. I've made some beautiful prints from it and sold almost every one I've made with this printer...I use Jon Cone replacement cartridge inks in it, which surprisingly, are superior to the epson inks.

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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    Quote Originally Posted by MiniChris View Post
    Epson 2880 makes marvelous prints in a 9-color setup. Prints up to 13x19 borderless. I've made some beautiful prints from it and sold almost every one I've made with this printer...I use Jon Cone replacement cartridge inks in it, which surprisingly, are superior to the epson inks.
    Which color would you say you need to replace the most, I would guess blue for some reason a universal color to me.

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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    Black and you can use two different blacks in this unit..soft and hard...I use soft when I am printing to a matte surface, hard for high gloss. Black is the matrix color for all color printers. It darkens all the colors and that's sortof a flimsy overview, but more than darken (which you can readily get from mixing RGB) it has a way of "modeling" the pixel structure, giving them a very three dimensional appeal. Cyan is the nest one, followed by the three R's, yellow being the least used ink.

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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    Quote Originally Posted by MiniChris View Post
    Epson 2880 makes marvelous prints in a 9-color setup. Prints up to 13x19 borderless. I've made some beautiful prints from it and sold almost every one I've made with this printer...I use Jon Cone replacement cartridge inks in it, which surprisingly, are superior to the epson inks.
    Hi Chris,

    Your "Jon Cone" comment caught my eye ... I hadn't heard of him before, but it looks like he's set himself up well. I (like many) was concerned with Epson ink prices ... and eventually made the jump to Lyson carts, which I've also found to be superior to Epson ... and at only 40% of the cost of the Epson.

    As much as I love my 7800, the thought of spending over NZD $2000 for a set of 8 carts was just ridiculous. The irony is that I could fly from to NZ to Englend - buy 16 Lyson carts - fly back - and pay less all up than buying Epson carts in NZ!

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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one


  12. #12
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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    Quote Originally Posted by MiniChris View Post
    Black and you can use two different blacks in this unit..soft and hard...I use soft when I am printing to a matte surface, hard for high gloss. Black is the matrix color for all color printers. It darkens all the colors and that's sortof a flimsy overview, but more than darken (which you can readily get from mixing RGB) it has a way of "modeling" the pixel structure, giving them a very three dimensional appeal. Cyan is the nest one, followed by the three R's, yellow being the least used ink.
    Explains a lot about what is printed, most photo printers use a mix of six colors to simulate black (really a mix producing a dark gray), if you want real black you need to purchase a separate cartridge.

  13. #13

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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    When you think about it, the print media use a CMYK sequence - cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The black printer (screen) is generally less intense than you might think because its entire function is only to bind and add depth to the other three colors. The black screen is the last in the printing sequence. Inkjet printers run the whole spectrum of color in the same pass, but in that pass sequence, each color is laid down in a prescribed sequence with black also being the last pigment to go down.

    Several years ago I was privvy to watching a high speed camera sequence of this printing cycle (slowed down so one could see the sequence) and it was stunnningly amazing. a lot goes on every time you hear that print head move across the page.

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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    I have to agree with Colin that doing your own printing is a whole new game. It's one thing to get great results on a screen but quite another to get great results on a printer. However, I'd advise you to jump right in! There's nothing more rewarding than a really good 11 x 14 matted and framed on the wall.

    If you want to keep your costs down, take a look at the Epson Photo 1400. It will print up to 13 x 19 and does a good job for only about $200 to $300 depending upon what discounts are available to you. I have been using MIS inks very successfully, www.inksupply.com. These are about 1/10th the cost of Epson inks. Admittedly they don't last as well but when you are throwing away a lot 'learning' rejects they will keep your costs way down. Also Red River, www.redriverpaper.com, has very good papers at reasonable prices. They provide all the ICC profiles for them if you use ICC settings. (Which you should.)

    Another item you may want to look into is the tutorial series, "From Camera to Print" from www.luminous-landscape.com. This costs about $40 but is well worth it. It does assume you are using Photoshop. If you are not using that software, it probably would not be worthwhile.

    Cheers.

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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    Quote Originally Posted by Boatman View Post
    I have to agree with Colin that doing your own printing is a whole new game. It's one thing to get great results on a screen but quite another to get great results on a printer. However, I'd advise you to jump right in! There's nothing more rewarding than a really good 11 x 14 matted and framed on the wall.

    If you want to keep your costs down, take a look at the Epson Photo 1400. It will print up to 13 x 19 and does a good job for only about $200 to $300 depending upon what discounts are available to you. I have been using MIS inks very successfully, www.inksupply.com. These are about 1/10th the cost of Epson inks. Admittedly they don't last as well but when you are throwing away a lot 'learning' rejects they will keep your costs way down. Also Red River, www.redriverpaper.com, has very good papers at reasonable prices. They provide all the ICC profiles for them if you use ICC settings. (Which you should.)

    Another item you may want to look into is the tutorial series, "From Camera to Print" from www.luminous-landscape.com. This costs about $40 but is well worth it. It does assume you are using Photoshop. If you are not using that software, it probably would not be worthwhile.

    Cheers.
    the only downside to jumping right in is you pay for your print mistakes, the professional printer eats the costs of any mistakes they make, unless.......insert litigation here.

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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    the professional printer eats the costs of any mistakes they make, unless
    No, we eat them ... darn it.

    Makes you cry somedays when you print out a 22 x 44" canvas - spray it - and then come to the conclusion that it's just not quite up to standard. $50 down the drain.

  17. #17
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Makes you cry somedays when you print out a 22 x 44" canvas - spray it - and then come to the conclusion that it's just not quite up to standard. $50 down the drain.
    Which is why, I have to confess, I've gone down the road of establishing a relationship with a one-person bespoke printing service - someone with whom I can build a relationship so that I can say clearly what my vision is for the picture and whom I trust to turn that into the finished product.

    My volume is not high enough to justify the capital and emotional outlay required and I'm not sure that I'm up for having to start on a whole new skill set.
    Last edited by Donald; 31st March 2011 at 11:43 AM.

  18. #18
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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    Quote Originally Posted by Boatman View Post
    I have to agree with Colin that doing your own printing is a whole new game. It's one thing to get great results on a screen but quite another to get great results on a printer. However, I'd advise you to jump right in! There's nothing more rewarding than a really good 11 x 14 matted and framed on the wall.

    If you want to keep your costs down, take a look at the Epson Photo 1400. It will print up to 13 x 19 and does a good job for only about $200 to $300 depending upon what discounts are available to you. I have been using MIS inks very successfully, www.inksupply.com. These are about 1/10th the cost of Epson inks. Admittedly they don't last as well but when you are throwing away a lot 'learning' rejects they will keep your costs way down. Also Red River, www.redriverpaper.com, has very good papers at reasonable prices. They provide all the ICC profiles for them if you use ICC settings. (Which you should.)

    Another item you may want to look into is the tutorial series, "From Camera to Print" from www.luminous-landscape.com. This costs about $40 but is well worth it. It does assume you are using Photoshop. If you are not using that software, it probably would not be worthwhile.

    Cheers.
    Redriver looks cool; even if from the UK. I like the profile service which is my biggest headache with non standard paper.

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    Re: Printers - Help choosing one

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    Redriver looks cool; even if from the UK. I like the profile service which is my biggest headache with non standard paper.
    Steve, you might like to give Fotospeed a try. They're a UK based company and sell a range of papers. Certainly with their fine art papers they'll provide ICC profiling for free. I've been buying from them for a couple of years now and every so often if I change or need a different paper I'll ask if they can 'throw in' an A4 sheet for profiling, they seem happy to oblige.

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